Supplies on Uluru / Simpson Desert Trip

Submitted: Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 16:45
ThreadID: 84997 Views:4851 Replies:16 FollowUps:12
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We are doing a trip to Uluru then on to Kings Canyon then finally across the Simpson Desert. After Kings canyon we are heading to the desert via Chambers Pillar and Mt Dare.

My question is, where should we get our food supplies. I understand Yulara has a small shop but I don't know of any others until we get to Birdsville via our route. We intend to take our time so it may be as many as 10-12 days between Yulara and Birsdville. We only have a 60 litre fidge so space for meat and drinks etc is limited. is there somewhere after Kings canyon that we can get our food topped up? Also I would prefer the meat we buy to be cryovaced. Can this be done at Yulara
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Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:14

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:14
I suggest you would be far better to source your supplies before you hit Yulara.
I doubt you will get cryovacing there..or even decent meat..& prices will not be
cheap. Tinned (or dried) veg & fruit is the way to go...longlife milk, custard etc.
Carry the makings for scones, bread, damper etc. Use stuff that only requires
refrigeration after opening. Get a good icebox for drinks will be surprised
where you can buy ice. One of our favourite tricks is to carry a good sized lump
of cooked corn beef...great for a quick feed & keeps well..........oldbaz.
AnswerID: 448204

Reply By: Fred G NSW - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:53

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 17:53
There is an IGA store within the Yulara shopping complex, so may be worth getting in touch with the store, who will no doubt be able to advise any availability out there for cryovac meat, if they don't do it.

Good advice there from Old Baz, especially re the corned beef.

AnswerID: 448214

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 18:46

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 18:46
Hi Stew,

If you plan your meals well and also plan how you use your fridge you should not have any problems living out of a 60l fridge for about 2 weeks.

Get your meat and have it vacuum packed in Alice. As others have suggested use an esky for drinks and lunch stuff. Build your meals around rice and pasta plus enough vege for variety and with vac packing you wont need too much refrigeration, plus you can run your fridge fairly cold to enhance the life of your meat.

Suggest use the fridge in the campers kitchen in Alice to freeze your meat before you pack it into your fridge. That gives your fridge a head start and is easier on your batteries.

Also pack your meat into larger plastic containers before it goes into your fridge - or better still before you freeze it - that way if there is weight from other fridge contents on top of the meat the bouncing around on corrugations wont tend to burst the vac packs.

You only need to have a days supply of drinks cold each day. The rest can just be packed into the vehicle. If you put some drinks out overnight they will get to be pretty cool anyway - then pack them into your fridge or esky early each morning. If you are using frozen meat, transfer it into the esky to thaw and that too will help to cool your drinks.

All those are little tricks that we dont necessarily do at home but when camping they can make even a small fridge space seem quite adequate.

Have a great trip.



J and V
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AnswerID: 448218

Reply By: blue one - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 19:26

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 19:26
The IGA is ok for snacks thought it is limited.

I agree with those before who recommend Alice for re-supply.

One word of warning, you can't buy ant take away grog at Yulara.

We tried as we had come out of the desert direct to Yulara and were treated as though we were junkies.

Very expensive at the bar also.

AnswerID: 448222

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 10:16

Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 10:16
You can actually buy takeaway beer at the pub nearest the c/van park , trouble is you are limited to a 6 pack per day takeaway and the cost is the same as if you had them sitting at the bar , works out $45 or so per 6pk.
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Follow Up By: blue one - Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 11:38

Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 11:38
Missus doesn't drink beer
FollowupID: 723372

Follow Up By: blue one - Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 12:02

Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 12:02
I was after a bottle of Vodka and they almost had a heart attack when I asked.

Crazy kids

FollowupID: 723374

Reply By: stew1978 - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 19:52

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 19:52
Not going to Alice Springs hence my problem. We would stock up Alice but to be honest would much prefer to stay away from there if possible. Our trip is:

Home (NSW Central Coast)
Broken Hill
Cober Pedy
Kings Canyon
Chambers Pillar
Mt Dare
Simpson Desert
Cameron Corner

Plenty of stops in between but you get the idea.

