Comment: Great Central Road

Travelling in December....
Has anyone got any idea about what the road conditions beginning of December usually are like on the GCR? We're planning to drive Laverton to Curtin Springs Cattle Station 11th-13th December. Happy to smash it out in 2 days as we're a bit short on time!
Any advice would be appreciated :)
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Reply By: Member-George (WA) - Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 17:51

Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 17:51
GCR is usually OK that time of the year, unless we get unseasonably heavy rain. You will be pushing to do Laverton>Curtain Springs Stn in 2 days. Driving at night along the GCR is not recommended, especially at speed.
AnswerID: 539695

Reply By: Member -GraySand - Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 19:37

Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 19:37
Hi Gab & Col B
The GCR would be Very hot and dusty in December. The distance between Laverton & Curtin Springs is 1210 km including approx. 134km of bitumen from the Olgas to Curtin Springs.
The condition of the road will depend on when it was last graded. You could check with the Laverton Shire. The South Australian side is usually very corrugated and dusty.
I would not consider the GCR to be a "Highway" that can be travelled at the speed that you are intending. There are some long sweeping corners and the gravel can be like marbles, so care needs to be taken. Its also a long way between fuel stops etc.
I certainly would not travel it at dusk or in the dark because of the Kangaroos and Camels . The camels seem to like the road and will often just stand there.
We travelled it in April/ May just after the WA side had been graded and we travelled at a speed of around 80km/hr. It took us 3 days from Laverton to Yulara.
Hope this helps
AnswerID: 539699

Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 18:44

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 18:44
A long way between fuel stops? I'm not sure what fuel you are talking about - the only things that would apply to are PREMIUM petrol grades or LPG.

Diesel and ULP/Opal are available (after Laverton) at Tjukayirla, Warburton, Warakurna, Docker River and Yulara (and I've left out Cosmo as it's a bit off the road). Even leaving out Warburton and Docker River (as we did) the longest stretch between fill-ups was 484km from Tjukayirla to Warakurna.

Do the maths, and look at the map or check the HEMA book.
FollowupID: 824394

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 00:27

Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 00:27
It could be a long way between fuel stops if you get there after closing!

If you are prepared to pay to have the bowser opened after hours, no problems.

Don't forget Warakurna Roadhouse operates on NT (CST) time.


FollowupID: 826668

Follow Up By: Zippo - Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 12:59

Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 12:59
That's true - it ALWAYS pays to ring ahead to make sure you know the opening hours and time zone in remote areas.

Speaking of Warakurna Roadhouse, they have some schmick new accommodation units that are second to none. Probably not of interest to most here, but sometimes y'all may wish to spoil yourselves.
FollowupID: 826684

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 21:34

Monday, Sep 29, 2014 at 21:34
Hot. To say what the road conditions will be is crystal ball gazing.

Like Graham, we took three days Yulara to Laverton. We were lucky that the NT section had been graded the week prior to us going. It was dreadful before that, but as they do not cut out the underlying corrugations when grading, a week or two of traffic sees it just as bad.

The camels are bad enough at stepping in front of a car in the day times - there is no way I would drive at night.


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AnswerID: 539708

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 09:20

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 09:20
We did the GCR last year, towing a van & took 3 days from Curtin Springs (good camp)
to Laverton. Conditions vary from good to awful, you need to adapt to whatever comes up. I must agree with other responses that 2 days is pushing it & will only be achieved by travelling too fast or too long...& yes,it will be hot..cheers....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 539715

Reply By: Sandman - Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 22:00

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 22:00
Friend just drove GCR 1 week ago... From Docker River to WA border, road was terrible, very corrugated, 60km/hr with tyres at 25lbs, car got hammered. From WA border onwards it was 100km/hr, very smooth....

AnswerID: 539744

Reply By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 22:49

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 at 22:49
Hello Gab/Col

In the absence of any info regarding vehicle type/preparation/proposed sleeping-eating arrangements/experience, I shall assume you know what you are doing and the entire road is average at worst, in which case doing the trip in two days would be easily achievable. Total distance is ~1200 km i.e 600km a day = 7.5 hours driving at a modest 80km/hr, under typical circumstances much of the road can be traversed safely at a higher speeds than this...subject to people doing 80kms/hr not holding you up :)

I did Laverton to Yulara in 1994 in one day (shared driving) with no dramas. Started at 4am mind you but if you plan on doing the same distance (plus ~90km to Curtin Springs) in two days cant see an issue myself. Suggest you start early and if dark, drive a tad slower until sun is shining. If you plan on stopping in "civilisation" on the required overnight stop one plan would be to get to Warakurna Motel/Caravan/Camp site on day one (may require phone ahead (08 8956 7344) to ensure late arrival not an issue) and then cruise on day 2 to Curtin Springs.

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AnswerID: 539746

Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 00:17

Friday, Oct 24, 2014 at 00:17
Just a reminder that Warakurna operates on NT Time.

Details on road conditions accommodations etc etc here at Warakurna Roadhouse

This May influence your departure and arrival timings


FollowupID: 826667

Reply By: Member - johntoyo - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 21:59

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 21:59
Gab & Col.

Just traveled the GC road Laverton to Yulara two weeks ago.

Planned for 3 days but managed in two. Had a 6am start from Laverton CV park and by mid day was at our first planned stop so carried on to 3pm. 630km that day. I will point out that my wife and I share the driving with about 2 hours between changes.

Dito about the camels on the road, they sleep there.

Fuel is not an issue, just top up at each road house. Laverton $1.90 climbing to $2.50 at Docker River. After Laverton no Telstra mobile coverage till Yulara.

Road was in good shape and first day kept up 80km/hr. but around 50-100 before NT border and past road conditions become worse and if you can keep +60km/hr your doing well. Both long days driving and your concentrating 50-100m in front of you as there are old wash outs that have been graded and become sever dips. Passenger kept an eye out for livestock and camels.

I was pulling a full size off road van close to 3500kg with 26 psi all round. No tyre issues on the dirt but took two puncture over the next 3 days on the tarmac around Yulara.

It's going to be hot in December if last week was any thing to go by.

Safe travels, and if you need any more specific info please p.m. me.
AnswerID: 540759

Follow Up By: Member - johntoyo - Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 22:03

Thursday, Oct 23, 2014 at 22:03

Called the Intrepretive centre in Laverton on the Thursday, gave them the details on vehicle and travellers, and permits were waiting for us Saturday. (They close 1pm Sat and Sun)
FollowupID: 826664

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