Vehicle Essentials for the Oodnadatta Track

Submitted: Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 17:54
ThreadID: 134804 Views:4897 Replies:9 FollowUps:4
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Hi all, I'm an inexperienced 4X4 enthusiast, I am itching to get out & see our wonderful country. To start with I'm (just me & my blue heeler, wife is staying home) planning on a trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs & back in early October this year & would like to travel the Oodnadatta Track in one direction, either on the way up there or on the return trip home. Based upon some research, I plan on dropping the air pressure in the tyres to 28F & 30R, we will stay in the camp grounds in Marree, William Creek, Oodnadatta & Marla.

I have a 2015 GLX Pajero, pretty stock standard with the exception of a Rhino Rack awning, near new Cooper LT AT/3 Tyres, a basic ARB recovery kit, Thumper air compressor, tow bar & rear recovery hitch... I don't have a bull bar, underbody protection (aside from the OEM plates), UHF radio or the other usual 4X4 gear.

I'm wondering if you can help me with what else I will need for the vehicle? For example, will I need a UHF radio (perhaps a quality hand held)? A second spare wheel? Tyre repair kit (no idea how to use one yet)? Will I need to carry a jerry can with diesel as an emergency? Is a bull bar necessary if we're travelling during the day?

I'd really appreciate some information on what else I'll need to ensure we prepare as best we can.

Thanks in advance!
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Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 18:12

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 18:12

The oodnadatta track is really not that remote ,
You should be fine with the gear you have .
No you wont need a bull bar or a uhf , but a 20 litre gerry may come in handy in relation to fuel availability .
1 spare with maybe a repair kit Could be handy.
The best advise you will get is drive to the conditions

Enjoy the trip
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Reply By: Ozi M - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 18:53

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 18:53
I am not much good with a repair kit either so I added a spare, spare tyre.
I also have a CB and a PLB which I carry with me when I go for a sticky beak away from the Prado.
Unless it rains it is an easy drive in most places, go slow if it is rough and beware the flaming dips !
Enjoy, it is fun out there
AnswerID: 610853

Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 18:54

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 18:54
Get an extra spare and make sure you deflate your tyres. I always carry two full jerry's as a precaution but you wont need it on the Oodnadatta track. UHF is also a damn good idea if you dont want to get stuck behind a slow roadtrain or caravan. Also dont forget to carry food and water, a spare fan belt and top and bottom radiator hose, tools, engine oil and brake fluid.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 19:28

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 19:28
Hi Chris,
You might like to consider staying at the caravan park at either Leigh Creek or Copley.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 20:24

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 20:24
Hi Chris

Regardless of conditions, a good quality tyre repair plug kit should be carried as part of your kit, as with a PLB, as you never know when or where it could be needed.

Carry extra water, as it will be very warm at that time of the year, and it could be as high as the 40's. Do not rush the drive, as there is so much to see along the way. One place that I can thoroughly recommend in staying is Farina, is is a great spot.

The only section of the Oodnadatta Track that is usually on the rough side is from the Todmorden Station boundary through to Marla. All other sections are usually in quite good condition, so do not get tempted to increase your speed.

Have a great time, and if you have time, you can check out my blog that I did last year about what there is to see along the Oodnadatta Track.


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Follow Up By: Chris. - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 21:10

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 21:10
Cheers Stephen, your blog is awesome, extremely informative.
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Reply By: splits - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 20:42

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 20:42
It is a major unsealed road that gets plenty of maintenance and a fair bit of traffic. Many of the cars on it are 2wd. I drove over it three years ago and again last year. I had ordinary HT street tyres on my 4wd Hilux the first time and AT light truck on the second trip. Both were stock size 205 x 16 running on the pressures as listed in the car's handbook. I did not reduce them.

I have never had a bull bar on any car and I have been driving around the bush since 1967. I have hit only one thing in all that time and that was a kangaroo on the Nullarbor in 1972. That was when I was trying to drive on my own from a military base in Sydney to another one near Perth between lunch time on Friday and lunch time Monday. I got there on time but never again.

