Travelling from Newcastle to Alice Springs; after advice.

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 21:48
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Wanting to travel from Newcastle to Alice Springs via Cameron Corner and across the Simpson To Alice Springs and Uluru around July next year.
Hoping some of you will be able to give me an idea on how much time is required to enjoy the trip ie not too rushed, and if 5 weeks would be adequate for return to Newcastle.
Secondly is it even possible to travel from Cameron Corner across the SImpson and to Alice, I can't grasp whether it is or not as at the moment I've only perused the free exploreoz maps and unable to determine one way or the other.

Will be travelling in a diesel swb pajero.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 22:52

Wednesday, Nov 04, 2015 at 22:52
I met an old couple in Innamincka last Sat, Lenn, that had towed their bogey axle A-van with a little Jeep, from Cameron's & up the Old Strezelecki Track. They said it was very good, as the gas mobs are keeping it in good repair.

Reckon your only trouble might be carrying enough fuel in the swb, unless you end up in Birdsville, before crossing the desert. How many travelling, or are you on your lonesome?

Les & I crossed the desert, on Rig Road, early last week. Les carried 205L in his PK Ranger, fuelled in Innamincka, and got to Coober Pedy, before refuelling. I left Birdsville with 260L in a late model Landcruiser ute. Got to Lyndhurst before I refuelled again.

Others with more experience might be able to help you with travel times. We went across the Rig Road in 3.5 days, from Inna/B'ville to Oodnadatta.

There used to be a member on here with swb Pajero......sorry, can't recall his name. He did a lot of remote trips and managed okay.


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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 00:07

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 00:07
Hey there Lenn.

Yes, I used 170lt out of 205lt from Inna to Coober Pedy, going in at Warburton, Rig Rd across, down Pedirka Tk to Ood and out.

You could also go Walker Crossing and in that way, up K1 line to Poepell Cnr etc and on across, or take one of 3 regularly taken routes up to Birdsville, and start from there all fuelled up.

Unless you want to carry a lot of fuel, your best bet would be Cameron Cnr up to Birdsville, then Mt Dare, fuel to fuel you are looking at 530km odd (no detours) on the most direct route French Line.
That's going the short detour via Bloods Ck, as the little 23km section of boulder field north of Dalhousie is very bad most of the time.

Read up on fuel needs and safety margins, it's not a place to be short of fuel.
Most take estimated fuel use plus a good 30% on top.
Have you driven much sand / dunes before ?
It sucks the fuel.
If you've done Stockton when really soft, like that.

The road from Mt Dare to Finke, Maryvale, into Alice is not too bad, Finke to Maryvale very corrugated, have to take that fairly easy.
From Maryvale a detour to Chambers Pillar is very worthwhile.
A day for each leg, and you get Chambers Pillar at sunset and dawn.

The whole route Mt Dare to ASP direct is 355km, Chambers and extra 90km, but the Aboriginal community at Maryvale has fuel, about half way, not sure of hours or prices there (phone is 08 89560793).

Worth going to Uluru via the West Macs, Kings Canyon, even by Palm Valley for the awesome experience there, and Boggy Hole for a little more adventure, or round the back via Mereenie Loop (permit needed, free) to Kings.

Hope that helps, happy planning.
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Follow Up By: rocco2010 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 13:09

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 13:09

Slightly off topic but love the description of the "boulder field" north of Dalhousie.

Travelled that way a few months ago. I have done dunes and corros but football-sized rocks in the middle of a "road" were a new one for me.


