Andamooka to Mugaria Station

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 11, 2005 at 15:47
ThreadID: 23775 Views:5862 Replies:6 FollowUps:12
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I see from the archives that there is experience out there about the track from Andamooka across the northern tip of Lake Torrens and on to Mulgaria Station homestead.

I'd like to travel from Andamooka to Lake Arthur on a 2WD ATV towing a small trailer with fuel and spare wheels. I'll have a good bit of weight in boxes on the rear rack but not much on the front.

Does experience suggest that I'd get over the sand hills? Maybe I could go beside the track where the loose sand was prohibitive.

With thanks,
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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Saturday, Jun 11, 2005 at 17:43

Saturday, Jun 11, 2005 at 17:43
Well, this is one of those posts that will raise more questions than it answers!

I can't answer even one thing here, but I got LOTS of questions...

What sort of quad?
What do you carry for say 3 night trips?
What sort of mileage through sand?
What is the legal aspect of these things on roads, like aren't they illegal? ( who cares...)
What sort of camera are you using?
How do you transport the quad & trailer to Andamooka?
Have you got a eab site so we can see your set=up?

I've always wanted to do this sort of thing, but I'm not REALLY sure if I want to spend the serious money.... maybe you could enlighten me....


AnswerID: 115372

Follow Up By: D-Jack - Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:45

Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:45

Read the next reply.

I think you've finally found someone to show you enlightenment.

I can hear you now, in a low, soft voice - 'teach me master'

May he lead you to nirvana.
FollowupID: 371092

Reply By: Bega Photographer - Saturday, Jun 11, 2005 at 21:55

Saturday, Jun 11, 2005 at 21:55
Hi Lone Wolf.

I'm new to this group so am not too clear on where the limits lay. I'm not sure if this kind of vehicle should be discussed. I just wanted some insight about the sand dunes. Also not clear on how long posts can be.

Bike is a Kawasaki Bayou, mid 90's with 20 000 km up. 300cc. All I could afford. Belonged to an ageing farmer and is in good condition.

I've never camped with the bike before but i'm an experienced camper. I'll camp one and two nights.

On the trailer I have 40 liters of fuel, two spare wheels, sleeping bag and tent etc. and a few odds and ends.

On the bike I have 15 liters emergency water plus regular water, 10 liters fuel, ammo box of emergency gear(tools, jack, recovery gear, puncture plugs and pump etc.), ammo box with cameras etc., small gas stove and billies. That's all on the rear rack. On the front I've made a wooden box for some tripods with extra, small compartments for GPS and the like.

A large part of South Australia is pastoral lease. The station roads and tracks, as opposed to the public roads, are privately owned. In some cases you can get permission from the lease holder to access their land.

ATVs are not regiserable in NSW or SA so you can't take them on a public road or any other public place. That includes forrestry tracks.

I get 10 km/liter on firm ground riding on forrestry tracks fully loaded with the trailer and all. I expect my fuel consumption to double in sand country.

My serious camera is a Mamiya RB67 medium format camera. That means it has a negative 6cm x 7cm for detail and sharpness. I also use a small digital camera and will take a nikon 35mm camera on my coming trip.

My son works at Olympic Dam mine and lives in Roxby Downs. My wife and I will stay with him for a couple of weeks and I'll venture out into the desert as appropriate. I've built the small trailer so I can remove the wheels and fit it in the big trailer under the bike. I've been comunicating with some station managers and will leave the car at their homestead complexes for safety.

You can pick up an ex farm bike about this age and capacity for about two grand or a bit more. A larger 4x4 bike would be great but we've all got to live within our means.

To venture into the desert more than a couple of kms the way I'm doing it is not to be undertaken lightly. I have GPS, EPIRB, satellite phone. I've been studying maps and satelite photos for 12 months. I've drawn up a safety plan detailing hazards, risks, controls and emergency responses. I have an emergency person and will call in twice a day. I've built the trailer such that should I have to abandon the bike and walk, a handle goes in the drawbar so I can trolley my water, food and sleeping bag. I can walk 50 kms in two days.

I don't know what an eab site is but I have a couple of websites with some pictures and blurb. and Hope I'm allowed to include these links.
link text
link text
AnswerID: 115384

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:42

Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:42
You are going to have waaaayy too much fun!!!

I wish you all the best, and as far as I recall, the type of vehicle shouldn't matter here on this forum...... it's all about discovering Australia.

