Chambers Pillar to Old Andado to Mt Dare

Submitted: Friday, Apr 01, 2011 at 23:06
ThreadID: 85373 Views:2962 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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After visiting Uluru and Kings Canyon in July we plan to cross the Simpson Desert. For part of the trip we plan to go to Chambers Pillar then Old Andado and finally Mt Dare before heading across the desert.

I understand that this section of the trip is reasonably remote but I was wondering if the tracks get much traffic. We will be travelling alone so should the car break down or something we would need to rely of passing traffic for help. We will be hiring a sat phone from Mt Dare for the desert crossing but wont have one until then.

I'm not so concerned about the section of the trip from Chambers Pillar to Old Andado. The track I assume that is rarely used is the track that heads south from Andado to Mt Dare. Any comments? Also what is that track like to drive?

Finally any real life experiance regarding trip times for this part of the trip?

Any advice welcome
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Reply By: stew1978 - Friday, Apr 01, 2011 at 23:14

Friday, Apr 01, 2011 at 23:14
Also, what is your experience getting fuel from Finke. I've heard some bad things about the place but I'm not sure they are true. Is the fuel store in town or on the outer edge of town. Also operating times. The Hema map states M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm and Sat 8:30am to 11:00am. Does this sound right?
AnswerID: 450027

Follow Up By: Hairy (WA) - Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 17:57

Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 17:57
Fuel at Finke is in the middle of town and can be a bit hit or miss, like most blackfella camps it is fairly reliable but there is the off chance fuel isnt available.. You could try ringing the store and and finding out first hand. This should be the number for the Apatula community store .(08) 8956 0968

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Reply By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 01:08

Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 01:08
Hi Stew,

I did that section from Andado to Mount Dare in 2005. Was a good track then from memory. Not sure about whether it is rarely used or not however it's a good shortcut so I would guess a few people would use it. I didn't see anyone though when I was on it.


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AnswerID: 450034

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 08:40

Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 08:40
Hi Stew,

Have done that track 3 times, most recently in 07 and 08. While there was not a lot of traffic on the track it had had very heavy use by mining/exploration vehicles including trucks. As a result the track was in only fair condition with some very big patches of bulldust, some extending for maybe a kilometre with dust reaching to the underside of the vehicles. There was a maze of sidetracks around the worst stretches. Given all the rain since then it would pay to check with Mt Dare re its present condition.

We took a day to get from Old Andado to Dalhousie but we do stop a lot to explore, take photos etc, and there is plenty to see along that track, and a few gates. Check out the Mac Clarke Acacia peuce reserve.


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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 10:08

Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 10:08
Rain is the biggest problem on this track. Given what we have had recently, I'd certainly be talking to Mt Dare. As J&V say, there are plenty of little side tracks that can be confusing, but when I went through a few years ago, the marking was reasonable. A GPS and Ozieexplorer would be good.
I'd also have lots of anti mozzie gear. Absoilutely the worst mozzies I have ever had (tropics and Kakadu included and yes, Yellow water was horrific) was at Old Andado about 4 years ago.
Fuel up that way is understandably expensive. Cheapest is at Uluru surprisingly. I think they subsidize it.
FollowupID: 722506

Reply By: stew1978 - Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 10:21

Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 10:21
I'll have my laptop with oziexplorer on it so navigation is not a real concern. My real concern is being alone (with Family) in such a remote area.

We have decided to get a sat phone for the whole trip that way if we break down or worse we are able to get help as required and not just hope someone turns up. Turns out it wont be much more expensive. We were looking at nearly $300 I think for 5 days from Mt Dare to Birdsville for a sat phone hire. For the whole month of July I can hire one for $500. Another $200 for peice of mind in my view is money well spent.
AnswerID: 450057

Follow Up By: blue one - Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 11:09

Saturday, Apr 02, 2011 at 11:09
I have been down that track with the Missus. There are some large wallow holes in the track which are quite deep and would be difficult to get out of. As mentioned there is some decent bulldust to deal with also. Other than that the track is easy.

I am always very cautious travelling remote by ourselves, therefore we carry VHF,UHF,HF and an EPIRB.

As a minimum I would buy an EPIRB as a back up for the sat phone.

A sat phone is a good idea and to hire one for $500 it's cheap insurance.

It's a great trip and the gibber plains out to the Mac Clark reserve are stunning.


FollowupID: 722516

Reply By: stew1978 - Tuesday, Apr 05, 2011 at 09:55

Tuesday, Apr 05, 2011 at 09:55
Just found a company that will hire a sat phone and a thing called a "Spot Satellite Messenger" for $420 plus freight. The spot messenger is like an EPIRB but with a few extra features. Will feel much better with both these items while travelling throught the more remote areas.

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