Karajini to Mt Augustus

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 00:07
ThreadID: 134765 Views:4704 Replies:6 FollowUps:12
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Good evening everybody, late in May, my wife and I are planning a trip from Perth to Karajini and then onto Mt Augustus.

We are wondering if anyone here has made the run from Parabadoo to Mt Augustus via Ashburton Downs and Dooley Downs?

Just seeking some guidance on road conditions and time to make the run.
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Reply By: Kevin S - Life Member (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 09:24

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 09:24
Here is a link to a blog post be member Heather MG, who with her now sadly late husband, travelled through the Mt. Augustus area 2013. They came out to Minilya Roadhouse so probably used different roads to the roads that you propose to travel. But I thought you might find the material interesting.

Happy travels,


Link to Heather MG's blog post about the Mt. Augustus area
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Follow Up By: Member - Gryphen - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 11:29

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 11:29
Thanks Kevin :)

Will enjoy the read, if I can't find any more recent reports I might have to make sure I write one after I get up there.
FollowupID: 880634

Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 12:09

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 12:09

We took that route a few years ago in a period of generally fine weather. It is remote country with no services and not a lot of traffic, at least when we were there in July.

The track surface south from the sealed Paraburdoo road to Ashburton Downs was well graded, as was the continuation generally SE to the Dooley Downs O/S* junction. We stayed o/night just off the road near bore #11, facing the road and on firmer ground in case the threatening rain eventuated. The last section to the turnoff was undulating and reminded us of the country around Coober Pedy, with jump-ups and ocre colouring. However, as with any journey in this area, the road surface and creek crossings would be another matter if much rain had fallen.

The road south from the junction to Dooley Downs O/S was of a lmuch esser standard, with many creek crossings and potential wash-aways. This would be more susceptible to rain. South of Dooly Downs O/S the road standard improved, both wrt alignment, width and surface.

There is a good camp ground at Mt Augustus Station and I would suggest at least a day there so that you can circumnavigate the rock and take the many short walks to viewing spots and Aboriginal carvings, etc.

* Dooley Downs is an O/S owned by Mt Augustus. It is used only during mustering and other stock times so do not expect people to necessarily be there.

Hope that helps

AnswerID: 610692

Follow Up By: Sawtybt - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 15:03

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 15:03

I would be interested to know if you towed your Bushtracker or the Tvan. I'm interested in taking our 20' BT over that road next year.

FollowupID: 880640

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 16:15

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 16:15
It was the 18' BT with the F250.
In dry weather there was not an issue.
IMHO, if it was wet it would be another matter, simply because of the lack of traction on hills and coming out of creeks and washouts - many sand/clay.sections with poor side drainage.
Of course mining exploration/development can make a major difference to roads in a short while - for better or for worse!
FYI, after Mt Augustus, we went W to Cobra and then NW/W through to Mangaroon and then S to the Kennedy Range NP - wonderful place! (Although the F250/BT looked a bit out of place among all the CTs and tents :-)
FollowupID: 880644

Follow Up By: Sawtybt - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 17:21

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 17:21
Thanks Andrew much appreciated for the info. We plan to also drive through Cobra and follow your trip.

FollowupID: 880647

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 18:54

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 18:54

The road S of Mangaroon to Kennedys TO and on to Gascoyne Junction would be problematic if wet - poor cross fall (read nil), poor base with no "guts" to prevent wheels from sinking in the mud and no grip. I would imagine it would be closed pretty quick smart after a rain event by the authorities in GJ. This town, btw, was nearly completely washed away by floods not that long before we were there. Amazing when you see the height above the river bed!

From there we went south along the Murchison Road (a stock route) to Byro and then roughly E to Beringarra and SSE to Cue. Interesting pastoral country, for example, Milly Milly Station, if my memory serves me, supplied huge numbers of remounts for the Boer(?) War and maybe WW1. We did not see anyone from the time we turned left just south of Byro until we got to the outskirts of Cue 24 hours later (camped o/night in a quarry about 25 kms in from the Murchison Rd)

But stick to the road - it was in this area and about that time that a truck driver perished when he inadvisedly took a "short cut" and got hopelessly bogged and decided to walk :-(

FollowupID: 880649

Follow Up By: Member - Gryphen - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 20:16

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 20:16
Thank you very much Andrew.

We will be towing an offroad camper trailer behind our FJ Cruiser (slightly modified... ;) ) and will be keeping an eye on the weather and road reports prior to us taking off, so far we plan on doing a week in Karajini and 4 Days at Mt Augustus... My better half is an avid hiker... So I get dragged along a lot.

I'll try and keep a good record of the roads as we go, I should have plenty of video, and GPS logs for it.
FollowupID: 880652

Reply By: Member - J&A&KK - Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 23:19

Sunday, Apr 30, 2017 at 23:19
We did this trip, in the opposite direction, in June 2015 with a Prado towing a Kimberley Karavan.

We found the road from Mt Augustus through the Ashburton River Valley to the Paraburdoo Rd very scenic and generally in very good condition. There were some sections that required some care, due to narrowness, blind corners and steep gulleys, but nothing really challenging.

