Advice for central Aus Circuit in July

Submitted: Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 15:51
ThreadID: 78307 Views:4204 Replies:10 FollowUps:7
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Hi all,

I'm heading off in July for a 2½ week "taste test" trip travelling from the hunter valley NSW to Bourke, then tibooburra, cameron corner, innamincka, to birdsville via cordillo downs, up to boulia, then down the donohue and plenty highways to Alice, spending several days in alice/kings canyon/ayers rock region, on to coober pedy, oodnandatta, maree, lyndhurst and then back probably via broken hill.

My mate and i are travelling in the one vehicle.

(i know that's a lot of places to wrap your head around, but it's a REALLY good picture of where i'm going)

What i'm after is some general preparation advice- i know this has been covered a million times, but no one seems to link in to the specific regions being covered unless it's the CSR or some other monster trek.

I have a TD 100 series, maintained perfectly but stock standard (but does have factory winch bar & superwinch now with rope). My average fuel consumption is 12L/100km and i'm expecting 15-18L/100 on the trip and i'm fairly sure i'll have the range i need (taking a couple of jerries)

Firstly, is standard clearance enough for the routes i'll be going?

What sort of gear should i take, and what else should i arrange before i head off?

I have an extensive recovery kit with more than enough straps, shackles, pulley block etc.

Inside the car i'll have a 60L water tank (or several 20L jerries), 2x20L Jerrycans of diesel (100kg right there!), a couple of swags, emergency hose and belt kit, UHF, mobile phone with external antenna, reasonable tool kit, little engel 32L frudge. i only have one spare tyre, but do have a repair kit capable of dealing with minor punctures.

Time is running short, and if there is anything i must do to the car, it needs to be done very soon.

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Reply By: Kanga1 - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:42

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:42
Hi John, before you go spending up, why not load the car up with what you are going to take, fill your tanks and jerrys, climb under it and see how much clearance you have before the Axles hit their bump stops, have a real good look around while you are under there for anything loose, shiny or dripping, if you don't think you have enough bump stop clearance see a suspension specialist, see what they reckon. It may be that Polyairs inside the rear coils will do the trick. Anyhow good luck with it and have a good trip. Cheers, Kanga.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 17:07

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 17:07
John,

We've done most of those roads/tracks in our old and very standard Troopy. It's a good trip, pity you won't have a bit more time, but for a taste trip is ok.

Clearance - no problem. Fuel consumption is probably about right, though some spare fuel in a Jerry or 2 is always prudent. Water sounds good (always fill your containers at every opportunity, even if the water is undrinkable - you can discard bad water when you get a better offer but it's valuable stuff to have if you blow a hose, or if you just get stuck.) Spares ok, I wouldn't bother with an extra spare wheel. (Some people carry a spare tyre (saves weight) but on those tracks you are unlikely to need it. Some also carry a tube to put into a tubeless tyre if things really go bad. You need tyre levers, bead breaker, etc if you go that way - personally, I wouldn't for this trip.)

Something to be aware of - fuel is available at Jervois Station on the Plenty, BUT is cash only!

Provided it's open, the Bore Track running up through Bollards Lagoon Stn is an interesting way of getting from Tibooburra to Innamincka. There's a $10 fee payable at the homestead to cover track maintenance -recommended.

Have a great trip

John

One thing you haven't mentioned is a good compressor - it will pay to drop your tyre pressures on the rough stuff (corrugations, especially the Plenty Hwy!). Obviously you must drop your speed when you do.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
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Reply By: Allan B, Sunshine Coast, - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 17:23

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 17:23
Hi John, That's a good trip and you will see much.

Standard clearance should be OK but take note of what Kanga said above.

The only other gear that I would add to your list is a first-aid kit, good maps (Hema) and your food and cooking requirements.

The routes you have listed are easy enough provided there is not significant rain. Check with locals as you proceed.

Doubtful if you would need recovery gear unless rain puts you in a boggy situation, but even then a winch may not help unless you have a ground anchor. MaxTrax could be better.

Some of the roads you list can be a bit stony and can damage tyres but if you drive to conditions and keep your eyes open you should not have a tyre problem.

I think that the longest stretch you will have between fuel points is Boulia to Jervois, about 470km so calculate your fuel to suit that.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Janek - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 08:49

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 08:49
Thanks! And i forgot to mention, I'm a paramedic, and have a fully decked out first aid kit including IV fluids, so no dramas there.

I also have an ARB compressor that i'm pulling out of my old car, and the usual cooking stuff with camp ovens and a little gas burner

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Reply By: Plugga- Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:05

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:05
Hi John
The first test trip we done in our TD 100 series we found that after it was fully loaded we lost a lot of our clearance. We have since upgraded the and also fitted polyair bags which has been a big improvement. Would be best to load up everything and check your suspension.

