Explorer's Way or Stuart Highway

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 13:14
ThreadID: 131357 Views:2862 Replies:12 FollowUps:47
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Hi, my name is Namita Roy, a PhD researcher at University of Wollongong and I am happy to be part of this community.

I have been taking road trips since I can remember, and hence planned to research this field for my PhD. My research is on experiences of undertaking a journey on the famous ‘Explorer’s Way’ connecting Adelaide and Darwin in Australia...... I am trying to understand the different experiences of people travelling by different modes and of generally different people.
To start with lets discuss....

1. What experiences did you plan for on the trip and what happened?
2. What mode of travel did you choose and how did it impact your experience?

I would love to use your advice, experiences and concerns shared on this community for my research. In case anyone has any problems one can always tell me otherwise. However, all your responses will be kept strictly confidential (meaning only aggregate responses like “five of the 15 respondents commented....” Will be reported, and your individual identity will not be revealed in any publications), so you can share your deepest experiences without any concerns ;) 0;^). Also, if you’d like I would be more than willing to cite your contribution!!

In case any of you want more information about my research, please don’t hesitate to ask me on this thread . I would love to answer your questions.

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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 13:34

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 13:34
Hello Namita R,

A question springs to mind. Why limit your research and PhD to just this one north-south corridor? In doing so you severely limit the input you could get from this community. Most of us travel widely in this country to enjoy the many other outback areas and routes.

"I am trying to understand the different experiences of people travelling by different modes and of generally different people.
To start with lets discuss....

1. What experiences did you plan for on the trip and what happened?
2. What mode of travel did you choose and how did it impact your experience?"

These questions are valid for all the travel we do to all the places we go. Is there a reason for limiting your research to just one road?.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 13:44

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 13:44
Yes that was my first reaction too. ExplorOz has a point of difference in that we promote and thereby attract the less mainstream mode of travel, ie. offroad rather than bitumen highway. Of course, we all will travel various bitumen highways as part of our jouneys but generally speaking and certainly from our (publisher) POV we expect our readers are not planning a journey on a major byway/highway but will just use that as a quicker means to get to the start/end of a more remote area.
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 13:53

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 13:53
Hi Frank,

Glad to receive your feedback!

My research involves studying the value that is derived by travellers on a themed route. The aim of themed routes is to connect two or more destinations in a region under a unified theme by different modes of travel. Examples of such routes would be Route 66 in the United States of America, Hadrian’s Wall in the United Kingdom, as well as Old Ghan Railway, Great Ocean Road, and Explorer’s Highway in Australia. The Australian tourism industry markets more than 50 themed routes of national, state or regional significance.

Many studies suggest that themed routes are a supply driven initiative as a result of innovative aggregation of supply networks, with demand parameters still unestablished. This poses a serious problem in assessing the long term viability and longevity of themed routes as sustainable regional tourism development initiatives. My research focuses on understanding tourism demand on themed routes through a qualitative assessment of the value derived from travelling on themed routes rethinking consumption as shared cultural norms and lived experience.

Now this value for individuals could be related to their mode of travel (for instance people cycling the road would stop at different locations and seek different experiences compared to 4WD drivers!), the road itself, the sense of achievement, adventure, thrill, loss of time etc. And it will all dictate how they modify or plan their trip or vice versa!

Over the years, the internet has become a very important resource for travellers for searching, shopping, buying and sharing travel experiences in real time. The research will explore how people’s experiences are impacted by mode of travel, the route they choose and the overall theme. Hence qualitative understandings of online interactions of people travelling together yet apart along a similar journey would provide a good starting point to understand how and where tourists find value in ‘consuming’ themed routes.

Stuart Highway is being promoted as Explorer's Way and is hence my chosen case study and I would hence focus and study one themed route and figure out the connections between the theme, mobility and the value derived.

Please do let me know what you think about it and if you have any more questions! I hope I answered your question correctly!
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 15:00

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 15:00
Noting comments made by Michelle from the ExplorOz executive earlier…

My question is whether the result you obtain, on aggregate from respondents in the ExplorOz community, will distort your research given that the “bitumen” road is the means for most in this community to get somewhere, rather than the destination in its own right.

Perhaps to gain a better insight from the ExplorOz readership a review of say the Savannah Way may provide a more topical response given it is pitched as a “destination route” to four-wheel drive travellers.

Mind you, if I do read your response correctly, perhaps that is the essence of the feedback you need - that is, whilst the supply on the route you are researching is there, the demand from four-wheel drive travellers is not.

In any case, I’m interested to see the result of your research regardless of what route it covers…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 16:29

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 16:29
Namita R,

Thank you for your detailed answer. Unfortunately I have not done a road trip up the full length of that road, only from Alice Springs to Port Augusta, so I cannot offer the input you're after. Well, perhaps I can for that Alice to Port section of the "themed route":

Q1 Plan: I planned for a quick, "no frills" trip home after spending time in the Red Centre. I planned two overnights - one at a roadside rest area and the other via a short diversion to a caravan park at Woomera.
What happened?: The rest area was crowded with rubbish everywhere. We went over a dune to get away from people and mess, but found the immediate area strewn with toilet tissue and human "droppings". We went further from where we were supposed to be, away from the mess, and enjoyed a decent camp. But the official rest area was a disgrace.

Q2 Mode of travel: 4WD and off-road hybrid camper.
How did it affect experience? Positively as it always does. It allows us to be totally independent, which is most of the time, to choose where we stay without requiring facilities and to make rapid changes of plan if necessary, all in a great degree of comfort.

As others have said, the purpose of this particular leg was not to go on that road as such, but simply to get home as quickly as possible after spending the maximum available time at our preferred location..

Good luck with your research.

Frank
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:43

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:43
@Baz Hi Baz....

Thanks for taking interest in my research.

The intention is to understand and highlight the differences between the experiences of people using the road to travel to destinations Vs the experiences of people using the road as a destination in itself. As Michelle pointed out, the nature of ExplorOz members, it would be a perfect platform to have this discussion about being on the road and its experiences given Stuart Highway's theme of outback adventure.

Yes I am trying to understand the demand for themed routes not only by 4WD but also by other people taking the Ghan, walking, cycling or in their motorhomes etc. That would explain the influence of mode on experience combined with the notion of the theme.

Hope you would fill in with your thoughts :)

@Frank

hehehe I love the way you use the term human droppings! :P

I am sure not everyone does the entire 3000kms, hence its not a problem if you havent travelled the entire length. Who all were you travelling with? was it a fun family trip? or a solo one?How did you plan the trip? where all did you stop on the way for say sight-seeing or relaxation? Did you plan to be on the road the entire day? How was that experience?

Also, its interesting to see how your experience of the rest area changed your plans for accommodation, similarly were there any other happenings, events etc which made you change your itinerary in any way? For example, stopping at a particular place for more time than intended cause may be you liked the scenery or you travelled more number of hours on the road cause it gave you that sense of peace? Anything on these lines?

I know independence is a big reason to take a self drive vehicle, but could you please elaborate as to how taking the 4WD helped in particular instances with examples? A lot of people decide about taking the 4WD so that they can go offroading, did you go offroading too? was that a part of your plan?

Sorry if I am bothering you with my detailed questions! :P

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 18:57

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 18:57
Phew, so many questions. I'll try to answer for you.

