Comment: Oodnadatta Track

Hi just found this website. My family and I are considering doing a return trip from Uluru via oodnadatta track. We are 'L' platers with a 4 wheel drive in the very beginnings of learning the ropes (independent of doing much traveling with my parents growing up).
How well prepared do I need to be to tackle this track? Jerry cans/water/2 way/repair kits/???
We have just basics and are building on our equipment.
Can we tack it on for our return trip next month or are we being too ambitious?
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 01:53

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 01:53
The Oodnadatta track is a great introduction to "the bush".
There is lots to see and do along the way and a book and some research on the 'track' is worthwhile before you go.
The road itself is wide and the surface can vary from smooth and fast to stony or corrugated, but you are unlikely to actually "need" 4WD, but use it anyway, reduce your tyre pressures by about 20% and keep the speed down to protect the tyres and the vehicle.
You will enjoy the experience.

Cheers,
Peter
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AnswerID: 556244

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 06:09

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 06:09
If you read the thorough article on this route here in the Treks section, you'll be well informed. Far from being a 'track', its a well maintained road that can provide a great outback drive for any suitably prepared travellers. Fuel range can be determined by checking a map. In my view, the main issues are: TYRES...AT class with reduced pressure is the go. While a second spare is desirable, a set of tyre plugs can be an alternate approach. DRIVING....just take it very easy and watch out for the nasty stones that love tyres..careful drivers can easily do that run without any tyre problems. WEATHER....rain is the big issue...a modest fall will soon see it closed (happened in the last two weeks). SAFETY...being relatively remote, it is a mistake to assume there will be other travellers to assist with a calamity....my bottom line for seeking help is an HF radio (long distance) or a satphone ....both can be hired. Once your communications are assured, you can relax and enjoy the trip. Hope you do....its great out there !
AnswerID: 556245

Reply By: Nic H - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 06:09

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 06:09
Thankyou Peter.
AnswerID: 556246

Reply By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 07:31

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 07:31
Welcome Nic

You should be fine mate. Take heed of all said above and add a couple of litres of water - just in case you break down. And on that matter DO NOT LEAVE the car. Even for a nature call - stay within view. No phone reception on the track so let people know you are on your way and also when you arrive at the other end. That way if you do take a side trip people can find you by looking for the car. Stay with it.

If you are worried about letting the tyres down then don't. You can pump them up again at Marree. But if you only have standard highway tyres then do not let more than 20% out of them and keep the speed low and don't let them over heat. When you get more adventurous and hungry for the unknown" you should invest in a good (there are many) 4WD light truck style (not low profile at all) tyres with good side wall protection etc etc. Worry about that later.

And enjoy your first venture into remote Australia.

Phil

PS: If you see us, please stop and say Hi to the missus and myself. Just a small sample of what's "down the track".



AnswerID: 556247

Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 15:53

Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 15:53
I was trying to tag your photos to the Alberrie Creek - Mutonia Sculpture Park page in Places but found I couldn't do it and realised that's because although you are a member and can upload pics directly to the Forum, you have actually used photos already stored on photobucket so I can't do that. If these are your photos and you don't mind, could you please go to Places and ad your pics? thanks so much.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:24

Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:24
That's a first for me. The adte shows as today but they were taken on 8/Aug/2012. And I added vk1dx as the tag. Do you want any other taks?
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:29

Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:29
No dramas the date you're seeing is the date of upload to Places but if you click the pic to see the enlarged view you will see the caption and the date as recorded in the photos metadata which is passed through.

The pics seem a bit small but they do the job. Always want more pics yes! If you open the trek note and scroll through the list of places in the What to See/Where to stay - there's one or two without pics so if we can get those filled it that would be super awesome and make my day :)
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:33

Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:33
Sorry about the spelling. I read it but the ol;d brain is getting fried by the chemo. Only been 5.5 years so far. How else other than Photobucket could I add photos so that you have access? I will try the "Insert images and files" again to see if that uploads them directly.

That's another first for me. Thanks for the idea

Catchya

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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:35

Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 16:35
Save scrolling through all of the photo - Do you recall which places need photos?

I realise this is OT but others may be reading and wanting to know also.

Phil
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 09:19

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 09:19
G'day Nic, some very good advice above, and yes, no probs for your return travel if prepared, and it sounds like you are happy to do that.

I guess you need to access the top of the track first, and depending on how adventurous you were feeling, and how good your nav / nav systems are . . . most likely you'd be coming from Uluru via either :

Kulgera, Finke, Mt Dare and down . . . you could visit Dalhousie and the springs there, Dalhousie ruins, or around via Bloods Ck to Eringa Waterhole and down to pick up the Ood Tk in Oodnadatta . . . but the tracks Finke to say Hamilton Stn might need a bit more care and experience, if keen just ask about this bit.

