Intro Trek from Adelaide - Alice Springs

Submitted: Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 19:49
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Hi all.
Me and my partner have reasoned its about time to travel to the centre. We have done some driving through central QLD + some of NSW but that is about it.

I'm looking to get verification of my plan so far. Whether it needs changing, additions, or a complete transformation.

We are only looking to use this trip as an intro - keeping mainly to the more well known and used tracks/sites. Because of this we are actually looking to do the trip in one of the Wicked 4x4 vans. Travel dates are the first week of April.

We've planned it as follows:
Day 1:
Fly Brisbane to Adelaide early morning.
Travel to Clare Valley for some wine funnery.
Day 2:
Travel to Flinders National Park (Wilpena) via Quorn.
Spend the day at Flinders - attack the St Mary Peak track.
Day 3:
Travel to William Creek on the Oodnadatta track.
Travel the Anna Creek Station track and camp on the edge of Lake Eyre (is that possible?)
Day 4:
I want to cover a lot of distance this day - I'm not sure if its possible:
Travel Lake Eyre/William Creek all the way to Uluru. I'm thinking its about 10hrs driving - would it be much more? If it is I probably need to change our plans slightly.
Day 5:
Day at Uluru & Kata Tjuta
Drive to Kings Canyon afternoonish (4 hour drive?)
Day 6:
Spend the day at Kings Canyon.
Travel to Alice arriving Alice NLT 1530 for a 1800 flight to BNE.

I'm new to this, so any help would be appreciated.
Thanks all!
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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:12

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:12
Day 2 is too tight. That's a long, hard walk up St Mary's Peak. I'd suggest that you need a full day for this, starting the walk as early as possible in the morning and you will probably want a good rest later in the day after the trek. There is also a lot to look at around the Flinders. I'd recommend an absolute minimum of one day to drive around the area and a full day to tackle St. Mary's peak. If this doesn't fit the schedule, give the peak a miss this trip and do a circuit including Parachilna Gorge with maybe a stop at the Parachilna pub for lunch.
AnswerID: 400070

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:30

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:30
Kyle,

Way Way Way to big for a 1 week trip. In a wicked van?????

Travel in the centre is concerned with what you experience along the way, not just ticking off a string of destinations. To soak up the experience means travelling at sensible speeds and allowing time to stop and explore off the road/track.

"Spend the day at Kings Canyon.
Travel to Alice arriving Alice NLT 1530 for a 1800 flight to BNE." You can't do both. It's about 300 km from KC to the airport. That's 5 hours in a wicked van, if it's in good condition.

I wouldn't bother trying to camp at Lake Eyre. Access is slow and by April the shallow water will have receeded so far you won't see it. It's not your ordinary lake, just a huge shallow puddle that dries up rapidly.

The run from Lake Eyre to Yulara is far too long for a 1 day drive.

Slow down!!!! If you are limited to 1 week, suggest fly to Alice, explore the west Macdonnel gorges, travel the Mereenie loop to Kings Canyon, then to Uluru, back via Fink Gorge National Park, time permitting Palm Valley, then Alice to catch the plane. (This is assuming a 4WD.) That should just fit in a week, give you a taste for the centre and not leave you totally exhausted!!

HTH

John
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AnswerID: 400074

Reply By: Lynds - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:51

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 20:51
I would think hard about using a Wicked van as most of them have been put off the road in Qld as not being roadworthy.
As others have said, you are being very ambitious with this itinerary.

Cheers

Lynds
AnswerID: 400076

Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:22

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:22
DO NOT HIRE A WICKED 4x4... they are crap... no spares.. no tools etc. If you are going to hire a 4by, at least hire a decent one. Yes, more expensive.. but you get what you pay for.

One week is far too short for what you want to do.
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AnswerID: 400086

Reply By: KyleT - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:23

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:23
Thanks for the feedback so far, however negative it may be :-).

Unfortuantely we do have to attempt the trip in this direction. I know we are being abitious - but we are quite tight in our allowances.

I'm going to look into the wicked van situation in the next couple of days. We chose them for two reasons - 1 being its cheap, 2 that you can pickup in one location and drop off in another. Any advice on a different way to tackle it without using our own vehicle?

