Gunbarrel Hwy/CSR trek

Hi all, firstly and quickly, what a great site. I have found an absolute wealth of information (read info overload) i can use for my upcoming trek from all of you.

My question is, i am planning a trek from Sydney to Uluru then along the Gunbarrel Hwy to Wiluna, then up the CSR, onto the Tanami Way till we get to Katherine via Halls Creek, then back home to Sydney. This will start at the end of June 2010. I have done a mountain of reading on these treks and i am getting some very mixed messages on time to traverse both the Gunbarrel and the CSR. Could someone please give some sort of time frame i could expect both those tracks to take, taking into account stopping at the numerous sites to be seen and taking in the landscape etc.

There will be 2 vehicles in our party, a 1986 Toyota Hilux Dual Cab diesel 4x4 and a 95 Daihatsu Rocky Turbo Diesel, both fully prepared for the most arduous of tracks.

If someone could help with this we would be very appreciative. Thanks in advance, Tony and troop.
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Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 20:39

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 20:39
I will be heading across the Gunbarrel in June next year as well, so we can get to Wiluna for the EO National Gathering :)

Might see you on the road somewhere, I am sure there will be an EO trip/gathering organised for the Gunbarrel leg.

Cheers Kev
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AnswerID: 355204

Follow Up By: tonbon - Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 06:37

Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 06:37
We will be sure to look our for you guys, good luck :-)
FollowupID: 623297

Reply By: Crackles - Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 21:29

Friday, Mar 20, 2009 at 21:29
4 to 5 days travel from the Rock to Wiluna allowing brief stops at most sites. 7 days if you include a couple of side trips & a bit of exploring.
We spent 15 days on the Canning 1st time which allows stops at all historic sites & climbs to all views along the way with 2 rest days included.
2nd time we allowed 20 days with extended camps to Calvert Ranges etc doing most of the side trips of intrest.
We met a group that did it in 9 days that were on a tight time frame.
It's no wonder you are getting mixed messages as most people drive to the speed they need, to complete the distance in the time they have available. From the East Coast the Canning is normally a 6 week trip (return) if driving at a reasonable speed with regular stops for 8 hours per day. Is often done in 4 weeks with few stops & big days.
Cheers Craig...............
AnswerID: 355223

Follow Up By: tonbon - Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 06:36

Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 06:36
Great stuff Craig, thats exactly what i was after. Its hard to gauge time vs distance when you can only read on the condition of the track and the length, there is nothing like great advice from those that have been there.

Again, thanks for that, good luck in future travels, and maybe see you out there one day.

FollowupID: 623296

Reply By: CJ - Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 13:04

Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 13:04
As Craig said the mixed messages are due to mxed requirements and time available.

We did Uluru to Wiluna in 4 days. This included generous lunch stops, setting up camp between 3pm and 4pm, half day stop at Olgas.

We then did CSR ti Halls Creek in 12 days. This included staying 2 days at a time on three spots

We did it in a time that suited us, it was short but we did it comfortably, stopping often and smelling the desert peas.

If time was not an issue I would allow 6 days on the Gunbarrel and 12-16 on the CSR
AnswerID: 355318

Follow Up By: tonbon - Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 13:21

Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 13:21
Cheers CJ, great info, the times yourself and Craig have indicated are fitting in well with the time frame i had in mind. I have a month off work to do this trip (unless i beg the boss for more :-) and i was concerned i wouldn't be able to take the time to take in the beauty of the region.

The last thing i want is to race through the trip being worried about time frames. The desert is calling, and i will heed.

with great thanks, Tony.
FollowupID: 623349

Reply By: Jimbo (WA) - Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 19:48

Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 19:48
I have done the CSR complete three times now, and always take about 20 days.

Some say that is slow, but I have NEVEr had any dramas with vehicles being damaged etc - others sure do, i run into them every trip.

Each to there own, but i work on the theory that:

1. I want to enjoy it, so why race; and

2. You need to look after your vehicle out there, as it is literally your lifeline!

Enjoy your trip!
AnswerID: 355368

Follow Up By: tonbon - Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 07:34

Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 07:34
Hi Jim, completely agree, the vehicles are our lifeline, our partner so to speak. Given their age (86 hilux and 95 Rocky) we are going to have to be just that little more gentle than most. This is my dream trip and the last thing i want to do is ruin it with unnecessary breakages.

We arent out there to "scream along" just to say we did it, we are there to experience a part of our land that most never do.

You have obviously had a lot more experience than i have, (i think everyone that has very kindly responded to this thread has actually) and looking at your hilux, you have a fantastic setup. I would love to get some ideas from you on both the trip and the vehicle setup. All the reading in the world will never make up for first hand experience of those that have been there.

One question i do have, i notice you have a 50Lt Waeco fridge. I was thinking along the lines of an 80Lt Waeco, set to freeze for meat, and everything else in cans and dried food. Do you find 50 Lt enough? if so, that will help a little with weight, which is one of my concerns.
FollowupID: 623429

Follow Up By: Crackles - Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 13:18

Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 13:18
Tonbon as an alternative to running your Waeco as a freezer you could run it as a fridge set on about 2 degrees, then cyrovac all your meat in meal sized portions. Stack the deep frozen meat up against the evaporator inside the fridge & place a piece of foam over it. This will keep the meat semi frozen for 4 weeks & you can then put your drinks etc in the remaining space. We find carrying our fruit & veg in an esky (no ice) makes it last up to 2 weeks. On previous Canning trips we used a 39 litre Engel for 2 of us then a 73L for a family of 5 so would think an 80L would be plenty.
Cheers Craig................
FollowupID: 623477

Follow Up By: tonbon - Monday, Mar 23, 2009 at 15:29

Monday, Mar 23, 2009 at 15:29
Great stuff Craig. We will actually have 2 fridges so based on what you have given me, i think a 40 or 50lt fridge will do the trick, as long as the meals are planned and we are sensible (isnt that the name of the game?).

Thanks again for the info. Hopefully see you on the road.
FollowupID: 623684

Reply By: Member - Bucky, the "Mexican"- Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 04:15

Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 04:15

We are heading for the CSR and Kimberley's this coming July, via the same route you have mentioned.

Time is unimportant in your quest. !
Preservation of your vehicle is !

21 days, on the CSR would be a reasonable time frame, from my research.

As we are leaving at well 33, and then re-joining it, from Hall's Creek some 4 weeks later, then back to Alice, via the Gary Junction Road, it will be hard for us to estimate.
The Gunbarrel Highway, I am not sure, just suck it and see, as we are meeting a mate, on the CSR, so we may have a big day or 2 to get there, but I will drive for the road. Not much use wrecking my 4B, before we even get there.

I will allow 2 - 4 days.


AnswerID: 355405

Follow Up By: tonbon - Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 07:46

Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 07:46
Hi Bucky, firstly, have a great safe trip, i want to hear ALL about it when you get back.

Your right of course, time shouldn't be a factor for this, unfortunately, work commitments can be squeezed but are still previlant and after all, the reason i work is so i can do this. So i may have to seriously look at the itinerary, maybe take an extra week off work, and not visit the Kimberly's (next trip definitely).

i must say, i was looking at your pics and noticed the forrester climbing big red in the Simpson. i would have thought that would have been a pretty tall order for a soft roader out there, or am i completely underestimating the mighty scooby? (My second car is a 08 Imprezza RS non turbo).

FollowupID: 623430

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