Gary Junction Road/WA

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 15:51
ThreadID: 111275 Views:2162 Replies:6 FollowUps:11
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Later this year we are travelling on the Gary Junction Road (GJR) from Alice Springs and on to Marble Bar in WA. I know a few of you have been on this track and would value any comments or advice.

We will be in a small convoy of three offroad vans and heading out from Redbank Gorge (in the West MacDonnell Ranges up to Papunya and then Westwards. Has anyone recently travelled on that short (61 kms) stretch from the bitumen end of Namatjira Dve to Papunya, and in the process going past Haasts Bluff? The GJR properly encompasses this stretch of track. As we will be camping out in the West Macs anyway, that is the way we would like to go.

My planning includes having contact with each community we will be accessing fuel at, and so I have been focussing on getting correct phone numbers and opening hours for Papunya, Kintore, Kiwirrkurra and Kunawarritji.

When we get to Marble Bar we plan to camp at Carawine Gorge and understand it is lovely there. I also understand if you go into the wrong spots you can get bogged by pesky and deceptive little river rocks.

So any comments or advice adding to our planning will be most welcome. The three areas we would like advice on are:

•the Namatjira Drive to Papunya Track
•the GJR itself
•Marble Bar/Carawine Gorge

I look forward to your comments!
Chris
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 17:39

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 17:39
G'day Chris, we are going that way on a caravan tag along starting at Cape Byron mid August so our paths may cross. I will keep an eye on this thread.
In the mean time check this past thread Gary Junction Road It is a few years old but may give some ideas while you are waiting for some fresh ones.
AnswerID: 546739

Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 19:22

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 19:22
Thanks Rod, I had not seen that previous link. As we will be departing from the West Macs in early June we will most likely miss you. But we will be in a goldy coloured Ladcruiser and a Kedron caravan. So look out for us, in a group with a Coromal and a Davidson Recreational Vehicle offroader.....
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 20:15

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 20:15
The links to our slide shows on that old thread got 'murdered', so here they are again....

2005.
http://s246.photobucket.com/user/Peter_n_Margaret/slideshow/05%201%20Gary%20Junction%20Road

2008 towing a boat.
http://s246.photobucket.com/user/Peter_n_Margaret/slideshow/08%202%20Gary%20Junction%20Road

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:45

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:45
Good information there too, Peter. The is nothing like being anle to see what it will be like.
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 21:43

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 21:43
We travelled that section to Papunya last year, and its a good wide road.

Fueled up at Kintore and Kunawarritji. The GJR was a bit rough before you got to Kintore T/O other than that a great drive.

Carawine Gorge, turn across the end of the airstrip and you will end up below the gravel.
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Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:47

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:47
Tony, it is good to have such recent reporting! I will take note of your instructions at Carawine.
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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 23:37

Saturday, Feb 28, 2015 at 23:37
The GJR is a gr\eat run. It is a mixture of conditions that will usually degenerate the ckloser you get to community turn-offs. The section immediately east of Papunya to the Bitumen of the Tanami is usually the worst you will encounter.

Please check out my blogs for a fairly good decrption of road conditions over the past 6 years or so. (I was on the track last in June-July 2014.

Gary Junction Road


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: ChrisVal7 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:54

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:54
I love it!
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Reply By: B1B2 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 11:42

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 11:42
Chris,
The Kintore Fuel opening times were
Monday to Friday 9.30 -10.30 - 11.30 ---- 2.30 - 3.30 - 4.30
Saturday 9.30 - 10.30 - 11.30
It's a little Fort Knox and they lock it securely with steel doors.
Refuelled at Well33 as well, it was normal expected hours, shutting for lunch.
At Carawine Gorge we took our offroad vans over the pebbles without too much trouble. Decide where you are going to drive, ( I walked it), then go straight over. Near the waters edge it is no problem.
Great fun was had by all, as a couple did get stopped, but drove out with lower tyre pressures and no digging. I can't think of anywhere else you could find this. Give it a go :-)).

I found that no one would answer a phone call. you might have better luck.
A great drive.

Cheers,

Bill
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Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:56

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 14:56
Thanks Bill. What vans did you have with you?
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Follow Up By: B1B2 - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 16:59

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 16:59
Chris,
Assorted Trakmasters, tandem, single and poptops.

Cheers,

Bill
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Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 14:36

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 14:36
Ah...are you part of a group of Trakmasters which regularly travel together and which we once saw coming down from the Flinders Ranges? About three years ago.
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Follow Up By: B1B2 - Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 14:56

Monday, Mar 02, 2015 at 14:56
Yes, the group of participants vary, so we may not travel with the same people. There are annual East West and Gary Junction Trips to name a few. I was on the trip through the Flinders Ranges in 2010 heading for the Gary Junction Road to Marble Bar, it was seriously damp. We avoid the black top.

Cheers,
Bill
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Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 17:33

Sunday, Mar 01, 2015 at 17:33
When we decided to go on the tagalong from east to west next Aug I had a look for some info on what we could expect. Here are a couple more 2010 blogs

An Oka on the Gary Junction Road

A Bushtracker on the Gary Junction Road
AnswerID: 546786

Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Wednesday, Mar 04, 2015 at 15:02

Wednesday, Mar 04, 2015 at 15:02
Yes Rod, I had seen both those sites and already picked out bits and pieces for my own planning.
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 20:55

Tuesday, Mar 03, 2015 at 20:55
Chris,

went that way (again) last year. We turned left at the bus stop and headed down through Telfer to Rudall River before reaching Marble Bar.

Once you leave the bitumen the road to Papunya can be pretty rough unless recently graded.

Haasts Bluff is a magic place. We've camped in the scrub at the base of the bluff many times.

When you join the main drag the road can be corrugated, but not enough to slow the troopies driven by non-owners to slow to less than 130 kph.

Papunya is not a place for stopping.

The scenery past Mt Liebig is magnificent. You get glimpses of Blanch Tower which we have passed more closely in going the back way from Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff Community) to Mt Liebig.

The road into Kintore is best avoided unless you can't reach Kiwirrkurra on a tank of fuel. Kintore has little to recommend it. You can't buy paintings at the Art Centre as they are locked in with Papunya Tula. If you aren't pressed for time you could drive down the SBJT as far as the Davenport Range which affords beautiful camping.

There isn't much between the border and Kiwirrkurra, but we have successfully camped at the base of Mt Tietkins.

The road in WA is in much better condition.

The secret to travelling these dirt freeways is to travel at 80 or less. High speeds and big loads spell tyre trouble.

Have a great trip

Bob
AnswerID: 546918

Follow Up By: ChrisVal7 - Wednesday, Mar 04, 2015 at 15:09

Wednesday, Mar 04, 2015 at 15:09
Bob, you clearly are well familiar with this area. We have lived and worked in remote communities such as Papunya and know the realities of life out there. Except for fuel we will be avoiding communities. We are experienced with offroad travel and love the isolation of these areas.

When you say you travel the back way from Ikuntji to Mt Liebig, I assume you mean that 66 km track we will be taking from Namatjira drive up to Papunya?
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