I've changed the itinerary somewhat - adding an extra day (I'm looking into whether I can spare another but it doesn't look good)

Day 1:
Fly Brisbane to Adelaide early morning.
Travel to Clare Valley for some wine funnery.
Day 2:
Travel to Flinders National Park (Wilpena) via Quorn.
Spend the day at Flinders - checking out Parachilna Gorge and Pub.
Day 3:
Travel to William Creek on the Oodnadatta track.
Travel the Anna Creek Station track and camp on the edge of Lake Eyre (undecided on this so far).
Day 4:
Travel Lake Eyre/William Creek to a midway point between there and Uluru.
Day 5:
Arrive Uluru midday-afternoon. Check out Uluru & Kata Tjuta.
Day 6:
Drive to Kings Canyon in the morning (4 hour drive?)
Day 7:
Spend morning at Kings Canyon
Travel to Alice arriving Alice NLT 1530 for a 1800 flight to BNE.
AnswerID: 400087

Follow Up By: KyleT - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:26

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:26
"Check out Uluru & Kata Tjuta"
Kata Tjuta if time permits.

Also, guys if all I'm going to get is 'no don't do it' - please don't bother posting; I need constructive replies.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:43

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:43
Kyle,

We are trying to be helpful, though I can see it mightn't look that way. All replies have been constructive. Those of us with experience in this sort of travel really are concerned that you are biting off a lot more than you can comfortably chew! I wouldn't attempt this itinerary myself in less than 2 weeks and preferably more.

re Uluru and Kata Tjuta - strongly recommend not missing Kata Tjuta. In my opinion Uluru is seriously overrated compared to Kata Tjuta. While you're in the vicinity, spend time at both and walk up close and into them.

Hope that helps

John

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Follow Up By: Willem - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:13

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:13
KyleT

You will not have time to do the Kings Canyon walk under 4 hours unless you run, ofcourse

The road from Kings Canyon to the Stuart Hwy is probably the worst road in the Northern Territory and is rarely maintained and will probaby be a 5 hour run to Alice all up

You have to take into consideration that whatever van you drive there is always the possibility of punctures and other mechanical let downs as Wicked Vans do not have a great reputation for being roadworthy and you will be driving corrugated gravel roads for some distances.

My constructive reply is that you are pushing your luck on your trip itinerary and not uing much common sense.



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Follow Up By: Member - The Bushwhackers -NSW - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:27

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 23:27
Kyle, if you don't like the advice, don't bother asking the question.

Do you want people to agree with you regardless, or do you really want to know if what you are planning is achievable?

The guys could tell you, "sure, hire a Wicked van, travel too fast to see anything, you'll have a great time", knowing full well they would not be giving you the right advice, but when they suggest otherwise, you don't want to hear.

Do what you like..... doesn't bother me.....



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Follow Up By: KyleT - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 10:34

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 10:34
Ok guys I'm sorry for that comment - I was just put off with people just blowing our plan out of the water. I didn't mean to post this in here to start an argument - we really want to attempt this (or similar to this) and have posted here to delve into your wisdom.

I think I AM using common sense - through posting my initial idea on here and hearing feedback. NOT posting on here I believe would demonstrate a lack of common sense. Already I have made numerous notes etc.

I am looking into other vehicle options this week, and am researching (reading + word of mouth) into the smaller details of the trip.

Once I have a stronger idea in that regards, I'll repost my new plan for everyones advice.
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Reply By: Member - Effie C (NT) - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:27

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:27
Hello Kyle T
Not sure about your timeline (seem extremely optimistic) but also Qantas only has direct flights to Brisbane on weekends and they leave here between 11 and 12 on Saturday and Sunday, during the week same times to leave but only vis somewhere else first.
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AnswerID: 400089

Follow Up By: KyleT - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:40

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:40
Don't worry about that part. There is a charter aircraft that flies through ASP at the time I'm looking at.
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Reply By: mikehzz - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:48

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:48
Hello,

I've done quite a few trips like you have planned but its definately not for everyone. It depends on whether you want to relax or see lots of stuff. I travel really quick (I don't speed but I don't stop much and regularly drive 10-12 hrs). Your trip is mostly do-able but not most peoples idea of fun. Also I would highly recommend driving in shifts of around 4 hours with at least another driver.
I've done it already at the rate you intend and I think that you will have trouble getting up St Mary's Peak in time. Maybe consider the first easy lookout instead. Its pretty good and a nice walk. Drive through Brachina Gorge on your way to Lake Eyre from Wilpena, its well worth a look. I really doubt that you can get from Lake Eyre to Uluru in a day and arrive in daylight and a good mood. It has to be near 1000 kms and a lot of it on dirt. Look at sub 50kms/hr on the Lake Eyre track and its best to keep under 80kms/hr on the Oodnadatta track or you will damage your tyres/car. Yes you can camp at Lake Eyre. Maybe consider stopping 3-4 hours short of Uluru. Then you will arrive at Uluru at lunch time. Spend the arvo at the rock and all of the next morning at the Olgas. After lunch drive to Kings Canyon, camp the night then do the canyon (jogging of course) in the morning. After lunch you are off to Alice. Maybe even chuck in the Henbury meteorite craters on the way :-)

