Eighty Mile Beach to Yulara Itinerary - Viable Time Frame?

Submitted: Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 06:49
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Firstly, apologies for the long winded post but I had no other way to describe what I would like. I am currently going through the process of the planning the final itinerary for our July trip and part f that is organising the permits, which need to be exact to the day (groan). Below is the section from Eighty Mile Beach van park to Yulara via WAPET Rd, Gary Junction Road, Sandy Blight Junction Rd and Great Central Rd to Yulara. My question is, does this look like a reasonable time frame with taking time to stop at the various markers, bores and other interesting little sights along the way?

MickO and QS I believe have done this before and are going to be out that way around the time we will be, hopefully we might catch up for a coffee so I can unashamedly pick your brains :-)

Day 10 : Eighty Mile Beach to Windmill and Tank (Kidson Track)

Distance: 329 Km
Camping: Windmill (not working) and tank.
Position: Lat -21.02194 Long 123.341003

Day 11 : Windmill and Tank to Jupiter Well (Refuel at Kunawarritji Community)

Distance: 515 Km
Camping: Jupiter Well
Position: Lat -22.87711 Long 126.5989

Day 12 : Jupiter Well to Bush Camp (Refuel at Kintore) (Gary Junction Rd)

Distance: 560 Km
Camping: Desert Oak Bush Camp
Position: Lat -24.27386 Long 128.574

Day 13 :Bush Camp to Yulara

Distance: 498Km
Camping: Uluru
Position: Lat -25.24529 Long 130.98055

I am working on a fuel usage of 12 Lt per 100 Km's well above my around town usage and slightly above what I have used in the past in 4WD on sand and Gravel with less load. I will have 170Lt's of fuel on board and 100Lts of water.

Again, apologies for the lengthy post but your responses will be greatly appreciated from 1 who has never travelled those particular areas. Cheers.
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 07:04

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 07:04
Personally I think you are trying to travel too hard on remote dirt roads, while some are in reasonable nick, others can be pretty crook. 515k on dirt is a pretty big day on roads that you typically sit on 80k max with a laden vehicle. I usually work out in travelling times on an average of 60kph on such roads which has proven pretty reliable over the years.
If you know they are rough with lots of stop and go's for washaways then drop the average back to 40kph or less.
Remember too that much of that country has had lots of rain and flooding over the last six months so other than main roads road conditions could be poor.
I don't subscribe to doing much more than 85kph on dirt with a well (over) laden vehicle, recipe for disaster if you have a slowly deflating tyre, washaway or loose section on bend. Never mind the hammering you are giving the vehicle.
AnswerID: 408509

Follow Up By: Member - TonBon (NSW) - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 08:08

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 08:08
Thanks Peter, exactly the kind of information i was after. I have no intention of doing damage or trying to push miles, 80 kph is my max on dirt roads and if corrugated even less depending on severity. I am not in a hurry and we are focused on seeing the sights, not doing the miles. Cheers mate.
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Reply By: Mick O - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 07:06

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 07:06

I've got a few concerns on your timings and fuel usage. Are you towing? I've always worked my calculations at about 6 kpl for dirt roads and down to 3-4 kpl for harder, sandy and off track work. Now that was with a fully laden patrol.

Your pushing some big distances each day and while I don't doubt that some of them are doable, it'll be at high speed and preferrably in an empty vehicle. Kidson is taken at slower speeds due to wash-outs and over grown sections. There are many sudden holes where the road base has subsided so hitting one of those at 80 kph and your trip is over.

Sandy blight is very corrugated with a lot of sand (strangely enough). It's slow speeds or adios shockers. OK once you get closer to Tjukurla the Great Central but slow in the northern sections. You want it to be slow as well as the scenery is magnificent. You'll also have the short side trip to the Sir Frederick Range which is not to be missed. Also go in and see Bungabiddy rockhole at the southern end.

Great Central is OK but can be a shocker the last 200 kph from Docker to Yulara. The permits don't need to be exact. A check with Joan Groves at the permit office for WADIA will tell you that there is a bit of leeway, a few days here and there. It's a matter of having the permit. That's what's important.