"Who all were you travelling with?"the
The Stuart Hwy leg was part of our return home after 16 weeks in Pilbara and Kimberley regions of WA. Up there we travelled with 4 other couples. We left them at Halls Creek and we commenced our solo journey home from there via the Tanami Road to Alice Springs, then the Stuart Hwy to Port Augusta and then part way south toward Adelaide. But we turned east not long after Port Augusta.

"was it a fun family trip? or a solo one?"
The touring in WA was with a group of 5 retired couples, each in their own vehicle.

"How did you plan the trip?"
Not sure what you want here. We had definite places (themed roads and locations) we wanted to see in WA which are not part of your study. The Group worked out the itinerary over a period of months. The Tanami then the Stuart Hwy and then part of the HWY to Adelaide was the logical way home for us - no planning required, just do it to get home.

"where all did you stop on the way for say sight-seeing or relaxation?"
On the section you are interested in we spent 5 days in Alice Springs before starting the Stuart Hwy segment. Touring, sightseeing, visiting historical places, R&R, vehicle maintenance, buying some aboriginal art, chilling out. We stayed at a caravan park.

We stayed two nights at Woomera caravan park so we could spend a full day at the visitor centre. (Woomera is part of Australia's rocket and nuclear testing history.) Port Augusta for a meal and fuel, then two nights at Mt Remarkable Nat Park bushwalking and catching up with friends we met by chance.

"Did you plan to be on the road the entire day? How was that experience?"
No. We plan shortish driving days. For a travel day we'll be on the road by about 9:30 after a leisurely start. Then lunch, then plan to be stopped by 3pm, 4 at the latest.

"Also, its interesting to see how your experience of the rest area changed your plans for accommodation, similarly were there any other happenings, events etc which made you change your itinerary in any way? For example, stopping at a particular place for more time than intended cause may be you liked the scenery or you travelled more number of hours on the road cause it gave you that sense of peace? Anything on these lines?"
Not in the section of road you're interested in.

"I know independence is a big reason to take a self drive vehicle, but could you please elaborate as to how taking the 4WD helped in particular instances with examples? A lot of people decide about taking the 4WD so that they can go offroading, did you go offroading too? was that a part of your plan?"

On the section of road you're interested in the 4WD was of no relevance. As I and others have said, that road is just a means to get somewhere else. It and its close-by attractions are all accessible by 2WD. Our 4WD was for the main parts of our trip in WA and for load-carrying and towing our hybrid camper.

May I suggest that detailed answers to your study questions may not be of interest to the readership of this site. Perhaps you could invite submissions to be sent to an email address. I think that would be more appropriate.

Good luck with your study.
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 16:27

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 16:27
@Frank


Thanks for answering my questions with so much patience! I would love to receive feedback on my email address if that is not a problem with you or other members of the group. You are right that makes more sense and helps me connect with all of you better.

I would love to share my email ID for the purpose. In case the moderator feels its not appropriate please do feel free to delete the reply and I will restrict myself to the post answers. :)

Do let me know if I can send you my email ID in a message for a detailed trip report on your experience of the Explorer's Way.

Thanks

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Reply By: gke - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 15:22

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 15:22
Hi Namita,
Firstly good luck with your project.
Could I make a suggestion though.
There is what I regard as an unfortunate trend for tourism interests to replace the original names honouring our early explorers when referring to highways.
With your research and thesis could I suggest you use terms such as Stuart, Landsborough,etc. which I believe are still the official names.
All the best, Graham.
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:48

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:48
Hi Graham,

Thanks for your best wishes.

I don't know whether its unfortunate or fortunate, but Explorer's Way is a name given to highlight and encourage tourism at all destinations linking the Stuart Highway. Hence they haven't changed the name of the highway, but they are marketing the entire road and connecting destinations as part of Explorer's Way. And it is a very important observation as to understand whether users of the Stuart Highway are actually aware that they are travelling on a marketed route and have several destinations that they can visit.

Do let me know your thoughts on it. :)
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 16:42

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 16:42
Hi Namita, good luck with your PhD.

If you aren't committed to the Stuart Hwy can I suggest an alternative for a couple of reasons.

1)Despite having travelled on that road quite a few times, I have never heard of it being referred to as the Explorer's way. I don't think it has been marketed actively or well.
2)There is a huge mix of traffic that doesn't take into account any marketing.

One alternative is the Outback Way, marketed as Australia's longest short cut. It is a remote set of unconnected dirt roads that has been brought together under one brand.
Website

It really has promoted travel on these roads and people clearly use it for specific purposes. I am sure it has been a huge success.

Anyway good luck either way.
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:04

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:04
Hi Boobook,

Thanks for your wishes.

Really like the Outback Way, seems promising for a 4WD trip and future study!

Unfortunately, my case study cannot be changed now, Tourism NT and Tourism South Australia, even Tourism Australia have promoted it in a big way on their websites. But I guess, they might not have put road signs or communicated it to their regional tourism information centres yet. Well, I will give you an update once I travel on it later this year.

Though it is extremely interesting to see that you and you are right, a lot of other users are not aware of the route being marketed as Explorer's Way. So, a lot of users travel on it without any marketing required, hence the demand might actually be there, which makes it an interesting case study, as I can study the experiences of people who travel on it without being enticed to do so. :P

Do let me know what you feel about people travelling on Stuart Highway and why do you think they do so? Have you travelled on it? How did you travel on it, where all did you stop? What was your experience?

Thanks







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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 15:28

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 15:28
Yes, I see what you mean and the lack of recognition of the Explorers Way does provide scope for study and improvement.

There are many others who are more familiar with the road than I.

My main feedback is that I currently perceive the road just as a major link between Adelaide, Coober Pedy, The Uluru turn off, Alice and as a feeder to Darwin. I perceive that it is quite distinct from these destinations and a road to be endured at as high a speed as possible to get it over and done with.

Having said that, I do see the unlimited speed section as a destination in its own right to a degree.

Good luck



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Follow Up By: Namita R - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 16:20

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 16:20
Thanks for your reply Boobook!

I do understand what you are saying, the road in itself may not be considered as a destination, apart from its unlimited speed section. Could you elaborate on why you think unlimited speed would be an attraction for travellers? Do you think its to do with adventure, sense of freedom?

Thanks
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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 23:40

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 23:40
I'm confused as to why the consideration of a road as being a destination. No road I've been on in Australia so far has been travelled just to see the road itself. Bitumen and dirt are about the same everywhere. It's always either to get somewhere or to see the attractions that the road provides access to, and even that can be to places quite some distance from the main route.

