Oodnadatta Track in November

Hi all
We are looking at driving from Darwin to northern Victoria in November for a milestone birthday in our trusty 2012 Dmax. We are fairly seasoned travellers having done a lot of the west and top half of Oz over the years.
Being a believer in always doing a new track in our travels I want to sound out the viability of our plans.
We intend to do Darwin to Mildura down the Stuart Hwy via Port Augusta. Rather than follow the same route home (the most direct) we want to come back via the Oodnadatta track to see something different etc. Now, being November I guess it could be a tad warm, however, being Territorians, the dry heat doesn't bother us too much, even in high 30's low 40's, it's a nice relief from Darwins humidity.
Has anyone done the track in November, and is it doable?. Naturally it will depend on rain etc closer to the time, or is it "dangerously" hot then in those parts and not recommended? We are pretty well fitted out with spares, A/T 697s with 2 spare tyres, plenty of water fuel and food, Engel maps radio etc. we aren't towing.
Having never ventured into these parts any constructive feedback is appreciated.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 21:46

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 21:46
We came south along the Oodnadatta Track on 11th November 2009.
Is it doable?
Well, yes we did it, but temperatures were in the high 40s and it was blowing a gale.
It was pretty scary.
Visibility was quite low due to huge volumes of blowing dust. The wind was mostly quartering from 45 degrees to the right of the nose. I doubt the vehicle could have been driven without overheating if that had been a tail wind.
A breakdown would have been very unfortunate and potentially dangerous.

OKA196 Motorhome.
AnswerID: 595094

Follow Up By: Top End Az - Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 21:55

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 21:55
Thanks. Yes, I guess on the return home we would need to get a weather forecast. If it is looking at high 40's we would probably weigh it up at the time and err on the side of doing it "next time". Cheers
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 23:13

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 23:13
TEA, we did Ood to Coober Pedy late Oct '15 after a fast Simmo crossing.
Wasn't too uncomfortable, low 40's.

Basically you might have to make the call as you come south, and be prepared to either go down the track or just head south to the coast via the Stuart.

I take it you will just go in at Marla, and not from further north ?
Eg, Alice - Finke - Mt Dare, or Kulgera - Finke - Mt Dare, or Binns Tk, but personally I would avoid that, esp Binns, quite isolated in places.

There is Coward Springs, which is probably the only really comfy camping location on the Ood Tk with decent shelter / shade, a spring spa to soak in, and decent facilities, you'd be wise to check if they're open though, might be seasonal . . . otherwise there's camping at Algebuckina Waterhole, William Ck campground is not terribly inviting either behind the pub or across the road in the larger campground.

If not going the early turn down Borefields Rd and Roxby Downs / Woomera, Farina south of Marree (before Lyndhust) is good camping generally, but it could be a bit dry there too.

The Flinders then worth a look on the way through, but expect temps could be high-ish.

Outback SA you are either lucky or not when travel is planned.
The wet up there is from the northern storm activity in NW WA and NT, through Dec - Feb mostly.
Coming back towards Cobber P, we just managed to keep in front of a fast storm / rain front coming in on out right rear flank, was some awesome lightning strikes happening.
AnswerID: 595096

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 13:54

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 13:54
I did the Simpson trip with Les, Az, and left him at Oodnadatta, and headed down the Oodnadatta Track that afternoon. There was a front moving in at the time, and it was quite cloudy, but still around 40 mark.
Plenty to see along there, and I left some sites for "ron". Did stop at Algebuckna, drove in and had a look at the bridge. Also stopped at Strangways, had to walk up about 3-400M, and the temp had dropped off so wasn't too bad. Didn't stop at Coward Springs, but went into Bereford Siding and decided it would do for the night. Blew like buggery most of the night, so wasn't too bad. There's a dam there too, where you could get water, reasonably easily.
Next day went on to Marree, then Lyndhurst for fuel 'n couple of toasties for lunch. It was hot by this stage, early 40's, so it was much more pleasant travelling up the Strezlecki in the aircon.
Worth stopping at all the sidings, as the buildings are in various states of repair, or deterioration. Seem to be resident birds in each one, Bottle Swallows in most, as well as a pair of Kestrels at Wangianna. Lake Eyre South is just off the Track, so worth a look. Lots of mound springs through there too, Az. Quite a number at Strangways too, an old Overland Telegraph Station.
I'd suggest fuelling up at Lyndhurst if you need too. It was 40c cheaper than Oodna, and 35c less than Marree. Don't know what the cost would be during the season.
While it might be hot doing it in November, if you can strike average temps it wouldn't be too bad. We were unfortunate that our desert trip clashed with the hot week preceding that wet change. Probably would have been great weather a week AFTER the rain. The only hot, uncomfortable time was our first night's camp, when we pulled up a bit early, about 3pm. Had to have a few beers to dull the discomfort! :-)
Would recommend a small tarp to rig up for lunch stops, or emergencies, if you don't have a awning on the DMax. Nearly forgot, the graders were working around Algebuckna, so road was great back to Oodna. Enjoy it,
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Follow Up By: Top End Az - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 14:12

