Great Central Road Current Condition

For anyone contemplating a similar trip this is a report on the road conditions I experienced on a journey completed 2 days ago on the Great Central Road, traveling from West to East.

I completed the approx 1100km journey From Laverton to Yularu resort in 4 days. My vehicle is a PX Ranger and I was towing a Sunland Patriot caravan, both 5 years old. The Ranger has a long range tank and an upgraded suspension. I had lowered my tyre pressures to 30 psi for the van and front wheels of the Ranger while the vehicle rear wheels were at 34. I thought of going lower but both vehicle and caravan had a near full load so I was somewhat cautious. I tried to sit on between 55 -60 km/hr.

The first 150km of the road east from Laverton is the vehicle access for the newly established Gruyere gold mine and is subject to continuous mine traffic ranging from Land Cruisers to road trains. While wide and well maintained it had some consistent minor corrugations but was easily traveled.

After the mine access turn off, the road was not as wide but the surface was in better condition with fewer corrugations and while dusty there were no bulldust hole problems and good speeds could be maintained
These good road conditions continued until the WA/NT border where things changed for the worse. From the border to the Docker River community the road was obviously not maintained to the standard on the WA side but still OKish, but from Docker River to the east where it experiences heavier traffic the road surface is in very poor condition.
There has been no recent rain so there are currently no wheel ruts but the corrugations are severe especially at the many sand hill crossings. Going faster to try and find a 'sweet spot' for skipping across the corrugations was just a quicker way of damaging vehicle and caravan.

There are 4 road houses on the trip and all are fairly evenly spaced. All sell fuel but on my trip the roadhouse at Warakurna was out of diesel but was hopeful of receiving a resupply within the next 24 hours (perhaps, maybe, fingers crossed). Top price paid was $2.50 per litre at Docker River but the others were all near that. All the road houses had EFTPOS facilities. Telstra coverage is available a few km either side of Warburton,Warakurna and Docker River communities

I saw no road graders on any stage of the trip but there was evidence they had been working on the WA section . As for the NT section I doubt the road there has seen a grader in the past 5 years.

All in all I had a great time and enjoyed the experience
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Reply By: Gerard S - Sunday, Apr 28, 2019 at 09:19

Sunday, Apr 28, 2019 at 09:19
Thanks, enjoyed,it bought back memories of our trip last August.It seems nothing has changed, the NT section was rough,we smashed a tap off a water tank, despite extra shielding, unlucky ricochet probably. Enjoyed the roadhouses and chatting with staff, Docker River was fascinating...(We are not Australian.) Found plenty to see,Giles weather station, Len Beadells grader. Gnama Holes, Camels,Wild dogs.The overnight freedom camps were also great ,we found good spots off the road, some with spectacular views and photo opportunities. 2017 Ranger, 2016 Lotus Caravan.
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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019 at 00:35

Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019 at 00:35
Hi Macquarie, they must have graded the W.A. section, because when we were there in 2017, other than the section around Docker River, the worst part of the GCR was the section either side of Warakurna. The section from about 50 kms East of Docker River to Kata Tjuta was in pretty good condition, they were working on the last 20 kms or so at the time.


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