Great Central Road - Camping Spots and side trips (4WD or other)

Hi travellers, a group of 4WDs with camper trailers are planning to drive west to WA via the GCR. Research so far shows very few camping spots between Yulara and Docker River.

Q1. Does anyone know if there are any and, if not, can we simply find our own suitable spot for an overnight stay?

Q2. Are there any interesting 4WD or 2WD side trips off the GCR that are worth taking in? e.g. scenery, aboriginal sites, natural features etc. I have listed already Lasseter's cave and various waterholes along the way as per the Exploroz site.

Any tips and info would be greatly welcomed.

thanks,

Pradodriver
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Reply By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:00

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:00
Hello
The Outback Way website may have some information you are chasing.

I found this spot on the Docker River (Livingstone Pass) when through there last. Not sure if you can camp near here - probably a bit close to the community but maybe not?



On the same trip there were a group fo people camped about 50m off the road a few k's west of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) - didn't look like the best spot in the world but you should be able to track down something for an overnighter.




Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:32

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:32
Many thanks Greg for that info, I will also investigateOutback Way website.

Pradodriver
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Reply By: Zippo - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:39

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:39
I trust you have all checked out the required transit permits. Technically your permit precludes departing from the actual GCR roadway. Quite a number don't abide by that condition apparently - just another "test" of the permit system?

Also the transit time allowed by the permit (3 days) doesn't allow for a huge amount of side-tripping.
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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:03

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:03
Thanks Zippo, your advice is good and noted

cheers

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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:49

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 16:49
Hi PradoDriver

If you contact me by member message I can give you the details of the main (authorised) camping areas, as well as a few of the side features. We also found a good spot to stop (which had been used before) away from the road when we had a breakdown.

Motherhen

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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 19:54

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 19:54
Why don't you just put the details in the thread Motherhen?

Regards
Alan

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:02

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:02
Hi Alan

The Mods don't allow me to give links to my own research and articles on open forum.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:04

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:04
OK No worries, Thanks

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 10:53

Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 10:53
....dont blame the "Mods", its to do with forum rules (these were not created by the Mods ...just enforced, on a volunteer basis). Information could still be posted..minus any links :)

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: equinox - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 20:02

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 20:02
There's a great trail of rockholes between Warburton and Laverton just off the track, as I believe that is why the track is where it is. They're on most decent maps.

Desert's Gate is worth a look adjacent to Giles Breakaway.

and Empress Spring is one of the best sites that isn't to far away from the main road.



Enjoy the trip
Cheers
Alan


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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:10

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:10
Nice tips equinox, will make use of those

cheers

Pradodriver (aka Alan (yes, another one)
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 20:18

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 20:18
Hi Pradodriver,
We travelled the GCR in May 2015. Although the drive is well worth doing camping spots, apart from the roadhouses, are really few and far between. We chose to stay in the caravan parks associated with the roadhouses at Warakurna and Tjukayirla. Both are excellent with helpful managers. The Giles Met Station is very close to Warakurna and although the balloon launch is basically a non-event the museum which has a considerable amount of information on Len Beadell is worth a visit.
On reaching the WA border and reading the very large sign about the problem of unleaded petrol theft you begin the appreciate why the roadhouses are possible a better option.
Warburton is really only a fuel stop. The caravan park there is surrounded by a high fence and steel gates on the entrance. A rather sad sight to say the least.
There are a number of potential camping spots but we much preferred the security of the roadhouses. Of course if you are travelling in a group camping spots other than the roadhouses could be ok.
As others have said the permit only allows for three days travel.
Robert
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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:12

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:12
Thanks Robert, Useful tips which I will use my planning.

cheers

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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:12

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 21:12
p.s we will be towing our Tvan Canning on this trip.

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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:43

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:43
Have you considered heading up, or down, the Sandy Blight Track?

Sandy Blight Junction Track

Well worth the diversion if you have the time.

And as Equinox has said earlier, Empress Springs is well worth the visit.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: Member - MARIC - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:54

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2016 at 23:54
Camping spot just west of the Docker River Community, and it was free in July 2015 when we went thru from west to east
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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:05

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:05
Thanks MARIC, noted.

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Follow Up By: equinox - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:19

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:19
Agreed, that's a nice spot


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Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:39

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 20:39
That's the one on the south side of the GCR, with the lookout (from which you took the pic) and the long-drop not far from where the vehicle is parked?
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Follow Up By: Member - MARIC - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 21:15

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 21:15
that's the one, a few dunnys there, but not to many functioning
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Jan 11, 2016 at 00:47

Monday, Jan 11, 2016 at 00:47
We did not stay at the Docker River campground. A lovely location, and each campsite had a tin shed shower an toilet. None were functioning; the water supply had been disrupted, honesty box ripped out (they was a $5 fee), and the place was a mess. This is apparently what happens soon after it is fixed.

