Lake Eyre

Good afternoon all, friends are considering a trip to William Creek and a flight over the lake in the next few weeks, they are not really experienced in the country and are questioning is it feasible to travel from Coober Pedy to William Creek in a basically standard BT50 with standard road tyres. My thoughts are drive to the conditions, take it slow, etc etc. I haven't been up there for years and don't know the conditions of the road. Any thoughts would be appreciated, ie tyre pressures and extra spare tyre, I will lend them my sat phone and recovery gear which should come back as new (i have not been unlucky enough to have to get them out of the bag). Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Thanks - B1B
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Friday, May 24, 2019 at 17:17

Friday, May 24, 2019 at 17:17
B1B

The BT itself will revel in the cake-walk. The tyres might be another story.

If the tyres are OEM they will be Dunlop Grandtrek AT22. Though not rated as an LT construction, according to the Dunlop website they have "a reinforced casing to reduce sidewall damage".

I had them on my then new Prado on its first outback trek in that area and had a couple of issues. One puncture from a flint on the shoulder and one write-off north of Oodnadatta. Neither road was particularly "bad". In hindsight, I let the tyres down too much, causing sidewall bulge. On the other hand, I also had issues over a short stretch of gravel in the VHC with normal tyre pressures. Both my Prado and the current BT50 when it had Grandtreks suffered on that road.

Accordingly, I am not a fan of Grandtreks, I just don't think they cut the mustard for outback work. I would hold the same reservations for any tyre that is not LT construction. CP to WC is 156 km of dirt, plus whatever they plan to do after WC.

Based on my experience I would recommend a set of LT construction tyres. There are heaps to choose from. I've had great results with BFG All Terrains - always come home with the same 6 I left with.

OTOH, with a satphone they may wish to take a calculated risk - they're not that far from help if they need it, and in any case, two spares should cover any immediate situation should one arise.

Cheers


.
AnswerID: 625725

Follow Up By: Ron N - Friday, May 24, 2019 at 17:57

Friday, May 24, 2019 at 17:57
I'm with Frank on the Grand Treks. In fact, anything Dunlop is usually a bad joke as far as tyres go. They don't nickname them Banglops for nothing.

I reckon more than 50% of the Dunlops I've been unfortunate enough to run in the last 40 years, met a premature death - often through blowouts, sometimes through the carcass plies separating, and getting out of round.

When I say "unfortunate enough to run", that means I've hardly ever bought a new Dunlop tyre by choice, in that time, most came fitted to a vehicle I'd bought.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 06:22

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 06:22
Frank's comment is spot on. If you're going to have any trouble out there, odds are it will be tyre trouble. I've driven the area with standard road tyres and had no trouble, and I've driven it with good quality LT all terrains and had a world of pain (3 flats). Most of the time no trouble though, it just depends on luck in my opinion, but luck favours the better tyres.
AnswerID: 625732

Reply By: qldcamper - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 06:34

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 06:34
Consider the timing. If their trip lines up with the fink race or big red bash the roads could be chopped to pieces, good just before but change dramatically in a week with thousands of people headed in and out.
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Follow Up By: b1b - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 11:45

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 11:45
good tip, I hadn't thought of that, thanks
b1b
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 08:33

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 08:33
Hi B1B

If you have ever read any of my tyre replies, you will know that I will always push LT tyres, but even then I still also push one very important factor......

You mention your friends tyres, but you have not mentioned tread depth?, which in my books are critical for such a drive.

For me, this is the critical factor and one that will be critical to a trouble free trip.

The road from Coober Pedy to William Creek is usually a very good road and by driving to conditions and taking your time, you or any conventional vehicle (yes I have seen stock standard, Magna’s and even a Holden Barina on this road) should have no issues. The actual road will vary from hard pact dirt that will be like driving on bitumen to usual minor gravel conditions, but if it looks like rain, do not even think of leaving Cooper Pedy.

If the tyres are almost new, and it was me, I would make sure that I had a good tyre repair kit and a reliable tyre pump (cheaper than a set of tyres), drop tyre pressures by around 20% of normal Highway use and make sure that you do not exceed a maximum of 80kph. If on the other hand the tyres are not a minimum of 75% of new tread depth, that I would be getting a new set of Toyo AT2 Open Country LT tyres that are a premium LT tyre, very good tyre for any outback trip and at an affordable price.

These are my thoughts and from someone that has actually driven and know first hand the actual road.



Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 10:02

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 10:02
Hi B1B

I should have added these at the time, but here are a few images of what the road is usually like, also note the small, stock standard vehicle coming in from Coober Pedy, at the T junction turn off, a couple of kilometres north of William Creek.


Cheers


Stephen



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Follow Up By: b1b - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 11:55

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 11:55
thanks Stephen, think their tyres are probably 20.000 Kms or less so i'm going to guess that tread depth would be 75% or better. The car has only been on the bitumen (I might admit to finding a bit of mud when they left it with me for a couple of weeks. no photos to incriminate me). I'll get them to have a serious think about the Toyo's. The last photo looks like a Corolla, i'll show it to the warden and see if she'll let me take hers for a little drive. Don't like my chances, might just go anyway. Always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
Thanks again - b1b
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Reply By: Rob A2 - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 09:57

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 09:57
You have another option. Call Trevor Wright at Wrights Air at William Ck and organise a flight from Coober Pedy out across the Lake. He does this a lot and you will get the opportunity to see the mine, fly across the painted desert and secret painted hills on Anna Ck station amongst other great options.

Will be a very memorable flight and probably around the same price as a set of new tyres

Call Wrights Air to discuss I am confident they will be able to resolve your challenge

Rob
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Follow Up By: b1b - Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 11:58

Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 11:58
Thanks Rob - the William Creek is probably the result of my stories of the fun I've had there.
b1b
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Reply By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 07:00

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 07:00
Guys....

Looking at the NASA site for the water flowing into Lake Eyre - It still looks a fair way from looking like being filled. Madigans Bay doesn't look to have much if any water in it. It seems from looking at the NASA page that the only place to see the water "from the ground" is to drive to Halligan Bay - Is this correct?

I/we can't afford a plane flight yet (have to wait until the kids are off our hands) so wanting to see it from the ground but to date, Halligan Bay seems the only spot...
Cheers..... RobM
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