Keep the suggestions coming.
AnswerID: 448223

Reply By: stew1978 - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 19:55

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 19:55
Is there a butchers and decent supermarket in coober pedy
AnswerID: 448224

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 07:01

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 07:01

FollowupID: 720594

Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 07:15

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 07:15
There's actually more to Coober Pedy than you would think. The people at the Stuart Ranges cp run a tour, costs $50/head but lasts about 5 or 6 hours and you'll see plenty of Coober Pedy on it! Also the commentary from the driver is priceless!



FollowupID: 720596

Reply By: cookie1 - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 20:03

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 20:03
We (3 men) go off for weeks at a time and prepare our meals well before we go. I purchased a Sunbeam Vacuum sealer with rolls & bags. We typically have meals such as Spaghetti Bolognaise we freeze the sauce then boil the spaghetti from dry, or Chicken Curry with rice etc etc. Portion the meat, packing flat prior to sealing, supplementing with canned veg & Deb potato - we ate very well and this includes Sausages or Bacon & Eggs for breaky. I then pack the fridge in a filing cabinet style and done a complete trip through Ayers Rock Kings Canyon then through Finke Gorge (Boggy Hole & Palm Valley) and following the Old Ghan track away for 17 days without buying food.

Good luck it is absolutely fantastic where you are heading - Chambers Pillar had BBQ including gas when we went through
AnswerID: 448229

Reply By: gbc - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 20:33

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 20:33
We found the IGA at Yulara about the best stocked one in the country. There's plenty of locals out that way and they do all their shopping there. Last time we were there it was during the big footy comp and there was a heap of people from further out bush that had big shopping lists to fill. Plenty of meats and seafood (yeah baby prawns and trout on the coulson), and any supplies you might need, and yes, ALL the meat/seafood is cryo'd.
Prices aren't cheap, but they aren't exactly ripping you a new one considering where they are and the packaging that's required.
We travel with kids and a 60 litre fridge/freezer so we understand the need to restock.
AnswerID: 448237

Follow Up By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 21:09

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 21:09
Saying that the IGA was one of the best stocked in the country is stretching it, but from memory it was certainly at least 5 aisles.
It far exceeded my expectations., despite ringing them in advance, I couldn't believe how vast their range of food was. So ring them!

I didn't detect how many in your group but our 50L fridge did our family of 5 for a week including roast silverside at Innamincka on another trip. Five of us left Pt Augusta via Dalhousie, Mt Dare, Uluru, Kings Canyon and still had plenty of things in our 50L fridge 11-12 days later at Alice.
I don't think we bought anything refrigerated or frozen before we got to Uluru. Don't even dream of buying alcohol at Yulara, the cost is absurd.

Kings Canyon Resort (though recommend you stay at the station) had a 3+ aisle IGA 4 years ago as well. Many of the locals bought their food there, including frozen roo tails!
Contact Mt Dare, they sell some fresh/frozen food. I found them wonderfully helpful.
Yes it's more expensive at all of these locations but the extra expense is minor compared to what you spend on fuel and vehicle R&M with all the km you travel.

Do a search on this web site, there have been numerous posts on how to prepare for 3 week trips down the CSR.
Take an esky when you leave home a shop with your first meals/meat in them , that will get you 2 days without ice before you even dream of opening your fridge, then use the esky as a general storage area. Pre freeze some of your 1L UHT milk containers to act as a freezer brick if need be for your esky.

If I can go 4 nights backpacking and still eat "meat" every night backpacking, 12 days with a 60L fridge ought to be easy.

