Yuendumu - Papunya - Glen Helen

Submitted: Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 19:40
ThreadID: 132271 Views:2623 Replies:4 FollowUps:7
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Can anyone advise on the typical condition of those roads?

There's some comments I found on the web from some time ago to the effect that the northern section (Mt Wedge Rd) is pretty ordinary.
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Reply By: Member - JOHN C16 - Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 21:36

Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 21:36
There are two possibilities for Mt Wedge Rd.

The most direct route from Yuendumu goes through an attractive pass in the Stuart Bluff Range near the mountain called Central Mount Wedge. I towed an off-road camper trailer this way on one occasion five years ago. The track over the pass was a bit rough but not difficult.

About 30 Km East is a private track that goes past the homestead called Central Mount Wedge. I have not been this way.

The route from Papunya to Glen Helen goes past Haast Bluff. This route has a few rough sections but is also not difficult.

While in the area I would recommend visiting Newhaven if you have the time. This property is owned and managed by Australian Wildlife Conservancy and Birds Australia. There are two attractive camping areas and excellent opportunities to observe bird life. There is also an extensive network of remote tracks to drive so take plenty of fuel.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 22:02

Friday, Apr 29, 2016 at 22:02
Many thanks John.

We'll have an offroad CT too.

Newhaven sounds good. We're incompetent birders but enjoy it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Don & Kathie M (TAS) - Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 07:56

Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 07:56
x2 for Newhaven

Cheers, Kathie
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Follow Up By: 2000 Red Rodeo - Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 13:31

Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 13:31
I am planning to go the opposite direction in early June. My research has found tat you need to get a transit permit from the clc. There is no cost to the permit.
Permit details here: http://www.clc.org.au/frequently-asked-questions/cat/permits
Excuse my ignorance, but where abouts is Newhaven. Sounds like it would be worth a visit.

Regards
Geoff
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Follow Up By: Member - JOHN C16 - Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 22:13

Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 22:13
Newhaven is a 260,000 hectare property in the Great Sandy Desert. The camping areas are located about 80 km West of the Yuendumu-Papunya route and 140 km West of the Tanami Road. Full details here: Australian Wildlife Conservancy website
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:59

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:59
Sat we tried to get to Newhaven from the Tanami to the east. Very wet. The ponded water stretches got longer and deeper so we had to stop 30 kms short and camp for a couple of days for the country to dry out a bit and then head back.

Think they will have had 100mm or more of rain so it should be humming.
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 21:17

Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 21:17
The road between Papunya and Yuendumu is one of the most special tracks in Oz. Running north from Papunya it runs through dune and desert oak country. There are some very sandy sections but it is possible to zoom along at 80 if you really need to. The track runs due north and you pass through a low area of salt lakes before slowly climbing toward Mt Wedge. As you approach the impressive line of buttresses look back over the vast expanse ranging from Mt Zeil in the east to Mt Leibig in the west. Straight ahead you will see Haasts Bluff. This is an exceptional panorama and worth the trip to experience.

There is a narrow winding track that leads through a pass at Central Mt Wedge. Its slow but easy going through here as it seems to follow a rocky creek bed before you come out on the flat country to the north of the range.

From here the tracks are flat and smooth. There are magnificent stands of desert oak - always worth a stop for a drink or meal break. Closer to Yuendumu the road is gravel and rocky. You hit the Tanami just west of the track into Yuendumu.

Glen Helen to the Haasts Bluff corner is pretty easy even if the track hasn't been graded for years. The track from the junction north, then west to Papunya is like a big dirt freeway. It can get corrugated between grades, but sees heavy traffic.

The impressive sites out here are Haasts Bluff, Mt Wedge (climbable) and the view looking back from here. Nothing "ordinary" about this area. The tracks are fine.
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Follow Up By: 2000 Red Rodeo - Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 22:19

Saturday, Apr 30, 2016 at 22:19
Awesome info. Thanks
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Reply By: nats - Saturday, May 07, 2016 at 14:40

Saturday, May 07, 2016 at 14:40
I am very interested in the track that heads north from Papunya toward Yuendumu but on my Hema Great Desert Tracks North Central Sheet it says that it is a private road and it meets up with the track that leads to Newhaven. It doesn't lead directly to Yuendumu. Any comments?
It really does sound like a wonderful track. Is it signposted at Papunya or anywhere else along the way.
Thanks for any help and advice.
Nats.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:51

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:51
The standard Hema paper map and digital equivalent aren't very helpful out there. Take a look at the Natmap topos for the area that you can get free dig versions of on the app PDF maps. Note though that they're old.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 07:50

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 07:50
One of the ponds we decided not to tackle on the Newhaven property access track.

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