Great Central Road

Submitted: Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 21:37
ThreadID: 44391 Views:2397 Replies:11 FollowUps:8
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I just come back from Alice and Uluru via the Great Central Rd and found it thouroughly enjoyable apart from the 3 tyres I done between Warburton and Yulara.
They were BFG 33X10.5X15 about halfway through their life.
The roadhouse manager at Giles said quite a few had done tyres along there in recent weeks.

The road composition seemed to be a crushed rock with sharpish edges ,while the road between Warburton and Laverton was more sandy or pea gravel.I ended up having to buy to split rims and 750x 16 in Alice for $640 to get home.
It was going to b a 1 week wait for the BFG 33

I come across some locals who laid down in the middle of the road when I was about a klm away and feigned illness when I got close . It happened about 200klms from Laverton.

I also stopped to help a young guy who had gone over the handlebars of his BMW 1200 road trail bike. He had got a flat front tyre at 100kph coming down a sandy hill.
I contacted the police at Laverton who promised to send help as his bike wasnt going anywhere,but the police did grumble a little as they say its hard to find someone who wants to go out there.

Anyone planning this road should do it in daytime only as there are hundreds of camels along there and they like to congregate on the road.
I did most of the trip at 90kph in 4th gear in my 75 series.

Another grumble was the cost of things at Yulara. Like $8 a kilo for tomatoes and $5 for a small lettuce.Bread is $4.20
The $28 a 6 pack for stubbies of australian beer at Kings Canyon nearly caused me to faint.
If staying at the camping area in Kings Canyon ,beware the dingoes,they have no shame and will go after anything slightly edible.
I caught one stealing from a tent,looked like he got someone defrosting meatLOL
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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 21:59

Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 21:59
Thanks for the info, we are going on the GCR in a couple of months time so will take all on board.

Had the road just been graded at all?

How much air did you have in your BFGs?



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Follow Up By: ross - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:39

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:39
I had about 32 psi in them. The road is fairly good and the corrugations are only occasional. Stay in the middle as the sides of the road a re slippery in most places.

If you have room for a spare tyre without a rim ,take it,because the choice of tyres is limited.
FollowupID: 494850

Follow Up By: ross - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:41

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:41
The road is is constantly being graded. I think I saw them between Warburton and Tjarkarlu roadhouse (sp).

Be wary of the Dips after Warburton heading east. Not all of them are signposted.
FollowupID: 494851

Reply By: Member - lyndon K (SA) - Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 22:06

Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 22:06
Hope you did the right thing and drove over them???? :)))
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Reply By: Member - Phillip S (WA) - Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 22:38

Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 22:38
Leaving to go that way on the 5th of May....I hope that I dont have the same missfortune as you....Carrying two spares and tyre repair (beadbreaker) etc....keeping fingers crossed.
Thanks for the info on prices...much appreciated....I have all my permits etc and almost ready to go..also towing pioneer camper trailer...heard it has been wet out there....Phil
AnswerID: 233903

Follow Up By: ross - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:52

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:52
Most of it was dry when I went through ,there was just one or two puddles on the road.

I did find this nice quarry to camp in with large pool of water about 150 klms east of Warburton.

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Reply By: Member - Doug T (W.A) - Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 22:42

Monday, Apr 16, 2007 at 22:42
I find my Troopy is quite happy in 5th anywhere over 80kph , been over the GCR and like you cruise about the 90 but in 5th
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Reply By: Strahan - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 03:57

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 03:57
Heading that way in late August. Will be interesting to see how the road is then.
What price was fuel along the way?
AnswerID: 233918

Follow Up By: ross - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:45

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 08:45
Price of fuel on the dirt was a $1.91 for diesel. Unleaded(Opal) wasnt much cheaper.
Laverton was $1.50 . I paid about a $1.70 at Curtain Springs . I think Yulara was around a $1.50+
FollowupID: 494852

Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 06:43

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 06:43
Good report Ross

Yep, that road between Yulara and Warburton has always been bad. They were working on it when we drove that way in 2005.

Yulara has always been a rip-off and beer anywhere out of a major town in the outback is usually prohibitive.
AnswerID: 233921

Follow Up By: ross - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 09:03

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 09:03
Luckily beer keeps well without refrigeration so I definitely wasnt paying those prices.