Or, come right down to Marla and in on the whole Ood Tk to Ood and down.

Maybe the best option if you want the easiest and very picturesque trip is to go down the Stuart to Cadney / Arckaringa junction and go through to Ood via The Painted Desert . . . have a night there, catch the sunset and sunrise from the surrounding viewpoints.

My only further advice is take a tyre repair kit, have you used one before, or seen one used ?

You won't need any extra fuel, take a decent amount of water for your party (2 ?, say ~ 50lt), there are places to camp or stay in accom, and as mentioned, rain will be your biggest factor in determining if this can be done at the time.

Yes, a UHF is pretty handy, even a decent 5w handheld will do if you haven't got one in vehicle.

Have a great trip, will be an adventure this early in your 4WD life.
AnswerID: 556251

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 09:23

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 09:23
Oh, for a glimpse . . .

See a couple of trip reports of recent travels down there in the past couple of years . . .

Simmo '15

Simmo '14 (my pics from this trip start HERE with 3 sections covered in text and pics.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 09:27

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 09:27
Sorry, link to Google maps Cagney / Arkaringa junction was a dud, forum link won't allow it for some reason . . .

Type this into Google maps and click -27.919472, 134.067667
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FollowupID: 842390

Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 13:16

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 13:16
Yep. Endorse all the above.

Just would emphasise the changeability of conditions on the track. It can be open one day and closed the next due to rain. You can be cruising comfortably at 90 on one stretch and have to drop to 70 down further due to corrugations or water on the track.

Just recently a number of folk were stranded at William Ck and at Coward Springs for several days as the track was flooded. That'd be at least the 2nd time this year. So take extra food and waterproof playing cards ;-)

Check the road report before you commit to the track.http://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads/outback_road_conditions/area_3_oodnadatta_track

Windscreen damage is common enough on the gravel sections. When facing an oncoming vehicle slow down and get over on the left. If it's a road train then pull over and stop.

You don't indicate your timing. It gets damn hot late in spring & in summer. Check Places here for av. monthly maximums.

IMO a UHF is handy but not essential. Unless you can reach a repeater a 5 w job may only give you a 20 km reach out on the plains. There's no shortage of traffic out there and you can always wave someone down.

Take your time while driving and leave time to check out the places of interest of which there are many.

AnswerID: 556257

Reply By: 671 - Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 23:17

Tuesday, Jun 23, 2015 at 23:17
Nic
I think the other replies have covered it very well. All I can add is don't worry about it, it is a major Outback road so just get in and go. The only issue is rain. Don't even think about it if it is wet or rain is expected.

I have driven over it twice in the last five years in a 4wd. One was on LT mud/rock tyres and the other on street tyres. Both were standard size and both were on factory recommend pressures as per the owner's handbook. I had no problems with either set.

Two things that I have always done in over fifty years of bush driving is (1) don't load the car up to anywhere near its maximum and (2) drive to the conditions. Don't set an unrealistic time limit, just take it very easy and be prepared to take as long as it takes.

You see a lot more that way and you don't break the car.
AnswerID: 556280

Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Jun 24, 2015 at 08:00

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2015 at 08:00
On one of my early outback trips a Tibooburra local gave some good advice - "You can get anywhere in this country if you're prepared to stop". Kinda Irish logic but it works.

There's some more good tips here: http://www.mtdare.com.au/the-australian-outback
AnswerID: 556285

Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, Jun 24, 2015 at 20:32

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2015 at 20:32
We did the Oodnadatta Track from where it meets the Borefield Road at Bopeechee and then travelled to Marla on 9/10 May. The track is hardly a track but rather a well maintained road. Nevertheless take the advice of others and reduce your tyre pressures. However, if you have normal road tyres you do need to take care with respect to sidewall damage. Just keep to below 80 km/h. The road from Oodnadatta to Marla appeared to be "a road less travelled" and we saw few cars. It took 2.5 hours to complete the trip from Oodnadatta to Marla towing a Tvan.Marla is a very good roadhouse and appears to have a good caravan park attached. A highlight of the track is the Algebuckina Bridge which is part of the Old Ghan railway line. It is a good place for lunch or morning tea and has a fenced walk along part it. At present there is a wrecked car near the bridge. It is makes a good test of your knowledge of Holden models.
The information about the UHF is also very worthwhile.
Have a safe trip.
Robert
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AnswerID: 556307

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 15:57

Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 at 15:57
Hi Nic,
Good to see someone new here asking sensible questions. Hopefully this trip will whet your appetite for more and we'll see you here again. Your post yesterday prompted me to check the Trek Notes as I now have some improved publishing features and as a consequence as of late last night the whole Oodnadatta Trek Note has had a total refresh/rewrite/major update - whatever you want to call it. There's a lot of valuable info in the What to See/Where to Stay sections in particular so take a look. Have a great time.
Michelle Martin
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