Old Andado to Hugh River/Chambers Pillar

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 23, 2018 at 19:11
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Hi, can anyone advise on the best route?
Heading north from Old Andado we would like to go to Chambers Pillar & to Hugh River. Prefer not to backtrack from Old Andado, nor to have to go all the way up to Alice first.... if possible.
There are a number of east/west tracks below Santa Theresa ........... are any of these accessible to the public & if so would they be suitable for a Patrol + Tvan?
Thanks
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Reply By: Erad - Saturday, Jun 23, 2018 at 22:29

Saturday, Jun 23, 2018 at 22:29
We stayed at Stuart Wells roadhouse a few years back - nice people and good food there. They gave us an A4 sheet with a mud map as to how to get to Chambers Pillar from there. Excellent info - saves heaps of travel, but it is still quite a distance. This was the Hugh River Stock Route, but is is now a well formed gravel road. Heading East, once you cross the railway line (beware of trains), you have to go North for probably 4 km or more before you pick up the East/West road again. The mud map was a little confusing at that stage. From memory, it took us about 2.5 hrs to get to the Pillar, and a similar time coming back, so if you (like us) make it a day trip, leave early otherwise you come home in the dark
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 23:40

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 23:40
Having come down the Old South (Finke) Road from Alice Springs, we returned from Chambers Pillar via the Hugh Stock Road in 2008 and found it easy to follow the dog legs of the railway crossing. We had intended to go on to Rainbow Valley and stop there for the night, but rain hit us towards the end of the Stock Route so we deferred our plans of going to Rainbow Valley that day. We did not go any further south than the turn off to Maryvale and Chambers Pillar.
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Follow Up By: Member - DOZER - Sunday, Jul 01, 2018 at 12:39

Sunday, Jul 01, 2018 at 12:39
12 months ago now, we used the stock route to get from chambers to pretty valley, was a lot better road than the finke/alice ghan road....which i table as in worse condition than crossing the simpson via French line.
b4 you bag me out, walk a mile in my shoes, then your a mile away and have my shoes :)

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Reply By: Member - nick b boab - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 07:55

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 07:55
Cuppa : hopefully someone that has traveled the rodinga ranges rd will reply as that would be your most direct route i wud say ?? I can't find anything to say if its public access or not & maybe a station rd only .
I can say the road from Finke ( Aputula) to Alice is an interesting drive that is along the old Ghan train line in places you are driving on the track & some narrow hill cuttings through ranges .
The chambers pillar rd crosses the Hugh river or you may be looking for the hugh river stock route ?? that also crosses the near the new train line ( nice spot ) to stop or camp .
I will be heading up that way soon & it will be interesting to see the reply
good luck & travels cental aust blog
Cheers Nickb

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 14:00

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 14:00
Hi Cuppa

First of all the above replies are helpful, but have not answered your question.

Firstly you have not said which way you will arrive at Old Andado from?

The west or the south?

There are no real access points off of the Old Andado Track heading north from Old Andado, with the exception of a station track west from Allambi Station, so you may want to give them a phone call to see if you can access this track. Also while heading north, make sure that you do the detour to the Mac Clark Reserve while you are passing by.

I am not sure if the road west from Allambi is a public road, but if it is, it will bring you out at Deep Well, then a good run down to Maryvale Station and then out to Chambers Pillar.


If you do not want to take a chance, then your next way from Old Andado is to go back to Finke and then up on the old road from there and bring you out at the old Rodinga Ruins and then down to Maryvale.


Have a great trip.



Cheers



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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 15:03

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 15:03
Thanks Stephen (& others).

We will approaching Old Andado from the south, having come up from Maree & Oodnadatta to Dalhousie on our way to Alice before heading to WA via the Gary Junction Road.

Any knowledge of what the track from Andado to Finke via New Crown is like?

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 16:05

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 16:05
Hi Cuppa

For me, it is a super highway, good well graded road. Even north of Old Andado it is a good road, and changing scenery.


Cheers


Stephen





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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 16:12

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 16:12
Hi Cuppa, We travelled the reverse route from you back in 2016 from Alice down to Old Andado. The road between Old Andado to Finke via New Crown Station was pretty good, some corrugations & sandy patches in places, but on the whole pretty good.

From Finke, you travel up the Old Ghan Railway line & turn off to Maryvale Station. This road can be very corrugated, and has a number of old Railway Track Spikes you need to keep an eye out for.

From Maryvale Station you take the Chambers Pillar Road. It is approx. 46 kms out to the Pillar. This road can be quite rough in places, and there is a decent jump up to climb in the Charlotte Range. After the jump up there is a gate to access the National Park. From this point on there are a number of sand dunes to go over, and a Sand Flag is recommended. We got in & out including the jump up & sand dunes towing an 18' full off road van without any difficulty. It will take a good couple of hours to get out to the Pillar, and there is only one way in & out, so unfortunately you do have to back track. We camped at the Pillar, there are a number of camp sites, fairly well spaced apart, with a drop toilet. If you want a camp fire, (there are fire places), you need to take wood in with you, but remember to pick it up outside the National Park. There are also a number of different rock formations to look at as well as the Pillar.



From Maryvale Station you head north again up the Old Ghan Railway line. If you want to visit Rainbow Valley before getting to Alice Springs, you take the Hugh River Stock Route about 32 Kms north of Maryvale Station. This will take you back to the Stuart Highway just south of the Stuarts Well Roadhouse. You turn right onto the Stuart Highway and head north towards Alice Springs. The Turn off to Rainbow Valley is on your right and is marked. It is approx. 15 Kms north of Stuarts Well Roadhouse.

