Tanami Road

Hi all
I am contemplating the Tanami to return from the Kimberley, most likely during August.

I will have my offroad van (2100Kgs) towed by an NS Diesel Pajero.

I have heard conflicting reports about this road and some of my friends believe I ought to be certified If I even attempt it.

I will be traveling at a slow pace as time is not an issue for us. Tyre pressures of course will be monitored and I can carry an additional 160 Litres of fuel.

Can i solicit some feedback from those who might have traveled recently.

Am i nuts?
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Reply By: MobiCondo - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 10:18

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 10:18
Hello GRaeme M,
From personal experience (albeit back in 2007!) we have found that the road was just a bobby dazzler! A beautiful drive. Yes it was ROUGH, corrugated, etc but we took it slow, dropped tyre pressures to 50% of highway pressures and took 4 days (camped at Wolfe Creek, Rabbit Flat & near Mt Dorene vicinity).
We took on fuel at Yuendumu, Tilmouth Well and Rabbit Flat but could have gone without refilling, just stopped and made sure we have full tanks for each of the 'next sections'. We tend to stop and look at all sorts of plants, physical features, take lots of photos etc.
So, if you are confident & competent in outback travel and are well prepared with extra water and food for emergency then please do not feel put off by caring friends and aquaintences.
AnswerID: 448166

Follow Up By: Member - GREENDOG - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:50

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:50
Mobi how long does it take coming from the Alice to Halls Creek with a GU Patrol towing a Adeventure C/T in tow.cheers GD
FollowupID: 720543

Reply By: nick - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 15:29

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 15:29
Have driven the Tanami three times and will do so again in August this year too. Each time it has been totally differant to drive but never to bad. All you need to do is drive to the conditions. Great drive, beats driving on sealed roads anyday.
AnswerID: 448189

Reply By: Member - Lance S (VIC) - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 15:53

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 15:53

Dito to the above, we did it in 2009 and the worst part was the drive into Wolf Creek Crater. Leaving Alice we stayed the night at Renahans Bore then WC.


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AnswerID: 448195

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:29

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:29
Havent done it since 07 (& 90 before that) but was fine on both occassions. You
have already correctly judged that speed is the forementioned major factor &
have adequate fuel. I believe Rabbit Flat is now defunct. Plenty of roadside camping ..anywhere you can get off the road really, but easily doable with one
camp if time is restricted. One of the best outback drives IMHO, & Wolf Creek
Crater is a worthwhile detour.... you will need to check conditions if it rains, but
coming from the west, that should be reliable from Halls Creek. No one in Alice
seems to know nor care if it is open or not & you should ring Tilmouth Wells if
coming from that end....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 448210

Reply By: Travis22 - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 23:46

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 23:46
My friends and family said the same thing to me late last year when i drove across the Tanami on my own - solo; one vehicle just me myself and i in my very clean original 1978 FJ45 with very heavy leafs all round, no power steering and drum brakes front and back. Original seats too... (foam padding long dead). Worst part was i didnt have and still dont have a radio / cd player in the old girl, i remove the original AM radio to fit a UHF so it was just the sounds of the old girl rattling away over the corrugations! But it really was a great experience and id do it again in a heartbeat.

Anyways, plan was to spend 3 nights on the Tanami but after having the locals break into my tray at Alice i didnt fancy spending to many nights alone unarmed out there... Such that i drove from Alice to Halls in one night.

The road had been closed the week prior due to rain and was in pretty bad shape, and it closed again the following day just as i made it into Halls as the heavens opened up once again in a big way. (Thus is was actually i good thing i didnt spend 3 nights out there as it would have turned into a week plus stuck on the side of the track before the road reopened...)

But i was forced to spend 2 additional nights at Fitzroy Crossing while the HWY was closed due to flooding where they had ripped up 10km of blacktop for resurfacing...

All in all, id rate it as a pretty easy drive. Just take it easy and drive to the conditions in front of you.

From Alice to the border was pretty good. Border to around the turn off to Balgo Hills etc. rougher, and from there out it was like a highway! The road into the crater was ok, certainly no worse then any part of the Tanami...

AnswerID: 448264

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 00:19

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 00:19
Hi Graeme

It depends what van you have (some labelled off road are only suitable for a short trip on a dirt road eg to a camp site, not for over a thouand kms of relentless corrugations which can do damage to most rigs even it if does not show at the time), how you drive, as well as the conditions at the time. The WA side is usually by far the worst and it does not seem to ever get maintained. There are worse roads, but it is the distance of corrugations.

Advice to us from someone who saw rigs recovered from the Tanami was to stop frequently and check everything that could unscrew. Have you any idea how many screws there are in a caravan? Someone else who broke a caravan srping messaged me frequently "Don't take you caravan on the Tanami".

If it rains just before you go (and with current weather who knows when it will rain), it is another situation.

Low tyre pressures of course.

We drove fairly full days, and had three overnight stops (we did go into Wolfe Creek Crater first morning).

You're not nuts; lots do it and most succeed. It costs you a fortune for recovery if you do come to grief.


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AnswerID: 448267

Reply By: tam16 - Friday, Mar 18, 2011 at 16:13

Friday, Mar 18, 2011 at 16:13
We did it in October last year...the worst part of the drive was dodging the beer cans..!
AnswerID: 448575

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