Renmark to Wentworth via the back road

Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 17:48
ThreadID: 130853 Views:11351 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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I'm planning a trip from Adelaide to Sydney in January and looking at potential detours which might be more interesting than the highway - one of these is I'm keen to follow the 'old road' from Renmark to Wentworth via the north side of the river.

I will be a 2WD sedan which I'm fine taking on gravel/formed roads but I am wary of sandy sections or clearance issues (mainly on any side tracks - eg to Suicide Bridge). Is this road suitable?

What is there to see along the way which would be accessible to 2WD? I'm keen on Suicide Bridge but also interested in visiting whatever ruins / historic sites are along the way.

I was considering going via Rufus River but I saw this photo of the road and am now not so keen...

(Source and useful info: )
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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 21:58

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 21:58
An easy 2wd, properly formed road, from Renmark to Wentworth, unlike this sandy minor track in your pic. Any car can do this road, but I dunno about the Rufus River road.
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Follow Up By: WarrenTC - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 22:51

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 22:51
Thanks Rick.
The road in the photo is 'Old Wentworth Road' which is the link from Rufus River to the Renmark-Wentworth Road near the state border. Wouldn't be taking a 2WD on that one...
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 23:22

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 23:22
Hi Warren

The Rufus River Road is a very good road and I can tell you one thing......the picture above is not that road. I am replying from my iPad, so in the morning, I will post images of what the road is like. The road is wide and not a two wheel track at all.

So until tomorrow morning



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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 13:47

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 13:47
Yes, what Stephen said.

Watch out for roos though. They don't keep normal hours.
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Follow Up By: luxtourer - Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 12:49

Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 12:49
Thanks for the info you've posted on this Stephen, a trip I was looking at myself for next year.
Without wanting to hijack Warrens's post, could you offer any info as to what the quarantine restrictions are for this border crossing (SA into NSW) - I can't find any anwswer to this specific question, of a border crossing within the friut fly exclusion zone (have looked at all the official websites)?

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Reply By: Mazdave - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 17:28

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 17:28
I have a property in the area, close to Lake Victoria and Rufus River and frequent this road on a regular basis and this is definitely not the current road conditions. It is a properly graded and maintained road by the Wentworth Shire and you can sit on 80kms per hour + no problems at all in a normal 2wd vehicle.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 21:11

Wednesday, Nov 11, 2015 at 21:11
Hi Warren

Sorry for the delay, but as they say, its better late than never.

Just like my reply re Suicide Bridge, I will let photos guide you through the drive from Renmark through to Wentworth.

Depending how much time you have and what you would like to see, I will also include a couple of detours that are worth it if you are in the area.

To make the first detour before you arrive at Renmark, the old site of the Hotel on the Northern Banks of Lake Bonney are worth a look.

From Renmark, head out on Ral Ral Avenue and take the Main Road to Wentworth. The first detour off of the main road and well worth it is the detour into Calperum Station. Here there some good example of Aborigine Canoe Blaze trees and old shell middens, as well as Caseys Camp and the junction of Amazon Creek at Amazon Junction.

As with my Suicide Bridge Reply, turn off to your right before reaching the Danggali turn off. Like I said, there are 2 tracks side by side and the very right track with the closed road sign will take you towards Suicide Bridge, with you requiring to walk the short distance to view the 115 year old bridge that was never used.

If you would like to view some more special history while you are in this area, follow the left track through to the site of the Todd Obelisk, the site where Charles Todd spend many months accurately surveying the area to get the boundary of South Australia and New South Wales correct, after the complete debacle of the surveying of the South Australian and Victorian Border survey. Follow through the game and follow good tracks to the site of the old Scab Inspectors Hut, what was a very import stock and customs house in the very early days of South Australia.

Rather than retracing your tracks from the Todd Obelisk bask to the Main Road, follow the good track north that runs parallel to the state boundary fence. This interesting drive will take you about 6 kilometres the the main Wentworth Road and another special Border Marker.

Around 12 Kilometres east of the border, you will come to a major that will take you south to Rufus River, which is a great easy drive. When you get to the Rufus River Regulator, its worth stopping and looking out to the southern shores of Lake Victoria and a good information display.

Eating further east, there are a number of good things to stop and see and if you are after a good little spot to fee camp, take the Lock 8 Road for a very short drive to the Frenchman's Creek - Scaddings Bridge camping area.

Not very far out of Wentworth, a visit to the Perry Sandhills is worth visiting. Do not drive through Wentworth, as it might be a small town , but there is lots to see there, including Lock 10, The old Wentworth Goal, The old Wharf, and many more fine old building.

I hope this is some help to you.



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Follow Up By: WarrenTC - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:41

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:41
Stephen, thanks again for a fantastic comprehensive reply. Definitely will take a few of those detours.

Looking at the map and your descriptions, I think the photo I posted with the motorbike must be on the 'Main Wentworth Road' (as named on the Exploroz topos) which heads east from Todd Obelisk. In your description you avoided that route.

With the Scab Inspector Cottage - is that track suitable for 2WD? Looks a little sandy from the photos - last thing I would want is to be bogged in sand in the middle of nowhere so I would rather err on the side of caution.

Old Stock Bridge looks interesting as well - is that easily accessible for 2WD or is it a real 4WD sand track?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 19:08

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 19:08
Hi Warren

Firstly, yes you are correct with the track that the Motor Bike was on. When we have driven it in the past, it was never cut up like that, and it could now be one of the reasons why it is now a "Closed" track.

All of the places that I have mentioned, with the exception of the Border Track north from the Todd Obelisk, are hard packed tracks with small sections of shallow sand over them. The firm bases are either a limestone base, or black soil, so if it is wet, you would want to keep well clear of them.

The run up to the main Wentworth Road that follows the Border fence is not deep sand at all, and large sections of is with a solid base.

The only thing to be aware of out there is that you will have no phone reception at all, so as a minimum, a UFH radio would be handy, or even a Sat Phone. Drive to the conditions and you will have a great drive.



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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:36

Thursday, Nov 12, 2015 at 15:36
To add to the history of this road, in the early days the section east of the NSW/SA border was part of the Mid Western Highway. In August 1933 the Sturt Hwy was proclaimed, and the Mid Western Hwy was reduced to its present length. In 1939, the Sturt Hwy was truncated at Buronga and the Buronga-Wentworth section reclassified as Main Road 69 (later Silver City Hwy) and the Wentworth-SA section reclassified as MR68. This rationalisation took place so that the Sturt Highway name would apply to the shortest and highest standard route between Sydney and Adelaide.

This info came from this site. On the LHS click on New South Wales > Highways and then look for Mid Western Highway & Sturt Highway. is a good site for road history in Oz.
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