Larapinta Drive (Mereenie Loop) NT

Submitted: Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 22:23
ThreadID: 30393 Views:7279 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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Hi all,

Trek notes state that Larapinta Drive/ Mereenie Loop is "open / 4WD".

Can anyone advise on the condition of the road for 2WD. We have 4WD, but will be travelling in June/ July with friends who only have 2WD, but will not be towing. How suitable would the road be for them?

Any advice gratefully accepted.

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Reply By: Mulga Bill - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 23:39

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 23:39
IMO, it could normally be expected to be quite ok for 2wd BUT you need to check with local area authorities prior..... any rain in the weeks prior can really upset the planning .... recent grading activity plays a part too. They should know that stony sections and corrugations could well be in the mix.
AnswerID: 152846

Reply By: Vivid Adventures - Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 23:56

Friday, Feb 03, 2006 at 23:56
Hi Cathy,

Well if June/July last year is anything to go on, the 2WD (and 4WD for that matter) would want to be a good sturdy one, and you/they should expect suspension damage and blowouts/snake bites.

The corrugations were serious, the pot holes a foot or more deep in places, and wheel ruts to boot - quite a bad stretch of road - admittedly this was after some serious rain, but despite NTTC trying to make it a more commonly travelled route, it is still not very enjoyable in a 2WD or a 4WD.

Then again, after they've graded it, it is fine with quite fast speeds possible in many places, but put that volume of tour buses through there, as well as other big 4WDs etc., and it soon gets out of hand.

Best to revist the question closer to the date (like a week before). If all else fails, it is almost as quick to drive back to Alice and down to Lasseter Highway and then Luritja Road to Kings Canyon and a much smoother ride.

Like most roads like that it is doable slowly, but it is a bl**dy long way travelling slowly! Nothing that particularly makes it any better for 2WD or 4WD unless it is muddy except perhaps clearance for the big pot holes.

There is not much on the road of interest bedsides stinky horny camels, donkeys and horses (lots of them though) - and the odd view of Gosse's bluff and a rugged pass so the road lacks redeeming features - until you get to King's Canyon of course - hopefully DEH will have finished all the repairs they have been doing and the rim walk will be fully open - it is in my view, the better of the big 3 Central attractions.

Ciao for now
AnswerID: 152848

Follow Up By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 00:11

Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 00:11
I agree with Andrew.

Travelled the other way, from KC to Redbank Gorge. Came across a busted camper trailer that had overturned, fortunately not tipping the towing Paj too.

Saw a number of hire cars, 2WD, on the trek but don't remember too many private 2WD's. Marvelous things those hire cars. Don't need 4WD for traction, just vehicle longevity.

Love the signs on the 60l oil drums beside the road at a snakey bit in the road.
"lift um foot" then after the bends "puttim down agin".

FollowupID: 406649

Reply By: Mulga Bill - Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 16:29

Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 16:29
Yep.....and re King's Canyon - make time for the rim walk if you can - it's the highlight of the region ! If you can crack a morning circuit, with a clear blue sky, you may never forget the place ! The short valley walk is ok, but "nothing at all" by comparison with the rim !
AnswerID: 152962

Follow Up By: Vivid Adventures - Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 20:55

Saturday, Feb 04, 2006 at 20:55
Can't agree more Mulga.

The rim walk is within the capabilities of most everyone I have taken out there even though the documentation might say otherwise.

With plenty of water and taking it easy with an early (twilight) start, it is one of the better experiences of the outback.

Love those rock ampitheatres, the water course, those vertical walls, those trees clinging on for dear life - not to speak of the lizards and birds.

Ciao for now
FollowupID: 406872

Reply By: Mulga Bill - Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 08:50

Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 at 08:50
Except for tourists swimming in the "garden of eden" pool - part of the appeal for the outback to me is the natural environment - the old "take photos and leave footprints" bizo - the tourists should look from above in my view - close the track down there - hell - they even leave rubbish there at times.
AnswerID: 153068

Follow Up By: ROBERT - Monday, Feb 06, 2006 at 16:52

Monday, Feb 06, 2006 at 16:52
Your spot on some water holes are their to swim in and then their are othes which should just be admired just like the garden of eden a very special place
FollowupID: 407307

Follow Up By: Vivid Adventures - Monday, Feb 06, 2006 at 19:38

Monday, Feb 06, 2006 at 19:38
hmmm. that's a tough one.

there are a lot of people coming through Watarrka every day - I'd guess there's room for 20 buses in the car park, if not more!

So, there are going to be a lot of people. Where there are people there is rubbish - a fact of life.

I'm not sure I'm qualified to decide which waterholes to swim in and which not to. The parks folks are painting and repairing all the walkways at the moment, and have put some signs up in the waterhole about regeneration, but they don't seem to be concerned about folks swimming there - even when there's not enough water to be going over the falls. Many tour groups set a timetable that doesn't allow time to take the detour down and up and many folks are work out by the time they get there.

I enjoy a swim in the odd waterhole - careful as I am not to wash with soaps and things in them - and I would have trouble decrying those who might be interested enough to swim in GoE - although I've never swum there myself, I have dangled my smelly feet ;-)

Did I miss some point of sacred tranquility which shouldn't be disturbed?

Ciao for now
Andrew who admits to being sacriligeous in Garden of Eden.
FollowupID: 407351

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