Merindee Loop in Nothern Territory

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 11:41
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We have recently left Kings Canyon and asked as many people as we could about travelling the loop with our Jayco van, most said you are mad and only the wonderful lass at the Kings Canyon Resort said "its not that bad and I would do it" so we did and low and behold its was fine, Very lonely never saw anyone in 4 hours.
The point I am trying to make here it is along way round to get to Alice via the Bitumin and the West Mc Donnell ranges are easily accessed via the loop which prevents a lot of back tracking if one takes the loop, I must add our van is standard, sensible driving with lowered tyre pressures on the Prado and van made it more comfortable, would i do it again? yes. Only negative some dust in a few cupboards, even had the "Britz" tourists saying they would not do it again in thier troopies!!!
cheers
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Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:07

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:07
Carl, I can understand Britz people not wanting to do it again in a Troopy, as Britz dont seem to give people any info about tyre pressures, let alone a tyre guage!

Last year we followed a new hire Troopy being driven by some mature age tourists. We both refuelled at Drysdale and got to chatting. The hire Troopy's tyres were very high, so we offered to check them - the pressures were very uneven, so we adjusted them down to a more appropriate pressure. When we caught up with these folk at a camp further north they were very appreciative of their lowered tyre pressures.

Cheers
J and V
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:07

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:07
Hi Carl,

It's great when you get accurate local knowledge to help you make a decision. Good to see you had an uneventful trip.
The track can become very deteriorated at times, depending on rain, road traffic, etc. Suprised you didn't see anyone else on the track.
It's common for roadtrains to use the "loop" as well.

Just for your reference mate, the Merinee (correct spelling) Loop section is scheduled to be upgraded and sealed sometime in the next couple of years.

It's a wonderful part of the central "outback" area of Australia isn't it?


Bill
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Follow Up By: A J - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:22

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:22
Sand Man - are you sure of that spelling - or is it Mereenie Loop Road



A J
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:22

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:22
Just so this thread is of use to anyone doing a search (currently replying on a thread about searches).

Mereenie Loop


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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:39

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:39
Sorry AJ - you posted while i was typing.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 18:21

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 18:21
Yeah good one guys, I f****d up.

Serve me right:-))
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:18

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:18
Hi Carl

I'm glad it worked for you. We spent all day on it - only because we helped others who had broken a spring on their camper. We were lucky too because it was said to have been recently graded! It is out of season, hence the low or no traffic. There were quite a few vehicles when we went through. Were you able to do the Rim Walk?

I didn't realise you were so close when you were asking, and had been wondering if you carry spare springs.

As you will be coming through the Great Central - the WA side is not good - trouble is that it is a long run of poor road. It also has little to no services along the way. We were very nearly stuck there.

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:19

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:19
Just realised that you won't if you are going to Darwin! DOH
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Follow Up By: Member - Carl S (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 19:56

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 19:56
thanks Motherhen,
be in Darwin soon and thanks again for all you help
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:00

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:00
Enjoy the trip Carl - you are moving fast. I hope to tour the region north of Alice next winter.

Mh
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Reply By: Lotzi - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:25

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:25
G'day Carl

Glad you enjoyed the loop road, originally it was put through to provide school access for the locals, it is one of my favourite drives since the Kings Canyon road was sealed, there has been talk in recent years of sealing the road, but that is still being talked about.

As with any road anywhere, it is all on how it is driven, if your still in Alice head up to the Britz yard on the north side and have a look through the fence at the loopy road wrecks, some people still think there on the autobahn.

The same road was known for breaking tour coach chassis and popping windscreens, with I think the record was three cracked chassis in one day, the road conditions changed quite dramaticley throughout the year, but normally the whoopdi doos around half way caught everyone out.

Have a great holiday
Lotzi
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:43

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 12:43
Hi Lotzi

Trouble is - you may be coming the other way with those Britz drivers out there on the road. They should have warning signs on the road for "Fritz in Britz" more often than the ones for camels.