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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 16:16

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 16:16
Oh yeah, you'd be going to find anything worse on a suspension and as slow as that bit of road.
I spoke to the roads fella up there once, he said they can grade it one week, and those rocks just keep coming up, they'll be back a week later.
They are seriously reconsidering realigning it to miss that particular geological system, but really, Bloods Ck is a pretty good bypass anyway.
Bob and I passed a small group of motorcyclists going in to WAA line as we hit French Line, and they said to me do not go direct to Mt Dare if you value your vehicle, lol.
As it was, we were only camping 3 O'Clock Ck, then down Pedirka Tk . . . which by chance was pretty well graded about June sometime after washing out a lot with rains, it is a dream drive now, we managed many sections at 60 - 70 ks, which is remarkable as it's normally 25 - 30 ks.
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Follow Up By: Member - Lenn - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 16:37

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 16:37
Hi Bob and Les,
Fuel will probably the biggest issue, I get about 500kms on the black top from 55 litres so guessing about 50-70% of those kms when on sand. I have no aux tank, 70litres factory tank, so would be relying on jerry cans for extra fuel.
At this stage it will be just the two of us, both in our 30s in one vehicle.
I live in Newcastle, thus been to stockton numerous times but wouldn't hurt to do more time up there for the purpose of 'planning'. Any excuse. :)

I would appear Camerons Corner to Birdsville and across would be the go. I will be our first 'outback' and remote trip so just trying to suss it all out.

What's the minumum amount of time I should allocate for this trip ?
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:42

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:42
G'day again Lenn . . . I would allow 4 days / 3 nights in the desert first trip in the cooler months.

Day 1 leave Birdsville, not rushed (in fact none of this would be rushed), Big Red play, camp QAA Line past Eyre Ck (though it's still Adria Downs property, if you are good campers, no trace, lots of people do this), or just into QLD Simpson Desert Nat Pk (small fees to camp).
Day 2 Peoppels Cnr visit, side trip to the Knolls, camp near top of Knolls Tk or just west.
Day 3camp somewhere just before the Witjira Nat Pk, so you can ave a last campfire in the desert.
Day 4 drive out, swim Dalhousie, drive via Bloods to Mt Dare.

That's say 550km with a little corridor driving looking to camp etc.
Take it really easy on the fast pedal, with low pressures (18psi or so) you should do dunes pretty easy one go.
If not, a simple back down and another shot with a little more momentum.
I would take 70lt main tank and 4 x 20lt jerries minimum Lenn, you'll be surprised how much you might use, and you need a buffer in case of detours / hold ups at dunes (traffic !).

50 to 60 lt of water should be ok, 5 or 6 10lt casks spread on the floor of the cab usually easy to fit in.

Do you have a roof rack ?
If so, a couple of full jerries and then the empties can go on the roof and stay there for the remainder of the trip.

Camp light, take only what you'll really use / need (plus some things you don't want to need like first aid, fire ext, etc).

As for the rest of the trip, depends on you and the missus I guess.
Do you like driving longer days, or short days and explore a lot ?
After the desert, a run down the Oodnadatta Tk to Marree is very worthwhile to form a loop home.
This could be done even with your red centre trip after . . .

Maybe up through NSW Qld (Dubbo, Bourke, Wanaaring) to Cam Cnr and Birdsville as described, down the Ood Tk, Northern Flinders, out to Yunta on the Barrier Hwy then home via Broken Hill to join up loop at Nyngan ?

You could do Newcastle to BV in 4 days relatively unrushed, 4 days desert, 3 days to Alice, West Macs / Palm valley 4 days, Kings Canyon 3 days, 3 days for Uluru / Kata Tjuta (West Macs / Kings / the rock inc travel), down to Kulgera, down to Kulgera, across to Finke (Lamberts centre detour ?), and back to Mt Dare, say 3 days, 3 days to Marree, another few days in the Flinders, 3 days home = ~ 4 weeks.
Some more time in the Flinders might be nice, maybe a week if ou feel like really getting into it and seeing it well.

Stockton when soft will give you some sand practice, and maybe a very small idea of fuel use pushing through sand at low psi tyre pressures.
I drove it November last year, it was hot, couldn't walk on sand barefoot without burning.
The locals I was with said they'd never seen it so soft, and it was :)

If you filled tank, drove it soft one end to the top and back, filled up again and worked out lt/100km from that, it would give you a slight idea of how much you're using.
Not scientific, and the dunes (1100 of them) of the Simmo will use quite a bit more, it will perhaps help envisage the needs.

