Oodnadatta to Finke

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 15:06
ThreadID: 108485 Views:2822 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
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Hi,
I am a freelance travel writer from New Zealand. I have done many trips in the Outback to research stories and in August this year I will be driving the Oodnadatta Track northbound. I will be driving a Toyota Rav 4 and I hope to be able to continue from Oodnadatta along the Old Ghan Route to Finke in the Northern Territory. From there I plan to head west to Lambert's Geographical Centre, then out to the Stuart Highway to return to Adelaide.

Can anyone tell me what sort of road conditions I can expect on the Oodnadatta-Finke section in August (7th - 16th), and if a RAV 4 is a suitable vehicle for this part of the trip.

Cheers,
Ferg Blakiston
PS anyone wanting to read some of my stories can visit my blog curseofthetraveller.wordpress.com My outback travel stories for the New Zealand Herald (two of which won awards at the recent Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards) can be read on the NZ Herald website. Just search my name (Fergus Blakiston)
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Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 15:59

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 15:59
Ferg, I came back that way from a NT trip some years ago, although we didn't have a chance to do the Lambert Centre side trip (I believe it's a slow drive, about 12km / 30 mins each way).

Hopefully the Rav4 has some decent tyres (light truck grade AT's would be adequate), and if you deflate these to suit the roads / tracks you should have no issues taking it easy.
Provided it hasn't rained, of course :)

Maybe take a tyre plug kit too, and be outback prepared as you most likely are aware.
AnswerID: 534985

Follow Up By: Ferg - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 16:03

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 16:03
Hi Les,
Thanks for that. Aw well as the usual spare fuel and water, I plan to take a plug kit and a PLB, just in case...
Ferg
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Reply By: Member - mechpete - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:04

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:04
ferg
just come back from the Finke desert race ,
the road from Hamilton Stn to Dalhousie an then to Mt dare is a shocker , its just gibba stone an rock pot holes an corrugations ,its a bastard .
cheers mechpete
AnswerID: 534987

Follow Up By: Member - BUSH CAMPER - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:20

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:20
We did that trip 2 years ago ( Nissan Patrol and 17' off road caravan ), we had no trouble, lower tyre pressure and drive to conditions. Hope you have light truck tyres as this will help. Many spikes on the old Ghaun railway but shouldn't cause any problems, enjoy your trip.
You will see many other vehicals along that part of the road, you won't be on your own. Don't travel to heavy, usually there is plenty of fuel around.
Only poor weather may hold you up.
Regards Hugh
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:35

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:35
If you don't go to Dalhousie then you miss most of the horrible rocks. There are a couple of ways from Hamilton Station to Mt Dare.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 19:10

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 19:10
Perdika Track is the rough one, and yes it's pretty corrugated and potholed.
It is however only 70km or so, if you haven't been to Dalhousie Springs you propbaly want to go there . . . so just drop tyres to 20 and take it easy. (Remember those LT AT tyres ?)
You'll also see Perdika rail siding ruins and Dalhousie ruins on the way, well worth it.

The other way is to go via Eringa Waterhole (very nice campsites) and Bloods Creek.
You can just go to Dalhousie Springs from the north, and the ruins are only a 17km return from that northern road.

You shouldn't have any problems wiht old rail spikes, unless you're heading north on the old Ghan from Finke (and pretty sure you're going west to Lambert, then the Stuart Hwy).
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Reply By: 671 - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:49

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 17:49
Last year my wife and I spent two nights camping at the Bundooma siding ruins north of Finke and about six 2wd cars drove by. They easily out numbered the 4wds that we saw.

The road up through Dalhousie and Mt Dare is very rocky and corrugated but we found a Subaru Forrester towing an off road van half way along it. They were getting along quietly at about 20 kph. They pulled into Bundooma while we were there still traveling at the same speed. They said they always drive like that in those conditions. They always get there and nothing breaks. We agreed with them but we were going a bit faster, about 21 kph.

You should get a Rav4 through there easily and on street tyres providing you are prepared to take it easy and take as long it takes. It is very hard to break a car at low seeds, even if it is over loaded.
AnswerID: 534990

Follow Up By: Ferg - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 18:09

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 18:09
Great advice...Thanks. I always travel slowly, not only for safety but as a writer and photographer I lke to dawdle along taking pics and making up stories...
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 18:11

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 18:11
There are a few pics of that route (avoiding Dalhousie) in this slide show from 2007.

http://s246.photobucket.com/user/Peter_n_Margaret/slideshow/07%208%20Chambers%20Pillar

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 534992

Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 18:57

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 18:57
Fergus
It has been several years since I have done that trip (including Lamberts Centre) , but if you avoid Dalhousie Springs, you will have no problems if you do it at a sensible speed, probably have tyres with reasonable tread life with pressures around 25psi and don't try and keep up with people in 4WDs and utes.
Of course a 4WD with LT AT tyres would be more "reassuring" but I have done worse travel many years ago in Falcons and Commodores.

Mark
AnswerID: 534997

Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:58

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:58
Have just done the trip from Coober Pedy out via Painted Desert to Oodnadatta, then on to Dalhousie and Mt Dare, from there up via the Binns Track to Old Andado Station, and then to Finke and Lambert's Centre before going up the Finke track and into Chambers Pillar before on to Alice Springs.
It's a great trip - Dalhousie, Old Andado and Chambers being the standouts -and driven sensibly and with the right tyre pressures etc you should have no problems. The road from Finke into Chambers Pillar is currently very corrugated and uncomfortable after the Finke Desert race, but the grader was working on the Alice Springs end last week, so some of it should be much better now.
Enjoy, it's a great part of the country.
Wildmax
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AnswerID: 535012

Reply By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 23:57

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 23:57
Hi Ferg,

While you are in that area, just 70 km South of Alice on the Stuart Highway and then 15 Kms into Rainbow Valley - a magic spot good camping and if you provide photos in your articles, this is the place to take them..

Now I'll have a look at your writings.

Regards,

Mike.

PS Its worth the rough Pedika Track just for the swim at Dalhousie.
We retired to travell
It's time to go again...

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AnswerID: 535019

Reply By: cookie1 - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 14:15

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 14:15
I reckon everyones covered the main bits, the track into Lamberts is slow and quite sandy in spots and washed out in others when we went through last year.

It now has some new Long Drop toilets and there was a Coles trolley there at that time but no Coles Shopping centre

cheers
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 16:01

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 16:01
Is the Coke machine still there ? :)
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 17:57

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 17:57
Didn't see a Coke machine, but then again I think we had run out of spirits :)

cheers
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Reply By: Ferg - Saturday, Jun 28, 2014 at 15:49

Saturday, Jun 28, 2014 at 15:49
Hi,
Thanks for all the great advice. Further to my earlier query, can anybody recommend any good campsites along the Oodnadatta Track between Marree and Oodnadatta?
Ferg
AnswerID: 535139

Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Saturday, Jun 28, 2014 at 19:20

Saturday, Jun 28, 2014 at 19:20
Coward Springs is a property not for north of the Mound Springs Cons Pk, has toilets, donkey showers, and a cool natural spa :)
$12 per night camping.

Algebuckina waterhole is a nice free camp about 58km south of Oodnadatta, no facilities.
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