Travel the Oodnadatta Track with Caravan

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 15:35
ThreadID: 14224 Views:7080 Replies:12 FollowUps:8
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We are planning to travel from Marla to Leigh Creek via the Oodnadatta Track with a Prado TD towing a Jayco Freedom (upgraded suspension and 4WD wheels and tyres).

We are aware of the fuel issue and intend to carry extra, however I more concerned about the track condition with such a rig.

Darwin NT
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:15

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:15
G'day Wizard,

Met with some friends and members from here that are up your way now with vans on the Oodnadatta Track just a couple of weeks ago. There are always going to be minor things that can go wrong. Not that I know the Jayco you mention there, there was a reminder for Jayco owners with one beside the road half on it's side opposite the Pink Roadhouse.

The thing is take it easy and unless you miss too many fuel stops you should not need to carry too many jerry cans.

The friends were doing 200 kms a day with kids so it depends how much boredom they will accept as it can be boring to them.

A lot of the road is recently graded. Just take it easy on spots where there are corriegations. Take spares like wire and things that can go wrong, fuses too. Saw a Jack without lights because of blowing fuses and warning lights on transmission. Disn't regard that as an Oodnadatta Track problem myself. Make sure of really good tread on tyres to keep potentially penetrative stones at bay.

It is a nice run actually.
AnswerID: 65671

Reply By: Willykj - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:18

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:18
Hi Wizard,

Go for it - it is a great trip & lots to see. We travelled it a couple of years ago with a Commodore & 17ft standard pop top. Obviously the condition can vary but generally it is a good standard road & fuel will not be a problem as it is available in Oodnadatta & William Creek.

I talked to the Pink Roadhouse people & they had no problem with taking the rig we had provided we had plenty of water & food in case of rain (as the road would be closed in that event) & had additional spare wheel & UHF radio (there are repeaters right through the track).

Enjoy the trip - it is relatively easy going.

AnswerID: 65673

Follow Up By: Wizard2 - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:12

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:12

Thanks for the advice. I currenlty carry a second car spare, UHF CB, recovery gear and alike. But as someone else pointed out the more preparation the better. The last time a travelled the track was 1983 in a series 2A Landrover. Had to check the UJ bolts at everyt stop to make sure they didn't come unstuck. But now with the spouse and a much better setup I need to plan for the unexpected.

Thanks for your feedback.
FollowupID: 326632

Reply By: The Banjo - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:21

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:21
Phone the Pink Roadhouse at Oodnadatta just prior to check on the road conditions in that region. Usually, the road is in "good" nick (good for outback that is) but there has been rain recently and it all depends if it was cut up (and on grading etc). There are some very stony sections (that never improve) - tyres will be the issue IMO - you need stout tyres, lowered pressures and moderate speeds (then weave you way through the bigger stones) - that is all you can do (an extra spare for the car and the van is a great idea too....or at least, a case for each, for a service shop to fit)...if you show the tyre failure gods that you are serious, they usually leave you alone and prey on the un-prepared !
AnswerID: 65675

Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:29

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 17:29
Wizard, Fuel shouldnt be a problem, Marla, Oodndatta, William Creek, Marree, Lyndhurst. The only problem you might encounter is if it rains, so carry extra food and water in case you have to sit it out for a few days. Let some air out of your tyres as to reduce the risk of possible fractures, and I assume you have extra spares. Call on Member Jiarna at Oodndatta and take it easy and have a good trip.
AnswerID: 65677

Reply By: GOB & denny vic member - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 18:00

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 18:00
gooddday wizard
we did the trip last year enjoyed it very much (on the way home from darwin up there again in 7 weeks ) with a jayco offroad freedom took it easy broke a shocker bracket on van looked like a bit of thin angle iron bloke atbwilliam ck caravan park welded it back and it lasted till we got home .but it wasnt to bad atrip with plenty to see we stayed at will ck o/n but should have spent 2 nights along the track

AnswerID: 65682

Reply By: Mick - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 20:55

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 20:55
Wizard, forget the fuel for that section of your trip. You would have a comfortable range of nearly 1,000km with your combination if it's the current Prado with 180l tanks and a bit less if it's the old model but considering you won't travel more than 213km between fuel it won't be a problem. In case you don't know, you can get fuel at Marla, 213k on to Oodnadatta, 206k to William Creek and then 210k to Maree. Then it's 80k to Lyndhurst and just 38k on to Leigh Creek. Also, I'd recommend Coward Springs for a camping spot between William Creek and Maree - an oasis on the track with warm springs too. Also check out the mound springs and Lake Eyre as you go. Last time I was on the track I saw a Commodore towing a pop top van so you will have no trouble (unless it rains then everybody has trouble) .... but you'll have more trouble than vehicles withour trailers!
Good luck and enjoy the trip ...
AnswerID: 65711

Follow Up By: Wizard2 - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:17

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:17
Thanks for all your advice. Had the tip about Coward Springs form another source as well. I think it will be a welcome stop over.

