Flinders, Lake Eyre etc in a Forester

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 20:44
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Hi guy's

I'm a newbie to the forum and am after some advice about our first family outback trip.

We ( wife and two kids 7 & 11) are planning a trip in the September school hols

We have an 09 subaru forester and I'm planning to get AT tyres and a sump guard for the oodnadatta Track

What I need help with is itinery, things to see, how long to expect to spend in each place, reasonable travel time between spots etc etc

We plan to stay in cabin style accom.

I want to see woomera, lake Eyre, coober pedy, Flinders etc and my wife wants to fit in the barossa on the way to or from home (Blue Mountains)

So if anyone can help me fill in the gaps I'd really appreciate it. We have up to 2 1/2 weeks to do it in

Thanks

Rich
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Reply By: Mick O - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 21:53

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 21:53
Strewth Rich, where do you start. The Oodnadatta is steeped in history. The Flinders are superb. If you can handle being away from a shower for a few nights here and there, make sure you stay out at Acraman or Cambrian campgrounds on the zigzag Road rather than Wilpena. Just beautiful (but pick up a bit of wood before you get there).

I have a few blogs I did when a few mates and I took the sons on a boys trip. Might give you a few ideas.

'Destination Unknown" Tour

Also if you search my blogs you'll find plenty for the Flinders, Gammons, and the Oodnadatta.

Flinders Ranges

The Exploroz Trek notes will also be of advantage.

EO Trek notes for the Oodnadatta

Enjoy

Mick

P.S. We just picked up our new Forester 2 weeks ago. Our first Subie. First road trip coming up ;-)
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 23:22

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 23:22
Mick,

"you bought a Forester"? LOL

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Richard F7 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 07:10

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 07:10
Thanks Mick,

I'll have look at the blogs, I know it was a pretty open question but I thought I'd spread the net wide

You'll love the forester, from what I've seen on YouTube and read on a couple of other forums it will get us more places than we can imagine.

The forester is my wife's car and I've got an 4wd 05 diesel ford courier.

Even though the courier is more capable off road, the other 95% of the trip is on bitumen and the family hates the rough ride that it gives compared to the comfort of the Subaru.

This trip is only going to be fun if everyone is happy.

Rich
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:29

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:29
Al, we had our heart set on the Jeep but then as it was to be Queen Vik's main drive, it was her call. I did sue for concessions and got the two litre turbo over the non turbo 2.5. The Jeep was a nice ride but am Super impressed with the subie. Beautiful little rocket. The good thing is that basically being the Impresa configuration, the Crown Prince cannot drive it until he's 30! Yeeeesssss!

Richard,

Having driven the Oodnadatta quite a few times, you'll have no worries in the Subie. You sound like you have prepared well in that you have gotten the most important thing..good tyres. The track gets a fair bit of use during the holidays so it may get a bit corrugated in places and there will be a central buildup of stones/dirt in between the main wheel tracks in either direction. Remember to drop your tyre pressures by at least 10% once you leave the bitumen, drive to the conditions, don't cross those central mounds at speed (they have lots of rocks in it that will gouge out your sidewalls), slow down accordingly and also watch the creek beds. The downward forces placed on the vehicle when you go through them at speed can cause you some headaches if not tackled appropriately (Hoping I'm not telling you stuff you already know here).

Are you carrying a compressor with you? Best bit of kit you can carry on these trips. Let the tyres down and pump up at will. It will also get you further along if you have a slow leak and if you are super lazy, you can even do the airbeds with them lol. They needen't cost you the earth either. This one is good and I have bought several over the past couple of years for myself and gifts. They work well;

Compressor - ebay

Second best bit of insurance (besides top cover RACV road side assist) is a good quality plug kit. Much as I hate to say it ARB's is probably the best although Derek Bester at Sidewinder had an identical kit at about half the price (it was about $35 from memory- ARB is about $65). I couldn't find it on his website though. If he still has the heavy duty kit, I'd go with his;

Speedie plug kit

Cheers

Mick

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:25

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 10:25
Yes Mick, the Subies have a good reputation. Your Forester is a bit up the ladder from my 1984 model, but it took us into some difficult places even better than the TC & TE Cortinas which preceded it. LOL

Derek of Sidewinder still has the tyre plug kits. They are on his compressor page (here) for $39.95 and look identical to the ARB product (sounds about right?)
I would add to your comments by recommending to only purchase those with metal handles. Have not known any incidents but a cheap plastic handle may fail and pierce the shaft into your hand!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Richard F7 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:38

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:38
Mick and Allan

Thanks for the tips

I'd started looking for a plug kit and compressor so your links are a great help. And at a reasonable price.

The forester will certainly be comfortable, I used to take my old Datsun Bluebird on rougher roads.

I'm working on convincing the beloved to do a couple of nights camping mixed in with cabins.

our most recent camping experience was the Christmas before last in TAS. We got 41deg and bushfires on the east coast and then freezing cold and rain on the west coast. All in the space of a week.

Chuck in being too close to too many other people in campsites and we decided that unless you are kitted out for camping in the bush with no amenities to get away from things, then we'd rather pay for a budget cabin and have our own space.

