Article Comment: Anne Beadell Highway

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 at 18:36
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Hi All. Finally realising the dream and if the universe doesn't throw things in the way, I'll be leaving CP around the 10/8 and heading West to Laverton. Solo. Just waiting on the Woomera permit, all others done.
Just wondering if anyone has any updated info on the track conditions, particularly the section starting at Mabel Creek and heading West. Roughly where do the bad corrugations start, and roughly where do they end?
I'm towing a trailer and am prepared to run tyres very low and go very slow if need be. The only difference that makes is overall time to do the worst part.
Thanks in advance for any feedback. Cheers.
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 at 19:34

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 at 19:34
We towed a trailer from Coober Pedy to Volkes at Easter and found it a pleasant drive with only mild corrugation but the sand sections did slow us down especially as we got nearer to Volkes Corner. We never dropped our tyres below what we run on dirt.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 at 19:37

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 at 19:37
We left Coober Pedy at lunch and camped just west of Tallaringa Park and arrived at Volkes corner about lunch the next day
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Reply By: Nacho - Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 at 19:38

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018 at 19:38
not recent but that section was graded early 2016...reports were excellent drive...2 years on who knows but judging by the previous poster it's still good.
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Reply By: Candace S. - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 01:24

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 01:24
19-23 June, I drove from CP out to and around Emu, then back to CP.

I found that, unlike other things in life, the AB corrugations lived up to the hype. :)

Here are the comments I added to the AB Hwy EO Trek:

"Successfully completed my jaunt from CP to Emu and return. As expected, AB is moderately to severely corrugated from Mabel Creek HS to Emu. Except for rare, odd patches of smooth dirt that only last a few meters. Forget about running faster to glide over the corrugations: Rarely can you see more than 100 metres ahead, and usually a lot less. Vegetation is encroaching on the track, so it limits your visibility. And plan on "pin-striping." Track was 100% dry when I was on it (19-22 June). There were isolated spots with some loose sand, but I never needed 4WD for it. I was running 25 psi cold all around. BTW, made the trip in a 4WD Mercedes Sprinter campervan, hired from Britz."


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Reply By: cookie1 - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 08:03

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 08:03
Was on it a few weeks ago, yes it is corrogated but, I let my tyre pressures down to about 26 / 30 and comfortably sat on 40 KPH.

It is a very pleasant place and very interesting,

Lots of nice places to camp with Water available in the West

Good fuel & Optus coverage at Ilkurlka

cheers
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 00:09

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 00:09
Not to jack the thread, but... I'm beginning to think I need to go with Optus instead of Telstra on my next visit. This year I passed through several places that had Optus but not Telstra service. I'm looking at Telstra's coverage map right now, and I sure don't see any at Ilkurlka.
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 07:23

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 07:23
So the local goss is, Optus are putting up towers in a lot of the remote areas, Mungerannie, Marree, William Creek, Oodnadatta etc.

In saying that I also have a Telstra Toughmax with an external antenna which reached a lot of the mining camps so had coverage where-ever there was a tower of some sorts

I also carry a Sat Phone and HF Radio - all of these were used extensively on our last trip due to mechanical issues with vehicles
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Follow Up By: Nacho - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 11:13

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 11:13
Optus have had coverage in Oodnadatta for some years....didn't know until we arrived and my phone beeped...my telstra phone remained silent.
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Follow Up By: Member - peter_mcc - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 12:20

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 12:20
You probably need both - perhaps a cheap prepaid?

The Optus coverage maps aren't accurate - they, for example, don't list Glen Helen Gorge, Kings Canyon Creek or Kings Canyon Resort as having coverage when they do.

On our trip last month I found there was a big difference between having a signal and getting a data connection. Perhaps it was because we were with Amaysim (Optus reseller) but my son's phone would connect to the Optus network ok to make calls but had very very patchy data (even if there were full bars of coverage).

The difference in coverage I think can be explained by how Telstra & Optus have evolved over the years. Telstra has heaps of cables/fibre in the ground - if they have a copper/fibre connection to a remote place they can probably put a mobile base station there.

Optus own their own satellites - big difference - and have developed a mobile phone hotspot that uses satellites for the backhaul (connection to everywhere else). This means they can economically connect small remote places - wack in a satellite dish & mobile basestation and they are done.

Some of the mines have also done deals with Telstra/Optus to install towers - depends on where you are as to who it might be.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 11:19

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 11:19
Telstra still have 5:1 over optus for remote areas, but optus has done a good job in some small remote communities. They have a pico cell that they put in businesses.

God forbid, you can always use a public phone box which still exists in these communities if you can't stand being off grid for a few days.

Candice take a look at the coverage maps at a state or country level. That will clearly show that Telstra is miles ahead in coverage.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Friday, Aug 31, 2018 at 12:03

Friday, Aug 31, 2018 at 12:03
Hard to share pics of my travels over a pay phone! ;)

But yes, still works to check in with someone, and it's cheaper than sat phone minutes.
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Reply By: Rusty Iron - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 09:34

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 09:34
Thankyou all very much for the info. Much appreciated. I also had a good long chat with Shane the Sharkcaver about the track.

