Finke to Chambers Pillar

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 22:13
ThreadID: 3131 Views:3109 Replies:8 FollowUps:6
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We, (3 families all with trailers) are going to Chambers Pillar in June July. Has anybody recently travelled the Original Ghan Railway route, is it passable with three trailers (all are proper off road trailers, two are pretty heavy pushing 1100kg's), interested in any comments.Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Andrew - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 22:28

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 22:28
We did it Easter 2001.
2 families, 2 Patrols without trailers.
Just a basic outback track. Corrugated dirt and sandy sections.
Fuel is very expensive at MtDare but I always top up. Better than running short out there.
Ghan line can be rough and has lots of old rail spiikes on it but the track next to it (used for the Desert Race) is undulating and often rougher.
Carrying alcohol through the town of Finke is illegal and there are heavy penalties but there isn't a road a road around it. Your decision to make.

Chambers Pillar campground was full of small prickles/burrs and annoying. The road in is pretty ordinary but worth a visit.

Check road conditions before going. Tracks can be closed even after minor rain.

Enjoy!
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Follow Up By: Cameron - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:19

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:19
Thanks for the response. What fuel is available at Finke, we are all on ULP. Also, what do you consider expensive ? We paid 1.55 at Rabit Flat July 2002, but if you need it it is a long way to push !!! I figure if we can afford the time & dollars to get their we can affiord to support the local economy.
Ta
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Follow Up By: Cameron - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:20

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:20
ps could I add what fuel is available at Finke & Mt DAre Ta
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 22:33

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 22:33
Being an Aboriginal community I would guess that Finke would only have Diesel and Avgas. Check the Trip Notes on this site or maybe others know. MtDare has unleaded & diesel.
Was $1.50/litre when we were last there.
Definately stay a night at Dalhousie Springs, even though the campground has been moved. Dalhousie to Chambers is a long days drive.
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Reply By: royce - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 22:55

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 22:55
Visited Chambers Pillar overnight from Alice Springs about the time of the 2000 Olympics. Yeah... Cathy won the night before we left... Anyway.... Chambers Pillar is fascinating. Heaps of explorers and other graffit artists from the early days have left their mark. There are signs all over the place asking you not to add to the artwork..... hmmmm You wonder if you DID scratch your name and date whether in 200 years the signs would be protecting your initials. This also leads to the question of whether indigenous graffiti done today would have the same protection as the old stuff....... hmmm
AnswerID: 12035

Reply By: nadia - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 23:14

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 23:14
Travelled along this route in July 2002 just after the desert races. Track was very corrugated with sand. We did not have a trailer and I am glad we didn't as the going can be slow going and rough. Corrugations were so bad in some places it was like being on a roller coaster -it was easier to travel along the old railway track running alongside the road. You could possibly do it with a trailer as you are travelling with 3 vehicles thus will have help if you get stuck. Loved Chambers Pillar.
AnswerID: 12037

Reply By: Member - Willem- Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 23:28

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 23:28
If you are happy to travel at 30kmh then it should not be too rough. Re: the comment about alcohol. Yes you cannot take alcohol into Finke Township but the road through is a public road. So unless you are sitting outside the Finke Police Station with a stubby in your hand.................The Finke crossing just outside the township can be treacherous depending on when last the river flooded. So take care and enjoy. This part of Central Australia is the western edge of the Simspon Desert and quite beautiful. Cheers, W
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:18

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:18
Willem
I agree with your interpretation re the alcohol but the sign about 10km from Finke is very specific. We spent about 10minutes reading and rereading it before we decided to just go through. 2 cartons of beer and 2 reds and damned if we were going to ditch them.
There is no warning of this on any maps that I've seen and no signs until you get near the town.
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Follow Up By: Member - Willem- Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:33

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:33
The majority of 'DRY' aboriginal communities have these signs up outside the townships. But no need to panic. They are only signs to discourage the traffic in alcohol. The grog runners to their own trade out there!! I have never heard of travellers being searched for carrying alcohol through aboriginal communities. Yes there are lots of signs that no one knows about and are not shown on maps. On a lighter note.....In our travels around Oz we have found that the best place to camp is under a 'NO CAMPING' sign. Have never been chased ( except in Dromana,Melbourne, for entering a hallowed boat ramp!!) Cheers, W
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Reply By: Slunnie - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:10

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:10
You hit the nail on the head. We went through last July, and the only place I can think of that you may get stuck is the Finke River, on the other side to the township. There was a great big bulldust pit when we went through, though we drove around it and had no problems. You shouldn't get into trouble towing the trailers, and we sat on about 70km/h due to the corrugations, they are the worst I have ever driven on! The only real concern I would have, is if your trailers will handle the corrugations as it is very hard on the vehicles suspension.

By the way, I only travelled the section of the old ghan railway from Finke to Chambers Pillar, and not from Maree or wherever it starts.

Regards
Slunnie
AnswerID: 12046

Reply By: Terry - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:43

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 00:43
Cameron. Did the trip Alice/Finke/Mt are/Dalhousie/Oodnadatta/Coober Pedy etc last July. Three 80 series (no trailers).
No problems. Adjusted our speed to suit the conditions. Chambers Pillar is a must. Track along side the railway formation was smoother but very windy and many small hills to go up and down.
Finke river crossing was no problem. Almost like a formed road accross, but this could change according to weather conditions when you go.
All in all a great trip.
AnswerID: 12049

Follow Up By: Cameron - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:24

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:24
Thanks Terry. We will becoming from Oodnadatta Dalhousie etc. Any comments on places to camp? Also what pressure did you run Ta
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Reply By: Member - Steven - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 19:04

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 19:04
cameron
we did chambers pillar aug 2002 overnight 4x4 road in but worth evry bumpy k re dry areas dont pull off on the side of the road before these areas as we did to take photos going out to Hermannsberg .we found 1 of many empty stubbies cost 1 puncture as the local residents like to finish their drinks and are not to fussy about the empties or where they end up but apart from that i believe you can drive thru as i had a full fridge for personal use the whole time we were travelling good luck and safe travelling steve
AnswerID: 12094

Reply By: Terry - Friday, Jan 31, 2003 at 23:57

Friday, Jan 31, 2003 at 23:57
Cameron
We camped at Chambers Pillar and then at one of the railway sidings ruins before Finke. Next night at Dalhouisie.
The road from Finke to Dalhousie and on to Oodnadatta is very stony. We ran the tyres at 32psi. All 275/70 of varying brands. No problems.
Ring Mout Dare to check on fuel supplies. They had none when we went through and were waiting for the tanker to come and fill them up again.
From memory not much camping betwen Dalhousie and Finke. Lots of open country.
Check at Pink Roadhouse Oodnadatta regarding tyre pressure. Lots of local information available there.
AnswerID: 12322

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