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Reply By: wombat100 - Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 11:10

Thursday, Jan 07, 2016 at 11:10
We travelled the Great Central Road June last year.
No issues in our 2WD Mercedes Sprinter Campervan.
Get hold of the free Brochure (Laverton WA info centre will send it to you- together with other useful info).
Heaps of suitable camp spots on the way
Also- to make it more intersting we did the recommended 'geocache' challenge, I would highly recommend this. You only need a cheap.basic GPS !!!
A great trip. Fantastic scenery. Heaps of healthy dingoes & camels when we went thru.
Oh!! And don't forget your permits !! I think it was for 3 weeks on the NT side, but 3 DAYS on the WA side (we took 5 days Shhhhh)
Cheers
Wombat 100
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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:07

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:07
Thanks Wombat 100. Useful info and yes I will contact the Laverton info centre.

cheers

Pradodriver aka Alan
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Reply By: brucek - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:36

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 17:36
1. Lasseters Cave 25.0184/129.3976
2. Giles weather station is a must. A balloon is launched each day at 10am I believe,and if you book in for that, they will give you a great tour.
3.Just south of Lake Throssell is Lake Yeo. Point Sunday 28.1234/124.0833 is worth a look and could be bush camped at and "Old Yeo Homestead 28.0789/124.3256 has buildings that can be used, a water tank and a long drop loo.
There are other places right next to the road.
We visited all these places a couple of years ago on a Peugeot club event doing the "longest short cut" from Cairns to Busselton.
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Follow Up By: Member - PradoDriver - Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:08

Friday, Jan 08, 2016 at 23:08
Thanks Brucek, useful info.

cheers

Pradodriver aka Alan
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Follow Up By: wombat100 - Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 16:01

Saturday, Jan 09, 2016 at 16:01
Hi bruce
Just an update for your info- Giles is no longer offering tours of the 'station' !!
Due to lack of staff or OH&S or other such stuff!! Shame coz it was very interesting
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Reply By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:14

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 10:14
Pradodriver's original post asked about camping spots between Yulara and Docker River, which is only about 200 km, and the simple answer is there are none, as camping is prohibited along this section of the Great Central Road.

There is a lovely little camp site just west of the Docker River Community as stated in earlier replies.
However I would strongly urge consideration of the alternative more northerly route utilising the forbiddingly named Sandy Blight Rd, which avoids the truly terrible 180km section between the Olgas (Kuta Tjuka) and the WA border, which will sorely test your TVan, and any other thing that drives it. It is just awful and there seems to be no good speed to travel at that doesn't shake the fillings out of your teeth or every nut undone in your rig. We tried everything from 20 to 120 km/hr!

Once thru the border into WA you would think you are in a different country, the roads are absolutely magnificent in comparison, being maintained by the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku based in Warburton, including much of the Sandy Blight Road.
Paul B Kalgoorlie

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 16:42

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 16:42
Paul, I agree wholeheartedly about the condition of the section from the Olgas to the border.

However your suggested alternative - if I understand correctly - is westwards via Papunya to SBJ and then down to the GCR just west of the border? Certainly the long way around, and not much use to someone at Ayer's Rock or the Olgas. Do the WestMac Shire do any maintenance on it? (I had heard that their two grader drivers are based at Papunya.)

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Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 17:37

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 17:37
I dunno Zippo, but everyone we spoke to who had done both said the Sandy Blight way was the only way they'd go again.
Paul B Kalgoorlie

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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 19:42

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 19:42
Is the Sandy Blight Rd suitable for towing an Off Highway Caravan or trailer? The trek note shows suitability for 4WD vehicles only.
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 20:47

Sunday, Jan 10, 2016 at 20:47
I'm a big fan of the Sandy Blight Track and certainly would recommend it as a "must do" if you are in the region.

I wrote the following blog on the Sandy Blight, and there is other information on the EO site that will provide additional detail.

Sandy Blight Track Blog...

Mind you, as indicated above it is the long way, and I mean the real long way around if you just want to avoid the Uluru to Docker River section of the GCR.

I've driven the GCR numerous times, and for sure this section is corrugated, but drive appropriately and it won't be a problem - there are far worse!

We towed our TVAN from Maralinga to Laverton on the Anne Beadell and up the Sandy Blight without any problems.

Last July I spent time in the Gibson Desert, completely offtrack with TVANs in tow, so they won't be a problem for the routes being discussed here...

Good luck with your trip.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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