From everything I can find out, provided tyres are set properly and the track is driven with due care and respect, it should be no real problem.

Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud...
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Reply By: Rusty Iron - Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 19:11

Wednesday, Aug 01, 2018 at 19:11
Just a quick follow up re permits - All applied for on Monday morning, all online, and all received back approved by 10am Wednesday. Total cost of $49 for one vehicle. Pretty happy with that.
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 07:24

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 07:24
Is that including the Maralinga Permit and Tallaringa Pass?
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Follow Up By: Rusty Iron - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 08:57

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 08:57
Yes it does. But sorry, it was a total of $59 all up. $25 for Maralinga vehicle entry, $12 for Mamungari Conservation Park camping, $10 for Tallaringa entry and $12 for Tallaringa camping.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 17:44

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 17:44
You dont need the Tallaringa if you are only passing through.
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 17:51

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 17:51
Yes you do

"Please note you must pay vehicle entry prior to arrival and a tourist access permit is required to access this area from the Department of Defence."
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Follow Up By: Nacho - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 20:04

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 20:04
yes cookie 64 is correct...you need an entry permit but not the camping permit...unless you camp of course.
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Follow Up By: Rusty Iron - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 20:23

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 20:23
You know, given the cost of the entire trip from Perth back to Perth, in fuel, food, spares, new "must have for this trip" gadgets etc etc etc - I just apply for and pay for anything permit wise that comes up for trips like these. It's a very small fraction of the overall cost.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 21:14

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 21:14
We contacted Parks SA and were told not to bother if we were only traversing the park but hey, what would they know.
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 21:23

Thursday, Aug 02, 2018 at 21:23
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 07:30

Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 07:30
Wow that's interesting, not sure if it is actually technically correct though but if you have that then you would most definitely have a defence if booked by a Ranger or copper.

The excerpt I provided above is from the Desert Parks Pass Website so publicly available and listed under Entry Pass
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Follow Up By: Nacho - Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 10:32

Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 10:32
So based on that...are the tracks in the Simpson public roads ?
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 13:50

Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 13:50
"So based on that...are the tracks in the Simpson public roads ?"

More important, are they "gazetted roads"? ;-) Sorry, couldn't resist.

BTW, I was reading the T & C from a hire company that will remain unnamed...to them, if a road is on a Hema map, it's the same as being a "gazetted road."

I know the sign when you enter the MT land explicitly states that the road is not open to the public...does that mean it's NOT a "public road"? :)

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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 20:06

Friday, Aug 03, 2018 at 20:06
Can you drive across the Simpson in a day? We originally queried in when travelling through Innamincka and were told the same. As long as we are transiting then we did't need a permit. As far as I recall land doesn't start till after Tallaringa.
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Follow Up By: Nacho - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 16:37

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 16:37
Nope you can't drive the entire simpson in a day but as you know you only need a SA desert parks pass for the SA section of the simpson....you could do that but of course why.
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 17:25

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 17:25
Really not sure who is saying you don't need one as it very clearly states that you do - it's called an Vehicle Entry Pass

https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/book-and-pay/parks-passes/desert-parks-pass

https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/flinders-ranges-outback/tallaringa-conservation-park/booking/vehicle-entry-fees

At the end of the day if you go without having a proper pass and you get pulled up in there by a Ranger or a copper then you will need to argue your case before a Magistrate and quoting someone won't hold up, as mentioned before, if you have something in writing you may have half a chance but the correct information is clearly available.

What's say we all just do the right thing anyway, heck it's $10 and helps keep our access open, they even graded it a couple of years ago I believe
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 17:42

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 17:42
Thats weird. Your link clearly states "optional"!
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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 18:25

Saturday, Aug 04, 2018 at 18:25
Yep, so effectively you don't need the yearly Desert Parks Pass which I bought as I may have traversed the Simpson / Innaminka on my last trip.

Given this, you then need to purchase a Day vehicle entry @ $10.00

Hope that clears it up
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Reply By: Rusty Iron - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 10:48

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 10:48
So, just to get a bit back on track here...remember I said at the start "...if the universe doesn't throw things in the way..."

Well, of course it did. Put my car into the local suspension place on Saturday morning for a last minute check of everything underneath. Thinking everything's fine, I'm being overly cautious. Rear leaf springs all but shot and very likely to break at the worst possible time. I had already replaced the front struts and rear shocks a while back and thought all would be good. I hadn't noticed anything different about the ride but these things develop slowly and creep up on you. So, just the lazy $1350 on Monday for all new rear springs, bushes, bolts etc. A bit cheesed off because this 2016 Triton has only got just over 70 ks on it and has never done any real hard work. But as the guy pointed out, manufacturers have changed things so much to get the ride comfort everybody wants. He has done a few Tritons and he had a lot of horror stories about a lot of other brands. Especially Rangers!

Totally blown the budget for this trip but at least I'm going into the desert on suspension that is 100%. Money well (but very grudgingly) spent I suppose. And considering I'm towing a trailer, it's probably the best thing to do.

