mazda cx5 capable of handling the Tanami road

I have a Mazda CX5 with Cooper light truck AT tyres fitted and was considering driving from Alice Springs to Halls Creek in late July early August of this year. I am experienced driving on gravel and bush tracks and have taken this vehicle through some very sandy tracks which it handled surprisingly well.

The question is will it handle the Tanami.

As I understand it the road to the WA border from Alice Springs is OK apart from some spots of fairly savage corrugations after the WA border the road has deteriorated. I will not be towing a trailer.

Any comments on the road itself our your opinion on whether I am taking too big a risk would be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 12:46

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 12:46
Realistically any car or vehicle (almost) will do this, but it all comes down to preparation for the trip being undertaken.

The ability to carry fuel , water, a few basic spares and tyre repair equipment will be key to a successful trip, along with driving to the conditions you are presented with.

Enjoy, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 595269

Follow Up By: tim_c - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 13:39

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 13:39
...and it depends significantly on how fast you want to drive over any rough sections. If you're prepared to take it carefully, the Mazda should be fine (afterall, it is meant to be an off-roader, isn't it?), but the way some people drive they will break anything.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 14:00

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 14:00
Hi Chris,
We did the Tanami in July 2013 in our 200 Series Landcruiser. As we approached the WA border,travelling from Alice Springs, we caught up to a standard Commodore travelling very carefully. At the point we caught up to them the road had become very sandy, however the Commodore seemed to be handling the situation quite well. Presumably they had travelled from Alice Springs as they appeared not to be Indigenous. Nevertheless the Tanami can be rough in parts and quite sandy. There is no fuel between Yuendumu and Billiluna so you will probably need to carry extra fuel. Rabbit Flat is closed.
As has been said previously preparation is the key. Remember to pay attention to tyre pressures, lower on the dirt and sand but take care with respect to possible tyre damage. Of course you need a compressor to re-inflate tyres once you reach the bitumen.
Best of luck.
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Reply By: Member - christopher w2 - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 14:38

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 14:38
Thanks for the comments. Very much appreciated.

I will have on board two spares pluspuncture repair kit as well as the obligatory compressor plus recovery gear.

As we wont be in a hurry speed will not be an issue.

Plan is Perth to Alice along the Great central Road. Detour to Kings Canyon then Alice to Halls Creek and if the wife and I are still talking we are looking at the GRR to Broome then back to Perth.

It ticks of half a dozen must does on my bucket list
AnswerID: 595275

Follow Up By: ian.g - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 14:57

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 14:57
I have driven this road on numerous occasions in a Ford Escape which was my work vehicle, never had any problems, admittedly work cars can always go where private ones can't but that is another story, keep your speed down and I'm sure you will have no problems.
Cheers Ian
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 12:02

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 12:02
Quote "Plan is Perth to Alice along the Great central Road."

I reckon that if the vehicle lasts that then the Tanami should not be much more of a problem. On those roads its as much the driver as it is the vehicle. I see you are fairly well prepared and got rid of that pretend spare wheel (I was wondering if anyone was going to mention that.)

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Reply By: Erad - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 16:41

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 16:41
One thing you should consider is fuel. Not only the quantity, but also the quality. Can you get 95RON or higher as the CX5 requires? How will it run oon Opal? You should check on availability and the rules re carrying petrol inthese areas.
AnswerID: 595279

Reply By: Member - christopher w2 - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 17:03

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 17:03
Good point.

I intend to carry about 40 litres of fuel which should give me an extra 400km give or take depending on the driving conditions.

The cx5 takes standard unleaded which apparently matches opal but I dont know how the car will go with opal fuel. Worth checking.

Thanks for the tip about the regulations of taking petrol into remote communities. I know that opal was developed to solve the petrol sniffing issue. It seems that if the jerry cans arent clearly visible it should be ok but worth checking anyway.
AnswerID: 595281

Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 17:21

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 17:21

If they're not clearly visible, where will they be? You should not carry fuel in the passenger compartment, especially petrol.


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Follow Up By: Kumunara (NT) - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 18:12

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 18:12
Opal is actually low aromatic regular unleaded. It is manufactured to a higher standard and better fuel than regular unleaded. If your vehicle will run on regular unleaded it will run on opal.
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Follow Up By: Member - christopher w2 - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 18:29

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 18:29
Thanks Frank
I can see your point. I had considered putting the additional spare on the roof rack and one or two jerry cans in the rear of the car as I did not want to put too much load on the roof rack itself (Capacity is 75kg). Will need to redo my packing plan with the tyre in the rear and the two jerry cans on the roof. I will now have the issue of visibility (if this is an issue0 Perhaps use the yellow cans and pretend its diesel!
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Follow Up By: Stephen F2 - Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 23:05

Friday, Jan 22, 2016 at 23:05
Balgo Hills off the track has fuel and spectacular scenery
You can ring the store for open times its been awhile since I been there .I used to fill up at Rabbit Flat $1.50 and Balgo was only 90cents Rabbit flat were making huge money from petrol yrs awhile ago memories
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Reply By: Robyn R4 - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 07:43

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 07:43
...and make note of the opening times for fuel in Billiluna! We arrived late on Saturday and, because they're "closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday", we would've had to wait until Monday. Not the best place to be short of fuel!
Fortunately for us, 3 motorbikes went through on Sunday morning and they opened up for them...good thing we were right behind them because the owner was about to head for Wolf Creek Crater for the day...
We were originally planning to head for Halls Creek but we got caught because we used more fuel than we thought (we were towing a trailer).
Your research is correct...the WA side is awful. The NT side not bad.
AnswerID: 595307

Reply By: Member - backtracks - Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 22:38

Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 at 22:38
On petrol inside cars, yes, not supposed to, but I do it , 80 plus litres sometimes. Take your chances, back your judgment , cross your fingers ! If it's on legalities , probably 90% of outback touring vehicles are ' legally ' over loaded, doesn't stop people. That said, obviously roof is better for fuel, if you can ! Have fun !
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