The Cooper has now crossed the Birdsville Track

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 14:01
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Hi All

I have been again speaking with Patsy from Etadunna Station and this is what has now happened in the last 24 hours.

The Cooper was across in one small section last night and when Patsy checked it again this morning, there are now 3 small sections that are under water. Patsy said that the longest section was only around 20 meters wide and not quite up to the hubs (so around 30 cm deep ) in the deepest section, while the majority of the track that is under water, it is only around 3cm deep.

It is not travelling at lightening speed like last year, but I will be making daily contacts with Patsy for the very latest news.

So anyone heading up the Birdsville Track as of today, make sure you pack your Gum Boots....LOL if you want to have a paddle. The sky was overcast and was around 17 degrees at 10am at the Station this morning, and when I spoke to Patsy around 12.30pm, she said it was getting warmer.


Until my next updates.



Cheers to All.


Stephen
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Reply By: Skippype - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 14:09

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 14:09
Oh nooooooooo
Skip
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:31

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:31
Hi Skip

Sorry to be the bearer of Bad news for you, but good for others....LOL


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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 14:32

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 14:32
I have just received this latest email from my Transport SA contact....



Hi Steve

Latest information as of this morning

4 channels are now flowing across Birdsville Track - deepest is around 400mm
Marree to Mungeranie section of Birdsville Track is now restricted to 4WD - cars won't get through and trucks are not recommended
Expected that the ferry may re-commence operation in the next few days.

The ferry website has been updated - www.sa.gov.au/ferryservices

And the road condition report was updated at 11.30am today

http://www.transport.sa.gov.au/quicklinks/northern_roads/northern.asp


So as you can now see everyone, this is straight from the Government Details...



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Follow Up By: Member - Des Lexic - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 16:10

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 16:10
Thanks for the update Stephen
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Follow Up By: Skippype - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 16:52

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 16:52
Thanks Stephen
I have chickened out. I don't want to get caught and have to wait for the ferry or worse still have to drive back around, an extra 1200km. I will be going down through the Warri Gate. At least I will be home a day earlier.
Thanks again for all the info
Skip
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 18:51

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 18:51
Hi Al

I will get you the other details tonight that you require.

Have a great trip and take lots of photos.


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:08

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:08
Hi Skip

After posting the above, I had a good chat with Juanita over the phone, my Transport SA contact. One of their officials drove the flooding section today and the water at its deepest point was just over his running boards. What had him concerned was that there was a strong south westerly wind blowing, which was blowing the water back on itself and away from the track. His concerns where when the wind changes direction, it will hasten the flow over the road and it will flood even quicker.

Juanita could not confirm an exact date, but the section of track is now closed to conventional vehicles, meaning that the ferry will now be running within the next day or two.

I will be ringing Patsy every day now for the latest details and the moment that I hear that the ferry is running, I will post it immediately.

Apart from the actual ferry crossing, I believe the Birdsville Track is in quite good condition, as Transport SA have a quite a few teams of graders working on the whole length of the Track. Unlike last year, the track was a complete mess for much of the year due to constant local rain, which kept the roads flooded for extended times.


Take Care and let us know how you get on.



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Follow Up By: Skippype - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:59

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:59
Thanks for the help Stephen
Skip
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Follow Up By: Member - Des Lexic - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:22

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:22
Thanks Stephen, and the camera will definitely be packed, primed and ready to go.
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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 16:36

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 16:36
Thanks all for the update.
Wish I was there to see it all happen.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:11

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:11
Hi Dodger

It is never too late to head up there for a look and ride. One thing that will be sure is that the ferry at this stage will not run as long as it did last year, which was 7 months.

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Reply By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 17:20

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 17:20
Stephen, you and your informants deserve to be commended for the service that you are providing. Thank you.
But at a totally practical level, what does this mean to a first timer like me who has planned to drive, in about three weeks time, from Lyndhurst to Birdsville over two days and staying at the Mungeranie Hotel over night. Should I take a lead from another contributor and cancel out?
I would appreciate your opinion and that of others who are familiar with the Birdsville Track.
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Skippype - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 18:25

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 18:25
Kevin
Don't take a lead from me. I work up here and was going to go down that way tomorrow but due to the possibility of a hold up I thought discretion was the better part of valour and have decided to go another way. If I had the time and a few days to spare I would be going that way. I am sure that the ferry will be working and all will be well. I'm just sorry I don't have time to do it at this time.
Skip
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:29

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 19:29
Hi Kevin

The biggest influence is will you be taking your great caravan, if so, then it will not fit on the ferry which will have a combined total length on just under 10 metres.

Unlike last year, the actual Birdsville Track is not wet (Except for where the water of the Cooper Crosses the Birdsville Track) and is in good condition. From the sounds of things you have never driven this famous Australian Track and if so, then do the Nike thing and "Just Do It"

For a first timer, take your time and work on 3 days to get to Birdsville, as there is a lot to see along the way and most people as they say, do not stop to smell the roses and are in a hurry to get to Marree/Birdsville as quick as they can.

