From Uluru to the Kimberley

Submitted: Monday, May 01, 2006 at 19:24
ThreadID: 33423 Views:2226 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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Hi to all,

I am planning from France a road trip for next july. I'll probably visit the Red Center and the Kimberley. I know there is a short cut via the Tanami track but I am looking for information about the permits required in this area. If possible, I'll follow the road : Ernest Giles road, Kings Canyon, Mereenie Loop Track, Gosses Bluff, Tyler's Pass, Haasts Bluff Road, Papunya turnoff, Tanami Track. I know I can get a permit for the Meerenie Loop at The Kings Canyon Resort but do I need a permit from the Katapata pass to the Tanami - I don't need to stop at Papunya. If yes how can I get this permit.

In addition, somebody can tell me what are the road conditions and what are the best stop. I currently plan the following stop : Kings Canyon, Redbank Gorge, Tilmouth, Wolfe Creek.

All informations are welcome.
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Reply By: Footloose - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 19:48

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 19:48
You will reqire a permit from the Central Lands Council, details of which can be found on this site (Top menue, Trip Planning, Permits). A very easy and free system.
The track can be quite corregated around Papunya turnoff, but take it easy and you should be Ok.
Tilmouth Well is an Ok spot to stay. Its also the end of the tarred section of the Tanami.
AnswerID: 170094

Follow Up By: Hairy - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 12:48

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 12:48
The permit thing is up to you, Ive never been asked to produce one in 18 years but if you get stuck, need help and have to go into a community that might be a different story for a tourist.
FollowupID: 425561

Reply By: Eric M - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:04

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:04
Hi Juan, not having any knowlege of your experience in travelling in remote areas, I can only go on my experiences of coming across overseas tourists travelling in the outback, in most cases have been under prepared in relation to Fuel, Water and spares, including extra spare tyres. I am assuming that you will be travelling in a 4wd vehicle. The Tanami track is heavily corrugated along most of it, so you need to be mindful of tyre pressures, and carry communication equipment, (sat phone?). If you are well prepared you will enjoy your trip with peace of mind.
You certainly have taken a good step in visiting the Exploreoz, as there is a wealth of information out there and people ready to help you with the right kind of advice.
Happy 4WDriving and I hope you have a safe trip wherever you go.
Cheers, EricM WA
AnswerID: 170097

Reply By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:11

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:11

I would suggest that you use Alice Springs as a start and return point for the Ularu, Kings Canyon Mereenie Loop etc sections. Alice is a major centre and allows good shopping and vehicle repair facilities.

Mereenie Loop - it was very wet (and muddy) when I travelled it last year. The locals reconded it would be all sealed in 12 months. There was a lot of raod works on it.

Tanami - a little over 1,000k from Alice Springs to Halls Creek. Only about 200k is sealed. As stated Tilmouth is the end of the seal.

Suggest - Depart Alice Springs with full tanks - Top up at Tilmouth and experience a "Burger with the Lot" as well. Being an overseas visitor Rabbit Flat should not be missed (be aware of his opening times). Get fuel there as well and also camp the night in his camp area.

The depart to Wolf Creek and camp the night at the National Park camp area. Have a look around in the morning and then to Halls Creek. From Halls Creek choose your route.

The Tanami is a comfortable 80kph road (usually). A little rain will cause it to be closed. Fueling at the above suggested places will still mean you will need a comfortable 600k fuel range. It can be badly corrugated, particualrly around the mines ( Rabbit Flat area) due to high speed mine traffic.

Whilst you may be tempted to travel the Tanami in one day I would suggest not. A one day crossing is for the experienced with suitable vehicle and at least a 1000k fuel range after topping up at Tilmouth Well. Two nights is comfortable and allows for a look around.

My thoughts


AnswerID: 170102

Follow Up By: Member - Paul P (Bris) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:24

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:24
As Eric M said. The Tanami is remote so carry sufficient food, water and fuel. Whilst you see and pass other motorists if you break down assistance may be many hours arriving (even a couple of days).

Walking out of trouble is NOT an option in this area.

Be a qualified First Aider and carry a suitable first aid kit. Mobile phones do not work in this area ( and also a lot/most of the Kimberleys).

Understand the use of 4wd high range on dirt roads and use high 4wd when appropriate. I spent a great deal of last years journey in high 4wd whilst traveling the Tanami. Makes for much better vehilce control and stability.

Lower tyre pressures may be appropriate but watch tyre heat build up.

Make sure your rental company permits its vehicle to travel the roads you plan to use.

FollowupID: 425468

Reply By: Footloose - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:48

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 20:48
Another couple of points. Wildlife abounds on the southern end of the Tanami, especially at dawn and dusk. Cattle, roos and emus all will bound out in front of your vehicle in the blink of an eye.
Large tankers and road trains also use this track. When you see them approaching, always pull off the road and let them go. They are too big to share the road. Be careful of any vehicles travelling behind them in the dust.
If you haven't been here before, its a bit of an eye opener.
Make sure you have an epirb or sat phone just in case you get into trouble. You probably won't need either but people have died on this track. (Some by going too fast on the wrong side of the road).
Take it easy and have a great trip.
AnswerID: 170107

Reply By: juanmtz - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 03:35

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 03:35
First of all, many thanks to everybody for your answers. The site give me the opportunity to discuss with Australians.

It is my first Aussie trip. But I am 46 and it is not my first experience on dirt road. I'll drive a 4WD cruiser with a 170l tank and 100l of water. It is a rental car and it is not easy from France to prepare everything. I'll do my best to secure the trip - I travel with children. I read from the Lonely Planet Nothern Territory and others that the Tanami is an easy track. This route make us the opportunity to travel in the Australian outback and I don't want to miss this.

Of course I have visited the CLC web site mail but not founded all the detail about permits around Papunya. I think the best is to e-mail them my questions.

I'll travel from Darwin to Perth - 21 july to 28 august. I'll give later all the details of our route and hope to meet one of this forum user.

AnswerID: 170157

Follow Up By: Hairy - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 12:56

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 12:56
If your taking a sat phone which would be advisable, take a list of all the communities you'll be going through and a contact phone numbers for them.
If you get stuck and need help, getting someone out from Alice will cost a fortune compared to trying a community and there is always trucks comming in and out of them who can bring parts or in the worst case transport your car to town. they quite often go back to Alice empty.
If you want let me know which way you decide to go and Ill track down the phone numbers for you.
FollowupID: 425562

Reply By: juanmtz - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 17:27

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 17:27
Many thanks for your proposal Hairy,
Our route is not entirely defined. I'll let you know.
AnswerID: 170255

Follow Up By: Hairy - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 17:48

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 17:48
no worriesMy email is
FollowupID: 425618

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