Great Central Road WA

Looking for a report on the condition of the GCR from Uluru to Laverton. We expect to be set out from Uluru in approximately a week from now and will be towing a semi off-road van. Please excuse recent forum entry which I submitted before completing.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Jun 28, 2015 at 19:14

Sunday, Jun 28, 2015 at 19:14
Hi Trevor, did you do a search? There have been a number of recent threads; Great Central Road

It will always have good and bad patches, but an off roader with lowered tyre pressures and taking it easy will get you through unless there is rain. Then there can be slippery patches or the road can be closed.


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Reply By: Zippo - Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 16:40

Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 16:40
We came through in the second week of June. There had been some rain in the week before that, and the NT side had been closed for a few days and then reopened "with caution". That tag should be permanent - the first part eastwards from Docker River is always loose corrugated red pindan over a firm base and the last part to the bitumen at the Olgas turnoff is as bad.

The WA side is just another unsealed road, no dramas at all unless rain has fallen. Before travelling it, check with Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku website ( and the WA side roadhouses (Warakurna and Tjukayirla) for the current condition, also Laverton Police for their end. For the NT side, the NT govco have a site (start at which can give you more info.

As always, drive to conditions. [I'm not a fan of lowering tye pressures. While it may give a better ride for the vehicle and occupants, it increases sidewall flexing which causes additional heat buildup and exposes the sidewalls to damage. We have done this road each time without event on normal "street" tyres at normal street pressures.]
AnswerID: 556491

Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 23:24

Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 23:24
We did the Great Central Road 13 to 15 May. The NT side was in reasonable condition whereas the WA side was in excellent condition generally. For the most part the WA side is a properly formed road with a good gravel surface. The NT side is more your typical "U" shaped dug out road. The WA side would be capable of 100 km/h if you were so inclined, however doing a gravel road at such speed is unwise to say the least. Of course a few weeks after travelling the road they had 50 mm of rain at Giles so the condition of the road, especially on the NT side may have deteriorated.
With regards to tyre pressures my view is that if you have anything other than LT (light truck) tyres you do need to be careful because of the sidewalls. However, lowering your tyre pressures really does take the "bang" out and it really helps preserve your suspension. A hard, higher pressure tyre is much more likely to be damaged by rocks, however you do need to take care with non-LT tyres and their relatively soft sidewalls. Of course lower pressure means lower speed. I was running 25 front and 30 rear and limiting my speed to 80 km/h max. I was towing a Tvan.
The caravan parks at Warakurna and Tjukayirla are very good if you are a caravan park person. There are camping spots along the way but you need to be careful with your choice.
Don't forget to get your permits to travel. They are both available online for no cost.
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Reply By: david - Thursday, Jul 02, 2015 at 16:03

Thursday, Jul 02, 2015 at 16:03
Last week, Laverton to the border very good, border to Uluru rubbish (very corrugated). Worst I've seen in 4 trips over it.

cheers David
AnswerID: 556578

Reply By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Friday, Jul 03, 2015 at 20:02

Friday, Jul 03, 2015 at 20:02
Can confirm that Laverton to Warburton, having driven it today, is generally in good nick, especially from Cosmo Newberry to Warburton where there's barely a bump. Some parts of it are just terrific. 20 km or so of road works on Laverton side of shire border and there's bitumen from the Heather Hwy turn off to within about 5 km of Warburton, which was a very pleasant surprise:)
More tomorrow when we drive the rest to Uluru.
AnswerID: 556636

Follow Up By: Member - Trevor M9 - Saturday, Jul 04, 2015 at 06:22

Saturday, Jul 04, 2015 at 06:22
Thanks Paul, look forward to earing your comments about the NT stretch as that seems to be the rough part. We leave Alice on Monday morning on our way home.
FollowupID: 842883

Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 15:31

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 15:31
Oops, discovered today the comments posted on Saturday night somehow didn't make it to the forum, probably due to my technical incompetence. By now Trevor will have discovered the NT section is best described in polite circles as "rough." Or "very corrugated," with only very occasional and brief respites, largely when you stop.

The WA section from Warburton to the border is not as good as the section west of Warburton, but it is MUCH better than the NT section, which appears to have last been graded by the Gunbarrel Road Construction Co in the 1960's. But the scenery is fabulous and the campsite just west of Docker River is really good, but remember to gather some firewood before you get there.
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Follow Up By: Member - Trevor M9 - Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 21:20

Wednesday, Jul 08, 2015 at 21:20
Paul, we ran into somene we knew from WA in Alice on the Sunday morning who has just come across the GCH the previous day and he confirmed what you have just said - he went as far as to say that it was the worst condition of any road he had travelled on - so we decided to go the long way around via Port Augusta, specially as we are towing a van. We are now near Ceduna but thanks for the update. Trevor
FollowupID: 843066

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