Regards Rob
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Follow Up By: Plugga- Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:06

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:06
Oops
upgraded the suspension and also fitted polyair bags
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Reply By: mikehzz - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:18

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:18
I did that trip solo in 2 weeks last year, great fun. I suggest a trip out from Birdsville up Big Red and I also saw Chambers Pillar, Mt Dare station and Lake Eyre. Plenty of corrugations on the Plenty when I did it. I would go again tomorrow if I could.
Mike
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Reply By: Member - Duncs - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 21:43

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 21:43
John,

Most of what others have said above is good advice. I would have thought a statndard 100 series would handle this trip easily. If it doesn't trade it in on a Patrol and you will have no more problems. (Ducking for cover as I finish this :0} )

With the poor attempt at humour out of the way a serious coment. There are a lot of roads closed in the Cameron's Corner, Innamincka and Birdsville areas at the moment. You need to check that your intiended route is possible for this reason. You can check road conditions on this site.

2 weeks for that trip is a lot of driving but it is doable and you will see a lot of really good stuff. Have fun

Duncs
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Reply By: Simon (NT) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 23:53

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 23:53
Hi John,

Firstly, what part of the Hunter Valley are you from? I am from there originally, all be it right down the very bottom of the Hunter Region...

Anyway, I'd be happy to write you up a bit of an itinerary for the Red Centre that would allow you 3, 4 or 5 days out here and getting to see everything (mostly)... (As a tour guide in this area I can probably give you a fairly good idea of it along with some background info for each major stop - such as Watarrka (Kings Canyon) Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and The Rock).

Please drop me a private message (or grab my email address from there and make contact) and I'll get something together for you for this immediate area.

Cheers,
Simon

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Reply By: NicnPete - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 10:38

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 10:38
Hi,
My husband and I will also be leaving the Hunter in July for 4 weeks to do pretty much the same trip as you (minus Innamincka and Birdville and going from Alice to Boulia, then into the middle of QLD). We'll be doing it in a 78 series T/D crusier the only 'extras' is the aftermarket suspension and a whinch apart fron that everything else is standard. We are building a camper/stroage trailer to take with us also. We'll be taking a couple of 44's of diesel with us as we dont want to pay for diesel in small towns, swag, water tank, we're buying an 80L Waeco, tools, recovery equipment etc. Hopefully the weather co-operates so we can do our whole trip. Maybe we'll run into you on our journey.
Nic n Pete
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 18:36

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 18:36
Hi NicnPete,

"Taking a couple of 44's of diesel with us.." Thats close to half a tonne extra to drag around.

Have you done the sums to work out what it will cost you to actually carry that amount of fuel vs what you would pay if you fill up as you go? Suggest that the saving may be minimal if any; think of wear on trailer suspension, plus you have the added hassle of moving it into vehicle tanks and so on.

Just a thought....

Cheers
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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Follow Up By: NicnPete - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:18

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:18
Hi J and V,
We are putting the diesel 44's onto the back of the truck to make fueling up easier. The trailer pretty much for food/fridge/clothes etc storage as we are making a false floor for our swag for us to sleep on. Most of the other stuff like the water etc will be going onto the back of the truck. Hubby has a fuel card for Caltex so we've decided to carry our fuel as opposed to paying for it. It's our first time doing anything like this so any advice is welcome, and I'm sure that this trip will teach us huge lessons that we'll take with us on future travels.
Ta guys
Nic
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Follow Up By: Member - Russnic [NZ] - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:13

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:13
Been there done that on most of those roads.
Locals use them all the time they also contribute to the maintenance of them as well.
Depending on weather floods etc, sometimes they are better than others.
They are service roads not tracks.
Are you serious that you can carry fuel in 44s cheaper than a Road/B.Train.
I just enjoy the opportunity to travel those area's and appreciate the services that are there, so always make a point of stopping and buying something whether it be a Pie, Fuel, Iced Coffee, or even an Ice Cream.
It is great to see that the services are there available.
IT IS IMPORTANT THAT US TRAVELLERS SUPPORT THEM .
Get in a wreck down the road, a bit guess who will help you out.
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Follow Up By: Steve and Viv - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:24

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 13:24
Yes, my point as well. Those remote places survive on us for fuel, ice-cream and meat pies etc. While I know we all want to save money the places you are going are not so remote you can't get fuel for an OK price. ( well maybe not Jervous :-) Anyway have a great trip but remember to help out the road houses etc so they stay there for all of us?

PS. None of the roads are that tough and your truck sounds perfectly well set up for the trip. I would make sure you take a tyre plug kit and maybe a spare tyre with tyre pliers.
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Reply By: Janek - Monday, May 10, 2010 at 12:20

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 12:20
Sounds great! I leave on the 9th July, returning around the 24th

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Reply By: Janek - Monday, May 10, 2010 at 15:18

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 15:18
Another (important) Question-

For the circuit i have described, will i need ANY permits, if so which ones?

Thanks again!

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 14:03

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 14:03
No permits needed for that trip!

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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