Alice Springs Desert Park and Palm Valley

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 at 23:32
ThreadID: 76280 Views:5123 Replies:7 FollowUps:4
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Hi
A week or so ago I asked about things to see etc when travelling around Ayers Rock and the West MacDonnell Ranges, and got a lot of good advice. Originally I had planned on starting at Ayers Rock before heading to Alice Springs via the Mereenie loop and West MacDonnell Ranges. However I am now wondering if it would be better to start at Alice Springs and visit the Desert Park before heading out on the rest of the trip, or if it would be six of one half a dozen of the other?
I will probably book SWMBO and SWMBO jr on a flight for one leg between Adelaide and Alice/Yulara which will give us another two days sightseeing.
A further set of questions. My sister in law and her family may be joining us. They will be driving a Commodore (or Falcon - can't remember for sure). My searching on this forum indicates it should be fine on the Mereenie loop if we take it gently, however we were planning on camping a couple of nights at the campground near Palm Valley. The comments on this site, and some books I've read suggest that access to the campground (but not Palm Valley) is not too difficult for a 2wd, but the info sheets from the parks website clearly indicate this is a 4wd only track. Can anyone comment on the suitability of this track for a Commodore? If it is not suitable, where would be a good place to camp within a reasonable drive of Palm Valley?

Thanks. The comments from this group are much appreciated.

Graham
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Reply By: Member - Barnesy - Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 at 23:59

Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010 at 23:59
1)6 of one half dozen of the other.

2)Track into Palm valley and the campground is 4wd only. The Commodore will get bogged on the way to the campground in soft sand and gravel.
Palm valley is high clearance 4wd only.
AnswerID: 405677

Reply By: Member - Brian R (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 00:15

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 00:15
Hi
Afraid I have to agree....the approach to Palm Valley should be considered 4 wheel drive it was afew years age that we traveled this route but we did hit a few soft sand patches
Brian
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Reply By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 00:34

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 00:34
Hi Graham

We started with the a day at the Desert Park, and visited just a few of the attractions in town before heading out into the East MacDonnells for a few days touring, then a couple more days in Alice before leaving via the West MacDonnells to Palm Valley, then Kings Canyon via the Mereenie Loop, and on to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. BUT, we did it this way because we were heading west from there.

We didn't need to engage 4wd to get to Palm Valley Campground, but it would be daunting for some in a sedan. It was fairly slow going. It would depend on the road conditions at the time. There may be rules against sedans on the track, because if someone gets stuck, the rangers may be called out to rescue them.

There is a caravan park in town at Hermannsberg, but it didn't look inviting. As we approached from the west side of Hermannsberg where there was no opportunity for camping, i don't know if there is anywhere to the east towards Alice Springs.

My Blogs as far as Kings Canyon done and in the blog section here. I am currently working on the rest.


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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 07:52

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 07:52
Agree with the above suggestions. I don't think a Commodore would have the clearance to get to the camping ground.
There is something very neat at Desert Park that visitors often miss. Do go to the brief introductory film before you start your Desrt Park walk. Informative and doesn't take long and they have a great concluding trick that I wont spoil by giving away the surprise
AnswerID: 405694

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 08:02

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 08:02
Go to the Desert Park as early as you can - cooler. Carefully check the programme and go to as many of the 'events' as you can. Plenty of time to do the indoor (air conditioned) displays after you have done all the outside activities. Last of all watch the movie.

The Mereenie Loop road is very corrugated. With the family in tow I would suggest a day trip out to a couple of the gorges from Alice and then stay on the black top for the trip out to the rock.

KK
AnswerID: 405695

Reply By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 08:40

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 08:40
We had a motorhome up there in 2008 so couldn't get it into Palm Valley either.

Best camp we found close was on the Hugh River. On the Larapinta Drive a couple of ks west of the junction with Namatjira Drive.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 00:24

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 00:24
We had a look at Hugh River and beat a hasty retreat before sinking in the sand. You didn't have any problems with 2 wd vehicle Michael?

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Follow Up By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 09:14

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 09:14
None at all although we did end up quite close to the road.

There's so little traffic it doesn't matter.

We did however stumble upon a sad memorial in the riverbed to a group of young kids killed when a car rolled over there a couple of years ago...

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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 22:12

Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010 at 22:12
Gday,
Palm Valley is deffinately 4wd only.
If its the post Im thinking of where people ( myself included) agreed, the person concerned could get a 2wd into Palm Valley was because he was very experienced!!!! He had driven a VW in places most people wouldn't take a 4WD.
If you need to ask the question ..... don't do it.
If the sign says no....and you do....you will look like an idiot, at the best possibly even a fine.

"If it is not suitable, where would be a good place to camp within a reasonable drive of Palm Valley?"
There is no where with in walking distance if that is what you are asking and I wouldn't leave a car around that area and double up if that is something else your contemplating.......unless you ring the Hermansburg cops.....but they wont be to happy about you driving off over loaded either....not quite sure what your thinking....?
Tours operate from Alice daily I reckon?

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Graham Watson - Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 01:25

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 01:25
If we could get a camping spot not too far from Palm Valley I was thinking of either doing two runs to transport everyone or leaving the rear seats in the Prado and doing a trip in with just seven passengers while leaving the other car and the camper trailer at the campsite. It sounds like this might not be a good idea.
It would be a pity not to visit Palm Valley.

Graham
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 20:55

Thursday, Feb 25, 2010 at 20:55
Gday,
How far ( in time) would you be prepared to drive in from your camp-site (return)?
All depends on the person , but Hermansburg to Palm Valley is probably around an hour, and there is no where I can think of I would leave a car on its own around there.
You could camp at Wallace Rockhole and do the seven people cram is about all I could think of?

Cheers
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