I reckon your most expensive part of the trip is keeping Velvia up to that hungry camera of yours!!


FollowupID: 371091

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:47

Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:47
Yep.... I'm right...... had a look at your pages........

....... you're having waaayyy too much fun!!

Keep up the good work.

FollowupID: 371093

Follow Up By: Casnat - Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:49

Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 00:49
Hi Laurie,

sounds like you are no novice to this game.

I did this track about 4 weeks ago. I have no experience with bikes (or bikes towing trailers) so can only advise from a 4wd point of view. We were in 2 vehicles, both Patrols, and whilst it was an interesting way home (we had come from Googs) it was never challenging in a "hard to get through" sense (wasn't boring either). I have measured the bigger dunes on the Border Track at 30 M with the GPS and I would suggest that the largest on the Torrens Track would be about a third of that. Some were quite soft and had a few turns in them but we didn't need a second run up for any.(or for that matter to attack them too aggressively).

We did lower our tyre pressures a bit but not way down (about 25) and did run in 4wd but probably could have got through without doing either if that gives you some idea of the difficulty.

It costs $25 per vehicle to the station to use the track. From the station to Farina is essentially a dirt road (albeit dusty).

Have fun. If you are prepared and experienced, as it sounds like you are, I can't imagine you will have too many problems (assume all normal legal disclaimers apply re giving such advice etc etc)

FollowupID: 371094

Reply By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 10:54

Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 10:54
Hi Trevor, thanks for the info.

I'd like to confirm that we are talking about the same track.

The propper, official track goes fairly closely around the northern tip of Lake Torrens. You can turn off to the north and go to Stuart Creek Opal Diggings.

The map shows a fence line which is the boundry between Andamooka country and Mulgaria country and which crosses Lake Torrens about 10 km south east of the official track.

An Ausat 7 photograph shows some markings in about the same line as the map shows the fence. Obviously you can't see a wire netting fence from space so I reckon there must be a bit of a track along the boundry fence. This was confirmed by the author of an archived post. This is the track I'm enquiring about.

I suspect you are referring to the official track, in which case it sounds like I'd get through that way but would miss out on the experience of crossing the lake.

Edward John Eyre was the first white man to explore the area from Adelade up the Flinders ranges. He made three attempts to cross Lake Torrens. On his third and most valliant attempt he got 10 miles into the lake but turned back sooner than loose the horses which were bogging up to their bellies. Presumably, if he lost the horses he'd have perrished with them.

AnswerID: 115425

Follow Up By: Casnat - Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 11:42

Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 11:42

We would have been on the official track I suggest. We certainly didn't drive across the lake itself but got reasonably close around the top.

There is a reasonable amount of traffic using the station track now it would seem so you would not be too isolated if you got into trouble. The station owner said there were 7 vehicles the day before we went through.

I don't recall any obvious tracks heading out over the lake and there are none marked on any of the maps I have.

The simplest thing would be to ring Mulgaria Station and ask (you need to get permission anyway) 08 8675 8313.

Just in case it becomes useful once you are out there, the station monitors UHF channel 24.

FollowupID: 371115

Reply By: Outnabout David (SA) - Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 12:30

Sunday, Jun 12, 2005 at 12:30

Please get permission from the property owner before doing this trip and abide by his decision.

It takes forever for tracks on salt lakes to disappear and this main track has only been opened up again in the last couple of years because of people not doing the right thing by the property owner. The contact no is in a previous reply so give hime a call.
AnswerID: 115436

Reply By: Bega Photographer - Monday, Jun 13, 2005 at 11:57

Monday, Jun 13, 2005 at 11:57
Well, G'day again.

I must bring peace to the hearts of those who are conserned that I'm about to do the wrong thing and thus contribute to spoiling it for everyone.

I am planning a photography trip on an ATV to Andamooka Station, Arcoona Station and Bosworth Station. I have communicated with the management of all three stations by snail mail and e-mail and have received permission with some conditions attatched. I've also spoken on the phone with the manager of Andamooka Station.

In my reserch I've noticed the things described in a previous post along the boundry of Andamooka and Pt. Mulgaria Stations. Pt. Mulgaria Station is controlled by Mulgaria Station and a fair bit of the Andamooka to Farinina track goes through Pt. Mulgaria.