Anyway, happy planning.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:47

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 18:47
Oh, just recall too, we did a similar loop in July, ex Adelaide . . . desert, red centre, west macs, boggy hole, hwy home, was 2 very full weeks.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 23:00

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 23:00
A couple of items I neglected to mention above, Lenn.

My ute used 77L from Birdsville, down to Warburton Track, then across Rig Road to Purnie Bore. Being a v8, no doubt your Pajero might be somewhat more economic.

Both Les & I were using Hema maps on iPhone/iPad. Another alternative to this pack is the Hema Great Desert Tracks pack. Available in the shop here for $75.95. Lot of useful info featured on each map, and would be a useful planning tool.


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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 09:02

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 09:02
Those maps would be excellent, but needing a Desert Parks Pass to do the crossing (purchased HERE ONLINE) you will get all the paper maps you need for Cameron Cnr to down around Marree.

You'd really just need maps for NSW to QLD, Red Centre, going home.
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Follow Up By: Member - Lenn - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 15:00

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 15:00
Thanks Les that breakdown is awesome, gives me a much better idea time wise. Thanks Bob on the fuel usage and the map information.
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Follow Up By: allein m - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 15:39

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 15:39
HI I live in Broken Hill and one thing I can tell you is the road to Camrons corner can be closed any time of the year all it takes is a little rain and that is it

they are working on making it a all weather road one day but not now

so a fed days before you leave hoe check road conditions
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Reply By: Tate1984 - Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 21:31

Thursday, Nov 05, 2015 at 21:31
Hi Lenn,

Completed a similar trip earlier this year. Newcastle -> Cameron Corner -> Birdsville -> Mt Dare -> Alice -> West Macs -> Uluru -> Coober Pedy -> Newcastle.

Travelling with 2 small kids completed in 4 weeks. A bit rushed the last few days (by choice) but managed 2 nights innamincka, 3 in Alice and 2 at Uluru etc. Happy to share my full itenerary if you like.

Vehicle was a NS Pajero (v6) which completed the trip easily. Worst road was Finke to Alice.

From Mt Dare you have a few options to Alice - I would recommend the Binns Track via Old Andado.

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 09:04

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 09:04
How many days / weeks was that Tate ?
Yes, Binns Tk a great option, just need to consider solo aspects of that a bit like the desert crossing part, it can get pretty lonesome out that way.
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Follow Up By: Tate1984 - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 10:50

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 10:50
Les - the trip was 25 days in total. I would have loved to taken more time but school and work gets in the way.

I agree that there are many considerations for any desert crossing - especially solo. We traveled with one other vehicle and needed each other for assistance on 2 occasions. As it was school holidays there were other travelers out there but you cannot always rely on this.

I can't recommend the HEMA maps enough. I used the paper maps for trip planning and the HEMA iPad app for navigation.

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 11:25

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 11:25
Good the OP has another week or two available, will be a very relaxing trip for them.
If the times given above are too short for them, I would add a day here and there to bring up to 5 weeks.

Agree, love my Hema 4WD Maps on the ipad, even though I'm an old paper maps / compass person from decades of bushwalking, 'moving maps' are just soooo nice to have out there wheeling :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Lenn - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 15:03

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 15:03
Hi Tate, that would be fantastic if I could get a copy of your trip itinerary. Thank you
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Follow Up By: Tate1984 - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 16:04

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 16:04
Hi Lenn - please see attached itinerary. I have amended it to where we actually traveled - We had to change plans in a few spots to due closed roads following rain etc - but that is all part of the fun.

Les put up some great info further above which included some of the places and considerations we looked at when planning.

I don't have all my fuel figures handy at the moment but do recall I used 140 litres across the Simpson from Birdsville to Mt Dare (V6 petrol). This was a lot less than expected but we had light rain on the desert and it was quite easy going. I'm sure in warmer softer conditions it would have been more like 180-200L.

This thread also reminds me I should write a retrospective blog and add some pics to share with everyone - might get onto that next week.


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Follow Up By: Member - Lenn - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:43

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 13:43
Thank you Tate.
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