Plenty Highway

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 15:55
ThreadID: 8474 Views:1544 Replies:7 FollowUps:2
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I am a new member with a Subaru ('84) and I want to know if anybody can tell me the current condition of the road and whether it is tough. I've had lots of mixed stories about it and I, of course, realise that a lot of people have no idea what they are talking about. I've been doing this stuff since I was 10 ..... so I hae a fair idea of what I'm doing.
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Reply By: Member - Glenn(VIC) - Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 16:43

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 16:43
Hi brack1936,

We travelled the Plenty in September in an 80 Series. The Donahue Hwy wasn't too bad, minor coorugations and pockets of bulldust, but once in NT, the Plenty Hwy was extremely corrugated with lots of bulldust. On the Plenty I had one puncture (easily fixed at Jervois Homestead for $25), one stuffed shocker (due to crappy rubbers), bolts holding the stabilizer bar sheared off (re-welded in Alice for $30) and I lost the magnets for my cruise control. Fuel at Tobermorey is expensive ($1.50 per litre), Jervois reasonable ($1.30 per litre) and Gemtree OK ($1.23 per litre). I only need $20 worth at Gemtree to get me to Alice. I enjoyed the drive, but it is tiring and long. As long as your suspension and tyres are ok, you run the right pressures, you don't carry too much weight, and drive to the conditions you will be fine. They do grade the road fairly regularly I believe, but all we saw were road trains.

Contact the Info Centre in Boulia and they will send you mud maps and give advice.Just Do It!

AnswerID: 37024

Reply By: howesy - Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 16:58

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 16:58
I'd be going soon big boy, your starting to head in towards that lovely wet soon. I try to plan to be through there by mid Nov. normally to aviod early surprises. If your not going till December I would take enough gear for contingencies. Just my opinion though I'm sure others will disagree.
AnswerID: 37029

Follow Up By: Willem - Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 18:11

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 18:11
I am on holiday in Alice and it is as dry as a old camels fart with rain clouds hovering. I suppose the summer rains could come and then you would swim through the mud on the Plenty. Last time I did that road was in July '99 and it rained and rained....was in 4x4 for 150km. Some tourists wearing white socks were towing a couple of caravans and they were falling apart. Just take it easy in your Subie and you will get through. Take some jerrycans with you for extra fuel as you pay through the nose in the outback because the fuel has to be trucked out there over bad roads.

Always going somewhere
FollowupID: 26773

Reply By: pauls - Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 20:36

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 20:36
I too am thinkng about trvelling this road in December. As a rough indicaton of the quality of the road how would it compare to the dirt road between Burketown, Lawn Hill and Borroloola which I just drove a couple of months ago ?
AnswerID: 37069

Follow Up By: Willem - Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 22:25

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 22:25
Like all dirt roads in the outback it depends if the cockies have been trucking cattle recently or when last the road was graded. The Plenty is probably a better run that than the Gulf Track and equally as bland. Flat country for most of the way especially after Harts Range. More interesting river crossings up north of course. Going to be a bit hot in December...take plentyh of water.

Always going somewhere
FollowupID: 26804

Reply By: Billy - Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 22:38

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 22:38
The problem with giving road conditions on the Plenty is it's so long, the conditions vary so much over it's length, depending on where they are grading. I would liken this job to painting the Harbour Bridge, when you finish, you go back and start again at the other end. Bearing in mind it covers two states and two incorporated areas too.

IMHO, It would be risking it to go over in 2WD towing anything, but solo should be OK. A Subie will be no problem. Getting dry bogged in bulldust or recently graded soft section would be the biggest hazard if it's dry. Corrogations are no better or worse than similar roads. Slow down for the grids which tend to have a rather large "ledge" on either side due to the road trains. When I went over last in '02 there was a bloke we heard about as far back as Marree (going anti-clockwise) who had blown four tyres at once by hitting a grid real hard, right in the middle of Jervois and Tobermory. 120K or so trip each way in the mates car to get them fixed!. Anyone want to own up?


BillAll aboard!
AnswerID: 37088

Reply By: ian - Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 23:19

Wednesday, Nov 12, 2003 at 23:19
Hello brack1936
You are right, lots of people don't know what they are talking about, especially about the difficulty of outback roads. But, Glenn(VIC) has got it right. With good tyres, reasonable suspension and the self control to take your time, there is no reason to consider the road anything but a pleasure. I was also on that road recently and had no problems. I only wish I had the self control I recommend, but at least I know what I should do. Enjoy your trip.
AnswerID: 37097

Reply By: Member - Bob - Thursday, Nov 13, 2003 at 08:22

Thursday, Nov 13, 2003 at 08:22
Go slow. Keep weight down. Look out for turkeys hammering towards you that don't slow down. Visit and use the fuel stores along the way so you don't have to carry the extra weight of fuel yourself. Take an additional spare wheel, pucture plugging kit and a means to inflate tyres.Bob
AnswerID: 37127

Reply By: Peter - Thursday, Nov 13, 2003 at 08:36

Thursday, Nov 13, 2003 at 08:36
We went across In september this year 2003.
The road was in what I would class as reasonable condition.
We had no problems.
I think If Car and tyres are in good condition you will be ok


slow down a bit and keep the weight down.

The prople we talked to that had problems had lots of excess gear and also were trying to drive at 90KMH +

We spent a couple of nights out on the plenty.
camp by the side of the road.
Have a look at harts range

Peter S
AnswerID: 37130

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