FollowupID: 720567

Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 23:50

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 23:50
Having worked at Yulara a few times, I have used the IGA store there a bit. Prices are very reasonable (I think they may be subsidized??) My first trip there , we took lots of food, then found we could get everything we needed at around Adelaide prices.
FollowupID: 720582

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 21:01

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 21:01
Prices overall at the medium sized supermarket in Yulara are reasonable in my view. They carry a wide range of merchandise... camping gear too. All alcoholic drink prices at Yulara are truly abominable ! You will be passing Erldunda on the way out and if not going to the Alice, that seems to be your last shopping point (but it's more a huge servo).........maybe phone to see what they have...... there is Apatula (Finke) - they would have a shop for the locals but their hours may be restrictive (a strict dry zone too). Not sure what goodies Mt Dare carries. I haven't been to Birdsville for the last few years but when last there I noted a distinct lack of supermarket lines.
AnswerID: 448245

Follow Up By: beergutz - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 22:32

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 22:32
hi stew
as darian mentioned finke is a dry town , no booze in your vehicle
so is titjitala ( between rodinga & chambers pillar ) . i imagine the fine would be
large enough to discourage most people .
we are going brisbane-birdsville-maree-mt dare -chambers -hugh river stock route-uluru-kings canyon-alice-plenty hwy to boulia-birdsville-brisbane depart mid june for 22 days weather & track condition allowing.
cheers bruce
FollowupID: 720577

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 23:40

Monday, Mar 14, 2011 at 23:40
How much room do you have for non refrigerated alternatives. After all, we used to go camping without fridges, and when we got our first little Engel we thought it was fantastic. We can go for weeks without shopping.

I few ideas

Travelling without or with small fridge


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AnswerID: 448262

Reply By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 07:11

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 07:11
Hi Stew,
If you're not going to Alice, then the store at Yulara will be your choice. We found it reasonable during our visit last year, prices weren't too bad and the range was ok. Put it this way, all the shelves were full! Not sure about the cryovaccing at Yulara, but we have our own cryovac unit which makes it a lot easier IMO.

Don't forget Kata Tjuta, The Olga's, it is worth the short drive from Uluru to see it. And if walking is your thing, the Valley of the Winds walk through Kata Tjuta is worth the effort!

On another note, Kings Canyon would rate as one of the most majestic places I have been lucky enough to have visited. The views are awesome! But while you are there, have a look at Kings Creek Station, it's about 35k's east of Kings Canyon, a family owned stock camp/tourist business that is as close to authentic as you'll see. Again, well worth the visit.



AnswerID: 448275

Reply By: Rod - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 09:50

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 09:50
We found a very good range of food at the Yulara supermarket with surprisingly reasonable prices.

The Maryvale store near Chambers Pillar sells everything from frozen kangaroo paw, to clothes, to food and washing machines.
AnswerID: 448287

Reply By: Simon (NT) - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 13:36

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 13:36
Hey mate, sounds like a good trip.

No Cryovac facilities in Yulara. The meat is all trucked in pre-packed. If you arrive at the shop on the right day there is a good selection of fairly reasonably priced meat. If you however arrive on the wrong day the meat is almost at it's expiry or it's all gone and the shelves are nearly empty. Basically the meat truck arrives twice weekly. So it's all in ups and downs depending on the day of the week.
If you know anyone who lives in Yulara (resident) then take them shopping as they'll have a residents card and can get a discount on the food.. otherwise you'll be paying quite a bit more.

If you want to have any alcohol either bring it with you to Yulara, or buy it at Curtin Springs Station about 80km before Yulara. Otherwise you are limited to 'no more' than 6 bottles of take away beer PER CAMP SITE / PER DAY, and that's all you'll get (and at about $6 a bottle as well.)
Curtin Springs will sell you a 30 pack of cans for $60. Which is about the best price you'll get out there. XXXX or Tooheys New for those prices. Other beers are more expensive.

If you want Cryovac meat you'll either need to bring it in with you or arrange for the meat to be packaged in Alice Springs and delivered to Yulara while you are there.

In order to do that I would suggest contacting a butcher in Alice Springs called Charbray Meats. I've got the name for the Master Butcher there: Gary Charnock. You can contact them on 08 89524077, email on - Gary assured me that he does Cryovac on request.
If you contact them they may be happy to do up a large 'bush order' for you (bush orders are a normal thing in Alice Springs - it's an order that will be collected or transported to the remote communities or areas).
I would discuss with them about how to get the meat transported to Yulara for you. They may well have options that I am not aware of.