I can see the supposedly unlimited section of the Stuart Hwy being a destination in itself for wannabe hoons just to try out their vehicle but it is also used as a hot weather and high speed test road for vehicle manufacturers sometimes. I purposely used the word "supposedly" as regardless of what speed you may be doing, if in the opinion of a Police Officer the speed was inappropriate for the conditions or other reasons then you can be booked for relevant offences. People should not assume that just because there is a open speed limit section that enforcement is lacking. If my experience a few months ago was normal then the Highway Patrol is actively Policing that road. They weren't after me, rather I sought them out to have them chat to someone.
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 11:55

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 11:55
@Phil

Perhaps the idea of Explorer's Way is much larger than it being considered a road. As its a marketing term given to the road AND the connected destinations along the way. A lot of people talk about DOING the Explorer's Way or the Stuart Highway, what they mean is I guess visiting the connected destinations through the highway. The interesting part is that there are several people that I came across in my research who would travel on the road by different modes of transport such as a bike, walk, motorhome etc and camp anywhere along the way, just to feel part of the outback! The dirt roads, offroading 4WD tours in the countryside excites them. People do stop over (including myself) at pretty sights or at places with scenic views which they would come across while driving. Hence in that context, the road, the connected destinations, all form part of the entire experience. Sometimes the best memory you have from a trip might be of a lame joke related to the outback you shared in the car while driving on the highway! :) And for some the experience of travelling on the road itself might be a lifetime goal!

Do let me know what your thoughts are? Have you had any such experiences while travelling on the highway?

What thrill do you think one would get with unlimited speed? Why would that experience be important? Is it because it made you feel free of any rules, what emotion does that invoke? I am sure highway patrol would be seen as a deterrent to the experience for such a person! :P
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Reply By: equinox - Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 23:33

Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 at 23:33
Hi Namita,
Two of the most popular themed routes by readers of Exploroz would be the Gunbarrel Highway and the Canning Stock Route. I'm not saying they are the only ones by far.

There are many varieties of people on these routes and have similarly varied reasons for attempting the journey.

You may have your heart set on the Stuart Highway - however, there are other options.

Cheers
Alan

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


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Follow Up By: Namita R - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:09

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:09
hehehe ..... you are probably right Alan, I did have my heart set on the Stuart Highway since I first learnt about Australia! One of the primary reasons why I wanted to do my PhD on it.

But well I do realize that there are other options, yet Explorer's Way fits my research framework best and I have already started collecting data on it.

Thanks for your post! have you travelled on it? Did you like it? :)
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 00:40

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 00:40
I had heard of the Explorer's Way, but would have had no idea which road it was.
It is the Stuart Highway, always will be, and giving it a new name is a mistake in my view will not make the slightest difference to how or when we travel it.

The first few times we travelled it we did so in Minis and sought to see whatever we could along the way, dictated by the time we had available, which was generally not much. They were serious adventures for us as they were in the 60s and 70s and the road was gravel, rock and sand for the southern half and single lane bitumen with 25% returned to gravel for the northern half.

Since the southern half was realigned and bitumenised and the northern half rebuilt and we changed to 4WD motorhomes as transport, it is a method of getting somewhere quickly and we avoid it as much as possible, preferring any alternative route, unless they are all closed due to water.

I would name it as one of the 3 most boring and uninteresting roads in the country.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 01:18

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 01:18
Peter, while recognising that you have travelled on it from earlier times to me I would disagree with the description as boring. Living at the top end of it basically since 1973 and born and raised at the Southern end (sort of) I've travelled it many times and the only time I've been bored with it was the first trip North after they wrecked the Pimba to NT border stretch by using that black stuff. With stints of work at Katherine, Tennant and Alice at times and getting to and from Adelaide for family or work reasons it did used to be a bit of an adventure but I still enjoy every trip and have driven it many times, day and night, in preference to a boring 4 hour flight. The only really tedious trips I've done were when temperatures were above 40 DegC.

The articles that have been posted here by Doug have expanded my knowledge and appreciation of it's history. Together with my wife's family history up here going back to the 1870's and their association with the NT and the places away from the Stuart Hwy that I've been to so far still leaves much to see.

The Stuart Hwy is more than just the stretch of bitumen linking Darwin to Pt Augusta and I hope the OP does include that wider picture, especially by reading Doug's articles.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:09

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:09
OK, "boring" is too strong a word. Let's just say, the alternative roads where they head in the right direction, are more interesting. And yes, I would sooner drive it than fly (unless in a light aircraft which gives an entirely different perspective).

Much of the southern end is 'new' in terms of alignment and the original route and the stations it used to pass through is generally lost history to modern travellers. Kingoonya is an exception, but is a significant detour.
The top end is better preserved in that regard. We of the Never Never and WW2 airfields come to mind.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:30

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:30
@Peter Hi Peter,

Thanks for your views! its interesting to note that even though you find alternative roads more interesting than Stuart Highway, you would still want to drive it than fly! :) Why do you think that is?

So you think the road condition added to your experience previously and now that it has been bitumenized it has changed for you? or is it the places it used to connect? I am sorry, I am not really aware of its previous alignment, is there any weblink or resource where I could check that out?

Also could you elaborate on your experience of the minis Vs your 4WD motorhome and how they influenced your idea of adventure? This would be a really interesting subject to understand for me! Thanks

@Phil

I agree with you on the route being adventurous, but just curious to know why you found it adventurous on other occassions and tedious on extreme weather days? was it that you had to stop regularly for water etc? Your vehicle could not withstand the heat? In general, the sights? Sorry to be intrusive but I am just trying to understand what qualified it to be adventurous vs tedious thereby impacting your experience.

Also could you please direct me to the articles by Doug, so I can get an insight on its history. What re the places that you have visited and how? It would be great to know about your most interesting trips on the highway and what made them interesting! Would love to know more from you, probably explaining adventure and thrill which is the theme selected for marketing the route.

Thanks

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 12:06

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 12:06
.
Hi Peter,

I appreciate your 'historical' sentiments. But as you remarked, the Stuart Highway was not the original route from Adelaide to Darwin. It was a series of tracks, notably the Oodnadatta Track and the Alice to Darwin track. At that time it was not named the Stuart Highway. That only came into being in 1987 when the new road to the west was completed.

Officially, the Stuart Hwy is from Port Augusta to Darwin. The 'Explorer's Way' was coined for tourism marketing and applies to the entire route from Adelaide to Darwin and yes, to those of us who take a close interest in the roads and tracks under our wheels, the name duplicity can be confusing and disturbing. A big problem is that "He who writes history, makes history" and these alternate names can eventually become the established names with the original identification becoming lost.

Incidentally, the Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy has a comprehensive wall display of the construction of the Stuart Highway. Worth visiting, underground as I remember.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 23:55

