Can you help me with re-planning my trip?

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 17:09
ThreadID: 76780 Views:3153 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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We are leaving Bairnsdale in 2 weeks for a 6 week trip through the centre of Australia. Our original plan was as follows: Broken Hill, Cameron’s Corner, Innamincka, Birdsville, Maree, Oodnadatta, Dalhousie Springs, Ayers Rock, Kings Canyon, West Macdonnell Ranges, Alice Springs, Plenty Hwy, Longreach and then home via Bourke, etc.

With all the rain we’ve had, half the trip is now under water. It appears that even assuming no rain in the next few weeks (good luck) the areas surrounding Innamincka and the Plenty Hwy will still be no go zones.

Holidays have been booked with work, so it’s go or stay at home and do the garden (not an option).

We will be travelling in a Crewcab Rodeo 4x4 suitably set up. Experience wise I have done a lot of 4wdring around the VIC High Country and other Vic locations, but never any outback driving. The original trip plan I thought, would have been a pretty good introduction to outback driving without being extreme.

Accommodation wise we were planning to camp both free and caravan parks as well as nights off here and there when we will take the soft option of a cabin or motel.

Main aim of the trip was to get out and experience the outback, see places like Ayers Rock, etc and do a couple of iconic drives such as the Oodnadatta and Birdsville Tracks.

With the flooding I want to see what we can of Lakes Eyre and the river system without making a nuisance of myself (damaging tracks, etc). What are the best options for doing this?

The car has been serviced and checked and all the gear is ready (half packed). We are ready to go. Given the circumstances and leaning on the experiences of others, what do others suggest as the best way to make the most of our 6 week outback trip?

Thank you for your responses.



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Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 18:22

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 18:22
Hi Geoff, get yourselves to Port Augusta, up thru the Flinders then up to Maree. Take a day trip to Lake Eyre and then up the Birdsville track for a ferry ride!!!... W

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Follow Up By: Member - Wayne B (NSW) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:37

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 21:37
Yep that is what I was planning to do in May if I cant get through Damantina Development road.

I would recommend what Geoff has said, sound advice

Wayne B
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Reply By: Baz&Pud (Tassie) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 18:51

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 18:51
2000 Red Rodeo,
Ahh, forget the northern island and come down to Tassie, clean air, great scenery, friendly people, and no rain, can be cool of an evening though.
Have a good trip.
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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Reply By: buddinggypsies - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 10:46

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 10:46
Hi Geoff

Like you we are heading off for a 5 week trip in around 2 weeks, leaving from Canberra though. We are not planning on going into SA or NT as we figured there is plenty to see and do in outback NSW first!

Our plan is Hills End, Warrumbungles, Bourke and then down the Darling River run with a side trip to Tibooburra, Camerons Corner and Broken Hill, then back to the Darling, out to Mungo NP and home along the Murray.

We do hope to camp by as many rivers as possible but have a very leery eye on all that water coming down from QLD!!

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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 13:51

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 13:51

I would keep my options open. Keep an eye on the road conditions section of this site and keep in touch with the Broken Hill Tourist Information Centre, the phone number is on the road conditions page.

Most of your planned itenery I think would be doable as is. The section from Broken Hill to Cameron's is a no go at this stage. Making alternate plans is always worthwhile but you may get a window.

Having lived in that area for a while gives me some insight and roads often open for a short period between rains. People need to travel, not everyone out there is a tourist. The RTA make every effort to get roads open whenever possible so watch out for that window. If the Silver City Highway opens then you could well get through to Merty Merty and then head down the Strz to Lyndhurst and from there pick up your original itinery. Heading west from Marree should be no problem.

Some of the time you don't use going to Birdsville may come in handy later in the trip. You could spend a lot of time in the MacDonnell Ranges.

Also you may find by the time you get to Longreach that the water has moved downstream and you may get to Birdsville then. The run from Birdsville to Bourke via Hungerford is apparently quite pretty. Coming through there just after the flood could be fantastic.

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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 14:13

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 14:13
Did a similar trip last year, with less time available.
I can't help you with road access, but can give you some of our highlights.

Oodnadatta, travel the extra hour or so west and stay at Ackaringa Station and the Painted Desert
Kings Canyon, stay at Kings Ck Station and actually learn about the area from real locals, not backpacking staff at the spick & span, but ubiquitous well run Kings Canyon Resort (they get a bit bland after a while),

West Mac Ranges are at least a week on their own if you include Palm Valley, Boggy Holes, etc... Don't try to do it all, just do what you can well.

People who have done both say they prefer East Mac ranges over West, I can't comment.

If the roads are up to it, instead of the bitumen from Boulia to Winton, go via Diamantina Lakes NP, well worth it but plan your fuel well.

Last year with the exception of Hamilton to Dalhousie and worse Dalhousie to Mt Dare, we found the dirt roads all pretty good. Certainly seen worse in NSW.

Compared to Mountain tracks, we found it a (long) stroll in the park, vehicle and skill requirement wise. Hardest thing to do was to keep speed down in many places to 80 or below, in case of what was around the corner.

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