Departure has gone back a day but at least I won't have to worry about being maybe six or seven hundred ks from CP and having to call for help.

Let's hope the universe is done with me for the time being...

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Follow Up By: Rusty Iron - Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 10:50

Sunday, Aug 05, 2018 at 10:50
Sorry, just to be more clear - that 1350 includes new front disc pads and fitting them, as well.
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Reply By: Rusty Iron - Saturday, Aug 25, 2018 at 18:50

Saturday, Aug 25, 2018 at 18:50
Well I'm back from the trip and for me, the ABH was.....a big fail. I went in from the Coober Pedy end and only got about 50 k's in from the start point near Mabel Creek. A little past the dog fence. The corrugations were catastrophic. My main problem was the trailer (leaf sprung, with caravan shockies, but basically home made) If I got up to a speed where the ute was starting to skip nicely, the trailer developed a mind of its own. Which meant slowing down and soon as I did that, the ute felt like it would fall apart before too long. So I ended back in 1st gear at a little over idle. The 50ks took me close on 4 hours to do.

I met two separate parties coming the other way who both said the same thing. It was like this all the way to the border, another 500 ks or so. So some quick arithmetic proved it could take 5 days of misery just to get there. Fornicate that, I'm on holiday and don't want that stress, particularly since I was on my own. So I turned around.

So instead I went up to Alice Springs, west out of there along the Macdonnell Ranges, up to Papunya and the Gary Junction Rd, to Kintore and then down the Sandy Blight Junction Rd.

The Norther Territory part of the SBJ was pretty good but almost as soon as I crossed the border into WA, it deteriorated pretty badly with significant stretches of sandy corrugations. Nowhere near as bad as the ABH though, and the trailer handled it nicely. Some lovely landscapes along the track and overall, not a bad little trip. I attempted the climb up the Sir Frederick Range but the second big hill had been very badly chopped out by vehicles with much more ground clearance than my little Triton. And I'd hazard a guess, with tyres way too hard.....grrrrr... But, I still got some glorious views.

Then down the Gt Central Rd to Laverton, over to Mt Magnet, then the back roads through to Murchison Roadhouse. And from there out to Tamala Station and a couple of days on the beach. The drive through the stations from Magnet to Murchison was especially nice. Mostly perfectly smooth roads, lots of green grass and it looks like the wildflowers will be huge this year. Hope to go back there very soon, in fact, for a longer look.

So - I'm a bit disappointed about the ABH, but since I was travelling solo, I thought it cleverer to err on the side of caution. I'll go and have another crack at it some time, but either without the current trailer, or with one with way better suspension. Although, it still did an awful lot of corrugations anyway and not a single thing broke or fell off. For my first attempt at building a camper, I was very happy with it in the end.

As soon as I get a chance, I'll go through all my videos and get something up on Youtube for you to have a better look. Am I allowed to post a link for that here?

That's it for now. And thanks again to everyone who responded prior to the trip.
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Saturday, Aug 25, 2018 at 20:44

Saturday, Aug 25, 2018 at 20:44
Gidday Rusty Iron

Great trip report

Ive done the full Anne Beadell a couple of times now and agree the section from Coober Pedy to about Vokes Corner is pretty bad - I cant see myself doing that section, with my Conqueror, again.
Last time i came north from Nullarbor Roundhouse through Cook to Vokes Corner then turned left (West) to Laverton - much more pleasant trip and very "doable" with trailer.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Friday, Aug 31, 2018 at 12:12

Friday, Aug 31, 2018 at 12:12
Thanks for the info about the Gary Junction and Sandy Blight Roads. They're on the itinerary for my tentatively planned 2019 trip.

I'd be interested to know where you camped along the GJ, SB, and GCR?
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Follow Up By: Rusty Iron - Friday, Aug 31, 2018 at 16:15

Friday, Aug 31, 2018 at 16:15
Hi Candace. On the GJ road, I camped about halfway between Papunya and Kintore. It's just an old dried up overgrown dam but is one of the very few places where you can get off the road. It shows up in Wikicamps.Very little firewood left.

On the Sandy, I went 17k's past the NT/WA border (heading south) and came across a big open area with a pump. Good shade and water for washing. Not bad for firewood.There are other places further south but you may need to go another 20 to 30ks to find a decent place off the track. I only camped one night on the Sandy and saw maybe another 3 or 4 good places on the second day.

After hitting the GCR, there are a few places before Warakurna / Giles but they were all taken. They show up on Wikicamps as well. I stayed at Warakurna and Tjukayirla.

I'm just trying to stick a big YouTube thing together and will post the link to that when done. It will give you a lot more info for those roads. Stand by...

One more thing - if you are going south to north, ignore the closed road sign at the southern entrance to Tjukurla. I came from the north, and there were no signs at all, and that section of track was the smoothest of the whole WA part of the track. It looked like it was recently burnt. I think it's just that no one has bothered to remove the southern signs. Maybe worth a phone call to double check.
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 14:46

Saturday, Sep 08, 2018 at 14:46
Rusty Iron, thanks for the info!!
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