Excessive speed is your biggest problem in those areas and vehicle roll overs are the most common type of accident. I noticed there were a lot of dips in the road where water flows across after rain. The same applies to many outback roads. You can go slightly down hill for hundreds of meters then through the dip and back up again. In many cases you will go through smoothly and hardly feel a thing. That can lull you into a false sense of security then you find the next one has a trench about 300 mm deep. That can cause you no end of trouble unless you tippy toe through it at little more than walking speed. You can be in big trouble if you see it at 90 kph but can't get the car down below 50 before you are into it. That is the sort of thing that, as many have found out, can bend chassis on utes, buckle wheels and blow tyres or even break rear axle housings.

I rarely exceed 60kph on any of those type of roads. Don't decide for example you are going to leave Maree and arrive at William Creek in X number of hours. Setting time limits can easily cause you to go too fast if you get behind them. You must take it easy, drive to the conditions and expect to come across things like sandy patches, holes, corrugations etc at any time.

Nobody knows when or if they are going to get a puncture. I have only had one on unsealed roads in all those years and that was last year on the Donahue Hwy near the NT border. The hole in the shoulder of the tyre was so small and hard to see that I think it must have been caused by a tiny splinter of wood while camped in the bush the night before. I always try and clear those areas before driving in.

Have a look through all the links on this page including the slide show in the link at the top of the page. Tyre Repairs. This is extreme desert travel that includes cross country driving but anyone can get those type of punctures even on bush tracks near capital cities. It will show you some of the equipment that can and should be used for many repairs. You can't fix everything with a temporary plug kit.

It is not a bad idea to learn how to use all this equipment if you intend to continue using 4wds. Contact Rema Tip Top and they may be able to direct you to somewhere where you can learn. Have a look at their web site, the amount of tyre repair equipment this company makes is beyond belief. Alternatively ring Mick and his wife Connie Sue Beadlell when they finish their touring season in about October this year and see if you can join in on one of the extensive tyre repair demonstrations that he conducts for 4wd clubs etc.

As for radios: I have a UHF and a HF and on our trip last year that lasted six weeks, I did not turn either one on. I do use both out in areas like the Gunbarrell Hwy but that is a very different situation to the Oodnadatta Track.
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Follow Up By: Chris. - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 21:11

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 21:11
Thanks so much for the detailed post mate, really appreciate it.
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Reply By: Member - David M (SA) - Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 22:11

Saturday, May 06, 2017 at 22:11
Consider a PLB a must have Ozi and keep 1080 baits in mind for the heeler.
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry P (VIC) - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 19:51

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 19:51
regarding 1080 baits,get a muzzle like the greyhounds have ,put it on your heeler when it is out of your vehicle,had one for my dog, could not pick anything up,
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 09:01

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 09:01
The only caveat I would add is that if you plan to go to ABC bay on Lake Eyre, when I went the track was in very bad condition , and although I had no damage I have been told by people that they have lost CB antennas there broken off and spotlights which fell off.

So make sure that you check that all accessories are well mounted with lock washers and maybe Loctite the threads as well and check the mountings regularly. This also applies to the main track although when I travelled the track was excellent, and the road in from Coober Pedy probably the best dirt road I have traversed in Australia.

The temperature in October could be very hot although not as bad as December when it can get up around 46C. Carry enough water to last you for a few days.

The only other thing I would add is that if you have the misfortune to break down stay with the car, as the plaque on the ABC road will attest where a German tourist died while trying to walk to William Creek Hotel.
Regards Philip A
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Follow Up By: Member - Robert1660 - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 16:42

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 16:42
The tragedy of the unfortunate German tourist, I believe, is that when they recovered the car all that was needed to unbog it was to reduce the tyre pressure.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 20:14

Sunday, May 07, 2017 at 20:14
One thing I'd make sure is that you have plenty of batteries, and memory cards for your camera/s.

Seems to be a Kodak moment around every corner, over every rise and at each of the abandoned railway sidings.


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Can't remember most of it.

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