Our trip to the centre this winter

Submitted: Monday, Feb 10, 2014 at 16:41
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Travelling with 23'van with good clearance but standard roller rocker suspension. BT 50 with suspension upgrade and roof top camper.
Will be travelling from north into Alice and plan to store/park van in van park and travel into West Mac ranges with ute only and down to Kings Canyon. Recommendations and advice sought. East Mac ranges, Chambers Pillar?
After Uluru with the van, want to do another side trip heading south.
Want to go to Oodnadatta and Dalhousie but need to leave van somewhere safe. Can I leave it at Marla and go to Oodnadatta and Dalhousie and then return via different track to Marla ie Arckaringa?
Recommendations and advice sought.
Open to any suggestions as have never been in this part of central Australia. Will have roughly 3-4 weeks allocated for this part of our trip.
Cheers
Ian
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 06:34

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 06:34
We get to Alice the end of April and storing our van at the Macdonald Range CP for 3 weeks while we travel the over to CSR and back on the AB Hwy.

Travelled through the East Mac's last year. Spent 10 days out to Arltunga, up to Gemtree and back to Alice, towing our camper trailer.

We went south from there through Old Andado to Oodnadatta, it would be a bit rough for your van though. From Oodnadatta down you would have no problems takeing the van, come in via Marla.
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Reply By: Pete Jackman (SA) - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 08:48

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 08:48
Chambers Pillar is a good day trip and definitely Rainbow Valley at sunset.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 13:24

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 13:24
Hi Ian

If you are comfortable with some dirt road travel, Trephina Gorge campground in the East MacDonnells is a good base for taking day trips from. They have made an additional new campground for caravans there now.

For camping out, there is also a relatively new campground at Chambers Pillar as the old one only had eight sites. Good sunrise and sunset photos at the Pillar. For Rainbow Valley you can do a day trip from Stuart's Well Roadhouse Campground or camp the night for that sunset view.

It would pay you to take the long way round on the sealed roads and spend a couple of days to do the rim walk at Kings Canyon. Start the walk early before it gets hot; it is quite a climb at the start. Relax for a second night before moving on to Yulara. Ideally three nights there to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

You can check out my blogs of Alice Springs and surrounds from 2008 and ask me about anything you would like to know more about. We spent five weeks there and didn't see everything.

I cannot give advice about Oodnadatta and Dalhousie but I'm sure other members here will.

Motherhen


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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 13:26

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 13:26
I just noticed you are Ian and Kathleen. One reason why we spent to second night at Kings Canyon was to visit Kathleen Gorge, as my late mother was also Kathleen.

Both the Kings Canyon resort campground and Kings Creek Station are good.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 16:20

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 16:20
Thanks Motherhen, Kath will have to visit Kathleen Gorge. Do you think it is our best plan to visit Trephina Gorge, Chambers Pillar, Rainbow Valley in the ute with rooftop camper, leaving van in Alice.
Similarly in the West MacDonnells round to Kings Canyon.
I understand that these roads vary greatly from time to time.
And yes I have read your 2008 blog.
We will do a separate trip to Uluru with the van when heading south.
Cheers Ian
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 16:56

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 16:56
You will probably pay the price to leave the caravan in Alice Springs in peak period.

For Chambers Pillar and Rainbow Valley, Stuarts Well Roadhouse should be OK and is closer for you. I recall they have free or very low cost unserviced sites as well as serviced sites, so I am sure leaving it there would be allowed. We did not stay there, but purchased fuel and lunches each time we passed when touring south of Alice. You can then go to Chambers Pillar via the Hugh Stock Road not far from Stuarts Well RH. Also consider Henbury Meteor Craters as part of a day trip. The Owen Springs 4wd drive is another in the area to do while not towing.

If you don't mind towing on a a bit of well maintained dirt road, day trips from Trephina at low cost NT Parks fees will get you around the East MacDonnells and areas close by.

When you go to Uluru, it would pay you to go to Kings Canyon and back on the good road in conjunction. Often the 'short cuts' can take longer than the sealed roads, and the Mereenie Loop is rarely good.

Palm Valley is another favourite, and camping out would be the best option for you there. We went from Palm Valley on the Mereenie Loop to Kings Canyon, which was said to have been recently graded :O. It took us all day, but only because someone broke a spring on their camper, and two of us who had stopped to help stayed with them at snail speed, helping them every time the makeshift repairs fell apart.

Mh

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Follow Up By: Member - iijmartin - Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 18:16

Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 at 18:16
Thanks very much Motherhen,
Your advice is much appreciated as this will be our debut trip to the centre. Any other snippets of info let me know as they come to mind.
Kind Regards,
Ian
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