Plans are coming together

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 12:42
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This week got the last of my permits through for our trip on the Gary Junction Road so very happy. We now have ten days to get from Alice Springs to Broome. Since we don't know what the road will be like, we'll make no set plans for distances each day etc..just take it as it comes on the way to Marble Bar. After that no definite plans except for having a look around Marble Bar and maybe a night at Cape Kerauden or 80 Mile Beach. Hopefully there will be no rain out there at that time...

We leave July 28th after work, first stop Waikerie. Looking forward to getting away and out into the desert country.

Viv
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Reply By: Des Lexic - Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 13:14

Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 13:14
G'day Viv, have a great trip.
Haven't been on the Gary Highway but if it's anything like the Anne Beadell, Connie Sue or the Gunbarrel it will be severely corrugated and slow going.
I have guessed that your a mallee girl (maybe incorrectly) and Waikerie isn't that far unless your leaving fairly late. A good campsite near there is Hogwash Bend. I haven't camped there myself but Willem often does and he enjoys it.
AnswerID: 177942

Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 13:26

Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 13:26
Thanks Des Lexic,

Yes, Mallee girl. We're leaving after work on the Friday night..about 6pm so we get to Waikerie about 10pm. We're usually too keyed up to wait till morning and this way we start our trip, get a good night's sleep and next morning we're "on holiday". Thanks for the info about Hogwash Bend. We thought we'd just go to the cp there in Waikerie but if we know somewhere good to stop all the better.

We're expecting the corrugations and slow going. We haven't been on the Anne Beadell, Connie Sue or the Gunbarrel yet. The Gary Junction heads from Papunya to the WA border then across to the Gary Highway. After that we're on the Telfer Mine Road and into Marble Bar on the Rippon Hills Road. Have been looking at going through Carrawine Gorge and down to another road..Skull Springs Road to Nullagine and then to Marble Bar. That's the trouble..there's always another road and the inquisitive nature says "wonder what that's like".

That's the great thing about travelling. There's always another road. In Lord of the Rings Gandalf says "just around the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate". We just have to keep on looking.

Thanks
Viv
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Reply By: ellen m - Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 14:18

Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 14:18
Hi Vivien

We spent a week at Cape Kerauden a couple of years ago in about july I think. Started to rain the day we got there and stopped the day before we packed up and left. They got 1/2 their yearly rain fall in the week we were there ! Didn't have to run into the roadhouse for drinking water though ! I hope you have better luck. It was a really lovely spot and we even managed a couple of fish and crabs in the rain.

Enjoy your trip. We have only 7 more sleeps until we are off to the gulf for 2 months !!!Hooray

Ellen
AnswerID: 177951

Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 14:23

Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 14:23
Thanks Ellen,

Cape Keraudren looks like it is a lovely place and hopefully we won't get rain like you did.

Have a great trip up to the Gulf. We have about seven weeks (wish it was sleeps) before we go.

Best wishes and Happy Travelling

Viv
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Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 17:14

Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 17:14
Hi Vivien

Here is an excerpt from my article on our trip last year along the Gary JUnction Road. The rest can be found at www.kempen.id.au and click on 4x4 and click on The Big Trip

'Day two saw us drive through the magnificent West MacDonnell Ranges past Glen Helen Gorge, Haasts Bluff and on to Papunya Community and then further on to refuel at Kintore. We ran out of bitumen at Glen Helen and from there onwards the roads were pretty ordinary with long sections of severe corrugations. Both Papunya and Kintore Communities are a sad reflection of the hopelessness the aboriginal people subject themselves to and a far cry from our more ordered European civilization.

At Sandy Blight Junction we met up with fellow travellers in a 100 series Toyota Landcruiser, towing a camper. We noticed that one of the taillights of the wagon was loose and helped out with some screws and a screwdriver. They led the way in to Kintore and promptly picked up a nail on the main access road, resulting in a flat tyre. We went and refuelled at $1.59 a litre from a fuel bowser, which was enclosed inside a brick building. When we were done we saw the bloke with the Landcruiser still fiddling with the flat tyre. It turned out that they were from the east coast and that the wheel nuts were rusted on. My mate George, and I, helped out with advice and a breaker bar and managed to get the wheel off without damage.

We pushed off on to the NT/WA border and once there decided to have a cuppa. Soon after the LC people rocked up and stopped to say thanks for the help. While we were chatting the bloke leaned on the front indicator light of his LC. It gave way suddenly and the whole light fell on to the ground, ripping the wiring out along the way. In an instant Judith sang "Oh what a feeling"………how embarrassing! The bloke did not know what to say. They took off soon after that, making excuses that they were in a hurry.

