Andamooka, Arcoona, Bosworth.

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 15:11
ThreadID: 23993 Views:3001 Replies:6 FollowUps:12
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I'm very soon (end of month) going on a photographic trip traveling on an ATV (four wheel motorbike). I'll be covering the ground between Andamooka, Arcoona and Bosworth homesteads and Lake Torrens and have the owner's aprovals for this.

Has anyone been over the dunes in this particular area? I'd appreciate some info if it's available. I've already had some valued general input but hope to get something specific. It may be that since these areas are not on the way to anywhere that not many travelers go that way.

I'm conserned that if the tracks over the dunes are loose I'll have to "gun 'er" to get the bike through and this will be too rough for the little trailer that carries my spare wheels and most of my spare fuel. Just like a horse and cart: the horse will handle the rough country but the cart won't.

If I'm restricted to the hard ground I'll still get around quite a bit but will have to go the long way around on some occasions and on others will need to turn back rather than make a round trip.

I know that there will be those careing souls who'll be concerned for my safety, traveling alone in such country on such a flimsy vehicle. I have a hand winch, shovel, sand ancor, GPS with waypoints, maps, compas, spare wheels, puncture plugs, pump, tools, the all important wire, plenty of water, a satellite phone and several cans of baked beans. Oh! and a sand dune flag. So please relax and wish me well.

ATV and trailer

With thanks,
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Reply By: motherhen - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 16:05

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 16:05
Sounds like a great way to travel. What type is the bike (or rather "quike")?
AnswerID: 116381

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 18:18

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 18:18
Thanks Motherhen.

Kawasaki Bayou 2WD 300cc. Adequate for the job, if only just.

ATV Page

FollowupID: 371904

Reply By: Outnabout David (SA) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 16:18

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 16:18
I don't know anything about the quad bile but just from what I can see in the photo is that there is very little ground clearance on the trailer which could see you get hung up on sand ridges , rocks ets. Also are they plastic wheel barrow rims? Bit hard to tell. I think something wider and metal would be better for what appears to be a fairly heavy load.

As I said I don't know much about quads. But the area you are travelling is beautifull.
AnswerID: 116384

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 17:58

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 17:58
Thanks David for those observations.

Yes they are plastic wheelbarrow wheels. They are my main worry. I'm counting on the piossibility that I'll have to make some skids out of bush timber (if I can find any) to get the trailer home. My main vulnerability is getting sand in the bearings. If it doesn't work out I'll get some ATV wheels and stubs before next trip.

I've built the trailer small so I can take the wheels off and put it in the big trailer under the bike for transport, and light so I can use it for a trolley should I need to abandon the bike and walk, assuming the wheels are still on it.

The ground clearence is low but it's about the same as on the bike. I'll just have to go steady on rocky ground and pick my track. Being narrow, it won't bridge so far so that will help a bit, but ground clearance could also bring me unstuck.

The 40 liters of fuel is heavy but half the weight of the fuel is on the bike via the drawbar. The spare wheels and camping gear are fairly light. I can lift the back of the trailer when loaded. The load is a bit high for the width; a bit like a double decker bus and that's part of the reason I can't afford to gun er.

FollowupID: 371900

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 16:24

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 16:24
On Bosworth, say hello to uncle Max for me.


Wolfie ( Ian Bee.. used to work with Tony Greenfield on Purple Downs ).
AnswerID: 116385

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 18:28

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 18:28
Hey Wolfie!

I'll say hello for you.

You must know the Purple Downs country well. Driving up the highway it looks ruggard. Is it photographer's country?

FollowupID: 371905

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:08

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:08
Very nice, but unfortunately, it lies in the Woomera Prohibited Area.
You will do well on Andamooka. Bosworth is very, very stony....... very stony.


FollowupID: 371923

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:29

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:29

Have you been on Andamooka Island (the island itself that is)? In the satellite image it looks quite something but when I compare the sat photo to the topo map I think it's probibly just the way the light caught the terrain.

FollowupID: 371940

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 08:39

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 08:39
"Have you been on Andamooka Island (the island itself that is)?"

Never heard of it. I guess life's like that, you live somewhere, and you don't always see everything, yet I see overseas tourists here, and they see EVERYTHING!!!


FollowupID: 371981

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 12:07

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 12:07
Thanks Wolfie.

Now another question: Will I get to Andamooka and Bosworth station homesteads in the car? I'm traveling in a Comodore wagon with a trailer carrying the ATV. I'm planning on leaving the car at the homestead complexes for security rather than just somewhere out in the desert.