I came across The ExplorerOz sight and said to myself "A bloke could tap into a vast pool of knolledge and experience here", so I signed up. Good move!

When I got into the forum archives, I found a post telling how the author had, following directions from the manager of Mulgaria Station, followed the fence line across Lake Torrens.

Now there's a big difference between a thumping big 4WD and a little 2WD 300cc ATV weighed down with a trailer, so I thought I might get the benefit of some of this vast pool of experience before I annoy the gentleman from Mulgaria. I would think that wasting his time with stupid phone calls would do as much harm as hoonining around his place in the wet. Can you just see him putting the phone down and saying with disdain "The stupid, flamin' idiot thinks he's going to follow the fenceline over the dunes and across the lake on an ATV towing a trailer? That bloke will be feed for the wedge tails".

I'm aware that lake Torrens is a National Park and that driving on the lake is prohibited. It may well be that irrespective of a fenceline and wheel tracks already there, that driving this track is a no no.

So with all that in mind I'd be pleased to hear from anyone with local knolledge. If it sounds feasable I may try and plan it into my next trip, seeking permission being an integral part of the thorough planning process along with taking a drink of water and checking the oil.

I trust that after this explanation the wheel shimmy in the thousands of 4WDs that criss cross this great country will steady down and the drivers will sleep soundly tonight, ready for another day's trecking.

You may like to have a look at some desert images from my previous trip to the Andamooka area. link text link text

Here's a link straight to one of my favorite images: [ View Image]It's sunrise through the window of the ruins of Phillip Ponds Homestead, north of Woomera. The black line at the bottom is the horizon rather than the window sill.

Kind regards and many thanks,

AnswerID: 115533

Follow Up By: bundyman - Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 09:54

Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 09:54

I think you'll find that was my thread that said I travelled accross lake Torrens. I was working at Roxby Downs and spent a week travelling around most of northern SA and on the way home came thru from Farina. When I pulled in to the homestead (Mulgaria) and spoke to the owner (can't remember his name) I was asking him about directions and about how to get to a vantage point and look at the Northern tip of the lake. He enquired if I wanted to drive accross. I was travelling on my own and hesitated but he said he'd just driven accross it the day before for the first time in a couple of years. So I took his directions that were drawn on the bonnet and got fairly lost (got onto a smaller lake to the east of Torrens) before finding my way back. Yes you follow a fence line the hole way accross and then the western edge of the lake, heading south. The track eventually heads west again and you end up coming into the back of Andamooka from the airport (or atleast a runway). I got some good photos from the middle of the lake. Definately not a place to get bogged on your own. I did this trip at easter 2004. I think they've just had rain out there so ask the owner about it when you call. Being on a ATV I don't think you'll have a problem. Good luck and let us know how you go mate.

FollowupID: 371561

Follow Up By: Redback - Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:42

Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:42
Laurie on another subject have you done any motorcycle racing photography (ie) Bathurst, i raced there in 88 and again in 94 and i am looking for old photos of me.

FollowupID: 371576

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:53

Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:53
Sorry Baz, can't help you with the bike racing photos.

FollowupID: 371578

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 12:10

Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 12:10
Thanks Hughsey for that advice and info. Sure was your origional post.

I may try the Lake Torrens ride if I can manage a further trip in August. Still not sure of the ethics of this rout.

I'll let the group know how I get on.

FollowupID: 371581

Reply By: Casnat - Wednesday, Jun 15, 2005 at 23:59

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2005 at 23:59
This thread is now on page 4 so unlikely to be monitored.

I would like to be updated as to how you get on so perhaps you may like to post a new update thread at some stage advising how you ulitmately got on.

As an aside, one of my colleagues took some interesting tree photos (in the firelight) on our trip and from looking at your website this is the sort of thing you are into. If you are interested, email me at trevorm at kewnes dot com dot au and I will send them to you.


AnswerID: 115979

Follow Up By: Redback - Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:46

Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:46
go to the top and click on RESPONCE TIME and you'll find it differant to post ID
FollowupID: 371577

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:58

Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 11:58
Hi Trevor,

Thanks for the good wishes. I will post furthur info later.

I' would like to see the photos. E-mail doesn't know the host name so sent my e-mail back. (Undeliverable)

FollowupID: 371579

Follow Up By: Casnat - Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 12:53

Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 at 12:53
sorry, left an "i" out.

trevorm at kewines dot com dot au
FollowupID: 371599

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