Sandover highway worth doing?

Submitted: Monday, May 09, 2016 at 18:39
ThreadID: 132357 Views:4375 Replies:7 FollowUps:3
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Hi all, I'm heading to Alice via plenty highway, then back to my isa. Is it worth travelling the Sandover highway back? Or just stick to the main road?

I'm travelling with my wife and kids.

Thoughts and experiences welcome.
Cheers
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 19:15

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 19:15
When we went to Ayers Rock in 2011, Larsy, we went over on the Plenty and back up the Sandover, to Camooweal.

Road surface was good, except for a few clicks between Alparra Store and the community. "Best" Corrugations I've seen for a while. There's about 15km of bitumen along there too, from memory. We turned off the Sandover and went via Austral Downs, and hit the Barkly H'way just west of Kiama Ck.

Not a lot of "scenery" but a good drive just the same. Allow 1.5-2 days, if you smell a few roses.

Bob

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

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Reply By: Member - larsy - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 20:50

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 20:50
Hey Bob,

What would you think,
The main highway ie.barkley and Stuart, be quicker than the Sandover, going from Alice to mt isa? I'm not after a fast trip, but just a good drive.

Cheers
Lars
AnswerID: 599776

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:38

Monday, May 09, 2016 at 21:38
Don't know what the difference in the two routes are, but the bitumen might well be quicker.........especially at 130kph!

If you haven't been on the Sandover before, then I'd go that way. You can go the way I mentioned above, across to the Camooweal-Urandangie Road & up to Camooweal, or take the Old May Downs Road from near Barkly Downs. The latter route comes out on the Barkly H'way about 65km west of the Isa.

If you go via Camooweal, you can check out Camooweal Caves N/P. Well worth a look.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Life Member - Fred B (ex-NT) - Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 07:54

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 07:54
Suggest you grab the "Plenty & Sandover Highway" map from Westprint Maps @ $12.95. Gives GPS locations and a good description of the route, things to see and do.
regards
Fred B
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Reply By: Snatchem & Shackle - Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 15:27

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 15:27
Drove the Sandover Highway last year- late May - West to East via Lake Nash and Austral Downs .

Absolute "moonscape" on the track - Lake Nash to Camooweal.

NB: Just as a matter of interest, the perimeter fence of Lake Nash Station is 150 klms from the Homestead - big backyard !!!!!

Great education to show the kids just how arid and sparse this great country can be !
Thoroughly recommend the trip but carry extra fuel if the only Roadhouse happens to be closed (which it often is).
AnswerID: 599870

Follow Up By: Member - larsy - Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 16:49

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 16:49
Hey,
Thanks for the info,
Forgive my ignorance, what do you mean by moonscape? As in a lot of bull dust?

One of my intentions was to show the kids the remoteness, and how vast our land is. I will definently look at heading that way, dependent on weather as it gets closer.

Apart from extra fuel and couple of beers... Anything else you suggest to take? I'm no newbie to off road, but new to the remote travel.

Cheers
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Reply By: Snatchem & Shackle - Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 17:20

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 17:20
Hey Larsy,

This is very remote country so a Sat phone should be carried - especially if you have kids on board.

Look up Lake Nash on the Web - there is also a local weather site on the Web for the area.

Rather than spoil the surprise, just recall what I said about the "moonscape journey" from Lake Nash to Camourweal when you are travelling - and No!

Its not bulldust !
AnswerID: 599872

Follow Up By: Member - larsy - Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 18:08

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 18:08
I'm definently taking a sat phone,

Now you have me intrigued, I will be definently heading that way! Weather permitting. I look forward to it, thank you for the advice!

Cheers
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FollowupID: 869153

Reply By: Member - DingoBlue(WA) - Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 10:56

Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 10:56
Not particularly inspiring scenery. Not many good campsites. Road condition in August was pretty good but looks like could deteriorate with a bit of rain.
Be aware that fuel at Alparra is a bit hit and miss. We arrived from Alice to find the station closed. After some detailed calculations, decided to push on to Camooweal driving at 80kph with no air con. Encountered a stiff headwind and lots of bulldust but made it to the Barkly Hwy. Ran out of fuel 10km from Camooweal.
Rather a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy!

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Reply By: Member - Raymond J - Thursday, Jun 02, 2016 at 22:11

Thursday, Jun 02, 2016 at 22:11
Hi Larsy
A bit late for a reply but the brother a I travelled the Sandover Highway last Sept 2016 and found it no trouble. We left from Alice to the east Mcdonnolls than up the Binns track to the Plenty, east to the Harts range area and followed the Binns north and got onto the Sandover about a third of the way up the track. We turned south about 63km east of lake Nash and found the Hiway quite good. If your driving the Plenty, the Sandover not that different. I always carry two spares, a sat phone and 300lts fuel. Passed at least one or two cars an hour. It's about 820km from Alice to the Isa via the Sandover. Call the Ariparra Store and see when their open for fuel and don't worry, I think you've been around enough not to do any thing stupid. I only travelled around the 65 to 75 km an hour and saw a lot. Bit long winded with the reply I suppose.

RayJ

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