FollowupID: 372005

Follow Up By: Lone Wolf - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 08:21

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 08:21
Yes, easy.....
FollowupID: 372167

Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 19:13

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 19:13
Hi Laurie,
I have had these plastic wheels before, and I wouldnt be relying on them for remote work, or any work with 1/4 that weight.
1) the brgs are not sealed and will get sand in quickly and chop out, as they are only roller brgs not tapered wheel brgs.
2) the sides of these plastic rims folds down easy especially if the weather warms up, and then the tyres fall off and blows the tube, there is nothing you can do to fix it, they are only made for wheel barrows
3) the bike will struggle to pull any part of that load on a skid, you will have to leave it behind and retrieve it later if it breaks down.
My suggestion is to go and buy 2 wheels the same as what you have but with steel centres and take the 2 plastic ones as emergency spares, will be 60 - 80 bucks well spent, but you will still have brg problem!
It looks to me to be overloaded for this type of wheel, but hard to tell from pic.
I would have used a pair of tyres and wheels the same as on the bike for sand floatation as these wheel barrow wheels will bog in very easy.
Hope you have a great time in this great part of our state, but I have some real concerns with your choice of wheels and tyres for your trek, do you have time to modify this setup? hope so.

Cheers for now
AnswerID: 116407

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:13

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:13
Thanks Steve.

It's not only the time factor but the dollar factor.

Everything thing you say rings true and I'm afraid that in a month's time I'll be posting to say you were right (and David as well). But in the mean time I'll just have to try to keep out of the sand with the trailer, leaving it behind when I come to the sandy country. I can quite safely go 20 or 30 kms without it.

I've been on some good practice rides on forrestry roads and tracks with the trailer loaded and had no trouble. If I keep my fingers crossed and avoid the sand I hope to get away with it.

If need be I can stack the jerry cans on the front rack and the wheels on the back. It just means I can't get my camera or tripod out without a major unpack every time. There are alternatives there. I won't perrish over a blown trailer tyre or melted wheel, though it will be quite inconvenient.

I've made sure I can navigate and get out of a bog. What I have to be constantly on the lookout for is a nasty accident on steep ground such as a creek crossing.

The other thing is the nights. It will be the dark of the moon. I'll be camping on my own miles from civilization. I reckon the nights will be pretty scary with not even the glow of a campfire. Please spare me a thought around new moon. At least the stars will be brilliant.

On the website linked to below are some images from my previous trip to the Roxby Downs, Andamooka area. I was in the car and a bit restricted. Laurie's Photos Click on the "Arid Desert" link.

FollowupID: 371935

Follow Up By: Nudenut - Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 08:00

Monday, Jun 20, 2005 at 08:00
My thoughts on those narrow wheels is that they will sink almost immediately you hit the sand
FollowupID: 371978

Reply By: Member - Luxoluk - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:28

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 20:28
We had a shack at a place called White Dam being a few Kms south of Andamooka from the mid 1960's until just recently. Old Bill, from "Bills Pub" who lived a couple of shacks down the track drove his rather then new X2 HD Holden up through that country to Birdsville, circa 1966. Quite a challenge he reckoned and I'm sure it was. He made it up and back!

I've not been through the northern part for quite a few years but from what I remember I wouldn't be too concerned about the dunes. You could basically walk the bike through if you started to bog down. Punctures.....well they would be another matter on some of that gibber rock!!

My advice to you is to talk to the Police at Andamooka who would be regularly travelling throughout these areas. Hard to believe that there has only been a Police presence in Andamooka for about 25-30 years....when they arrived half the bloody town left... Check the WWW for posts on Andamooka. There are people in town who have organised local desert bashes etc who could also offer you some informed advice.

Cheers and good luck.
AnswerID: 116420

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 22:09

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 22:09
Hey, thanks Luxoluk for that great info. You tell a great story with it.

I've seen Bill's pub on the net.

I've seen White Dam on the map and considered going there for a ride. Now that you mention a shack, Bill's Pub and other shacks it sounds very appealing. Would I get shot at if I went around there? Are these shacks as full of character as the ones in Andamooka?

Would I find any ruins from the early pastoral days around this country?

Abandoned Miner's Cottage, Andamooka

Lying in what remains of the garden of a former miner's wife, an old jerry can rusts away. Looks like it got pretty hot while the seal was still holding.


FollowupID: 371953

Reply By: Member - Geoff M (Newcastle) - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:35

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 21:35
Hello Laurie,
Only thing I'd be keen to have on your adventure is a personal EPIRB. The ones that hang around your neck.
If you fall off, get trapped and can't reach your sat. phone, at least you can trigger the EPIRB.
Other than that, sheeite I'm green,

Go for it,
Landcruiser HDJ78,
Grey hair is hereditary, you get it from children. Baldness is caused by watching the Wallabies.

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AnswerID: 116444

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 22:26

Sunday, Jun 19, 2005 at 22:26
Thanks for that Geoff. Perhaps the next best thing is to carry the phone on my belt.

Mind you, at my age and with quite a bit of delicate photographic gear on board I won't be ripping around the desert like a young hoon.

FollowupID: 371963

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