Tanami, Buntine and Plenty Hwys.

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 00:30
ThreadID: 140234 Views:1358 Replies:8 FollowUps:5
Hoping to do a run up the whole Tanami to Halls Creek, then onto the Buntine to Top Springs and over to the Stuart Hwy. Head south on the tar to the Plenty Hwy. and across to Boulia. The rough plan is for around April -May 2021. I realise this is an early post but haven't done the whole length of any of them and looking for some general comments re roads, stops, etc. Cheers.
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Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 08:36

Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 08:36
The Plenty is your typical outback road.... once off the tar which it seems to have a fair bit of now, it has good sections, then you’ll hit some corrugated sections, then it’ll go good again, then corrugated, keep repeating this and chuck in a few big bulldust holes here and there to keep you on your toes, and before you know it you are back on a heap of tar for the final leg into Boulia.
I asked people about it’s condition before driving / towing our camper across it 2 years ago, some people said it was horrendous and some said not to bad....wasn’t that bad IMO , and some sections were surprisingly great to drive....it had improved from my memory of driving it 20 years earlier anyhow....lol
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 10:33

Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 10:33
These 3 routes are detailed on the site in the Treks section with everything you need. Take a look. Go to Destinations - Treks.
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Reply By: Zippo - Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 12:14

Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 12:14
We did the Halls-TopSprings-Dunmarra bit last year, reverse direction. (Our stops were Renner Springs. Top Springs and Halls.) Roads a non-event except the twisty hilly bit just east of Halls is a PITA driving west into setting sun (and equally east in the early morning, I'm sure). North from Kalkarindji there was an amount of new road work, otherwise the bitumen had appeared and improved progressively to Top Springs. Top Springs to Stuart Hwy was basically good gravel, only a short rocky bit just east of TS. 24hr fuel (card) at Kalkarindji.

Plenty/Buchanan also in 2019 (after the flooding from TC Trevor had dried up). Sealed to east of Gemtree (suggested stop, Wed/Sat nights they have a good meal deal!). Tobermorey was still getting back on its feet, some new facilities buildings. Road was variable from OK to hard/sharp stone surface, but no dramas. Reaching Boulia was (as always) welcome.
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 16:05

Sunday, Jul 12, 2020 at 16:05
If you get sick of the bone jarring, teeth rattling Tanami, turn north at the Tanami Gold Mine and head up through Lajemanu and Kalkarinji to Top Springs.

It's a very pleasant drive.
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Follow Up By: Stephen H15 - Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 00:26

Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 00:26
Interesting alternative. Thanks for the info.
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 22:51

Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 22:51
If anyone is going to take this alternative route, there is a very nice campsite about halfway between Tanami gold mine and Lajemanu.

There's a track off to the west and only a short distance down this track is a large area on the banks of a river.

It's a beaut spot.

Lat -19.0741
Long 130.0761

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Reply By: qldcamper - Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 19:21

Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 19:21
If your into free camping i found the sandover highway a far better alternative, very little traffic while the plenty was crowded just before the rock was closed to climbing.
Other than gemtree the other camps on the plenty were very ordinary and the middle one was pittyful. We camped at all 3 just to see what they were like, gemtree is a great spot.
Free camped on the sandover on the way back and although we were out of sight of the road only 2 vehicles went past from 3pm till we left about 9am, so quiet.
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Follow Up By: Stephen H15 - Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 23:55

Monday, Jul 13, 2020 at 23:55
Thanks for the alternative. Did you cut down from Lake Nash to Tobermorey via Urandangi? If so, how was the track? Btw, only me, Mazda BT-50 and tent.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 08:06

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 08:06
We did the Sandover in 2011, returning from Ayers Rock, and heading to Camooweal for the Drovers' weekend in late August. Was in great condition, except between Arlparra & the store. A lot of country had been burnt north of the road but we ended up down one of the recently graded drains, where we had a good camp, almost hidden amongst the scrub. Plenty of high speed Falcon/Holden traffic up till midnight!

Not a lot to see but plenty of shrubs & trees in bloom that year. We turned north, up through Austral Downs, rather than go through Lake Nash. A good road that hits the Barkly Hwy, about 45kms west of Camooweal.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: qldcamper - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 08:45

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 08:45
We camped about 2/3 the way across at the base of a comms tower, the service track was just noticable so it was a comfortable days drive to the dangi pub.
The track from lake nash to dangi was well rutted, not corrugated just made it without rubbing too heavily in a std hilux.

Unless I missed something lake nash doesnt exist, it is the name of a station that has a no entry sign at the turn off.

Helps to have a compas and paper map in that area, lots of tracks and no signes, and the flow of the tracks wants to take you north.

We stopped at tobermorey on the way across and was a bit disappointed but it was just after the post flooding rebuild, so we will give it another try one day but not the next one, cant even remember its name but it was shocking considering the advertising it gets just keep driving to gemtree if you do the plenty. So we headed for Longreach.

They are sealing the plenty now so do it while you have the chance. Bitumin from harts range when we went through but that was a while ago, it will soon be a half day drive.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 04:51

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 04:51
The surfaces all depend on whether it's rained recently, time since the last grading and how much traffic there's been.
300km of the Tanami is now bitumen but the top end, between the Wolf Ck Crater turnoff and the highway is usually a corrugation horror as tourists go down from the highway without airing down.
The Plenty is a typical NT dirt road and improves significantly when it becomes the Donahue.
Re scenery, the Tanami is pretty boring and I'd recommend getting up to the Kimberley via the Gary Junction Rd and Marble Bar instead.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 09:22

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 09:22
Have done the Plenty in 2011 & 2019, and the difference now is very noticeable. Bitumen now stretches at least 20kms east of Harts Range, and on the Donohue, there is 141km sealed & 98kms unsealed. By end of this financial year there will a further 13km sealed. But the gravel sections seem to be coping a real hammering, compared to 2011, when the gravel was quite acceptable. Good Camps at Gem Tree, but can be full in busy season, Georgina River crossing and Bengeacca Ck, 400M off the Boulia-Mt Isa road.

After doing the Canning in Aug '19, we found the Billiluna-Halls Ck section was pretty good. Parts of track into Wolf Ck was a bit ordinary, no worse than the CSR, but worthwhile going in there. Good store at Billiluna, and think fuel was reasonable. Only the petrol vehicle in our group needed fuel as he was heading down the Tanami.

Van park in Halls Ck was good and we went to the Kimberly Hotel for a feed. A large establishment with cold drinks & excellent meals, served promptly. Town was a little rowdy around 2-3am, as the canines & locals attempted to outdo each in the noise stakes.

Good drive east of Halls, to Old Halls Ck, Palm Springs & Sawpit Gorge(off the road). There's a campground/van park at Old Halls, friends said it looked okay. We camped at Negri River crossing, on Duncan Hwy, which is a good drive up to the Victoria Hwy. As an alternative, you could go this way, through Timber Ck, then down Jaspers Gorge to Top Springs.

Don't recall any campsites down the Buchanan, as last time I was down it, was in 1973, in a Holden ute.

Bob


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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Robert R14 - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 18:50

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2020 at 18:50
guys thanx to everyone for info
I planned to go there

btw I bought good sportwear for biking, running at Target with discount https://www.rabato.com/au/target
I think it could be useful for someone
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