From West to East on the Kidson track and Gary Junction Road to Alice

Submitted: Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 16:17
ThreadID: 136898 Views:4238 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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Hi all.
In July 2018, I am planning a drive (solo) from Eighty Mile Beach CP to Alice Springs, via the Kidson track/Gary Junction rd, then on to Ruby Gap and then hiking the larapinta trail and back to WA. I am driving a landcruiser 76 and towing a Phoenix Scorpion off road van.

I am finding it difficult to get road conditions on the Kidson track. Does anyone have any info that I may use?

I have pretty good info on the Gary Junction road indicating it is pretty good with a few sand dunes, otherwise ok.

Ruby Gap info tells me that I should be able to get to the last area where vehicles are allowed?

I have recently travelled the Tanami, Gibb River Road, Kalumburu Rd to Honeymoon bay, so am confident I can handle sand, ruts, rocks and driving on river beds.

Any info or advice is appreciated.
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Reply By: colanjen - Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 17:22

Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 17:22
No sand hills to worry about on the Gary Junction Road, it's a breeze.

Can't advise on the others.

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Reply By: PC1958 - Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 17:38

Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 17:38
Thanks Col
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Reply By: Austag - Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 18:38

Monday, Jun 25, 2018 at 18:38
Hi we did the Kidson in May. Track is fine, nothing difficult about it at all. A few patches of nice corrugation and boggy bits at the end. But definitely nothing to worry about in my opinion.
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Follow Up By: AlanTH - Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018 at 08:53

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018 at 08:53
We travelled the Kidson (Wapet Road) about 4 years ago and it had been widened for mining plant going out to Gwenneth Lake I think it was called. We were asked by some elders where we were going and were quite welcoming back then and we had permits from their Perth people to go there.
Easy drive back then.
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Reply By: Member - Timnivo - Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018 at 18:06

Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018 at 18:06
G'day PC.
I notice that you are towing a caravan that is full sized and 2400mm wide??(looking at the Pheonix website) Hopefully Austag will post again but there is NO WAY you would have got that through the lower part of the Kidson from the Gwenneth lakes turnoff to the Punmu Kunawarritji road. It was horrendously overgrown in places and I got significant pinstriping in a 2000mm wide 200series. Perhaps that area burnt over summer or someone graded it(no chance!!). Some of the big dune crossings were also badly eroded and not too hard for a single vehicle, but would be tough with a big van.

If the Van is small,no wider than 2m and nothing on the sides to scrape off go for it.

What do you think Austag???

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Follow Up By: Austag - Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018 at 18:47

Wednesday, Jun 27, 2018 at 18:47
Hi, yep I'm here again :o)
We are not the type of travellers who worry too much about pin striping, so I don't retain too much of that info, I checked with one of the other vehicles and they jogged my memory on the tight bits. Yes as you say Timnivo, towards the end there were a few sections that where a litte snug. And a few sections of corrugations (they weren't too bad), again corrugations, not something we worry about.
So yes if you're worried about paint loss those few sections might bother you PC1958. I've had nothing to do with off road caravans, so I'm not sure what can or can't be ripped off if the bush is tight across the track.
As for dunes, I don't recall anything that presented a problem. But we were just 3 single vehicles, no trailers at all. As long as there hasn't been any major rain up there since May, which I don't believe there has been (it was dry in May, think we saw one puddle on the track). The salt lake area towards the end (Percival Lakes I think) will pose no problem either as they are dry (could be interesting if wet tho).
The hardest part I feel (and it wasn't really that difficult and really I don't think it's officially the Kidson anymore) was probably the deep gravel/sand from the track into the "water" which is a broken dry mill, that heads to the Rocky Knoll lookout (think that's what it's called), that was deep and worked the vehicle well, but no problems, just slow going. Once at the lookout the track into Punmu, wide, graded and an 80kph road, dead easy.
Oh there was one bad wash out on the track next to a set of rocky ranges, but we made a go around and after 3 vehicles that will still be visible. If my memory serves me correctly it's near the section on the map that says "no stopping/no photographs" (second one).
You will need to collect wood for your fire along the way.
Here is image of map area and a couple of photos that show what the Kidson is like at the moment (will see if I can dig up some more tonight). The one photo that I say "could cause pin striping", that's the only photo I got, but there was another couple of sections, much taller and much tighter than that. But I'll be honest, the Kidson isn't my favourite trek! Rather plain. JMO.

OK EDIT.....I've found a couple of photos of 2 hills that were a bit eroded, as you can see, places the wheels in the right places and you'll be fine.

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Nothing that comes easy ever really matters"

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Reply By: Lowan - Friday, Jun 29, 2018 at 11:36

Friday, Jun 29, 2018 at 11:36
For Ruby Gap you should plan to leave the van at Old Amberlindum and just go in with vehicle cause there are a lot of deep sharp creek crossings. It's a top place to stay and serves great dinners. Good luck.
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Reply By: PC1958 - Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 11:32

Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 11:32
Thanks for the advice and info. I have decided to travel the Kidson and will do so carefully. Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Timnivo - Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 14:10

Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 14:10
Gday PC1958. You never let us know wether it was a full sized van. I feel this is pretty crucial as to wether you will get through or not. The bottom third of the Kidson is NOT MAINTAINED at all. Regards Timnivo.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 14:29

Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 14:29
We pulled up for dinner at this intersection, on way to Rudall N/P. Didn’t venture up the Kidson at all.


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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Member - Wildmax - Saturday, Jul 28, 2018 at 11:34

Saturday, Jul 28, 2018 at 11:34
For those interested in the Gary Junction road trip, we completed it east to west a month or so ago.
It's a great trip to put on the list when planning your next adventure.......and thanks to those on this forum who gave us the benefit of their experience when we were making our preparations.
Like others, we took our time to enjoy the sights, and spent a couple of days at the delightful Jupiter Well, and four at the stunning Carawine Gorge at the Marble Bar end of the journey. Well 33 where you cross the Canning is also a good camp spot, as is Lake Dora just past Punmu.
We enjoyed visits to the aboriginal communities......especially calling in to the school at Punmu.
Fuel was cheapest at Kintore ($2) and most expensive at Kunawarritji ($3.40). Also reasonably priced at Punmu for cash (about $2.50 from memory).
Instead of going straight out to Marble Bar we took the Skull Springs road from Carawine down to Nullagine, and that is beautiful drive.
Road conditions along the Gary Junction and Skull Springs roads were generally very good - only the odd patch with a few corrugations and some dips to watch out for, but no problem towing if you drive sensibly.
In short........highly recommended.

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