Big Trip - Perth - Flinders -Alice - Cape York - Perth

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 01:44
ThreadID: 131465 Views:1682 Replies:7 FollowUps:10
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Hi All. New to this forum and looking for some advice... In stages. We are based in Perth. We have a 2014 Prado D4D towing a Kimberley Karavan. Have a range of about 1000km, Karavan weighs about 2t fully loaded. Have owned both since the end of 2014 and have done about 30,000ks so far including Holland Track, Mt Augustus, Karajini, Carrowine Gorge, GRR, Mitchell falls, Bungles, Buntine Hwy, Tanami (Wolf Creek), Duncan Hwy and all the side excursions.

We are planning a big trip as per the title. departing Perth end of March and returning around November. Will be clear of the tropics by end of August.

A few of questions ( more later).

We are allowing about 7-8 days to see the northern Flinders. Is that enough to see the majority of the must see features?

Is the road from Maree - William Creek - Cooper Pedy suitable for towing an off road van such as the Karavan - assuming dry road? And how bad can it be if wet?

Same question as the previous but concerning the Plenty Highway through to Boulia.

Look forward to your ideas on my questions and any suggestions on places to see, camp spots etc.

Will come back later with some more questions on the QLD sector.


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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 09:46

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 09:46
Was on the Oodnadatta track last October. Good, wide gravel/dirt highway that's even better after the graders have been along. Passed one or two people towing small pop tops, they were just taking their time. There is so much to see along there that it's best to just poke along.

Plenty is not much different. Depends when graders have been along. We went over it in 2011, and didn't find any of the corrugations that some people were complaining about. There were a few just west of Jervoise and Harts Range. In the 800 odd kms from the Alice to Boulia, there is over 250kms of bitumen, so not much gravel to endure. :-)

Both good drives but Oodnadatta Track would get the ribbon, because of the rich history, and scenery.


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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:40

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:40
Bob. Many thanks. We always seem to be just poking along and getting diverted from the original plan by " interesting things". Seems like these a good roads and shouldn't trouble us too much provided its dry. Corrugations we can deal with, within reason. On some of the more remote areas it's not really feasible to turn around and go back if the road is a shocker. So we ask locals and those we meet about road conditions. I would like to publish a book on " road conditions". A very subjective subject based on previous experiences so it seems. John
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 22:28

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 22:28
Neglected to add some comment on camp sites, John, across Plenty and down Oodnadatta Track.

After leaving Oodnadatta at midday, I camped at Beresford siding that night. The building is in good order(still has a roof!) though I didn't camp in it, and there is a dam down in the creek with good water, if you needed to top up. Had stopped at Algebuckna and Strangways Telegraph Station, as well as one only "sherbet" at William Creek. Plenty of spots at Algebuckna, as long as rain wasn't threatening. In fact there's heaps of camps, depending on weather, shade and open ground, all not far off the road.

When we went over the Plenty, we camped at Bendgeacca Ck, just down from the junction of Plenty and Mt Isa bitumen. Plenty(no pun intended, smirk!) of room there along the creek, both sides of the road. Further along, you can camp at the Georgina River, Tobermorey and Gem Tree. In 2011, there was heaps of grass right up to the highway, so nowhere really that was suitable, and safe(from fire risk). We ended up camping at Gem Tree the 2nd night, and enjoyed it. Was cold, even for August, so if you did stop there, shower early as the others will have you doing an iceberg.

Since the drought there's sure to be clear areas now, or utilise any gravel pits that are along there.


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Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 12:34

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 12:34
Hi Bob. Many thanks. Have flagged the locations on the map and added them to the list of potentials. Can get really cold well inland in winter. That dry bone chilling cold with not a lot to stop the breeze. Am always looking for a camp site out of the breeze. John
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 09:49

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 09:49
Hi John,
Both the Oodnadatta Track and the Plenty Highway are formed gravel roads and fine for your rig. Condition will depend on when the graders last went through - both can become quite heavily corrugated. Just watch out if there has been rain as both may be closed either by flooding or to prevent the road becoming chopped up.


J and V
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Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:45

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:45
Hi Val. Thank you for your response. Was not sure if the Oodnadatta track was formed. Looks like a real road on the maps but sometimes not the case. We are very respectful of the outback so being prepared is the key. We are reasonably adventurous as one can be when towing but we aren't really interested in major challenges. Will see how we go in a month or so. John
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Reply By: wendys - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 19:42

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 19:42
By northern Flinders, assume you mean Arkaroola and the Gammon Ranges? You could probably get away with a few days less there, depending on how much you want to cram into any one day. That said, we spent more than a week there, on our last trip. But we did a lot of bushwalking, which tended to fill up the days more than driving to see the sights.
AnswerID: 595509

Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:52

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:52
Hi Wendy's. After looking at the maps again, after your query, also need to include Wilpena, Blinman etc in the original time frame. We generally get side tracked into creek beds looking at rocks or if there is water and birds the day is lost to observation and photos. Much appreciate your response. John
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 20:21

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 20:21
We have visited the Flinders at least 30 times and we are still finding new spots to explore.
A week is not too long.