I'm on the way to work but I'll pull out the maps tonight and send you an MM re same. I think you should factor in another day or two and be less ambitious in your distance expectations.

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Member - TonBon (NSW) - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 08:11

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 08:11
Great info Mick, the last thing i want to do is damage the vehicle or make the trip uncomfortable but not having been out that way before its hard to judge the doable distances at reasonable speeds, see the sights and plan the permits so your info is invaluable. Really appreciate your further input and look forward to talking further. Cheers, Tony.
FollowupID: 678462

Reply By: Member - Ups and Downs - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 09:54

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 09:54
"Great Central is OK but can be a shocker the last 200 kph from Docker to Yulara"

Well mate, slow down a bit and it may take the shock out of it!

AnswerID: 408535

Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 11:29

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 11:29
No, did I really put that did I?!? I should have had my wheaties before I posted LOL. Mind you the Patrol could do that speed if dropped out the back of an aircraft. I'm just trying to imagine the heat in the shockers.

Cheers Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 12:50

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 12:50
Bear in mind that you might loose an hour or 3 refuelling too, depending on the luck of the draw. Kunawarritji is probably the most expensive fuel along that route too.

OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 408553

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 17:46

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 17:46
I second Peter's comments. We burn petrol and when there 6 months ago found the metered petrol pump used to move petrol from drum to Troopy was powered by an air compressor. The only compressor around was a little one, too small to run the pump for more than a few seconds at a time. Finished up syphoning into one of our 25 litre jerries, using that as a measure, then tipping into Troopy. Wasn't the way we'd planned to spend a couple of hours! Paid over $3 per litre and got less than 3km per litre on the Canning!!..... Also, avoid arriving there around lunch time. Closed for an indefinite time for lunch. Still - it's fuel, and it's a long way to the next pump.



J and V
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Reply By: Member - Megan and Kevin D (AC - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 12:59

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 12:59
Agree with the others about your timing - it does seem very rushed - you need maximum concentration the whole time and thus a day's hard driving is very exhausting.

Will try to give you an indication of how we travelled a couple of those routes. A couple of years ago we travelled the Kidson Track. We camped two nights on the Kidson between Eighty Mile Beach and Kunawarritji and camped the thrid night at Well 33. That gave us time to have a late morning departure from Eighty Mile Beach, climb rocky knolls, take photos, draw and set up camp and start cooking while it was still light. Photo shows the kind of conditions that appear extremely suddenly and that you need to be going slowly enough to handle with composure! (If composure is important!)
Image Could Not Be Found

During last year's trip, we tavelled the Sandy Blight Junction Road coming in from the east. We spent four nights on the track. These nights included two in the one spot ie, we stayed put for a day. Exploring the Sir Frederick Range is a must - rocky but atmospheric (maybe that was the drizzle!). The SBJ Track requires careful driving and with beautiful, changing scenery it is a slow trip. We would love to travel the same road again and would plan to spend at least two nights doing it. Attaching a photo of the intersection of the SBJ Road and the track to the Sir Frederick Range.fi]/Members/149664.125/Forum/5[/fi]

About fuel - over many trips our average is around 16litres per 100km in a 4.2l turbo diesel but can easily get to 25 or 26 in heavy sand. Always leave a big margin for necessary detours and exploring. A good example of how the unexpected can happen is from our experience last year. We towed our travelling companions 450 km out of the desert - that required significant extra fuel and time. Also, boggy conditions can chew up huge amounts of fuel. You need to know that at communities such as Kintore, there is not always someone ready to fill your tank. Our friends waited quite some time last year and then ended up knocking on doors. It turned out fine but you need to be prepared.

Best wishes for a fantastic journey.

AnswerID: 408554

Follow Up By: Member - Megan and Kevin D (AC - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 13:07

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 13:07
The missing photo.

Image Could Not Be Found
FollowupID: 678491

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 15:01

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 15:01
Hi TonBon

We were touring and sight seeing as well as towing, so were not rushing.

We camped at Well 33 (near Kunawarritji), then Jupiter Well the next two nights, and another overnight a little way before the NT border - pushing it to get to Kintore for the last fuel time before lunch break. Very pretty country.