I wonder too, about whether the hirer had his life ruined by having to pay for replacement when it happens on a dirt road - or is this allowed in their hire contracts?

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Follow Up By: wendys - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 13:36

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 13:36
Motherhen,
Britz/Maui do hire some campers that are permitted on dirt roads - the ones based on Troopy type design, with lift up tops. The non-4WD ones, bigger campers etc are restricted to bitumen roads, although that rule is slightly relaxed where the only reasonable place to stay in a long stretch is on a SHORT, good nick gravel road. Thus they don't make a fuss about somewhere like 80Mile Beach.
We were camped at ElQuestro in 2007, when 2 of the big motorhome type campers came in - and the water crossing was running fairly high. A family member with us was on a short holiday from - you guessed it, the job with Britz/Maui!!. Next day, saw same vehicles go back through the water twice, to go sightseeing - and then have a problem with a rock stuck between the dual wheels. At that, family member got cross and reported them on the system - so that if/when they came in with water damage etc, they would be nailed.
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Follow Up By: Lotzi - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 13:59

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 13:59
G'day Motherhen and Wendy

Well Motherhen, I had a real good chuckle re Fritz in Britz, I have heard a number of other terms, but not that one...lol

There are many stories re where the Britz and other vehicles go, but on a lot of occasions, because of the insurance package sold and the swipe of a card, the customer is given another vehicle as soon as possible and fight about it later.

But while many stories, both good and bad can be told about the Europeans and their driving habits, in real terms they are not much different to the dinky di Oz, just that they do love getting out here, in the most very caring about the environment and marvel at the vastness of good ol Oz, just can be a little different to communicate with.
Cheers
Lotzi

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:07

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:07
Hi Lotzi

I know people hire the troopy type to do the Gibb River Road but don't know all the stipulations. I thought that normal hire allowed you onto the dirt to access a campsite, but not to travel on dirt roads otherwise. Every time i see a wrecked hire vehicle, i think someone has probably lost half their house - or certainly well and truly ruined their holiday at the very least.

"Fritz in Britz" has been around the traps for yonks - most likely invented by someone here!

And yes, you probably meet one 'idiot' Aussie driver most days too.


Mh

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Follow Up By: Lotzi - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:55

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:55
G'day Motherhen

I see where your heading with access to campsite... there used to be at all the Britz office's a couple of photo's of damaged vehicles and text on the wall behind the counter explaining to the customer the need for further increased insurance cover.

I am aware that most customers were known to take this out, on the exchange rate it converted to a reasonable rate. With this extra cover it gave the customer another vehicle in the event of accident or breakdown, that's why Britz staff were found running all over the country delivering vehicles to stranded customers, this is also why a couple of major hire companies are out of the 4wd hire vehicle market.

I haven't read the terms of hire contracts, but in general, 4wd's can travel on unsealed roads, standard vehicles to sealed roads, unless otherwise stated.

The guy's on the ferry on the Daintree were known to keep an eye out and let the hire companies know which vehicles travelled on the ferry, as the hire companies were suffering very expensive repair bills on their fleet.

But it doesn't matter whether I've been on the Plenty, Tanami, GRR, Mereenie, Oodnadatta or Telegraph, you still see all sorts of these hire vehicles running around.

Seeming that I live a sheltered life, just a mushroom, nope hadn't heard that 'Fritz from Britz' ...but damm I wish I thought of it, but I am just a funguy...
Cheers Mother

Lotzi

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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 18:11

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 18:11
A lot of fungi here Lotzi - the clever humour is the only thin that keeps me sane (well nearly sane).

Sorry Carl - I hope the email notifications are clogging you usage time.

'Nuf said

Cackles and chuckles

Mh
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Follow Up By: Lotzi - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 19:47

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 19:47
MH

Don't wet ya self, season nilly startin, then there is some giggles.

