Outback for Beginners

Submitted: Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 01:57
ThreadID: 8356 Views:1330 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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We are planning a trip to the outback in (unfortunately, but not possible at any other time) December. We have no experience with driving a 4WD.We would like to drive the following: Mereenie Loop, Alice Springs to Oodnadatta via Mt Dare (Old Andado), Oodnadatta Track, Flinders Ranges. Are these routes viable for people with no experience. Thanks for all advice and safe travelling.
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Reply By: JohnR - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 06:32

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 06:32
Beginners usually need to be aware of risk first Stanrich.

High temperatures are likely anytime through the period you are talking so the more remote you are going, the higher ther risk. If anything happens accidentally with fewer travelling then what are you most prepared to lose - or more precisely what is the worst you could lose. Being as you say "no experience" would only increase your level of risk.

Breakages are not uncommon I would have thought reading the Forum posts so you could be left a few days in a remote area.

Best keep to the well travelled areas like Flinders only 5-6 hours from Adelaide I would have thought but temperature there can get to the 40s easy enough. Major highways reduce your risk as do other well trafficked areas.

I am lower experience than many here and will prefer to stick closer to the coast and cooler climates over summer.

john
AnswerID: 36496

Reply By: Member - Ross - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 07:54

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 07:54
Stanrich

I'm afraid the heat and bloody flies will make for an unpleasant trip, but certainly not impossible. I would advise against it for those very reasons. And the obvious as stated above.

Alice to Old Andado via Chamber's Pillar or Santa Teresa don't know as haven't been there. Old Andado to Mt. Dare rough in spots mostly just north of Mt Dare and some patches of bulldust.

Mt. Dare - Oonadatta via Dalhousie rough in spots, particularly south of Dalhousie.
From there on graded gravel roads till you hit the black top but can still have rough patches.

To be honest I think you'll regret it at that time of the year, but best of luck if you go. Be sure to take Epirb and/or sat phone as you can't rely on UHF. At least if you get in the bleep you won't perish ... as so many before have.

Rosco
AnswerID: 36499

Follow Up By: Member - Ross - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 08:03

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 08:03
P.S.

Forgot to add if you're going via Kulgera You have a better than 85% chance of getting stuck east of Finke in the bed of the Goyder if it's dry or impassable if wet.

Seems to me the cons are outweighing the pros.Rosco
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FollowupID: 26351

Reply By: Willem - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 08:07

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 08:07
stanrich,

The roads you are talking about can be done in 2wd mode though the Old Adado track has quite a bit of bulldust(report from a mate would drove it a week ago). These roads are not as remote as they used to be and you will find some travellers expecially European visitors to Australia traversing the outback aat this time of year.

Temperatures are already up in the high 30's here in Alice Springs(I am on holiday in the Alice) and you will find that there is quite a bit of discomfort when outside.

During December temps will creep up into the 40's. Make sure that your vehicle is in top condition, that you carry enough drinking water, wear a hat when outside the vehicle. Don't stop to bush camp until sunset. In the Flinders Ranges you will find the temps a lot cooler up until the beginning of January when the temps can stay in the 40's every day for two months. Ground temperatures in December can reach 75-80 degrees.

I have done all these roads in December. Just be sensible and don't go walking(Kings Canyon for instance) in the middle of the day. Enjoy your holiday.

Cheers,
Willem

Always going somewhere
AnswerID: 36500

Follow Up By: duncs - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 17:38

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 17:38
Hey Willem,

Were you in Peterborough on Sept 20. Thought I spotted your truck parked at the shops there early am.

Stanrich,

We were through just about the exact route you talk about in the last school hols. In the first week we got a hot spell and it was horrible. Temps in the high 30's to mid 40's mean you don't do much walking and therfore miss most of what you have gone there to see.

The roads you talk about will pose no problems for a reasonably well prepared vehicle. But if anything goes wrong the heat can prove not only uncomfortable but very dangerous as well.

If you want do do a holiday and use your 4wd and have a more comfortable time why not look at the Eyre Peninsula and save the Centre for next autumn or spring. Eyre is supposed to be beautiful and offers the opportunity to gain some experience and have a swim.

Have a great time wherever you go
Duncs
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FollowupID: 26370

Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Nov 08, 2003 at 01:01

Saturday, Nov 08, 2003 at 01:01
Yeah Duncs...my flamin' orange G60 is the only one in town. Must have been me. Should get a less conspicuous car so that I can blend in to the surroundings...hahahahaha..
Cheers,Willem

Always going somewhere
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FollowupID: 26410

Reply By: Dmitri - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 10:45

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 10:45
Stanrich,

We've done an eight weeks trip from Melbourne up to Exmouth in January-February last year. The temperature somedays reached +48 (record for Exmouth).
Usually it was 40-45 in SA and north from Perth.
But I can't say we suffered from it, I remember only a couple of times we were really tired of it, but it was during the 7-8 hours walks in the mountains . Our mistake was that we started the walks too late, at 9-10 am.
Also my wife was pregnant at this time but she coped well with the temperature.
Like Australians say - "no dramas!" :)

Cheers,
Dmitri.

AnswerID: 36509

Reply By: Mixo - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 12:21

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 12:21
To travel those more remote areas in your plan in the high summer heat, you should have racked up quite a bit of outback travel experience prior. It is most unwise to do that as your first trip. People who live out there know the risks and plan for them. Let me assure you that if you have a breakdown on a good road even, in high heat levels, with no human contact available for a hundred clicks in either direction and you are reliant on passers-by or getting out to help with radio/phones, you will be thinking deep and hard about your situation. It can all be catered for, with the correct planning ... you just need the prior knowledge and judgement to go with it. Hope you do get up there.........its great... but you have to have enjoyable conditions.Why I am here looking at this screen ?
AnswerID: 36516

Reply By: TonyT - Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 13:25

Friday, Nov 07, 2003 at 13:25
We did that trip (excluding FlindRanges) plus ChambPillar, Ruby Gorge etc- in Dec2001- didn't even get a flat tyre- (and had 3 teenagers in the back as well) but, we were travelling in convoy of 3, had plenty of fuel and water, and reasonable experience. Sure it can be done, but 1st time out there unaccompanied?- if there's kids, then it could be a bit more of a challenge- anyway, if you do go just make sure that the vehicle is in tip top condition- take some basic spares and check these other replies again as they sure have some good advice. Have a safe trip TonyT
AnswerID: 36521

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