Rich

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Reply By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 22:20

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 22:20
Rich Hi,
In my opinion the best place to see Lake Eyre (as well as from the air) is at Level Post Bay. There is excellent camping at 'Muloorina' $10 per night you would need a tent. The road in is a very good gravel rd (check road reports).
The track into Halligans Bay though a lot shorter is VERY corrugated.
Level Post Bay is where Donald Campbell had his attempt at the world land speed record in Bluebird. 'Muloorina' was used as the base.

Mike.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 22:33

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 22:33
Muloorina to Level Post Bay was very corrugated when I did it last year. It's pot luck really.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 23:27

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 at 23:27
Hi Rich,

"....itinerary, things to see, how long to expect to spend in each place, reasonable travel time between spots etc etc"

In all sincerity, wouldn't you do better to simply Google the places you mentioned and read the information you seek?

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Richard F7 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 06:59

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 06:59
Hi Allan,

I am googling but...

Its the bits in between the places I mentioned that I am trying to figure out, how long it takes to get to each spot and how much time you need to have good look.

Having conversation with someone, beats Google everytime

I've got two weeks to do it and being the school holidays I figured that Ill need to book accommodation so need to have the itinery well planned.

Rich

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Reply By: mikehzz - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 07:24

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 07:24
I've done that trip from the Blue Mtns a few times. I like to go via Dubbo/Broken Hill, turn off at Yunta and go through Martins Well to the Flinders just for a sense of remotenes and different scenery...well not really a sense, you are pretty remote on that road. You can stay at the Wilpena Resort or Rawnsley Park, both are good. Drive out through Brachina Gorge on your way to the Oodnadatta Track. Book a room at the Marree Hotel. You have 2 main options to get close and walk on Lake Eyre, Muloorina is close to Maree and Halligens Bay is close to William Creek. It's camping at both but you could day trip it from Marree or William Creek comfortably even though it can be a slow drive. From William Creek or Oodnadatta you can cut back to Coober Pedy and it's tar all the way home. The quickest way is through Mildura/Hay/Wagga and the Hume Hwy but you can turn off at Hay and come through West Wyalong and Bathurst if you live up the top of the Mtns.
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Follow Up By: Richard F7 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 07:29

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 07:29
Thanks mike that is a great help

We are in Wentworth falls so going west from the start is a good option

Rich
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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 20:58

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 20:58
And on your way through the Flinders it's worth visiting the northern Flinders as they are very different to the southern areas. If you're up this way drop in at Arkaroola and say hi.

Cheers,
Vicki
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Reply By: Peter T9 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:31

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 09:31
Rich

We did a fair bit of that trip in a Forester a couple of years back towing a camper trailer.

Coward Springs was an interesting place to visit on the Oodnadatta Track. There was place not too far from it (say 30km back toward Maree) where you could walk right down to the edge of Lake Eyre although I expect the water would have receded since.

I would strongly suggest you fit the car with Bridgestone D697 tyres. These are the only ones to my knowledge available in a light truck construction that will fit a Forester. They have an all terrain grip pattern and are strong. Our Forester has the standard 16" rims, not sure if they are available on other rim sizes.

Peter
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Follow Up By: Richard F7 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 16:57

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 16:57
Hi Peter

Thanks for the tyre advice, that has answered one of my questions before I even asked

Rich
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 16:44

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 16:44
The D697s are good on the Foz but you can't get them in a Victoria-legal size for the 08. Check for the other states.

I drop my pressures 30% out there & don't go above 80.
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Follow Up By: Peter T9 - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 17:55

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 17:55
Mine are the exactly the same size as the original tyres.

It may depend on the actual model mine is a MY09 even though it was built in 2008 (ie the newer shape). The OP has a 2009 model which is probably also a MY09 or possibly a MY10.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 19:11

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 19:11
I'm in the Subaru Club and the most common decent tyre I've seen on Foresters are Yokohama Geolander A/T-S. They are a really good AT tyre. They have a good size range too.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 19:55

Sunday, Apr 20, 2014 at 19:55
The Yoki Geos are not light truck construction however and not ideal for long runs with lowered pressure on corro, gibber, rocky and 'sticky' tracks - where dropping pressure will save you a tyre. I do outback trips with my Foz towing a CT and wouldn't run anything other than Dueller AT/LTs (on the 2nd set now) even though that means they're 7mm > legal diameter! Have to have the extra load rating.

Geo ATs I run on a separate set of rims for everything else.

Re compressors: yes, essential. My eBay unit of about $80 lasted six uses. Now have one from ABR.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 15:10

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 15:10
Hi Richard,

Have been that way a couple of times and have a few blogs up here and also have a look in our 2008 blogs. I think going in via Broken Hill and turning off at Yunta would be your best bet. Go up to Chambers Gorge, Blinman, Parachilna Gorge, Leigh Creek, Maree, out to Muloorina and back to Maree then west to William Creek, Coober Pedy, Woomera and Port Augusta. There is more to see than you will have time for but you will get a good taste. If your wife would agree to some camping then I think you would have a lot more flexibility in seeing that area as there are stunning camping spots that are a long way from any cabin, budget or otherwise. Though it does make for a fair bit more gear to carry.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
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Follow Up By: Richard F7 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 16:55

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 16:55
Hi Val

Thanks for the advice, I'll plot a basic route anti clockwise with the promise of the barossa valley at the end.

Rich

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