Great Central Road questions?

'Morning all- and a very peaceful Christmas.
We are planning to do a trip for next year, incorporating the Great Central Road from Ayers Rock to Laverton.
Firstly, I have been advised there are very few 'safe' places to camp on the roadside, and those safe havens are quite a distance apart. Any comments or suggestions here ??
Also, recommendations of interesting sites and places to visit along the Road.
Thanks all

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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 11:23

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 11:23
Happy Christmas, Wombat,

We had no difficulty finding camp spots off the road and out of sight.

The GCR has been renamed "The Outback Way", which extends from Laverton to Cairns

There is an excellent Hema publication, "The Outback Way" Atlas and Guide, available from the EO shop. Tells you all you need to know about camps, sight-seeing, history, etc.

Well worth the $$$$


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Follow Up By: Member Boroma 604 - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:45

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:45
ave done The Great Central Road twice last time was in 2010 and had absolutely no problem finding secluded camping spots whoever told you that has not looked very hard. I took my time, spent about 5 nights along there, would do it again in a heartbeat. Unless things have changed you will need to get permits, they cost nothing but a good idea even though I have never been asked to produce them.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:56

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 12:56
The Outback Way has its own website and includes everything you need to know about it, including campsites.

Also check out the ExplorOz Outback Way Trek Note
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Follow Up By: Member - Sanantone - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 16:42

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 16:42
yes, you are required to have a permit, a very simple application - & it is free.

I am going next year & was planning to stay at the Docker River site, but from what I am reading here, will be looking for alternatives as well, though my base camp will be Ularu, I can always go back there.

Outback way.
"For the Rover's life has pleasures, that the townsfolk will never know" - sort of from Banjo Paterson

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Follow Up By: Omaa - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 17:22

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 17:22
We did not like the look of the Docker so we crossed the border for a few ks & on the right we found a spot a short distance (out of sight) down a road which leads to a tourist spot but sorry , can't think of the name.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 01:25

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 01:25
Sounds like Lasseter's Cave (Hart River).
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Follow Up By: Omaa - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 08:53

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 08:53
It was not Lassiters cave as that is on the left going west & it was not that far either. It was Gills Pinnacle. We were given the co0ordinates to go in with assurance that there was enough for 3 large vans to turn & park. Fortunately a cop heard us talking via UHF & saw us turn in- he asked of we were the ones going into the Pinnacles. Advised us to stop, unhook the first van & drive into have a look which the men did- what a bum steer we were given, as we would have had no hope of getting in there. There were over hanging trees, very sharp corners etc. The advise was from folk with a camper trailer. As we had only gone in a few hundred metres we could reverse into an area big enough for us to spend the night
Would include photos but no idea how to do it on this forum.
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Follow Up By: Omaa - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 08:57

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 08:57
There are photos of our camp on my blog.
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:21

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 12:21
Rod N, those trek notes for Outback Way and GCR still don't show Warakurna as a place to stay (despite this omission having been pointed out to the ExplorOZ website operators with a promise to remedy it). Unfortunate, as IMNSHO the facilities there are a big step up from Warburton and at the other end of the scale from Docker River.
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 15:22

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 15:22
Last year we did the drive and found the Docker River camp ground was a bit of a mess and visited by a number of locals, but if you continue on to after the tree with Len Beadell’s plate, there is a turn off to the right (going east to west) to a large quarry. Brilliant camp spot facing the range! Another great stop we found was near some aboriginal water holes (rock holes). I cannot recall the name and a bit tricky to find but a great place to camp. Yep, a great drive and plenty of camp spots to pick from. Kevin

Quarry off Great Central.

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Reply By: Omaa - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 17:20

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 17:20
Here is my blog address with our trip last year across the GCR.
Just loved the trip & would do it again.
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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 20:28

Monday, Dec 22, 2014 at 20:28
Wombat, where did the advice come from that the GCR was "unsafe" to camp on?
I travelled through the GCR alone in late October and didn't experience any feelings of "unsafeness".
There are plenty of places well off the road that are suitable for making camp.

However, places close to the Aboriginal communities could be prone to numbers of people intent on vandalism arriving - which would make one feel unsafe.

I went into Warburton town and I was pretty appalled at the living conditions and generally unsafe feeling of the town.

However, once out along the road away from the communities, you shouldn't have too many problems.
However, be aware that there's a very high chance that you will be stopped by Aboriginals who have broken down, and they will want assistance in nearly every form - petrol, water, oil, spare tyres, tools - or a tow - because they have done no preparation for their trip.

I was stopped by a single Aboriginal in a Barina East of Docker River. He was a pretty decent sort of bloke, and could speak satisfactory English - but he had a shredded tyre, the wrong wheelbrace, no water, and not enough fuel.

I couldn't help him with a wheelbrace, the Barina had some tiny wheelnut size like about 14mm - and I was travelling light, and nothing I had would fit.
It was 38 deg, and of course he had no water, so I gave him a few litres - then out came the 15L petrol container for a refill as well!! At least they're consistent! LOL

The upside is that Aboriginals will all stop to help you, when whites will roar past - but they also expect anyone and everyone to assist them at the drop of a hat.

Most of the people out there are quite satisfactory to deal with - but drugs, leaded petrol, and alcohol continue to find their way into the communities, much to their detriment.

Cheers, Ron.

Cash the currency of the alcohol and drug trade in Central Australia
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Reply By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 09:03

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 09:03
Back in June 2nd 4th and 6th 2004 we had no problems finding a camp spot right in the middle of the road.

The Dogs didn't mind, they were having fun.

Another 2 night camp near the Docker River T/o

The sand hill near the Docker River T/o was a bit of a problem

Another night closer to the sealed road

Wow it just hit me... this was over 10 years ago, time flies the older one gets and the old Troopy is still going strong.


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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 11:38

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 11:38
Just be aware that a lot of the locals are on "E" plates and drive like bats outa hell!
We parked up in what we thought was a safe spot going west on the left of the road and had a couple of very close encounters with people returning to their community. I don't know if they were under the influence of anything but one missed us by about 3" going past so we moved on.
As you drive you can also try counting the broken and burnt out cars beside the road. The Cook gave up at over a 100. :-))
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 20:49

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014 at 20:49
What you DO have to watch for, is the abandoned cars in the MIDDLE of the road!
The blackfellas just walk away from them when they burn or when they stop, and they wouldn't think of moving them off the road!
As a result, it pays to be very wary if you drive after dark. It basically doesn't pay to drive after dark at all out there.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014 at 00:01

Wednesday, Dec 24, 2014 at 00:01
Don't ever drive after dark on the Great Central. In the day time you can see the camels step out right in front of you, but at night they are worse and harder to see. Very unpredictable, and you would not win if you hit one.


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Reply By: MAVERICK(WA) - Friday, Dec 26, 2014 at 03:03

Friday, Dec 26, 2014 at 03:03
as with all the above replies you will have no problems finding places to camp. I get sick and tired of the scaremongers out there who spread all this rubbish about camping and safety....and not just on the GCR. On the NT side there camping places but is a bit more difficult to reach due to fences and high/thick grass. The camping area at Docker River is rubbish and not worth turning in. On the WA side a lot of what you will be travelling on is a realigned GCR and access to many camping areas is off the "original" GCR and it's pretty easy to find and it isn't used by people doing the commute....and the campsites are many and good. This is one of the great outback roads to travel and can be done in a day (Kalgoorlie to Yulara and we weren't hanging around) or 7 days and we had a pretty good time getting out and exploring. Enjoy the experience and have a good time. rgds
Slow down and relax......

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