Trip around the Centre

Submitted: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 22:10
ThreadID: 23475 Views:2320 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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Back from Alice yesterday. Last Tuesday seven of us hired two 100 series diesels and headed out for six days. We arrived in Alice at 1130 and it took us three hours to pick up the vehicles, buy provisions and head north out of town. The first destination was Yuendumu so we camped out about 40 km short of there on Tuesday night.

Into Y early on Wednesday and spent a few very pleasant hours watching artists at work before heading south toward Papunya and Haasts Bluff. I love this track as it runs through open desert country with stands of desert oaks then winds through a pass at Mt Wedge before the run into Papunya. Papunya looks pretty sad as we pass through without stopping. The art centre at Haasts Bluff is quiet as the artists are off at a meeting, but we acquire some excellent works.

Instead of retracing steps we head west out of the community and along a track which passes Mt Crawford and Blanche Tower. The track exists on the map more than in reality. This was an excellent adventure through remarkable terrain which we suspect hasn't been seen by anyone for many years. We emerged back into civilisation at Mt Liebig and headed west to Kintore. We overnighted in the bush outside town and visited the art centre on Friday morning. Blown away by the brilliant work being done and the famous artists we got to meet.

Down the Sandy Blight Junction Track on Friday. This track has everything: most of all isolation - until we nearly got cleaned up by the Kintore coppers heading home from Tjukurla. The Mu Hills, Sir Frederick Range, Lens markers. We found a great camping spot about 20 km from the Grt Central Rd. A quick run into Uluru on Saturday morning, great views of the Olgas from the dunes about 20 km out.

Heading along the Lasseter Hwy the other vehicle managed to lose its rooftop load of swags and tent. Very lucky to ask the right people at Curtin Springs if they had seen anything and they had picked them up! We camped along the Luritja Rd on Saturday night (frost on swags) and did the Kings Canyon walk Sunday morning, Mereenie Loop, Gosse Bluff, Ormiston Gorge and quick blast into Alice for a shower and a steak on Sunday night. Dropped vehicles back to hire place (sheepishly) on Monday morning. A bit of shopping in the mall and then fly out at 1.00 pm. From the plane I can make out the Colson Track which we drove a few years earlier. The Simpson Desert seems to extend nearly to Sydney.

Back at work today :-( but planning next trip.
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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 23:41

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at 23:41
Fantastic report - inspirational, in fact.

Could I enquire re a few key aspects?

How many km travelled?

Cost of hire & fuel, insurance etc?

How long did it take to get permits ?

If you had a magic wand, would you change the route or itinerary?


AnswerID: 113844

Reply By: Kiwi Ray - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 07:45

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 07:45
Hi Bob
I would be interested in some more info.
Where did you hire the trucks from.
Geting tired of shipping my truck over and back
AnswerID: 113852

Follow Up By: Russ - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 20:23

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 20:23
Howdy Ray,
R U considering doing a trip to Alice?
We (about 5 vehicles) may being going there around June-Aug 06.

Would be good to catch up.

FollowupID: 370002

Reply By: Footloose - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:21

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:21
Thanks for the report Bob. What's the road through Papunya etc like ? Corrugated ?
The copper incident is a timely reminder that even on remote tracks we need to watch out. The locals aren't expecting us :))
AnswerID: 113864

Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 10:12

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 10:12
the Tanami was good, the track from Yuendumu to Papunya was good, the road from Pap to HB was good, the track from HB to Mt Liebig was interesting, the rd to Kintore was good, the SBJT was good, the Grt Central Rd was corrugated, the Mereenie Loop was mostly good.
It hadn't rained since last June so the country was almost as dry as where I live outside the ACT. Even the ghost gums at Kings Canyon looked distressed.
FollowupID: 369921

Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 10:22

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 10:22
Ta. When the ghost gums look crook you know it's dry ! I'll be on the Kintore road out to well 33 in a few weeks with any luck, so the road report is very helpful. Also good to get a nice report on a 4wd hire service. $200 a day isn't bad. Last time I looked years ago it was $170 a day without any gear.
FollowupID: 369922

Reply By: Bob of KAOS - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:50

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2005 at 09:50
The hire outfit was: Highly recommended.
The cost of each vehicle was about $200 a day but that included camping equipment for seven (not swags). There is a deposit of $700 per vehicle. We paid the excess waiver of about $40 per day. Split 3 or 4 ways it is a cheap way to go bush.
Total distance I estimate was 300 to Yuendumu, 150 south to HB, 300 to Kintore, 250 to Docker River, 700 back to AS - about 1700 km. The hire includes unlimited kms though.
Two flat tyres - I learned how to change split rims.
Given a bit more time we would have included Blackstone and Wingellina, but otherwise very happy with the trip.
Permits take about three months (don't mention an interest in art because they are trying to keep the carpet baggers out).
The most amazing coincidence was that one of my customers this morning asked how the trip was and he said he was a surveyor in the 80's who surveyed the border from where it crosses the Tanami, down the SBJT, to SG corner. So he had travelled all the tracks we just covered.
AnswerID: 113872

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