We only made another 10 kilometres from the border when I spied a gravel pit and decided that at 4pm it was time to camp. The last week of April was still quite warm and a there were a few bities around. The flies were extremely annoying. We scratched around and found enough wood for a fire to cook dinner on.
The countryside flattened out a bit on the way past Kiwirrkurra Community. We did not drive the 3km in to the community. We started seeing lots of camels and over the next three weeks I estimate that we would have seen at least 1000 of them.

At one section of the Gary Junction Road we came across this beautiful piece of road construction, formed higher above the plain and passing through a stand of Desert Oaks. Our spirits were lifted thinking that the road from here one was going to be good. Unfortunately it was only 2km in distance before reverting back to a corrugated track. We made our way past an abandoned community, searched and found one of Len Beadell's originals plaques and made for Jupiter Well for a rest. In the middle of nowhere the road reverts to a hairpin bend and the unwary could easily come off the rails (road) at this point. There was also a stretch of severe bulldust for about 20km. Then we passed a road construction gang just before Jupiter Well. They were working on a washed out section of the road.
We spent two days doing nothing at Jupiter Well amongst the Desert Oaks. The flies drove us nuts. A friendly Two-lined dragon lizard made itself comfortable in the camp resulting in many photos being taken.

George erected Jimmy's Thunderbox, which was located very discreetly inside a toilet tent and downwind from us. It was to be the only time we used this device. It is too cumbersome to set up and the old tried and tested method of bush ablutions works the best. No travellers passed while we were at Jupiter Well.
At Gary Junction, after signing the visitor's book, we turned left along the Gary Highway connector track, which had no recent visible tyre tracks on it. Sections of the track were quite washed out and had to be negotiated with care. We could not find the track to Veevers Meteorite Crater, marked at Wau Wau Bore on the map, but after a short search found the overgrown track about a kilometre further to the south. The 16km in to the crater was in reasonable condition with one or two major wash outs. The crater is quite small and although we searched we could not find any tektites. After about an hour there and after signing the visitors book, we backtracked and camped at Wau Wau Bore that night. We were the third party to visit the crater this year, the first being there on 16 January.

The next day we made our way along the Gary Highway to Kunawarritji Community at Well 33 on the CSR, picking up a 60 series LC grille along the way, which from then on served as a shower stand. The welcoming sign at the entrance of Kunawarritji Community is in stark contrast to other communities and you are made to feel welcome here. We filled up our diesel tanks and jerries at $2.20 a litre and bought souvenirs and some supplies at the store. I had a chat to Jay Jay, a community elder about the weather and all things pertinent to community life."

Cheers

AnswerID: 177963

Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 17:53

Sunday, Jun 11, 2006 at 17:53
Willem,

Thank you for taking the time to do that. I really appreciate it. I'll definitely go to your website and read more.

You replied to the piece I put in about Doug Stoneham and so I thought you might enjoy this out of "A Song of the Desert" R.MWilliams ...

Some would say the desert is silent. It has its moments: the whispering breeze of the hour before sunrise, the birds making a special music. Lightning explodes and storms roar. The night is never without its tiny insect chirping, and as if from nowhere comes the music of the frogs of the claypans when they know, somehow, of a coming rain. Then when man intrudes the desert is silent for a moment.

Thanks again for your help

Viv
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FollowupID: 434121

Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Monday, Jun 12, 2006 at 07:27

Monday, Jun 12, 2006 at 07:27
Vivien C,
Have been studying the maps and almost decided to do the same trip next year.

I have many maps and used the web to work out what permits are needed. What source did you use? ExplorOz or just what is on the Hema maps?

Have a great time - I have been along some of the western end before but not the whole thing - should b great.

alastair
AnswerID: 178035

Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Monday, Jun 12, 2006 at 11:42

Monday, Jun 12, 2006 at 11:42
Hello Alistair D.

I read every forum thread I could about the Gary Junction Road, Papunya, Kintore, etc ... there is a lot of information. I had good advice from lots of members too. If you look up Willem's website you will get so much from that. I also looked these places up through Google and found some really interesting sites on the communities out there like Punmu, Kintore etc. Mostly from the schools and done by the kids. They were great.

Like you, with the permits I just googled and got the sites for the Central Land Council and the Department of Indigenous Affairs in WA. I followed the instructions on these sites. Both permits took only about a fortnight from when I applied which was good.

The maps I've got are the Hema Great Desert Tracks NW and NC sheets plus the Pilbara and Coral Coast.

We're really looking forward to this trip....not long before we go now.

Viv
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