coober pedy to oodnadatta/marla via painted desert

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:28
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Hi travellers, we might take a detour to rock/alice/macdonnells via painted desert. Travelling in a convoy of 2 prados 1 towing an onroad hawk the other a freedom. Will/should we upgrade the tyres to light trucks and what about stone guards on the vans? Cheers Dave.
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Reply By: deserter - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:37

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:37
Some years since I did it - but it was just another dirt road. No big deal. But recommended viewing - its a truly beautiful area.
AnswerID: 461816

Reply By: carlj - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:47

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:47
When we went through the road from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta was in reasonable condition.Towing an on road van might be a bit much as there are some steep arrivals and departures from dry creeks also the road from Mount Barry via Arckaringa station to the Painted Desert has some very steep cattle grids approx 1mt high,we saw Bushtracker vans at Williams Creek the owners left them at the northern junction and drove in.Don't bypass the breakaways very interesting .As for tyres pressure and speed are the main things to watch
AnswerID: 461820

Reply By: Member - Heather MG NSW - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:50

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 17:50
Hi Dave,

Don't forget to cover your Prado rear windows with cardboard or something similar. Expensive to replace if shattered by a stone deflected off the campers.

The Painted desert is definitely worth the drive...a phootographers paradise!
Can't help with the tyres...sorry.


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AnswerID: 461822

Reply By: jdpatrol - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 18:20

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 18:20
Dave, strike me down fellow EO'ers, but I don't think you should go off road without light truck tyres full stop. Just my 2 cents worth. Cheers
AnswerID: 461824

Reply By: Member - Keith C (NSW) - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:06

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:06
Hi, David, I reckon you should go for light truck radials, tyre pressures are a matter of choice. I always air down on dirt, it makes for a better ride for the van and car, the lower pressures tend to roll over the corrugations and sharp stones better, But some folks hold different opinions. I use 26 psi on the van& 28 on the cruiser.
We tow a 14ft millard pop top onroad and have done that track twice,both times the stones were flinty and and three cornered, luckily never had a flat as yet, just drive to the conditions, just fast enough to keep on top of the corro's. You will need some kind of stone guard
Don't let the fact you have an on road van deter you, we have done the Strez and the Birdsville track,Cameron Corner, Innamincka, Oodna, The van is still in good nick and has never broken anything except for a side window glass. Take your old wheels as spares. We carry 2 on the back. Enjoy your travels. Regards Keith.
AnswerID: 461828

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:57

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 19:57
David, the standard AT type tyres are OK for your needs. No need to upgrade to Light Truck tyres unless you are replacing worn ones, then the LT construction will give added protection to the side walls.

I would strongly recommend a stone guard of some sort. This will help protect the front of the van from stone chipping. Some stone guards are attached to the A-frame of the van but it also a good idea to also protect your rear window from ricocheting stones, etc.
As has been already mentioned a simple piece of corrugated cardboard (aka beer carton) taped to the rear window glass is a cheap option.

One more tip.
When leaving Coober Pedy, head up the Stuart Highway for about 20km and turn off at the sign pointing to the Breakaways. A few K's in is a lookout which gives a fabulous view over the "Moon Plains" from the top of the escarpment.
Then continue on down onto the Moon Plains, following the track. The track will take you along the Dingo Fence and end up at a T junction. This is the main Oodnadatta to Coober Pedy track and a left turn will take you to the Painted Desert Detour route, or straight ahead to Oodnadatta.

A camping stopover at the Arkaringa Homestead will give you the advantage of a sunset view at one or more of the lookout points then a short trip back to the Homestead's camping area overnight.

The whole "side trip" via the Breakaways only adds about 20km or so but well worth your while.

Have a great trip.


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AnswerID: 461835

Reply By: David S16 - Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 20:06

Thursday, Aug 04, 2011 at 20:06
Thanks everyone great info....geez i luv the quality of people on this website!!!!!
AnswerID: 461836

Reply By: timothy - Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 09:39

Saturday, Aug 06, 2011 at 09:39
Hi David, we took a similar route about 3 weeks ago towing an on-road Viscount Grand Tourer, the road was ok although there were some sections with fairly bad corrugations we had to take carefully especially around Oodnadatta. I'd recommend stone guards on the vans otherwise they get peppered with rocks - looks like hail damage. With respect to LT tyres we had them fitted but if your current tyres are in good condition I think they'll be ok.
AnswerID: 461948

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