Esperance > Uluru > Brisbane in a 4x2 Petrol Wagon, possible?

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 01:43
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just wondering if going from Esperance > Uluru > Brisbane in a 4x2 Petrol Wagon is possible?...
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Reply By: The Explorer - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 02:27

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 02:27

Yes, easily achieved.

I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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AnswerID: 540206

Reply By: IronMan - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 10:28

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 10:28
A quick search on Google Maps and on this site says you'd go via the Great Central Road;

Esperance > Kalgoorlie > Laverton > Tjukayirla Roadhouse > Docker River > Yulara.

Laverton to Tjukayirla Roadhouse is a long way, buy a jerry can for safety. The other steps are do-able safely.

Yulara to Brisbane is much more of a roundabout road, according to my Google Maps search. Either North through Tennant Creek then Mt Isa, or South through Port Augusta then Bourke. The more straight line roads wouldn't be accessible to a 2WD (Simpson Desert - WAA Line, French Line, Rig Road, all to Birdsville).

Happy for the better educated to correct me!
AnswerID: 540210

Follow Up By: gbc - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 10:35

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 10:35
A mate who drives to henbury station (30 kms from Alice) maintains that Brisbane-Cobar-port Augusta-Alice is 200kms shorter than the North road and a much better drive, so ulara should be a fait accompli?
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 23:20

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 23:20
The longest distance between fuel outlets is 254 kilometres between Tjukayirla Roadhouse and Warburton. Google that phrase to find the distances between fuel outlets, where to camp and what to see on the Great Central Road.


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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 10:45

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 10:45
Landcoaster - Yes, but the answer depends on a number of things.

1. How fast you want to make it from Esperance to Brisbane. Too many people want to sit on 120 or 130kmh all the way, regardless of conditions. If you sit on reasonable speeds and slow down in the rough patches, you won't have too many problems.

2. How much you are carrying. Are you heavily loaded? Do you have room for extra fuel? Do you have room for two spares, and some basic repair equipment? If you venture into isolated areas where help is a long way off and very costly when it appears, you need to be prepared.

3. How old and well-worn is your vehicle? Is it a late model with moderate kms, or is it a $1500 backpacker Falcon with 400,000kms on the clock? That's not to say the old Falcons aren't generally reliable, it just means you'll almost certainly meet with unexpected breakdowns, if you do use a well-worn rig.

The Great Central Road from Warburton to the NT border, and the Tjukuru Road from the border to Uluru is a generally good condition gravel/dirt road, but it suffers from corrugations that test out any suspension - and more so, old and heavily loaded suspensions.

If it rains just before you travel any dirt road in Central Australia, you will likely be restricted from using the road for several days.
There are many "road condition" sites to assist you with your travel planning.
Make sure you check road conditions before you leave.
Roads can be closed at short notice due to rain. Travelling on a closed road will see you fined heavily.

From Uluru to Alice Springs is bitumen. From the junction of the Lasseter Hwy with the Stuart Hwy, you have three choices to get to Brisbane;

1. North via Tennant Creek, Three Ways and Mt Isa and then to Brisbane (good bitumen all the way) ...

2. South via Port Augusta and then East via Broken Hill, Cobar, Nyngan, Gilgandra and then NNE up the Newell Hwy to Brisbane (good bitumen all the way) ...

3. Taking the Plenty Hwy East from Alice Springs, which changes to the Donohue Hwy in QLD and which can either take you to Mt Isa or Boulia. The Donohue Hwy is more accurately referred to as the Donohue Track.

The Plenty & Donohue Hwys can be rough in places and they are rapidly closed when it rains. It's a route that must be taken with respect, because it IS an isolated route. A good average speed for this route is around 60kmh. There's no fuel for around 460km along this route.

Remember the route you have chosen is an exceptionally long trek. It's nearly 1900km Esperance to Uluru, and nearly 3500kms from Uluru to Brisbane via Tennant Creek and Mt Isa. There's a lot of empty kms out there, and some pretty boring endless flat country.

Set a travel plan with reasonable speeds and times and plenty of rest breaks. Trying to do the trip in record time only increases your chances of breakdown or coming to grief in some other manner.