I could rave on for ages about the actual track, but what I personally do is drop your tyres to 20% of your road pressure, (I drop mine to 24psi) and do not exceed 80 kph.

If you are diesel, the cheapest fuel in that area in at the Lyndhurst Pup.

Drop into the Ochre pits as you pass by as well. Stop at all the old ruins along the way and think back to when the only form of communications was the local camel teams to would drip off mail and supplies before motor vehicles came along.

Have a great trip and with an added bonus of a free ferry ride, which could be the last time for a very long time indeed.



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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:24

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:24
Thanks Stephen. We are not taking the van. We are staying in cabins, dongas and pubs for this trip. We will be at the Lyndhurst pub for a night, then on to Mungeranie pub for a night and then Birdsville Caravan Park for two nights to allow a visit to Big Red. A few days later we will go in to Innamincka for a night to see the historic things there.
But we will take your advice and go for it. Before driving through we are doing the Wrights Air 3 day tour of the area from Horsham. So we will fly over and then drive through.
We will be blogging as we go.
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:26

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:26
Skippype, you gave helped put things in perspective by your explanation. Many thanks.
Kevin
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:57

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:57
Hi Keven

Sounds like you are going to have a ball. When you are staying at Mungeranie, take a walk over the large dune heading west and you will see these..


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Not many people know that they are there.



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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:32

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:32
ah Mungeranie Stephen,

Those beautiful foreign bar chicks in their twenties suck me in every time :)))

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:48

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:48
Hi Alan

Not so much the bar girls but their bad Port....LOL

One time when we were rained in, we were caught out there for 3 days. One guy that was there said that he had never been so sick in his life and claimed the Port was off...nothing to do with the fact that he was drinking it like water..LOL.



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Reply By: Member - John R (cQld) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:16

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:16
Hi Stephen

I guess at this early stage there's no way of knowing how long the ferry might be in operation? (eg September).

Cheers, John
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:50

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 20:50
Hi John

There is still a large body of water coming down the Cooper, but no where like the volume of water last year. At this stage we would need a crystal ball, but one would think that it should still be running.

We will all have to waite and see what happens.


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Follow Up By: Member - John R (cQld) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:23

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:23
Thanks Stephen, shall keep an eye out for your reports on the situation. We do hope to be down in SA in September.

Cheers, John
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:26

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:26
Hi John

You should have a great trip. We are off up to Innamincka in early August, but now via a longer detour of another ferry ride.


I will keep everyone updated.



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Follow Up By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:34

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:34
Thanks for all your wonderful info Stephen.

We're staying with the Oldfelds at Clayton Station next month and will now pop up north for the ferry ride...
Monday I have Friday on my mind...
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:56

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:56
Hi Michael

All the best and have a great trip. If this is your first time there, I will let you in for what your first chore for the day will be...

Off over the road to clean out the spa bath - Clayton Bore is a top place to stay, complete with the old tub.



Cheers


Stephen

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Follow Up By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 09:15

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 09:15
Ahhh the Clayton Bore.... one of life's many simple pleasures!!!!

Cheers

Brian


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Reply By: Eric Experience - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:55

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 21:55
Stephen.
Thanks for the update. Sounds like conditions will be good for the Lake Eyre yatch club regatta on the 10th July. It will be held near the ferry so we may see a few members passing. Eric
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 22:01

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011 at 22:01
Hi Eric

Yes the same spot as last year. Lets hope that with a dryer winter, the ferry should see greater numbers than last year.

My advise for any member or non member that has thought about a ferry ride but never had the opportunity last year, is to make this a priority, as it could be decades before it may have to be put in use again.


Thanks for taking then time to reply.


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Reply By: True Blue - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 12:30

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 12:30
I agree with Kevin S (Qld). Stephen you really should be commended for all the advice and assistance that you offer to those who visit this forum seeking knowledge in their travels.

You have provided me personally through this forum with 'local' knowledge on areas including Googs track,Buckleboo/ Gawler ranges and the Flinders that I would otherwise have not known.

You are a credit to this forum and I for one appreciate it very much.

Cheers,

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 14:38

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 14:38
Hi Wayne

Thank you for those very kind words. I do what I do so people like you are kept up to date with accurate information and on seeing everything in an area that one might be passing


I hope that you are able to get up there and see the Cooper and the ferry, and you will see why I have been raving about it for so long.


Best Regards



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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 12:39

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 12:39
According to local abc news reports today and yesterday the ferry has had an extension added to allow camper trailers , no mention of caravans.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 14:35

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 14:35
Hi Alloy c/t

You are correct about the new size of the ferry, but unfortunately it is still too small for caravans. Have a look at my latest post today re the ferry running, as I have mentioned in a couple of replies of some places to stay up there with caravans.

I hope that you can get up there and see the flooded Cooper, as it is one sight that you will remember for ever.



Cheers


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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 17:35

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011 at 17:35
Stephen L , whats that old saying , arhh yeah ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, " been there , done that " , just hoping that this load of water is actually the last untill after the races ,,
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