Lotzi
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 13:40

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 13:40
Hi Carl
The biggest problem on giving advice, it how do you do it. Having lived in the country all my life, dirt roads were the first places that we went to learn to drive, when we were very young (Like 10) I to have taught my boys to drive on the back roads, so driving on dirt road is part and parcel of country life, and it gives you a good feel and training for your future driving life.

Just last year when driving the Old Coach Road, between Wentworth and Renmark, we were told by the local Information Centres, both Renmark and Wentworth, that we would be mad to drive these roads because of the condition that they were in. Hearing this is like rubbing salt into a wound, as I personally thought that the roads were great and no problems at all.

I think that the people that give this advice think that you have never been on a dirt road in your life and will not know what has hit them after the smooth bitumen.

Like you, we have heard horror stories of the Mereenie Loop Route road, but found it a very enjoyable drive.

If the people that give these roads the thumbs down, where we travel they would say we are mad, but then again perhaps I may be.

Cheers

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 21:22

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 21:22
Gday Stephen,
Too true! One persons good road isn't necessarily another's.
We come across a family at Kings Canyon years ago who were asking us directions to the Boggy Hole track which I started giving.....When they told us it took them a full day to get down the Ernest Giles road because they had to keep it in low we decided advising them that Boggy was a good track wasn't such a good idea!
LOL

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Carl S (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 19:58

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 19:58
Totally agree
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Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:48

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:48
Interesting the range of replies when you ask about road conditions.

We had the same problem a few years ago in the same area.

Asked around, as you do, about the loop road and the one to Chambers Pillar, and got all sorts of replies, from OK to woeful.

Started learning to ask more questions, as to where they had been that might be common to both of us. Most of the 'woeful' replies were from people who hadn't done too much dirt road travel, even though they were in 4wds.

If they mention corrugations, I now ask how high and far apart.
Blank stares means they don't know, i..e not much experience, while if I move my finger and thumb apart as an indication, normally don't get much over 50mm as a height before they start getting lost. The ones with real experience soon cotton on and talk about other roads they have been on and corrugations up to 70mm high or more as severe.

Yes, like that drive too.
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Follow Up By: Member - Carl S (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:00

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:00
Once again totally agree
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Reply By: curious - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:50

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 17:50
Carl,
I'm glad to enjoyed the Mereenie Loop Road as it does traverse some beautiful country. Great too that you trusted your own judgement, travelled carefully and arrived without mishap. Be a pity in some ways if they seal it.

Stephen makes a very valid point as to the difficulty of giving good advice: what's your experience and reference point. I'm country born and bred but there's many good city drivers too. I'd suggest it's about respecting dirt roads and driving to the conditions. For me, driving is 50% mental skill and 50% mechanical; it's surprising what you can achieve by keeping your brain in gear as well as the drive shaft.

Glad to see someone highlighting the positive side of our European visitors. We've all looked in disbelief at some Britz drivers yet too often they don't receive any practical or extensive advice from the hire companies. I've helped out a few and they're frequently not even told about carrying adequate water supplies. They generally appreciate our country and care about its environment so they're always welcome here.

- Peter
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Follow Up By: Member - Carl S (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:05

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:05
I agree, but on this trip I have made some very good friends with the "Britz" folks, see them every night now , in fact , the Aussies travelling are very few and far between, the French seem to be in front right as far as numbers are concerned, but then its 39 degrees everyday right now in Alice!!!
what they say" only mad dogs and English/ French / Germans/ etc in the midday sun!!!
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Reply By: safatiaustralia - Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 23:39

Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 23:39
Did it on my '73 HQ Kingswood in 2000 .... love that feeling!
NO airconditioning, NO radio, NO CD player but a lot of fun!
Corrugation were not too bad but the Kingswood was excellent ....
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Follow Up By: Member - Carl S (VIC) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:06

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:06
Good on ya!!! listening to that takes me back to the Pilbara days in the 70's!!!!!
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