Remember it can get very hot in the interior from October to April. Carry plenty of water and make sure your cooling system has been serviced before you leave.
This means checking all hoses and hose clips (including heater hoses) and flushing and cleaning the cooling system. High speeds and hot conditions test cooling systems to the max.
Make sure you regularly check the radiator for a buildup of bugs, grasshoppers and small birds.

Don't forget a roobar is a pretty essential item for outback travel, as animals running or hopping out onto the road, even in the middle of the day are always a constant threat. Good luck with the trip, I trust you have a safe and uneventful journey.

Great Central Road

Plenty Hwy

The Plenty Hwy and the Outback Way

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 540211

Follow Up By: DmaxQld - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 16:17

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 16:17
Regarding crossing using the Plenty and Donahue Highways. We recently came across these roads from Boulia. An easy drive for a vehicle in good mechanical repair. Lots of corrugations. I would rate about 20kms in total as having bad to severe corrugations. If your vehicle is not built for these conditions, go via the bitumen. We averaged about 80km/h but we were in a 4WD towing a camper and were restricted to that speed by tyre presures. Recommend about 28PSI cold as this will help with the corrugations.

The first 150 kms out of Alice to 20kms past Gumtree is good bitumen. Fuel available at Gumtree. Dirt to Jervois Station is good to fair with some bad sections of corrugations. Only 202 kms from Gumtree to Jervois Station where fuel is available. Dirt to Tobermorey Station is similar or maybe slightly better. Only 219 kms to Tobermorey where fuel is also available. The 253 kms of the Donahue Highway from Tobermorey to Boulia is pretty good. Certainly not a track. Lots more bitumen than shown on the maps. Fuel again available at Boulia. You could then head to Winton, Longreach etc.
FollowupID: 826052

Follow Up By: DmaxQld - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 16:18

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 16:18
Sorry, Gemtree, not Gumtree. Damn spell check :-)
FollowupID: 826053

Reply By: Zippo - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 11:57

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 11:57
Roadwise, largely what the others have said. (We did the Uluru-Brisbane via Mt Isa as we were visiting the gulf so can't comment on routes for that sector.)

Laverton to Uluru is no real challenge to a 2WD vehicle in good repair provided:
(a) you drive to conditions; and (b) it hasn't rained significantly.

FUEL: The sector distances we recorded in our fuel log suggest it shouldn't be a drama for the average petrol vehicle unless you have a thirsty machine:
..Laverton-Tjukayirla 319km
..Tjukayirla-Warakurna 484km (Warburton is in the middle of that if you need it - we didn't)
..Warakurna-Yulara Village 466km (Docker River ditto)

If you don't have a fuel consumption figure for your loaded rig - you didn't mention towing anything - the Coolgardie-Laverton leg for us was 425km but that included some running around the Kal area, so at Laverton you'll be able to work something out.

Wildlife we saw (daylight ops only) was minimal except for one herd(?) of about 30 camels who move how and when they feel inclined. Night-time is a different story.

If you go via Burke-Cobar-Broken Hill you will see thousands of feral goats. These seem to have evolved smarter than sheep and roos - they NEVER crossed in front of us, always staying on their own side and almost always moving away from the road as we approached.
AnswerID: 540213

Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 12:19

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 12:19
Edit: I should point out that the actual distance from Warakurna to Yulara is quite a bit less - that included a lot of running around the village and the rock.
FollowupID: 825995

Follow Up By: AlanTH - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:34

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:34
If you go via the GCR watch out for locals with "E" plates in the windows.....there driving leaves a lot to be desired as the amount of wrecks along the road testify.
We lost count when the total went over a hundred.
Have a safe trip which ever way you go.
FollowupID: 826031

Reply By: LandCoaster - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 16:59

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 16:59
thank-you everyone for your replies...

my 4x4 bus smashed up a week or so ago....

the magna i was looking at buying ended up been unergistered....
i didnt really fancy the trip on 225/50/70's anyway...

will keep trying to get there...

anyone gota' a REALLY REALLZY cheap car for sale in Esperance??

much regards, many thanks...
AnswerID: 540223

Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 20:55

Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 at 20:55
LC - Gumtree is your friend. There's a cheap little Mitsubishi Express camper in Esperance for $1500.

