Old Gunbarrel Highway

Is it likely that I will get permission to drive the Old Gunbarrel Highway north from Jackie Junction, or will I have to drop down to the Great Central to get through to Giles, or even leave the Gunbarrel and go down the Heather and head to Giles via the Great Central?

I have heard that there maybe some issues with getting a permit to do the whole of the Old Gunbarrel
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Reply By: Ron N - Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015 at 14:40

Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015 at 14:40
Nelson Nomad - Sections of the original Gunbarrel Hwy are regarded as abandoned, and tourist access is prohibited to these sections.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015 at 16:15

Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015 at 16:15
Wrong Ron!

You need to apply for a permit to specifically travel this section of the GBH

You must have at least 2 suitable high clearance 4WD's in your party, adequate means of communication (HF radio or Satellite Phone) and remote travel experience.

Permits were applied for and received online.

I have applied and travelled this section on 4 previous occasions.

Cheers

Anthony

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 00:53

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 00:53
As Anthony said, a permit can be obtained for this track, known as the "Abandoned Section" of the Gunbarrel Highway. The permit requires at least two and no more than five vehicles travelling together with conditions of communication etc.

Be aware that it is a very rough track with many washouts, corrugations and soft sand sections and assistance may not be readily forthcoming. Certainly not to be attempted if any rain is in the offing.

I have travelled it only once but would be happy to do it again in company with a competent traveller.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 09:18

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 09:18
What Anthony and Allan say. You can go from Warburton to Giles via Jackie Junction on the abandoned section of the Gunbarrel and it has some magnificent camping spots amongst the oaks.

This Map shows where you can and can not get permits for. For example you can not travel west of Jackie Junction.

The road is in pretty good condition, and looks as though it was graded a few years ago ( not so abandoned huh?).

The permit is free and takes a week or two.

Note the map shows that you turn left about 9 km north of Warburton to access the road. This is incorrect and a poor unused track that passes through private property and is impassable. The better turn off is a further 25 km which is a decent road. It is marked as private on Hema but it is clearly a well used road in good condition and by far the best way to get to the highway. It turns off near Mummine Well ( or Catadine waterhole depending on your map). I think it has a sign saying no entry but that presumably refers to those without a permit. There is no housing etc on tis short section.

We allowed about 4 days for Warburton to Giles thinking it was going to e very rough. However I think we could have done it in 1 if we really tried. Take you time and camp up for a couple of days. We camped just east of Van Der Linden Lakes amongst the desert oaks. A lovely spot. Wish we stayed another day or two there.

You can download a permit pack here which has everything you need to know in it.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 10:25

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 10:25
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"looks as though it was graded" you say Boobook? When I travelled it maybe 6 years ago it didn't look as though it had ever been, or would ever be, graded. Just shows how things can change and not be as expected.

I have found the 'Ngaanyatjarra Permits Map' you referenced very useful but be careful.... some of the colour codes are not properly matched between the map and the legend box.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 10:59

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 10:59
Yes it was quite strange Allan, we really expected a 10 - 30kmph heavily rutted track. There were quite a few signs that said something like "Roadworks funded by the national road safety initiative". We never figured that out. 60 - 80kmph was easy in much of the road which got slowly worse as we approached Giles. We went north of the Rawlinsons ( thanks Mick O), with a permit which was a lot harder to get, so we didn't experience the last 50 or so kms west of Giles.

Bit of a let down really, but it bought us a few days in our trip.

Surely there are more important roads to fund for road safety than a supposedly abandoned road.

Also to the OP, I should have mentioned that if you think that you *may* want to go on any of the coloured sections on that map, include them in your initial application. It doesn't seem to make much difference in timing etc in the initial application, but we went back and added a section later and that was quite problematic from a process point of view. That took a lot of explaining and sorting out. ( poor paper management I guessed, files were lost, duplicate wrong permits issued etc etc).

Also as Allan says, double check the colours vs the map etc.

It Is also useful to include your itinerary in the application.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 13:44

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 13:44
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Perhaps the roadwork gang got lost and should have been on the GCR. lol

Digressing a little into "permits"...... it can get messy if you try to make changes to times of issued permits. A while back I needed to do that and the ahem, 'system', perceived that I was now applying for a second permit so it needed to be referred to the Community, which took more time than was available. It can be impossible to predict one's time of travel accurately so I now apply using the best-predicted date and if my actual travel days occur outside those times, then too bad, I'll worry about it if challenged....... which I never have been. I will blather and act like an idiot (not difficult) but never get agro or argumentative.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 14:23

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 14:23
Allan said "so I now apply using the best-predicted date and if my actual travel days occur outside those times, then too bad, I'll worry about it if challenged....... which I never have been. I will blather and act like an idiot (not difficult) but never get agro or argumentative."

Yes agreed, also from now on I will add several more days either side, and particularly at the end of the permit period unless it looks like it may be too long.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 14:30

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 14:30
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On my last trip I tried applying for a longer period (a couple of weeks) and got knocked back so reverted to the "3 days" that it would actually take. You really cannot win in trying to be sensible!
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 20:01

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 20:01
Hi Boobook,
The track north of Warbuton 25kms out may be an easier option however if your intention is to travel "whole of Gunbarrel" as Nelson Nomad indicated then technically you need to turn off earlier than that (much earlier).
Cheers
Alan

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In whatever comes our way.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 21:05

Wednesday, Dec 30, 2015 at 21:05
It doesn't make any difference Alan. If you want to do the road you have to take one of those tracks. The roads both merge about 20km south of Jackie Junction which is as far west as you can do the Abandoned Gunbarrel Rd. It is not possible to get a permit for the section of Jackie Junction west to Mt Samuel. A distance of about 80km. If you wanted to go from one end to the other you would have to head south through Warburton then head north again, bypassing those 80km.
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