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 23:55
Alan, I reckon the 'Stuart Highway' existed long before 1987 on the ground, even if not by that name and certainly the route via Kingoonya and Coober Pedy was well established when we first drove to Darwin and return in 1967 (and Adelaide to Uluru and return in 1970 and Alice to Adelaide in 1974).
--------------------------------------------------
Thanks for your views! its interesting to note that even though you find alternative roads more interesting than Stuart Highway, you would still want to drive it than fly! :) Why do you think that is?
-------------------------------------------
Commercial flying is purely 'transport'. You are simply cargo. Nothing interesting is ever likely to happen. There is little to see of the country as you pass high over it (unless in a private light aircraft) and you are not in control.
Driving is always likely to provide a new experience via the country, the wildlife or those who you meet along the way, if you take the time, and you can, if you choose to.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
So you think the road condition added to your experience previously and now that it has been bitumenized it has changed for you? or is it the places it used to connect? I am sorry, I am not really aware of its previous alignment, is there any weblink or resource where I could check that out?
-----------------------------------------
Both of those.
The old southern road alignment (before the bitumen) connected the station homesteads along the way. There were maybe a dozen of them linked. Some provided basic facilities for travellers and they were places to savoir and 'meet the locals'.
Now there are a handful of road houses with purely commercial interests in the travellers and they are typically staffed by casuals who probably won't be there next time you call in.
There were really only 2 towns on the road, Kingoonya and Coober Pedy, and Kingoonya was bypassed, leaving just Coober Pedy.
The new alignment is several hundred kilometres shorter than the old one. In the past it took several days to get from Adelaide to Alice. Now it is done in one day in daylight only, by some that do it regularly as a 'commute'.
I don't know much about the route between Alice and Darwin before WW2. In 1967, the bitumen road that the Yanks built during the war was starting to break up quite badly. I would guess that 25% of it had returned to gravel by then.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Also could you elaborate on your experience of the minis Vs your 4WD motorhome and how they influenced your idea of adventure? This would be a really interesting subject to understand for me!
------------------------------------
Despite the road conditions, 4WDs were relatively rare and many people who drove those roads were invariably 'adventurers'. Now they are 'travellers' or salesmen or simply people commuting between Adelaide, Alice and Darwin.
Those who were 'adventurers' typically travelled in what ever cars they had. It was rare to be financially capable of owning something specifically designed for these sort of roads.
And being 'adventurers' they were invariable people you would want to meet and to talk to, irrespective of their mode of travel.
We had Minis, so that is what we travelled in.
Now we are fortunate to own something that can take us almost wherever we want to go, over almost any country, for long periods and in some comfort. And we are not alone. There are many thousands able to do likewise.
That being the case, why would we now choose to stay on the bitumen when there are many other choices available.
Since retirement, we have more time available to travel than we ever did. We try to minimise using routes that we have experienced before and we choose new routes. We are hungry to see country and places we've not seen before. We tend not to 'commute' between places. We usually travel alone.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome.
EDIT... We drove Adelaide to Darwin in 1967 for our honeymoon. I had a sister and brother in law who lived there and we did not expect to see them at the wedding. As it turned out, they drove down and went back at about the same time as we did (in an Austin 1800). They drove faster than we did.
Our trip was 3 weeks. We included a week in Darwin in that, spent a couple of days in the West Macs and came home via Uluru and Mulga Park.
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Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 02:16

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 02:16
Roy, there were 5 articles posted by Doug under the heading "Sunday history photo / NT" that you can search for and the Thread ID's started at 131007 then each Sunday afterwards for the set. These would give a good insight as to conditions back to WW2 era but it would be best to contact Doug if you wish to use any of it.

As to my own experiences I'll see about putting something together as an attachment rather than take up column space here and others can choose to not read if they wish. While my history only goes back to 1973 when I first came up to Darwin for work, my Mother-in Laws family goes back to around the 1870's and my Father-in-Law coming up with the Army in 1942. They had family trips South starting in about 1954 driving to Alice and then what was probably a steam train to Marree then driving again. Sadly not enough was written or survived of some of that era for them.
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FollowupID: 863593

Follow Up By: Namita R - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 16:55

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 16:55
@Allan

Thanks for taking interest in this topic.

I agree about the name duplicity being confusing, but I think as Explorer's Way is the name given to the experience and not the Stuart Highway its a different ball game. But I guess, more effort is required to promote the area. Just like great ocean road is not only that but is actually highway B100. I feel 'Explorer's Way actually glorifies the Stuart Highway and the destinations along the road. What do you think?

@Peter

'Driving is always likely to provide a new experience via the country, the wildlife or those who you meet along the way, if you take the time, and you can, if you choose to.'

Completely agree with you on this! Do you think there is anything special of the sorts you mentioned on the highway? Some country sites that were etched in your mind? encounter with wildlife which is a treasured experience? any of the sorts...

'The old southern road alignment (before the bitumen) connected the station homesteads along the way. There were maybe a dozen of them linked. Some provided basic facilities for travellers and they were places to savoir and 'meet the locals'.'

Are there any interesting stories about the locals you met, some new information you gathered which made you cherish your memories? Sorry but could you also elaborate on station homesteads and what were they like? how are roadhouses different from them?

Love your ideas about relatedness of adventure and rareness of 4WD in the older times! Its a revelation for young people who would not know the importance of travelling on 4WD now! So, which offroad places would you now prefer to drive your 4WD on and why?

But must say ... must be a hell of a honeymoon! :) SO adventurous!

Sorry to put you through a load of questions again .... do let me know if you would be interested to continue the conversation on an email thread or if this is fine.

@Phil

Seems like WW2 played a major role in the area's history, I have read other users talking about it too. Will definitely look into Doug's articles. Thanks for sending me the details!

Your and your wife's family trips on the road would definitely provide a lot of insight to my research. I request you to kindly talk about your experiences of the road in an email. Please do let me know if I could message you my email ID and we can discuss in detail there!

Also request the moderator to comment if that would be ok as I am new to the community and not sure if taking a discussion off-page is an acceptable rule.

Look forward to hearing more from you Phil!
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FollowupID: 863624

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 21:19

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 21:19
I am sure most here aren't interested in my ramblings, so maybe post your email address?
EDIT: Found a quote I like....
"However, with speed and ease of travel comes a loss of community. As a road train thunders past, Glen talks of quieter times along the highway, when travelling its stretches was a social occasion.
"You could just stop and boil a billy when you wanted to, light a fire and camp on the side of the road with a big bonfire going and people would pull up and share your fire and it was just a real friendly road," says Glen."
http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2008/08/01/2321192.htm

In 1967, I learned an important lesson from this truckie. Flat tyres were a regular thing in those days. This guy had stopped because he thought he had a flat.



But he did not immediately set about fixing it. The first thing he did after getting out of the cab was to light a fire and put the billy on. While it was getting hot, he checked all the tyres and found the flat.
Then he had a cuppa.
Then he fixed the flat. And I mean 'fixed it'. Pulled out the tube, found the leak, patched it and put it back together.
And we shared a chat and his cuppa.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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FollowupID: 863632

Follow Up By: Member - PhilD_NT - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 23:44

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 23:44
Peter, ramble on.
I'll never read all postings on the Forum, but the ones that do interest me get read fully, so long as they stay friendly.
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FollowupID: 863639

Follow Up By: Namita R - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:07

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:07
@Peter

I am sharing my research email ID which has been especially created to log in all details from my research. Its namitaroyresearch@gmail.com. Hope we can continue the discussion there! :)

Btw how amazing is this quote!! In a way summarises so many experiences that you have while being on a road in the outback! covers the idea of isolation, tranquility, thrill, adventure, and the idea of road becoming a social space! Thanks for sharing the link!

The use of the billy itself is so characteristic of the theme of adventure in the outback! Your truckie did share an important message!! :) hehehe learning to be calm in a storm!

@Phil

Do feel free to pitch in through email .... this conversation is just getting interesting :)
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FollowupID: 863717

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:44

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:44
Alan B said....
"I appreciate your 'historical' sentiments. But as you remarked, the Stuart Highway was not the original route from Adelaide to Darwin. It was a series of tracks, notably the Oodnadatta Track and the Alice to Darwin track. At that time it was not named the Stuart Highway. That only came into being in 1987 when the new road to the west was completed. "

Alan, I dug out a "Coober Pedy 1:250,000" map printed in 1966.
The road is clearly labelled "Stuart Highway".
This is a small piece of it I scanned.



Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 23:06

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 23:06
Hi all,

Here's a page shown from my book, Highways of Australia (circa-1949-50)
It doesn't name the highway however shows the route.


A page showing railways


Cheers
Alan

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 13:18

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 13:18
Interesting.
My memory is fading, but the northern section on your map is not the route I recall ever taking.
I am quite sure that in 1967 we went via Granite Downs, DeRose Hill, Victory Downs and Kulgera.
The modern day Kulgera roadhouse may be in a different place from the Kulgera homestead of that time too.
I have another old map that I am trying to scan that is closer to where we went, but still not the same. Undated unfortunately.
It is clear that the "main road" changed quite a lot from time to time. Probably depending on the last rain.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 13:43

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 13:43
Just dug out some more '60-'65 1:250,000 maps (they used to cost me a fortune).
Going north from Coober Pedy, they show the (named) Stuart Highway going via Mabel Creek, Mt Willoughby, Wintinna, Welbourne Hill, Marla Bore (it was just a bore), 10km west of Granite Downs, Micks Camp (old homestead), Derose Hill (but just a hill, no homestead marked), Agnes Creek, Sundown Outstation, Mt Cavenagh and Kulgera.
We did not have the 1:250,000s in 1967. I recall we had a BP road map or similar plus strip maps from the RAA. We made lots of correction notes on them and gave them back to the RAA after we got home.
In 1971, we drove to Ayres rock and back to Adelaide over the Easter 4 day break (in a MIni K) to meet some friends there. We went via the western side of Lake Gairdner to Kingoonya then via the Stuart Highway and then Mulga Park. A fair bit was in the dark, so don't recall the route as well as 1967.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome.
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FollowupID: 863847

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 18:52

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 18:52
My memories are somewhat dim about much of my only trip in 1975, down the dirt/gravel Stuart H'way south of the Alice, but do recall I called in at Kulgera, Coober Pedy and Kingoonya, before arriving in Port Augusta.

As well as the "moon scape", south of Coober, and the stark red country around the Island Lake and the other salt lakes, do remember one small section near Mt Willoughby(a friend's brother was managing the station at the time, not that I called in) that was severely corrugated. I had a Holden HT ute, and used to keep it going, most of the time. On one particular sweeping bend to the left, the ute entered the bend on the extreme left, and some meters later, exited said bend on the extreme RHS, thanks to the corrugations and err, perhaps a little too much loud pedal. :-)

That was probably one of the worst sections, as it improved somewhat down near Kingoonya

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Jan 21, 2016 at 16:23

Thursday, Jan 21, 2016 at 16:23
This is the scan of part of the other old map I mentioned.
It has a different route for the Stuart Highway (which is not named south of Alice).



And a couple of tyre storys from 1967.....
No one criticised our vehicle choice (the Mini) for the trip, buy there were some criticisms of our tyre choice.
We fitted Pirelli radials. A bit radical. They were rag tyres, but no one thought radials were a good idea at all. We carried 2 complete spares on the pack rack.

West of Spuds Roadhouse at Pimba was a very stony section of road. I could smell burning rubber and stopped several times to try locate its source. Eventually I happened to put my hand onto the inside wall of the LH rear tyre and burnt myself. A rock had become jammed between the tyre and the rear radius arm and had worn through the sidewall rubber down to the canvas for a width of about 25mm. I got the rock out and concluded that the tyre was stuffed but since it was still holding air, I left it there and we drove on.....

On the way home north of Alice, Margaret was driving (she had had a licence for about a month total). We were on a gravel section where the single lane bitumen had completely broken up. We overtook a semi moving van and I leaned over and gave a couple of cheeky honks on the horn. A while later I am not sure if we had a blow out and that caused a loss of control or the loss of control caused the blowout, but we finished up off the side of the road and bogged in the gravel with a flat RH rear tyre.



Not long later, the truck caught up and stopped. I had a length of nylon rope that he used to pull us back onto the road. It stretched a long way before the Mini came out like a cork out of a bottle.
We had invented the snatch strap :)
Thank you Mr Mitchell.
When we stopped for the next camp, I repaired the puncture.



The next tyre issue was on the outskirts of Adelaide just a few ks from home. The LH rear tyre went flat. The one that had the sidewall chewed out near Pimba on the way north. Not surprised, but delighted it had lasted so well, I removed it only to find a 150mm long piece of 6mm steel rod poking out of the sidewall.
I did not fix that one.

So much for those new fangled radial tyres.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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FollowupID: 863900

Follow Up By: Namita R - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 16:53

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 16:53
Guys,

Really interesting maps!! SO much has changed in the past years!

@Allan for the purpose of my research, 'Explorer's Way' includes all roads connecting Adelaide to Darwin including the Oodnadatta track, the Old Ghan trail, the Ghan trip and and the Stuart Highway. So your experiences on either of these are welcome! :)

@Peter @Equinox @Bob
Don't you feel that sometimes stories from such testing times become the most memorable stories from a trip! It seems the road, the vehicle and the remote terrain have all added to your experiences!
Amazing insights!

Did you ever feel scared in these remote parts? Did you feel a sense of danger? Where all did you stay? And what were your experiences with the aboriginal culture? It is an added attraction on the road. Do you think so?

Do keep the stories coming in. :)
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 21:55

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 21:55
The road, the vehicle, the terrain and the like minded and local people are the adventure and the little disasters that we all have and survive become the dine out stories for years after :)

'Remote' is a state of mind. This road was never remote in our minds, not when someone will come along today, or tomorrow.

We camped off the side of the road, up wind of the dust of any occasional vehicles.

Scared? What of? Maybe in the early days we were just young and stupid? That has gradually been replaced with some experience and that keeps us out of trouble. We are also much better prepared now and rescue from a serious mishap is generally only hours or a day away, so the real risks to life and limb are much lower than they were.
The biggest risk is to the wallet from a bad vehicle break down in an area devoid population and support.

In 1967, our only contact with the local Aboriginal people was near Mulga Park station homestead. We saw none at Uluru and I don't recall them in Alice, but there must have been some, but we had no personal contact.

In these days, many Aboriginal men were working as stockmen on the cattle stations. They had a reputation for being good horsemen and excellent stockmen.

Our first contact was with 3 boys about 6 or 7 years old. They waved us down from the side of the road. There was no English spoken, but they wanted something in the back of the Mini and hung through the windows pointing and chatting enthusiastically. We offered water - no, oranges - no, eventually Margaret picked up a box of tissues - YES, that's what they wanted and immediately started wiping their runny noses. We gave them the box.

Everyone happy, we said our goodbyes and started to drive away. As I accelerated, I looked in the mirror. Through the dust I could only see 2 of them. They were on the road, jumping and laughing and waving their arms about. Where was the other one? At about 30 kph, he appeared in the dust at the back of the vehicle, rolling along the road. He had dragged behind in the sand, hanging onto the bumper bar. Apparently unhurt, he stood up and waved us goodbye.

Over 48 years ago, but you don't forget stuff like that.

A few km further along, we saw a small group of humpies about 100m off the side of the road.
A few people gave us friendly waves as we approached, so we stopped and walked over. The humpies were about 1.5m high at the front with a sloping ridge to near ground level at the opposite end. Big enough for 2 or 3 people to sleep in. They were made from local materials including a crude thatch of sticks and grass. Some had a few pieces of iron or a tarp. There were 6 or 8 men and women and a couple of very small kids and half a dozen dogs.