Mate, you will be totally knackered and it could be argued that what you are considering is dangerous. It depends on your experience, capabilities and personal likes/dislikes. What you will see is fantastic. Think it over carefully

Cheers,
Mike
AnswerID: 400093

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:56

Monday, Jan 18, 2010 at 21:56
I forgot to suggest, miss the Oodnadatta track altogether and run up the tar through Coober Pedy. Quicker, easier on the car and very interesting in its own right. Check out Woomera rocket park as well.
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Reply By: Member - Warwick D (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 07:51

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 07:51
Greetings,
Adelaiide to Wilpena 6 hrs on sealed roads, climb St Mays Peak up the outside and walk back thru the inside (6-8hrs) -must be in the morning, it gets dark at around 8pm and can kill you with the heat later in the day, and is very hard to see where you are going as it gets dark inside the Pound. WIlpena to Parachilna gorge (end to end)2hrs if you do not race.The road to William Creek is not to be travelled fast with a NON-off road van or campervan. Take ALL the precautions if going out to Lake Eyre in a van (notify the Pub, yake PLENTY of water, go with someone else, be equipped etc, ) or we may see you on the news.
You trip is much daster than I could do it and see anything, and I have done it many time. Good luck. Warwick
AnswerID: 400129

Follow Up By: KyleT - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 10:37

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 10:37
6 hrs from Adelaide or Clare Valley?
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FollowupID: 669290

Reply By: Member - Warwick D (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 07:51

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 07:51
Greetings,
Adelaiide to Wilpena 6 hrs on sealed roads, climb St Mays Peak up the outside and walk back thru the inside (6-8hrs) -must be in the morning, it gets dark at around 8pm and can kill you with the heat later in the day, and is very hard to see where you are going as it gets dark inside the Pound. WIlpena to Parachilna gorge (end to end)2hrs if you do not race.The road to William Creek is not to be travelled fast with a NON-off road van or campervan. Take ALL the precautions if going out to Lake Eyre in a van (notify the Pub, yake PLENTY of water, go with someone else, be equipped etc, ) or we may see you on the news.
You trip is much daster than I could do it and see anything, and I have done it many time. Good luck. Warwick
AnswerID: 400131

Follow Up By: Member - Warwick D (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 12:38

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 12:38
Greetings, that is 6hrs from Adelaide CBD, about 3-4hrs from most of Clare area. Careful of speeding past Stirling North, winding roads that many kill themselves on. Can be done a bit quicker, but you will not see much. Warwick

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FollowupID: 669308

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian: SA - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 17:52

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 17:52
IMV, such an itinerary could really produce a holiday you'll regret for years ! Lots of travelling across the countryside for long hours and little chance for a quality appreciation of the outback while on foot (the best way, as it usually turns out).
Much smarter to do something a whole lot smaller in scope, so that you can appreciate the surroundings. If you only have the week, fly in and out of the Alice might be the go ? .... you'd have the east and west Mac Ranges close by, plus a few hours at the wheel to access the Yulara region - you'd need more than 1 week to have a good 'taste' of those 3 regions alone. My pick at the center if time was tight ? - 1. west MacDonnels - 2. west MacDonnels plus Yulara (maybe :-o).
AnswerID: 400203

Reply By: Member - Neville & Sally C (VI - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 11:57

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 11:57
Hi Kyle, We think your trip is far too long. Too hectic too ,you'll end up fighting! You have enough there for at least 4 separate trips as others have said. The Southern Flinders Ranges are a week to see on their own. If you go there don't miss the Mooralana scenic loop near Wilpena Pound but be shore to travel with the sun behind you eg.: travel to the west in a.m. The sun spoils the view if looking into it.
Also the wicked vans have copped a very bad wrap on the knuckles in Vic. too.
It takes time to see this beautiful country. Your first trip will be a real learning curve. Don't turn it into a nightmare trip. If you enjoy it, then do other trips. If you don't enjoy it you'll never go again.

Take care. Safe travels.
Bye Sally.
AnswerID: 400313

Reply By: HGMonaro - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 12:24

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 12:24
"Drive to Kings Canyon afternoonish (4 hour drive?) "

yep... probaly slightly less. My notes say we did it (towing camper) in 3.8hrs, top speed 101kph, average 77kph.

The rim walk takes 3-4hrs, depending on your fitness and stopping along the way.

AnswerID: 400317

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