Cars for sale in Esperance

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 540237

Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:45

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:45
Assuming the O/P is in Esperance, (s)he will have the opportunity to check it out - and at that price I would personally choose to pay for an independent assessment.

But having had two Mitsi Expresses spanning 1989 through 2012, and taken them all over WA I would add my very much personal view of their suitability for the O/P's task including routes like the GCR (which we drove back in July).

These were designed as suburban delivery vans for Japan - the small turning circle and the low gearing are evidence of that. 5th gear (overdrive) was standard on our SJ, but not on our SD - we had to retrofit from the following model to get highway-suitable gearing. They are fine on the bitumen but I would be a tad sus about the suspension on continuous corros such as the GCR. They are also quite underpowered, and this being auto won't help in that department. Fuel range is not flash either.

The 4WD version has a different suspension but the higher CofG would make me edgy at high speeds. I have spent enough time sideways in my driving life, and having seen similar vans (E2000) fall over on the freeway doing a crash stop I would be loathe to use one at highway speeds on anything unsealed. People worry about troopies' high CofG, well the Mitsi 4WD is no better.

I'm not saying the suggested vehicle wouldn't be fine for the O/P, but I would recommend caution.

flame suit on ...
FollowupID: 826034

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 12:40

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 12:40
Zippo, you're correct on all points. But the OP said he wanted "really cheap" transport.
You get what you pay for, and put up with the dreadful shortfalls you get, for the money you never paid out.

I guess it comes back to the fact that you will always have people prepared to do things with vehicles never designed to do the things they attempt to do with them - and these people have to learn the hard way.
Unfortunately these people also tend to lean on those who have done the proper preparation.

One has to remember we once had regular Redex Reliability Trials, where people hammered 2WD sedans around Australia's non-existant outback roads at breakneck speeds bordering on madness, in the name of entertainment, and fun, and in an attempt to prove various makes "reliability" in rough conditions.
No-one in their right mind would travel on the same level of road conditions that the Redex drivers endured, in todays world, with todays 2WD's - we have moved on and developed various vehicles for varying conditions.
However, some people still seem to need to indulge in the Redex style of adventure today.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 826038

Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 13:48

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 13:48
Ron: "You get what you pay for, and put up with the dreadful shortfalls you get, for the money you never paid out."

We are on the same page here. Cheap has its intrinsic risk. Clearly the O/P's situation changed with the damage to his bus, but it's not clear how much risk he originally intended to take or is now prepared to take. Having recently driven the GCR, the number of abandoned wrecks we saw out there - including caravans and at least one 4x4 - is testament to how many vehicles don't have the reliability to make it in isolated areas.

I know what I would take and what I wouldn't. The O/P presumably hasn't arrived at that point yet (based on the first post).

I was "around" in the days of the Redex Trial and saw the cars. Also read GJ's book. They were out to prove something, but the O/P wanted to tour - different strokes and all that.

FollowupID: 826044

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 17:25

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 17:25
"They were out to prove something, but the O/P wanted to tour - different strokes and all that."

Heh, heh - yes, perhaps - but I've seen blokes "on tour", who still thought they were leading the pack in the latest Redex trial, too!

Such as people dragging caravans from SE NSW to Broome and back, for 2 weeks of school holidays!
I dunno what they would have seen in detail and at leisure, but I'll wager a lot of their "holiday snaps" were blurry shots of the landscape, as it whizzed by, at 100kmh!

I've got a nephew who went from Perth to the tip of Cape York and back in his diesel GMC dual cab, towing a monster tri-axle trailer full of quad bikes - in two weeks of school holidays! He bragged about covering 1800kms in one day!
That isn't a holiday to me - but like you say, different strokes and all that!
FollowupID: 826054

Reply By: LandCoaster - Monday, Oct 13, 2014 at 14:10

Monday, Oct 13, 2014 at 14:10
IMHO, the best way to prepare for the trip i have nominated is not to go!
As for "leaning on the better prepared", poorby's lean on much less people than richby's...

my choice is down to a subaru ute or a magna wagon... capability vs' comfort vs' fly home slashing up long held dreaming, 30K and back to the miserable junkie-thieves next door.

there is not doubt i am deeply depressed by all of this, rock-bottom no doubt.... i've just thought trying to complete the journey would be a better option than giving up completely
AnswerID: 540295

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