I saw some talk on here recently about Alice Springs being declared a dry town.
The town wont actually be dry ,the plan is to make it illegal to drink outside of a home or bar
Good luck to those that have to enforce it.

The week I was there there were 7 stabbings ,2 of them fatal. It shouldnt deter anyone visting there as it certainly doesnt involve tourists
FollowupID: 494854

Reply By: Member - Willie , Epping .Syd. - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 10:18

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 10:18
Ross ,

Thanks for the info - I am driving Telfer to Alice in mid July .

Did you stop for the locals lying on the road ? What did they want ? Travelling by myself , it is sometimes a difficult decision to stop .

Cheers ,

Willie .
AnswerID: 233956

Follow Up By: DIO - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 10:52

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 10:52
If you feel you 'must' stop, do so 50 - 100 metres down the road. If there is a real problem, let one (if more than) of them approach your position. Otherwise - make dust and 'head west'.
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Follow Up By: ross - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 11:11

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 11:11
I slowed down enough to see if the 2 cars had collided,but they hadnt.
The one that was lying down unconscious had been on his feet when I was a klm away.
There was wine casks and refuse strewn across the road and there was a group of 4-5 sitting under a tree on the side of the road so it did not appear to be an emergency so I didnt stop.

What did they want ? Probably anything they could get for free.
I mentioned it to the cops at Laverton when I reported the young guy who had come off his bike and they said it was a regular occurrence.

The aboriginals at the roadhouses in dry towns were cheerful and polite and quite a few said hello.
FollowupID: 494873

Reply By: sastra - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 11:44

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 11:44
Thanks for your report Ross.
We travelled the Great Central back in 1997. Yes it is a while back but for those interested we towed our reliable '95 Jayco Swift Offroad behind '92 Mav 4.2 diesel and we never exceeded kph and always in 4th gear for that speed of course.
The road was pretty ordinary in many places so often speed was much lower.
We had no flats on either car or camper and I attribute this to keeping speed down and a keen eye for those nasty rocks that sit up waiting for inattentive driver.
I'd much rather a slightly slower trip than one spent changing expensive tyres in the middle of nowhere. I've heard many people complain about road conditions causing blown tyres on our trips and they get little sympathy from me after they've showered us with rocks in passing back down the road!
My tip from experience is slow down, take more care and enjoy the scenery.
AnswerID: 233966

Follow Up By: sastra - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 11:45

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 11:45
oops, should be never exceeded 80kph.
FollowupID: 494877

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 17:55

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 17:55
Hi Ross,
Had a friend with the identical tyres on an early 80series. He had so many punctures, he called them NFG rather than BFG. Those tyres are pretty weak - they only have a load index of about 109 - BFG call them a floatation tyre, and the construction is no better than the old 6 ply tyres. They do badly on sharp rock, and as you found out, are pretty hard to find in the city let alone outback.

AnswerID: 234010

Reply By: obee - Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 21:35

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2007 at 21:35
I have been down the great central fours times and never a flat. I slow down for the gibber stuff and the heavy corrugations and keep the pressure up same same you. Come to think of it I never had a flat anywhere in my travels except for a nail in Mount Isa and once at home when I neglected to clean out the casing when I was changing a tyre. The grit chewed the tube. I am on split rims and have been using dunlops mostly second hand. They dont look flash but they seem to work ok. I got a pair of kumo and it seems they need a lot of pressure because I chewed off the edges through neglect. I have to blame myself for that and the initial scrubbing. I should have got the alignment first up.

I should mention too that I am always in 4wd when I am on dirt roads because I believe it spreads the work around ie stops wheel spin in that sharp gibber as well as controlling the direction when it gets slippery or we get bounced around a bit.

Hilux td 2001

AnswerID: 234078

Reply By: Strahan - Wednesday, Apr 18, 2007 at 18:27

Wednesday, Apr 18, 2007 at 18:27
Never exceed 80kmh!
We never get to 80kmh!

(95 Dual cab Hilux with the 22R lump)
AnswerID: 234273

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