As said, fuel is dearest at Kunawarritji. We should have re-fuelled at Kiwirrkurra, but we had phoned ahead to ensure supplies, choosing Kunawarritji and Kintore.

We stayed two nights at Jupiter Well because it was a weekend and we needed to get to Kintore on the Monday, and the company in the camp was good. Like the westbound group, we took the lay day as an opportunity to do some washing. We were also covered in mud due to rain - which will slow you down if the road is muddy. The westbound group had camped in the rain near the border the previous night as the rain had followed the road right through.

When we were nearing Kiwirrkurra on the Sunday, and vehicle hailed us and asked if we were wanting fuel. We said no, we had arranged Kintore, as it was Sunday. The driver said they would supply fuel on a Sunday, but were going for a drive for a few hours.

Kintore fuel times are specific, and you may need to wait some time in a long queue. Even then, they said they sometimes are closed on a Tuesday - or on any day; you cannot guarantee you will get fuel every day of the week.

Image Could Not Be Found

You intend getting through the Sandy Blight Junction Road in one day? We had the caravan, so did not take the SBJ.



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Reply By: ian - Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 19:01

Friday, Mar 12, 2010 at 19:01
Hi TonBon,
Most users of this site would say I travel too far/too fast, but i think you are taking on too much. You are pretty much committing yourself to dawn to dusk travel. The country offers lots of places that demand to be explored, and getting fuel and water can take quite some time.
The country is more interesting than you expect. Every community has people worth a yarn with. It all adds to the experience.
AnswerID: 408599

Reply By: Patrol22 - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 12:52

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 12:52
TonBOn - I agree with other posts that you are pushing a little hard...especially on the Wapet/Gary/Gunbarrel/Heather tracks. I was there in Jul/Aug 2009 and there are only small sections where you can get comfortably above about 40/50kph....we had one day - from the Windmill and Tank camping area where we averaged 24 kph. It is not just the quite severe corrugations you have to worry about but there are quite a few washouts and long stretches of sharp gravel. Re your permits: they don't have to be exact....but just ensure you cover the entire period. We never saw a single sole who was interested in checking that we had permits except when crossing the Simpson later in the trip where the ranger at Dalhousie Springs did ask (didn't check though).

Just one other thing....I wouldn't drive for more than 6 hours each day - if you are anything like me you will be quite weary after this time on these tracks.
AnswerID: 408646

Reply By: Member - Glen J (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 21:58

Saturday, Mar 13, 2010 at 21:58
G'day Ton,

Your start of the trip needs another day or the very least an extemely early start. Meagan and Kevins reply is the same for us, we did the Gary Junction and Kidson in August last year. We were coming from East to West Camped Two nights on the Kidson and nearly another. Beaware of washouts and over growth. A point to note is we nearly lost the car and trailer on the Gary Junction on a sweeping corning with extremeley soft edge. Just take your time, their is so much to see.

AnswerID: 408720

Reply By: Member - TonBon (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:24

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 09:24
I am quite overwhelmed at the level of expertise and quality of replies. Thank you all very much. I would be a fool not to heed the advice given so a change of itinerary is now being discussed with extra nights on the WAPET/GJR/SBJR.

My concern of course was the permits and having to set particular days, but as you have pointed out, there is some leniency.

My other concern was camping just anywhere, i was under the impression that you couldn't pull up just anywhere that looked nice as it was all native land and designated camp sites had to be used. However given the length of time some of you have spent out there, i am assuming that if it is getting to that time of the arvo, and a nice spot presents itself, stop, designated camp site or not.

Cheers and thank you all very much.

AnswerID: 408743

Follow Up By: Bob of KAOS - Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 17:23

Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 17:23

From the coast to Kunawarritji expect 40 kph or less on average. Kunawarritji to Kintore is a doddle so average 80 kph. SBJT is a mixed bag of 350 km. The top part is severely corrugated so less than 20 kph. From the border to Tjukurla is better but still 30 to 40 kph tops. Tjukurla to Uluru 80 kph.

FollowupID: 678745

Follow Up By: Member - TonBon (NSW) - Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 06:21

Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 06:21
Cheers Bob, looking at all the responses those speeds was what i was starting to expect, itinerary will be changed to reflect. Thats great info, cheers.
FollowupID: 678839

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