There was an older man sat next to a fire, scraping a piece of wood. We got the impression that we were welcome so went over to him. He was carving a snake from a beautiful piece of Mulga wood. He spoke excellent English and told us he made artifacts for the occasional tour bus that came past. we asked him if we could buy it, but he said no because it was not finished. So we sat down near the fire and waited and watched as he worked on it. His tools were a tomahawk, a large knife, a large old rasp and a broken bottle. He was scraping the file marks off with the broken glass. He also had some light coloured items that had patterns burnt into them with pieces of red hot fencing wire from the fire.

After about an hour, he agreed to sell it to us. I don't recall the price, but we only had a note that was something bigger and he said 'No problem, I have change in the bank' and retrieved a 50mm roll of notes from a humpy and gave us change.

That man had the most beautiful face.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
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FollowupID: 863943

Reply By: Member - tazbaz - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 07:37

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 07:37
It would help if you can tell us what your thesis is, if any
AnswerID: 594930

Follow Up By: Namita R - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:32

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:32
Hi tazbaz,

I think I have described my research in reply to Frank's question too, but I would love to share it here again! :)

My research involves studying the value that is derived by travellers on a themed route. The aim of themed routes is to connect two or more destinations in a region under a unified theme by different modes of travel. Examples of such routes would be Route 66 in the United States of America, Hadrian’s Wall in the United Kingdom, as well as Old Ghan Railway, Great Ocean Road, and Explorer’s Highway in Australia. The Australian tourism industry markets more than 50 themed routes of national, state or regional significance.

Many studies suggest that themed routes are a supply driven initiative as a result of innovative aggregation of supply networks, with demand parameters still unestablished. This poses a serious problem in assessing the long term viability and longevity of themed routes as sustainable regional tourism development initiatives. My research focuses on understanding tourism demand on themed routes through a qualitative assessment of the value derived from travelling on themed routes rethinking consumption as shared cultural norms and lived experience.

Now this value for individuals could be related to their mode of travel (for instance people cycling the road would stop at different locations and seek different experiences compared to 4WD drivers!), the road itself, the sense of achievement, adventure, thrill, loss of time etc. And it will all dictate how they modify or plan their trip or vice versa!

Over the years, the internet has become a very important resource for travellers for searching, shopping, buying and sharing travel experiences in real time. The research will explore how people’s experiences are impacted by mode of travel, the route they choose and the overall theme. Hence qualitative understandings of online interactions of people travelling together yet apart along a similar journey would provide a good starting point to understand how and where tourists find value in ‘consuming’ themed routes.

Stuart Highway is being promoted as Explorer's Way and is hence my chosen case study and I would hence focus and study one themed route and figure out the connections between the theme, mobility and the value derived.

Do let me know if you have any other questions, would love to get to know more from you!

Thanks
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FollowupID: 863540

Reply By: Sigmund - Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:47

Friday, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:47
Hi Namita,

Good luck with your data gathering. This is my bit ...

Have travelled it a number of times between Port Augusta and Alice Springs. Don't ID as as the Explorer's Way. (The Stuart stops at PA. Is the Explorer's Way claimed to extend to Adelaide?). These have been trips with a planned arrival so with a required number of av k's per day to cover.

1. Always for tourism with the primary purpose of getting off it - to get to the Centre for the standard sights and also to access some more remote drives like the Finke Gorge NP and Ruby Gap. Unexpected pleasures have been Coober Pedy (a model for post-global-warming living?), Alice Springs itself (cosmopolitan; big marks for the Desert park), and the proximity of the interesting geology and natural history of the East and West Macs. There's a pretty diverse mix of travellers and workers on the route and it's always interesting to observe how people go about it.

2. Mode was an SUV and later a 4WD both with a camper trailer - looking to keep accommodation costs down. Impact? Lots of boredom staring at the blacktop but good to have the flexibility. There are some views that always give me a buzz such as the salt lakes you go between in SA and the Flinders and the gulf when driving south you start dropping down to the plains and Port Augusta.
On the highway the minimal services that I need are there; no real logistical surprises. The rest stops and toilets are frequent enough. The odd info board on the SA side breaks the boredom. Yes, the crap habits of some travellers never fails to disgust.
Given the destination in mind I don't really linger or idly wander off the route. These days I might commit in advance to a day in Coober Pedy or more in the Alice.

HTH.
AnswerID: 594959

Follow Up By: Namita R - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 17:07

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 17:07
@Sigmund

Thanks for your interest!

Yeah a lot of users dont identify it as Explorer's Way, but all the destination management companies are marketing the road as one. Guess a lot more effort is required on their end! :P

So when you say planned arrivals, can I assume that you used the road just to travel from Port Augusta to Alice? Did you have a specific destination you wanted to visit each time?

1. hehehe I love the way you describe your purpose as getting off the road! Can I assume you hated the hours spent on the road? or was it that boring? Also, could you elaborate on the unexpected pleasures? How was your experience at Coober Pedy and why do you call it unexpected? Could you also elaborate on the kind of people you met and how they influenced your understanding of the area or your experience?

2. Wow! this is a really good insight of your experience on the road! I feel the boredom associated with driving in itself allows you to self-analyze situations in your life, reminisce etc! Did you ever feel that way? Did you ever associate camper trailer with adventure? the fact that you were living with the basic amenities? generally thinking aloud!

Thanks
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FollowupID: 863625

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 08:43

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 08:43
Pleasure Namita. Good data is the heart of a thesis and I'm happy to help.

Yes, we had a destination on these trips so the road was just a means.

We didn't hate the hours on the road, not at all. Just found many of them boring. And yes, we yarned and joked and reminisced about old trips. The first couple of times we took books and CDs and actually didn't use them while on the road; the landscape has a presence which demands your attention.

Coober Pedy? Well, it's like an image of a post-apocalyptic world, with people living underground and settling differences with guns and explosives. Something like 12 police for < 3000 residents. Outside of town there's the mounds of white spoil making the plain look like an insect colony.

Our informant there was a local ex-miner who did the guided tours with the mini-bus so we heard a good deal about digging holes to make money, the characters of the place, the council shenanigans and the challenges of water and electricity supply.

The Alice was unexpectedly striking in its physical location and rich in its cultural resources: the Museum, Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame, Road Transport Hall of Fame, Desert Park and the Olive Pink Botanical Garden. Of course it's the gateway to the East and West Macs, the Rock etc. And it's a case study in racial inequality.

We like to chat to the backpackers who hold up retail trade in the outback. While the Stuart may not strike us as such an adventure it appears to with many European travellers who are usually stoked to be out there.

Yes, the CT is part of the meaning of travel for us, introducing an element of uncertainty. Many evenings we're not sure what the camp is going to look like: a bit of magic to ourselves or a noisy dirty dump close to the road or close to other travellers who can't get by without getting bleep and making a racket. Is it going to rain or blow and keep us awake, will we hear dingos howling in the morning, what will the sun reveal that was hidden when we arrived?

HTH.
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Follow Up By: Namita R - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:31

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:31
Thanks Sigmund, really appreciate it!