Alternatively once you have the order sorted with Charbray meats you then contact one of the daily bus/coach operators who go from Alice to Yulara and arrange for transportation of the Cryovac meat. It'd be best for the delivery to be when you are already IN Yulara - that way you can immediately put the meat in to the fridge/freezer. I would suggest that you purchase a large esky in Alice Springs, some freezer blocks or some ice. Then it's all delivered nice and cold.

Bus companies who travel through Yulara are AAT Kings - who may take freight if asked. And Centre Bush Bus (who do take freight - and who I work for now) - CBB details can be found at and they charge $15 for freight deliveries for 'normal' size packages. I think an esky is probably covered under that, you can give them a ring to ask, or drop an email to them.

Believe me when I say stranger things happen out here.
(When I was living in Yulara I ordered 4 keyed alike padlocks and 3 metres of heavy duty transport chain through 2 different companies, one company collected their product, went to the other company and collected my order and delivered the entire lot to my company's (at the time) depot in Alice Springs and it was all delivered to me the next day. It's normal for bush orders - specially if they are of any sizeable quantity/cost.

Send me a private message if I can help out in any way as I'm now based in Alice Springs.

AnswerID: 448309

Follow Up By: beergutz - Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 23:12

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011 at 23:12
thanks for the info , the beer supply has solved a problem for me as after mt dare we go through 2 dry areas before reaching eridunda.
FollowupID: 720683

Follow Up By: Simon (NT) - Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011 at 23:39

Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011 at 23:39
Hey Bruce,

Don't worry about that too much.
It is allowed to 'transport' alcohol through prohibited areas as long as you can prove that you will be consuming it "outside" of the prohibited area.
I've carried alcohol through the prohibited areas on many occasions when going places like going out to go camping etc.

You can also consume alcohol in National Parks and Reserves such as the MacDonnell Ranges NP or the Devils Marbles Nature Reserve (or whatever it's masquerading as this week) - though the consumption is only generally if you are camping there overnight (so get a camping ticket and pop the money in to the money tin if there is one (not in all NPs).

Any other questions just ask.. because most of these alcohol restrictions up here aren't very clear and are also pretty bloody stupid.. thanks Mr Howard, they just inconvenience normal people trying to go about their daily lives - the people with the alcohol problems still buy alcohol and drink it and throw their green VB cans out on the road as they drive towards the prohibited area or even in it.

Anyhoo.. hope I can help out a bit more.
FollowupID: 720746

Follow Up By: Simon (NT) - Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 19:58

Thursday, Mar 17, 2011 at 19:58
Oh cr*p, I just realised I made a mistake.

It's not a prohibited area, it's a "PRESCRIBED AREA", because the government didn't want it to sound like the Northern Territory was going through a prohibition... (mmmm, yeah right, of course we are).

Anyway, there you go, it just dawned on me that I had given you the incorrect information (name).

FollowupID: 720765

Reply By: Simon (NT) - Friday, Apr 01, 2011 at 19:15

Friday, Apr 01, 2011 at 19:15
Nice to see that the original poster couldn't be bothered to reply after many people gave many in-depth replies..... Makes those of us who bother to give decent and in-depth replies really wonder if it's worth our time (and our money to renew our memberships!)
AnswerID: 450000

Reply By: HGMonaro - Friday, Apr 01, 2011 at 19:43

Friday, Apr 01, 2011 at 19:43
others (like me!) get value out of the replies, so not wasted
AnswerID: 450004

Follow Up By: Simon (NT) - Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 00:21

Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 00:21
Cheers mate, glad it's helping out.
If there is anything else I can help out with drop me a private message or email.

FollowupID: 723340

Reply By: Tonyfish#58 - Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 10:44

Sunday, Apr 10, 2011 at 10:44
stew1978 - Mate do not see what the issue is - Working on a 21 day roster with a remote road crew I never even used a fridge :-)

Easy answer is stock up for 15 days with food that has not the need for a fridge and you will not need a store :-) After all you do not need 5 star dining on a camping trip :-)

Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 450831

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