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 14:12
Thanks for the replies. Was looking at going south to north so enter either at Leigh Creek or Woomera and come out at Marla.
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 23:55

Sunday, Jan 17, 2016 at 23:55
I guess you just have to envisage what situations Murphy could dish up for you and be safisfied that you can deal with them. You might get 'rained in' for a few days (a weather check should avoid that one) but a car breakdown in high temps would worry me (one feature out there is the lack of shade)..oh...and ....as for comms, any two way radio should be long distance HF.
AnswerID: 595098

Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 05:25

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 05:25
Mean max in Oodnadatta for Nov is 34 C but of course it varies to well above that. By some measures the hottest place in Australia. There won't be much traffic to lend you a hand if you need it. If you have to work on a vehicle it's likely to be in full sun. That late in the season expect the corrugations to be at their worst.
AnswerID: 595101

Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 16:11

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 16:11
We were there toward the end of October 15; it was very hot and there were about a billion flies. You may have to have a GVM upgrade just to carry the flies.

What ever you do don't miss the mound springs (The Bubbler and Blanch's Cup) Eash of William Creek.
If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
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Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 17:16

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 17:16
Top end Az

If you don't mind the really hot weather you will find the Oodnadatta track a fantastic drive.

If it is dry you will not have any problems at all.

Enjoy the trip

AnswerID: 595119

Reply By: Top End Az - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 20:38

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 20:38
Thanks to all for the replies. I think we will plan to do it, and have a back up plan if the weather turns to custard.
The flies, corrugations and bull dust are all part of it. These are easily mitigated by beer, bbqs and a swim if there is one around. We have an awning on the Dmax so we will have some shade. We will get the ute serviced before we go, and with only 50k km on the clock hopefully we don't have any dramas. Might have to reconsider the UHF as a sole method of Comms. Will look at a sat phone.

One final question: how long would you give to see the track? We Aren't retired so on a bit of a schedule. Won't see everything, but most of the main stuff. Any recommendations? I know it's like asking how long is a piece of string but does a few days sounds about right?
AnswerID: 595130

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 20:57

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 20:57
Day 1 Marla to Algebuckina waterhole 301km
. . . sights - Oodnadatta (Ood Burger / fuel), Algebuckina Bridge

Day 2 Algebuckina to Coward Springs 217km
. . . sights - Old Peake ruins (telegraph, mine, pastoral), William Ck pub and town common, Strangeways and Beresford siding ruins, and do the Mound springs today time permitting

Day 3 Coward to Farina 186km
. . . sights - mound springs if not already done, Curdimurka siding, Alberrie Ck homestead and doggie sculpture, Plane Henge, Marree, Farina ruins and camping.

Day 4 off the the Flinders Ranges . . .

Ummm, actually reverse this as you're going the other way !!
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 21:15

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 21:15

I took around 24hrs, Oodnadatta to Lyndhurst, doing quite a bit of sight seeing, and cruising along at 80-90 clicks. Only stop between Marree and Lyndhurst was at Farina.........the baker had closed up and headed for cooler climes. :-(

Les wouldn't be too far wrong, as long as it wasn't furnace weather, and you wouldn't be going that way if it was.

Just make sure you have an Oodna Burger with the Lot, at Pink Roadhouse. Won't have to eat again for 2 days. :-)


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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 21:26

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 21:26
Don't forget to call in and see Talc Alf at Lyndhurst.

Make sure you set a time limit though or have an escape plan - he loves to talk and share his 'unique' outlook on life, politics, religion and most importantly language.

We spent nearly 3 hours looking at his carvings, listening to his theories on language development and exploring his unique house - including a bicycle powered washing machine.

A very different tourist attraction.


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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 21:50

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 21:50
I am from Katherine and did the Oodnadatta track in November 2012. Good time to do it. There wasn't a lot of traffic on the road and when we got to Dalhousie there was only one other couple there. Did do one tyre going to Lake Eyre. Have done the track before without doing a tyre. Just keep you tyre pressures down.

The weather was beautiful. In the 30s and a dry heat. Cool for us.
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AnswerID: 595136

Follow Up By: Top End Az - Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 22:32

Monday, Jan 18, 2016 at 22:32
I know what you mean about the dry heat. I was in Alice (Springs) for work and it was 43 and we felt fine, just kept the water up, Got back to Darwin and 34 with 80% humidity and nearly passed out. Give me Alice anytime.

Yeah, with the tyre pressures, I don't know why more people don't drop down. So much more comfortable in the truck over corrugations and less chance of a flat.
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Reply By: rotor138 - Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 20:37

Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 at 20:37
Is the changing of the season up here oct/nov days can range from low twenties to mid fourties. Generally the windiest time of year but fairly dry. FLIES!! Is the worst time of year for flies especially further up the track, take the Natures Botanical (Desert Dwellers).

As long as you are setup and carry plenty water it is doable just depends on the weather how comfortable it will be.
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