The whole activity of talking, joking and reminiscing about old trips when you are confined in a vehicle in itself adds to your experience, don't you think so? did you make plans while on the road? probably saw some sign board and instantly thought of going there? Or may be saw a watery horizon while driving and thought of diving in cool waterfalls!

Its really interesting that the first few trips you didn't feel the need to pass your time! the views were so engrossing! Could you elaborate a bit more on that? what was it about the landscape? Also, what was the music you were listening to if I may ask? I know my brother would listen to melancholy songs, or songs about exploring the inner self while travelling on long journeys, helped him think about his life!! Such can be an impact of music combined with long trips! :) Did you have any such experiences, where you felt transported in time or self?

Thats great that you got a local ex-miner to take you around! Personal stories add so much to an experience! How did you organise this mini-bus tour? Where did you book and white whom?

What made you realise the racial inequality in Alice? was there some incident? and was that unexpected for you or something you found distasteful?

Hehehe I agree, the europeans are really enthusiastic about staying in the outback. Do share some stories of the backpackers you met. How did you like/dislike them?

I know a lot of travellers find not knowing what they might encounter or an element of uncertainity really adventurous! But do you think that driving the CT on Stuart Highway had special significance? considering it is a track known for such experiences?

This is becoming a really interesting conversation! :) Thanks again Sigmund!



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FollowupID: 863721

Reply By: Michael H9 - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 00:14

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 00:14
I've done the road quite a few times and don't quite get what the theme is. The Great Ocean Road, Darling River Run or The Great Alpine Road all have themes I can identify, but to me, an Explorers Way should be a little bit more adventurous than the Stuart Hwy.
The reason I can't identify a theme is because there is nothing special that sets it apart from some other roads that explorers may have travelled, like the Hume Hwy or the Eyre Hwy. Don't get me wrong, I like the road. It travels through a range of different landscapes that I find appealing, it has a number of quirky towns and many outstanding natural features. The range of climate from one end to the other is also quite diverse.
I think you will find most travelling the road a second or more times, are only using it as a means to get to the other end as there are no real alternatives. As an example, if I was travelling from Adelaide to Alice in a hurry with the destination as the goal, then the hwy would be the answer. If the trip was the goal then it would be Port Augusta, Marree, Oodnadatta, Mt Dare, Maryvale, Alice and all the little sights in between at a much slower pace. To me, that is more of an Explorers Way.
I've done the hwy in 2wd and 4wd cars, either solo or with family members. I rarely travel out there with other cars.....I have no friends. :-)
If I'm just with my kids, then I camp wherever, sometimes in caravan parks. If I'm with my wife then it's tar roads, motels and air con....she's an expensive girl to transport around.
Cheers.
AnswerID: 594987

Follow Up By: Namita R - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:45

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:45
Thanks for your reply Michael!

Well the Explorer's Way ideally includes all these destinations that you mention. In a way its a marketing name given to the route that connects interesting destinations in the outback! Hence its not necessarily restricted to the Stuart Highway! But yes I agree that more needs to be done to make the theme evident!

I love the fact that you mention pace to be an important dictator of experience! If trip is the goal as you say, exploration would be at a slower pace! So did you have a chance to take this slow paced strip through the destinations you mentioned? And why do you think these destinations have an element of exploration to suit the name of the theme?

hehehehe ... women in general are difficult to please! :) but on a serious note, why would you have different accommodation options with your family and wife? do kids love camping or do you want them to have the outback experience? or is it something to do with safety with your wife? a sense of danger in travelling as a couple?

lovely insights Michael! lets keep the conversation going! Would love to hear back from you!
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FollowupID: 863724

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 14:43

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 14:43
Exploring definitely does mean a slower pace to me. I don't really see how you can include the Stuart Hwy and The Oodnadatta Track as part of the same themed route. I would have thought they were completely alternate routes offering vastly different perspectives of the same countryside. They are 100's of kilometres apart in most places.
The destinations I mentioned are more primitive in their nature. You can meet unexpected obstacles and they are affected more by changes in the weather. Driving the same road in different years is a completely different experience due to these changes. This makes them much more of an adventure of the type early explorers may have been confronted with. The facilities are more primitive and the significant early explorer sites are more likely to be found there than on the tar of the Stuart Hwy.
It's been a while since the kids were with me, they aren't kids anymore. We camped because we liked it and it was cheap. My wife's idea of camping is only a 3 star motel. She's not interested at all in a lack of modern facilities so I don't even argue. On my own, I like no facilities except what I bring myself. We are both happy with the arrangement, I get to sample both ends of the scale and she just the luxury end. She has no idea why I would possibly want to drive the Simpson Desert and I wouldn't want her there complaining about the flies and such. We have no friction on this at all.
I never feel unsafe anywhere in Australia. Road accidents are the most likely form of danger you will encounter.
I hope this helps...
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FollowupID: 863733

Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 17:17

Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 at 17:17
Namita,

The Sydney Morning Herald's Weekend Magazine today (16th Jan) had a feature on the Stuart Hwy. You can find it at this link.

Cheers
FrankP

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AnswerID: 595026

Follow Up By: Namita R - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:52

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:52
Thanks for the link Frank!

Really insightful! love the way Frank describes how people don't realise the lack of civilisation and sense of danger in it today! Will read through it in detail and would love to discuss!
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FollowupID: 863725

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 00:24

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 00:24
Hi Namita

I also had to think twice about what "Explorer's Way" was. Google tells us very little, so it is not well promoted as a "Way", unlike the well known "Savannah Way" or even the "Kidman Way". I could not even find which roads the "Way" takes from Port Augusta to Adelaide, but no doubt we have travelled on most of them even if only in part.

We have travelled most of the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory, but only a little in South Australia.

The big surprise and eye opener was war history including the airfields which are still intact. Our history books at school taught us nothing of the preparation for invasion, nor of how far inland the attacks came.

With side trips, we spent six weeks between Alice Springs and Darwin, and back again to Daly Waters before turning east to continue our trip. So this was very much about the journey not the destination. Side trips from the highway included Davenport Ranges National Park, Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, and Douglas Hot Springs. Also included was three days in Darwin.

The previous year we travelled the Tanami Road from the Kimberley to Alice Springs due to a shorter time frame than would allow us to see many of the features along the Stuart Highway, and in part because the Tanami was a road to travel. The Stuart Highway was never going to be a road between two points, but a journey in itself, and I wanted to have adequate time.

To answer your initial questions, we planned to take our time and see the main parks accessed from it. What happened? We damaged a spring on the caravan out in the Davenport Ranges and were stranded there on the road for two weeks. What difficulties can be met when you break down in a remote area? The saga has been told briefly "Living ON the Road".

We travelled with an off road caravan equipped for bush camping, towed by an F250 (with a tray full of tools). Our mode of travel is to stop when we want to and stay if we want to, and with our set up we could do just that. No bookings, no real plans other than a direction, and be responsive to what we hear is worth visiting as we travel.

If you would like to ask me further about any aspects, please do so either via My Blogs, or by email, as I am unsure just what you would like to know.

Motherhen
at westnet.com.au



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Follow Up By: Namita R - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:22

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:22
Hi Motherhen,

Thanks for your input!

I do agree about Explorer's Way not being a popular promotion strategy, but Stuart highway and the destinations along the route are more historically famous than other roads I guess.