We found the road following the Southernside of the Ashburton River to be the most challenging. Although generally flat the road surface has been graded to a level below the surrounding terrain( as are many of our outback roads) so when it rains sufficiently the water cuts across and then through the road. The road surface is quite sandy so we found many small and deep washouts across the road that were difficult to see. Some were deep and potentially damaging if hit at any real speed. We were not in a hurry and crawled through the majority of these gulleys but were caught out on a couple.

There are some enticing tracks down to the river off the main road. However if towing I would proceed with caution. We were looking for a riverside camp spot and tried two tracks, at the south eastern end of the river road, but found they ended up in the river flood plain sand dunes and no where near the river. So a few dramas trying to turn around and get out.

There are a couple of nice camp spots near the bores as stated by others.

In summary. A very nice Drive for us at the time we did it. Am planning to do it again and spend some more time. We were not challenged or stressed by this drive. However check road conditions with the locals and take it easy.

Cheers John
AnswerID: 610703

Follow Up By: Member - Gryphen - Monday, May 01, 2017 at 10:10

Monday, May 01, 2017 at 10:10
Thanks John.
FollowupID: 880658

Reply By: david - Monday, May 01, 2017 at 17:39

Monday, May 01, 2017 at 17:39
Have just returned from the Pilbara, had planned to go from Mt. Augustus to Karijini via Parabadoo. Ashburton Downs road was closed due to recent rain and they had no idea when it would re-open. Would hope it should be ok by the time you head that way. Looks like the local shire was a bit slow off the mark with grading/road repair in the area.

Cheers David
AnswerID: 610724

Follow Up By: Member - Gryphen - Tuesday, May 02, 2017 at 00:43

Tuesday, May 02, 2017 at 00:43
Thanks David,

will keep an eye on the weather over the course of the next month to see how we go.
FollowupID: 880691

Reply By: Member - Gryphen - Tuesday, May 02, 2017 at 18:12

Tuesday, May 02, 2017 at 18:12
Received advice from the Shire of Upper Gascoyne (very helpful):

You will need to contact the Shire of Ashburton regarding the majority of your travel, as most of the route is in their shire.  From our end Pingandi road at present does have some washouts from recent rain so you would need to drive to the conditions of the road.  I resided in Tom Price for five years prior to coming here and I can advise you that the Ashburton Downs road was usually fairly ruff.  The distance is approximately 350 kilometers, however you will probably only travel about 60 kilometres per hour, less crossing washouts and river beds.  I would allow about 9 hours for the trip.
My advice to you would be to contact Shire of Ashburton 9188 4444, and us prior to leaving for your trip to obtain up to date road conditions.

So I'll contact the Shire of Ashburton Next :)
AnswerID: 610747

Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Thursday, May 04, 2017 at 17:01

Thursday, May 04, 2017 at 17:01
Was close to that area july/august & sept/ october last year.

Road from landor to mt augustus was cut up big time and shire wasn't impressed that somebody would deliberately drive around road closed signs when they were closed.

with july trip we were "lucky" to get from murchsion upto landor (survey base camp for one week) roads between NWC hwy and GT northern were all closed for 2-3 days as result affecting (trapping) another 2 parties in same survey group.

Sept roads had been regraded by then esp on the more tourist routes other sections not so much.

Give yourself minimum 2 days for paraburdoo -mt augustus run be self sufficient fuel and tyre wise (read 2nd spare nothing too exotic size wise and be capable of repairing yourself)

Wouldn't surprise me if Ashburton down road is still closed due to rains back in February, and more recently. Put it into perspective main roads has only just re-opened highway one between munglinup and ravensthorpe after the bridge was washed away.

When a local shire has 2 graders to manage a whole shire and some roads are minimally used they usually don't get done too quickly.
FollowupID: 880775

Follow Up By: Member - Gryphen - Friday, May 05, 2017 at 20:36

Friday, May 05, 2017 at 20:36
Thanks Dean, am still hoping to at least have a shot at making it, will be taking it easy, I don't want to kill ourselves or the FJ and camper :)
FollowupID: 880825

Follow Up By: Dean K3 - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 17:56

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 17:56
worse case scenario long way around but maybe quicker ? -

karajini NP to tom price then two options:

possibly take hidden valley road past tom price caravan park to T junction turn left and follow that out to NWC hwy- road in valley very scenic

prior to tomprice turn left head to paraburdoo then leave town head north to same road that Hidden valley road intersects with turn left and back to NWC hwy.

Then either carnarvon to gasycone junction or short cut from lyndon station down via Kennedy ranges.

its remote few cars a day ensure got sufficient fuel for range needed and try not to roll over or doing something silly like that plenty still do have issues
FollowupID: 880856

Follow Up By: Member - Gryphen - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 20:15

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 20:15
Yer keeping an open mind on how to get from Karajini to Mt Augustus, either way I am going to be loving it :)

Thank you Dean...

Hopefully whichever way we get there will be an interesting adventure, and something people will like reading about later... and seeing as I intend to take photographs along the way, and capture as much as I can on the dashcam.
FollowupID: 880881

Reply By: Member - Gryphen - Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 21:30

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 21:30
Well it seems like the Ashburton Downs Road is now open, so just waiting on the Ashburton Downs – Meekatharra Rd to be opened up now.
AnswerID: 611147

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