If the roads up north get wet, they close them.
If they are not closed, you will be OK.
If you are "in between" when it rains you had best wait until someone comes along to indicate that it is open again. It gets pretty sticky pretty quickly.

OKA196 Motorhome.
AnswerID: 595513

Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:59

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 22:59
Hi Peter. Many thanks for your reply. Your comments on being "in between" when it rains are most useful. Having spent years in western NSW as a hydrologist, in old land rovers on black soil roads, I fully understand the sticky road issues. It was adventurous and part of the job then. Now being closer to 70 than 30, and towing 2t with an auto Prado I have little interest in such experiences. John
FollowupID: 864228

Reply By: wendys - Thursday, Jan 28, 2016 at 13:27

Thursday, Jan 28, 2016 at 13:27
OK - if you mean the whole of the Flinders Ranges area, then you really need a lot more than a week to do it justice. There are some wonderful, slightly out-of-the-way places as well as the standard places to visit as a tourist, especailly if you like walking. Consider driving some of the PARS - e.g. Glass Gorge/Oratunga. And do the Sky Trek on Willow Springs. At Arkaroola, do the drive out to the Yudnamatana ruins. It is worth paying to go on the Ridge Top tour out of Arkaroola. Yes.....much more than a week
AnswerID: 595548

Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 21:10

Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 21:10
Hi Wendys. Many thanks for the suggestions. Will have a better look at what we do in the Flinders over the next week or two. Our plans are always flexible. Interesting places is such a subjective description. However if there is water, birds, rocks and not a lot of people - you'll probably find us there. John
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Reply By: Richard@ANTL - Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 13:19

Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 13:19
HI, would you be interested in participating in a open source data gathering program during your trip.

I am currently trying to record as much of Australia for its radiation levels and have been loaning out my sensor to friends when they go on trips, last year a friend drove to the cape and back and we got some great data. The system is part of which is collecting data from across the globe, its non political and freely shares its data.

As you can see form the map we have alot of space left to cover in Australia, I would fill in the details later, but you can see the recorders on the safecast site.

regards Richard
AnswerID: 595595

Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 21:11

Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 21:11
Dear Richard

Thanks for the invitation ... But no thanks.

The sensor unit is not calibrated, home made and local interference from the vehicle and its contents will probably ensure the data is non repeatable.

The majority of Australia (excluding major populated areas) has been flown using airborne geophysics where alpha, beta and gamma have been measured in a highly controlled environment. So I very much doubt the data your organisation intends to gather will have any real value to society as a whole.

Having been involved in the collection, interpretation and sale of scientific data to government and business for the last 30 years, nothing worries me more than " crowd sourced" data. I am not against it in principle. It is just that the data is usually noisy, non repeatable, has no published methodology or any quality control.

Sorry to appear so negative.


FollowupID: 864363

Follow Up By: Richard@ANTL - Friday, Feb 05, 2016 at 09:12

Friday, Feb 05, 2016 at 09:12
John, thanks for the reply, have a great trip.

FollowupID: 864685

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 22:42

Friday, Jan 29, 2016 at 22:42
Hi John

As others have indicated previously, your vehicle and the KK will be fine on the tracks you are travelling, and much more of course.

Whilst you have given a brief overview of your trip, could I suggest that you don’t overlook the Gulf Savannah region of far northwest Queensland. It is a spectacularly beautiful region covering a wide area. And if you are coming across the Plenty Highway it is a simple case of turning north at Boulia.

Good luck with your planning and travels!

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
AnswerID: 595632

Follow Up By: J&A&KK - Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 11:51

Saturday, Jan 30, 2016 at 11:51
Hi Baz. Appreciate your response. Our plan is to include Lawn Hill, Burketown and Karumba before heading to Cape York. As always weather is the key when travelling in the north.

I remember spending 2 wet seasons in the Kimberley in the 60's. The first one was a very "dry wets season" and I wondered what all the fuss was about in preparing to travel by road. The second season was a wet one. We got caught out near Old Ord River station, on Duncan Hwy (not a hwy then that's for sure) and it took 10 days to get back to Kunnunnurra. About 5 days waiting for the Negri to go down.

We will most likely hit the Gulf area around mid May. Hopefully the wet will be well and truly over. If not then Plan B. Whatever that maybe at the time.

Cheers John
FollowupID: 864335

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