Oodnadatta track, Best time to travel

We are looking at traveling from Melbourne to Wilpeena Pound up the Oodnadatta track to Dalhousie Springs, accross to Kalgera via Finke, up to Alice Springs, back to Kings Canyon, Uluru down to Coober Pedy Via Painted Desert.
back thru Port Augusta & then back to Melbourne
We are Looking to do all of this middle October/November, approx 4 weeks. is this the best time or should we schedule for April?
Towing a Bull Oak Camper with 3 Kids.
Are we trying to do too much in this time?
can anyone please advise on road conditions for this time of year


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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 20:29

Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 20:29
Hi 2RakJack
If you like travelling in 40 C + temperatures. If it was me I would leave it to the cooler months of the year so you can enjoy the features that are on offer.


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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 21:31

Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 21:31
I must agree......

That part of the country gets MUCH hotter, MUCH sooner than the southern areas. Even April is probably too early in the season..... I'd be inclined to leave it until May to September.......

Track conditions can vary sooooo much that it is not possible to you a definitive answer such as "April the tracks are great, but October they are no good" etc. They can change just by the grader taking a run over them; in which case part/s of the track may be very good whilst other parts could be corrogated and/or have stretches of bull-dust. Basically, you need to assume track conditions will require you to slow down to a max speed of 80k/h to stay safe.

You WILL also need to be prepared to alter your tyre pressures or otherwise be prepared to shake hands with Adam Plate at the Pink Roadhouse and he will happily swipe your nice shiny plastic card through his EFTPOS machine and relieve of a good proportion of your hard-earned dosh......

i don't believe you are trying to cram too much in to your 4 weeks, but you won't be able to afford to spend more than 1 night in the vast majority of locations you stop at. You also need to be prepared to spend some long days in the saddle to get you away from civilisation in the first instance.


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Follow Up By: mepvic - Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009 at 21:45

Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009 at 21:45

Doing the whole track from Alice top Oodnadatta in October. What's the go with tyre pressures. Need to reduce them all the way? How do low pressure tyres like rail spikes?
FollowupID: 641949

Reply By: Member - Sigmund (VIC) - Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 21:41

Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 21:41
2rakjack, if you go to Places on this site and enter some of your destination names you can find mean max/min temps by month.

So Alice in Nov. rates an av daytime max of 34 degrees.

There are also Road condition reports on the site which are pretty up to date - can't recall exactly now where you find them but have a wander around.

4 weeks would give you a lot of driving to do in relation to enjoying the scenery, walks etc. We're planning to do somewhat less than you are in the same area but over 8 weeks from Melb.

Eg. to Alice via the direct route is 2,300 km IIRC. 3 days? The kids would go nuts, or drive you nuts.
AnswerID: 373383

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 22:58

Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 22:58
Hi Sigmund
Do not rely on what an average temperature should be. By November day time are will over 40 C, and a cool change would be 34 C. We have been up that way many times, as my sister lives in the Alice and it is in the very high 30's and low 40's in October.


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Reply By: Member - Netnut (VIC) - Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 21:56

Monday, Jul 06, 2009 at 21:56
Hello 2rakjack,

I suggest that you go in late autumn. That said, lots of people go in winter. In July/August of last year I was in a party of travellers who went to Wilpena Pound, Arkaroola, Boulia, Eastern McDonnell Ranges, The Alice, Boggy Hole, Kulgera, then across The Simpson Desert to Birdsville. We returned back to Victoria via Innaminka and Broken Hill. The days were fine, but we rarely made it into shorts. However, it was sooooo cold (freezing) at night ! We slept almost fully clothed inside our sleeping bags.

I have also been to many of the places you mentioned in May and the weather was great, mostly mild, dry and very comfortable. We didn't need to take much in the way of heavy sleeping gear or thick clothing; t-shirt and shorts for most of the time. I'm sure that travelling with kids at this time of the year would be a more pleasant experience. Four weeks should be ample to complete the journey.

A further suggestion .......if you do go in April or May, take a fly net to wear over your hat; it might look daggy, but a net seems to be the only thing which works well to combat the flies.
AnswerID: 373387

Reply By: Gronk - Tuesday, Jul 07, 2009 at 00:16

Tuesday, Jul 07, 2009 at 00:16
Obviously in winter the flys are not a problem....but when do they start to be ?? By the start of October ?? or earlier ??
AnswerID: 373399

Reply By: anglepole - Tuesday, Jul 07, 2009 at 09:19

Tuesday, Jul 07, 2009 at 09:19
After late September the weather can become quite hot. As others have said it all can be unpredictable.

By and large the Oodnadatta track is not bad. Funnily a fair few overseas travelers use the Oodnadatta track in December and January. Not my choice.

If you have no choice but to go at this time cut out the Dalhousie Kulgera bit, or make an assessment when you get to Oodnadatta.

Take a look at


That will probable help with road conditions.

AnswerID: 373427

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