Permits and access--Anne Beadell Highway and Maralinga

I've been looking into the permits required for places I hope to visit next year. The AB Highway and Maralinga are some of those places. And I was hoping I could reach Maralinga from Emu, as Stephen L has written about. I located the Maralinga Tjarutja permit application online, and that alone has sparked a lot of questions in my mind!

Click here for the online permit application

At the top of the permit application, is the statement, "access is not permitted from Emu Junction to Maralinga Village. Maralinga Village is a closed site."

I know people have been using the track between Emu and Maralinga, so why does the permit application state access is not permitted?

Also, until I read the permit application, I was not aware of the $25/vehicle entry fee. Or of the nightly camping fee for Mamungari Conservation Park, which has to be paid in advance. Given the size of the CP, it seems at least one night of camping in it is inevitable.

When applying for the permit, travellers need to plan each night's stay in Mamungari at the time of applying for the permit, as well as specifying the precise dates of entry and exit from the Maralinga Tjarutja lands. In principle, that's not a problem. However, if I'm applying weeks ahead for this permit, and will be travelling continuously (and often in remote areas) for 4 weeks or so before starting out the AB, it seems difficult to set and maintain a precise itinerary? Track conditions, weather, or other factors could slow my progress along the way.

In reality, how much notice is required to obtain a permit? The information with the application states 4-6 weeks. Could anyone describe their recent experience with this process?

Also, I'd never before seen the National Parks "Trip Intentions" form that's included in the online permit application (last two pages of it). Is this required? Or simply a service offered by the Parks, to add an extra measure of safety for travellers?

I first started looking at the permits information on the EO Trek for the AB Highway. But after doing further research, it appears some of the information on that page is a bit out of date.
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 06:26

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 06:26
I just went through this exact process, and will be at Maralinga on Tuesday. Can't wait.

It took me about 4 weeks to get the approval. However you may be able to speed it up if you call the Maralinga lands council, I have found them to be very helpful. We had a late joiner of our group and he could not get the park approval in 2 weeks. You can get that from SA parks or the Maralinga council so try both.

As to going to Emu from Maralinga, officially you do need an escort, we were very luck in that Robin Matthews timed his bi monthly ( I think) inspection to coincide with our visit and he is coming up to Emu with us. Apart from the official aspect, having him come along will change an interesting trip into a fascinating trip.

You need to call Robin to arrange it as he is the man on the ground and can let you know the exact requirements at the moment. He is difficult to catch and his contact details are on the website.
AnswerID: 590273

Follow Up By: GarryR - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 07:37

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 07:37
Hi Boobok, Judy and I only got back from a Maralinga visit only 4weeks ago. You will enjoy the works that Robin and young Billy have done to the site. It's amazing. Robin has a great wealth of knowledge of the area, and really easy to talk to. The wild flowers were just starting to come out, which in its self was a great sight. Say hello to him for us. It was a great experience.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 08:15

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 08:15
Hi Candace

Do not try to get the permit direct from the Ceduna Office.

Even though it states on their site that it is closed, it is not realy if you know what I mean.

Robin is the person to issue permits for the Emu Road, so you will have to contact him for that permit.

He is now almost impossible to get hold of on the phone, even for me. I have personally left countless messages recently, so best bet is to send him an email, and ask him for a urgent reply.

All the best with you trip planning, and do not give up if you do not hear from him straight away.


Cheers



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AnswerID: 590276

Follow Up By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 11:43

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 11:43
Robin has always been hard to contact and reading your comment Stephen makes me think that there needs to be a revision of their contact processes. I know from last year that catching Robin was really difficult, but the trip is so worthwhile. It is a wonderful experience and as the control is now firmly in the hands of the Maralinga people, and because it is becoming such a highly sought tourist destination ensuring people get an answer in an appropriate time is so very important.

Candace you will find the WA permits are very easy to get hold of and it is a terrific trip.

Di
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:15

Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:15
Agreed, Bruce and Di T: It would be a relief if there was a more reliable communication link to Robin!

My concern is: if I do arrange a visit to Maralinga, start travelling, but realize I can't rendezvous with him on the arranged date, how would I advise him? If I'm remote I will have a satellite phone, but no email.

Stephen--thanks for your input!
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Reply By: Shaker - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 15:21

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 15:21
The time constraints are ridiculous, the sooner they realise that Outback travel isn't an exact science, the better!
AnswerID: 590286

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:36

Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:36
Very true!

The permits themselves aren't such a problem. But the relatively long processing times are. I'll be forced to apply so far ahead of my arrival in the permit area, the dates I put on the application will be little more than a good guess!
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Reply By: Member - backtracks - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 18:33

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 18:33
As stated ,give plenty of time for some of the permits,but in reality as long as you've got one ( and even then I wonder ) near enough is good enough- other than the defence department one. They may get stroppy. NO ONE CHECKS PERMITS ! If a miracle occurs and someone ( who ? ) checks it , a few days here or there will not put you in jail ! Never had a permit checked, don't ever expect too, but still do the right thing and get one. Here endeth the lesson !!
AnswerID: 590290

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:10

Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 11:10
Same here... No one ever checked my permits during my 2008 trip out the GCR! But I wouldn't go anyplace without getting them. I'm not travelling all that distance just to make trouble or receive a fine! I just want to make sure I get the right permits from the right offices!

I'll have to call the offices and find out what they say about the processing times, and about leeway regarding the travel dates. Also, I will be driving a hire vehicle so of course I won't have the registration information ahead. But in 2008 that didn't pose a problem, the permits were processed without that information.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 12:10

Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 12:10
Travelled the ABH 3 times, never asked for the permit.

However ..... Murphy's Law......
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Reply By: Member - backtracks - Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 18:35

Saturday, Sep 12, 2015 at 18:35
Ok, quick follow up, these comments are directed to aboriginal lands mainly, Dalhousie certainly check permits !!
AnswerID: 590292

Follow Up By: cookie1 - Sunday, Sep 13, 2015 at 08:05

Sunday, Sep 13, 2015 at 08:05
Only had my permit checked once by Ranger "FOS" at Dalhousie over the many years that we have been in the Simpson

Fully agree, one must have their permits and firmly believe it is the intent that counts so if you are a day or 3 late then it should not really concern them too much - apart from Defence if they happen to send a rocket over your way and you shouldn't have been there :)

cheers
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 10:56

Monday, Sep 14, 2015 at 10:56
I assume the permit they are checking at Dalhousie is the SA Desert Parks Pass? Or something else?

Yes, definitely wouldn't trifle with those exclusion periods in Woomera, or stray from the permit dates! ;)
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