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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 17:21

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 17:21
Thanks for the photos Stephen & Macca, together with what you have both written they have been most helpful. We have been sitting here trying to rearrange our travel plans which have been unfortunately delayed by medical stuff. Hoping to get the all clear next Wednesday & leave next Friday. Will have to contact the NT & WA permits people to see if we can just change the dates on our permits, & depending upon this will determine how long we have to get from Ballarat to Glen Helen. (Where the permits start).

We want to be up in the Kimberley (on the Dampier Peninsula) by late September & it's hard trying to fit in what was to have been a leisurely 4+ month journey into possibly less than 3 months. Decisions about what to leave out vs travelling more quickly. We know from experience that slow travel suits us best, but it is hard to visit somewhere & not see all that drew us there in the first place, but I guess we'll just have to see what we can see & return another time.

The Finke & Mt Dare roads look far more 'civilised' than I was expecting, & the old Andado road looks positively inviting. We are now thinking we'll go up to Old Andado before Finke/Chambers Pillar/ Hugh Stock Route/ Rainbow Valley & maybe Owen Springs Reserve. We have previously spent time in the West Macs, including a week flooded in at Ormiston Gorge, so missed out on Palm Valley that time. Not sure about Mac Clarke - what is there other than the Waddi trees (which we have seen previously between Boulia & Birdsville)?

Santa Theresa & the old Andado rd, lovely though it looks may have to be kept for another time.

I did ride a camel out to Rainbow Valley years ago, back when Noel Fularton had the camel farm next to Stuarts Well roadhouse, but the memory of Rainbow Valley is more about the discomfort of my transport than what was out there! :)

Any thoughts on trying to include a camp out at Boggy Hole in our pre-Gary Junction Rd itinerary?

Thanks again.
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Follow Up By: Nifty1 - Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 18:14

Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 18:14
What a great trip! Boggy Hole is a delightful section but a lot harder than the gravel highways pictured in Stephen's response. It is slow going in places, probably a bit easier from north to south, but it's only the soft sand that is likely to give you trouble (based on what I experienced September last year). Assuming no rain, or course.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cuppa - Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 19:19

Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 19:19
Hi Nifty, in regards to 'soft sand', I guess in the same way that a road can be described as rough but to some it's a nightmare & others it's just another drive, soft sand can mean different things to different folk. Is it possible to quantify somehow how 'difficult' or otherwise it is. As a means of comparison we pulled our Tvan over the dunes on a hot day following a previous days sandstorm at the Coongie lakes with tyres let down to 18psi with ease. Just trying to gauge whether 'Boggy Hole' may live up to it's name & swallow us (Patrol & Tvan 5t rig) up into the sand, or is reasonably straightforward with low tyre pressures + a little momentum & confidence? Yeah a how long is a piece of string & changes with conditions I know, but would still be interested in what you say. :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 19:57

Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 19:57
Hi Nifty and Cuppa

Yes Boggy Hole is a great little drive and there are a few very soft sand sections that requires momentum.

The downside is I only took a few images when we did it and only one will give you and idea of what it can be like, and like any sand driving, correct tyres is the key to an easy trip .


Cheers


Stephen


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Follow Up By: Nifty1 - Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 20:34

Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 20:34
You've forced me into a confession here. I drove solo in a Hilux with a motorhome back on it (more of a motorhut really) and didn't drop tyre pressures - wanted all the clearance I could get. It was a momentary hesitation entering the riverbed which undid me - loss of momentum as pointed out above. There was no traffic, except for an experienced bloke who passed by and got me moving again - hello Ian - then blow me down if some French kids didn't come along and got bogged in the same spot. We didn't think they would get through under their own steam over the part we had travelled, and convinced them to turn around and come out in a little convoy with us the next day. Clearance was an issue for me at the rocky riverbed at the southern end; damaged both side steps and ruined the drop-down caravan step too. I think with your setup and experience you will manage it just fine, and it is a thoroughly enjoyable track. Got me thinking about a return trip...
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Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Friday, Jun 29, 2018 at 07:02

Friday, Jun 29, 2018 at 07:02

This photo was taken on our first trip to boggy Hole around 1975 when we were just teenagers
There were no defined tracks back in those days just driving in the creek bed ..... we came away thinking that it was well named Lol..... it's a magic spot for camping spent a lot of time there over the years .
Cheers Nickb

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Reply By: Member - wicket - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 17:57

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 17:57
Just a quick note, if you plan on heading to dalhousie via the perdirka track at the hamilton turn off then be aware that it will be very slow due to numerous corrugations and plenty of rocks. We were there about a month ago and the hamiton staff were having a great time destroyng the track during mustering.
Once in the park though all good.
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Follow Up By: Member - peter_mcc - Friday, Jun 29, 2018 at 10:38

Friday, Jun 29, 2018 at 10:38
We were in Dalhousie Springs on Tuesday night - all the park roads have just been graded so they are in great shape!
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 20:05

Sunday, Jun 24, 2018 at 20:05
In 2016 we "escorted" a 23ft van towed by a 200 series LC and driven by someone without previous bush driving experience from Oodnadatta via Eringa, Charlotte Waters, New Crown and Old Andado to Alice.
They had no problems & you won't have any difficulties with any of the "roads" out in that area.
The Finke to Alice road can be very corrugated, especially north of Maryvale, but the Hugh River stock route is likely to be much better.

Cheers,
Peter
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