Is there a specific reason for not travelling the whole route? Were you only interested in destinations in NT? If yes then may I ask why?

Why do you think finding war history in the outback was a surprise for you? Was it because you were not looking for the experience or it was not planned? Could you elaborate on what your finding was and what you liked about it?

'With side trips, we spent six weeks between Alice Springs and Darwin, and back again to Daly Waters before turning east to continue our trip. So this was very much about the journey not the destination. Side trips from the highway included Davenport Ranges National Park, Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, and Douglas Hot Springs. Also included was three days in Darwin.'

It would be great if you can share your trip planning journey. What all did you intend to see at these places and how did you plan the days around it? Also were there any detours from your planned journey? something you came to know about on the way and wanted to explore it?

'We damaged a spring on the caravan out in the Davenport Ranges and were stranded there on the road for two weeks. What difficulties can be met when you break down in a remote area? '

WOW! that must be something! would love know your version of how you survived and how was that experience for you? what all did you do about it?

Love your philosophy of travel! So synonymous with life is an adventure! Could you elaborate on how the Stuart highway trip added to this sense of adventure? was it the places you were visiting? the lovely landscapes along with beautiful country music and your wandering thoughts through miles on end?

Please do share your email or alternatively you can write to me at namitaroyresearch@gmail.com and we can discuss these answers there!

Look forward to your response!



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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 13:13

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 13:13
Hi Namita

Our 2008 trip brought us to Alice Springs via the Tanami, returning to Western Australia via the Great Central Road. We toured to the south of Alice Springs, including the Stuart Highway as far south as the the Ernest Giles Road junction.

So we returned to Alice Springs (via the Gary Junction road from Marble Bar to Alice Springs) the following year to continue touring north.

An earlier trip involved part of the Stuart Highway between Pimba and Glendambo.

On several visits to South Australia we have taken different roads, but I do not know which ones constitute the Explorers Way. We generally avoid cities so did not go into Adelaide so bypassed it.

The surprise about the war history is because we had no idea of the extent of the war effort in northern Australia, nor of the extend of the attacks inflicted on the mainland. This was all suppressed in the media at the time, so never made it into our history books.

It was the places we visited, although every drive on a new road is enjoyed and is all part of the adventure. While we are responsive to what we hear from other travellers along the way, we did know about places like Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, Katherine Gorge and the Nitmiluk National Park, Mataranka, Devil's Marbles and a few other places along the route. Other features by the road such as memorial and war relics are signed so we stopped and looked.

Our trips are not planned with any precision, but I do research places that we can visit. We are responsive to change of plans due to added information, road conditions, weather, and time frames to get back home.

I will email more about our story of "Living ON the road". When undertaking any outback travel, we ensure we can survive for some weeks if stranded by a breakdown or closed roads.

Motherhen

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 14:20

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 14:20
Email sent.

Another point that may or may not be of interest, is about the side trip to Kakadu. You may have heard there are people who love the park and say "Kakadoo" and those who do not and say "Kakadon't". Earlier in the trip we heard plenty of "Kakadon't" opinions, but the closer we got, talking to travellers on the road, the more we got "Kakadoo" as we met people who had actually been there.

Some people are still a bit disappointed, perhaps because they think National Parks are about mountains and waterfalls, where as Kakadu is a huge wetlands and paradise for wildlife lovers. However all we met in person were not disappointed.



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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 17:30

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 17:30
I agree MH.
Kakadu hoes have a huge variety if country, including waterfalls and spectacular escarpments, unique indigenous art and extraordinary wetlands.
It is a World Heritage listed area, and justifiably so.
You can't see it in a week.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 14:48

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 14:48
Hope you have some success with your research, Namita.

I haven't travelled the full length of the Stuart H'way in one trip, but have done sections of it over the years.

In the late '60's, I travelled the 3-Ways - Katherine section and return, while I was working on a station in the Kimberley for 6 years. These trips were usually at the beginning, and end of each year, when I would travel back home for annual leave. While mostly travelled alone in a 2wd, I almost always had a dog with me, and occasionally a mate, or even a hitch hiker.

During the '70's, I travelled from 3-Ways south to Alice Springs with 2 other vehicles, about 8 of us, en route to Ayers Rock. We spent about a week in that area, before returning north and back to the station. In late '75, I travelled south again to the Alice, stayed there a couple of days, and then headed south to Kulgera and into SA.

On arrival at Coober Pedy, I managed to get some fuel, when the servo opened to re-fuel a bus. I wasn't keen to hang around there either, as a crowd outside the pub was gathered near a figure lying on the ground. Pretty rough place in those days! Kept driving and about midnight, I pulled off the road, and camped till daylight. The landscape I awoke to was far different to any I'd ever seen, even more stark and flat than the Barkly Tablelands, where I was working at the time.

The corrugations and potholes continued down past Kingoonya and the many salt lakes, until the bitumen at the Woomera turnoff.

We've since done 3 trips up the Stuart (from 3-Ways north) to Darwin to visit family who were working in Kakadu National Park. Travelled in a 4wd each time, and did a mixture of camping and paid accommodation for these trips. A few years ago, I took a road train up to Darwin from Longreach, and travelled back in another road train, sharing the driving with the other driver.

I have a photo here of the Stuart Highway, Nov, 1969, but am unable to load it, for some reason?

Good luck,
Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 595080

Follow Up By: Namita R - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:34

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:34
Hi Bob,

Thanks for pitching in.

The road, the dog and the hitchhiker, all together sound like a hollywood movie to me! Would love to know particular instances of those travels. How was the entire experience? Did you feel scared / adventurous/ friendly/ isolated. what did your discussions with the hitchhiker revolve around? the road, distance, landscape, life?? Oh please do share one story from that time! I am sure you have many to tell!

Bob! you are my man! You know the stuart highway back and forth! What interested you in the Stuart highway? How did you know about this trip and what made you take it so many times (for leisure that is) especially when it was rough! What differences do you feel about the experience between then and now? Would love to know the details from your most memorable and adventurous journeys! Especially the one on roadtrains!

Do feel free to connect with me on namitaroyresearch@gmail.com. Please do email me the picture.

Thanks

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FollowupID: 863791

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 18:33

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 18:33
No worries, Namita. :-)

Will be home in a couple of days, so will dig up what photos might be relative to your research.

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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FollowupID: 863857

Follow Up By: Namita R - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 14:01

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 14:01
Hey hey ...

Just putting in a word to see if you are back, would love to hear about your experiences in detail along with the photographs.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Happy travels!

Namita
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FollowupID: 864195

Follow Up By: Namita R - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 14:06

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 14:06
Oops just saw your email! :)

Will get back to you soon!

Thanks for writing in!
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FollowupID: 864196

Reply By: Member - PhilD_NT - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 02:01

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 02:01
Namita, I'm still here but haven't been on the main computer much and while reading replies on an Android pad was working well it isn't a suitable device for story typing. Anyway I was typing up something here for a while and a crash lost it all. Must go back to old reliable word processor and autosave regularly and then paste it here in one go.

Anyway, many of the replies from people have jogged my memory quite a bit and that you are including Ghan trips etc has opened it up a bit more. I especially like the old maps and being reminded of some of the old place names.

Now to start over again, after some sleep and some various jobs.

Phil
AnswerID: 595467

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