FollowupID: 326635

Reply By: Member - Bob et Joëlle (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:01

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:01
Been browsing the posts. Isn't this a nice post - plenty of helpful info from people with a shared interest in enjoying life. Bit of a contrast with some of the others really. Well done tout le monde.

AnswerID: 65712

Follow Up By: Wizard2 - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:20

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 21:20
B & J,
I agree, it is a welcome change to have some positive advice rather than the "doom and gloom" responses. Thank you all for your very helpful feedback.

Darwin NT
FollowupID: 326637

Reply By: Des Lexic - Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 22:26

Tuesday, Jun 29, 2004 at 22:26
Wizzo, The rougher the track, the slower you go and you should be OK. I'd fit a stone deflector/guard if I were you before you leave.
AnswerID: 65736

Follow Up By: Wizard1 - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 10:13

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 10:13
I have considered the damage to the rear of the Prado and intend to fit a full width extended mud flap to the tow bar. I also tow a boat on dirt roads (we do a lot of that here) so it will serve two purposes.

But thankyou for the tip, I know of a lot of 4wder's that don't think about what happens to vehicles towing vans on dirt roads. Been lucky up till now but I can't se it continuing. Heard stories of 4wd with plywood over the back window on some tracks.

Another idea I had was to attach shade cloth to the roof rack and attach the bottom to the bumper/tow bar.

If anyone else has any stone protection tips I'd like to hear them.

Darwin NT
FollowupID: 326687

Reply By: The Banjo - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 10:59

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 10:59
Briefly, re stones, I think there is merit in letting the airborne stones out from under the car, but deflect them down and out sideways with guards/protectors/defectors etc. mounted on the front of the trailer....IOW...give them somewhere to go ! Most serious trailer makers seem to go that way, from what I've seen.
AnswerID: 65790

Reply By: Member - Anne - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 13:40

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 13:40
Hi Wizard,

We came through that way a few weeks ago. We got stranded at Coward Springs because of rain, and it is definitely a lovely place to stay. We saw plenty of people with caravans who made it through in very trying conditions after the wet. However make sure that the road at Margaret Creek has been repaired, as it had been completely washed away, and you would have great difficulty getting past it.

Have a fantastic trip. Also we used the Lonely Planet guide to the Outback, and it has really interesting information about what to see in that part of the world.

AnswerID: 65798

Follow Up By: Wizard1 - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 09:12

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 09:12
Thanks for the heads up. I have added the Transport SA Road Conditions site as a web favourite which I intend to study on a daily basis prior to departing.

I ahve been told that the Pink Roadhouse is the place to ring about local road condtions as well.

It is annoying I live in a state where you can do nothing during the Wet. Then comes the dry and you can't go south because of rain in the centre.
I give up.

FollowupID: 326771

Follow Up By: Wizard1 - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 09:20

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 09:20

checked the map, I assume you mean the Margaret River just north of Coward Springs.

FollowupID: 326774

Follow Up By: Member - Anne - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:15

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:15
Hi Wizard,

No actually, it is the Margaret Creek, south of Coward Springs and north of Curdimurka. We got a bit confused too but believe me, we found out about it when we got there!

Happy (DRY) travelling
FollowupID: 326859

Reply By: Wombat - Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 23:28

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004 at 23:28
We've just done it Wizard and rest assured fuel is not a problem - plenty available en route. Two pieces of advice; make sure the van is as dust proof as possible (Mrs Al is still discovering dust piles), and try not to hit Oodnadatta on pension day as the local lads tend to let off a little bit of steam.
AnswerID: 65893

Follow Up By: Wizard1 - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 09:16

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 09:16
We experience the "pensionday" parties here in Darwin as well. We have to intention of staying in towns as we are pretty well setup to free camping. Have a plethora of books on free camp sites. I passed through (refuelled and left) Oodnadatta about 20 years ago and from the sounds not much has changed.

Thanks for the tip.

Darwin NT
FollowupID: 326773

Reply By: Member - Russell S - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 21:28

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 21:28
The Oodnadatta Track is a track in name only. In the dry a Falcon wouldn't be challenged. Even in the wet I doubt you'll have trouble, except for the damage you do to the road surface. Similar for the Birdsville - we drove it in less than a day with lots of stops. No experience with Jayco though..... Have a good trip.
AnswerID: 66057

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