Glen Helen to great central rd

Has anyone recently used sandy blight junction to drive from glen Helen to warburton and what is the track condition ? Is there anything worth seeing as a am trying to avoid going through Yalara / docker river as the entire area around ayers rock & olgas really annoys me due to the rules & regs + the kids would want to climb the rock and I get sick of disappointing them by seeing the climb closed sign permanently erected .
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Friday, Sep 23, 2011 at 23:07

Friday, Sep 23, 2011 at 23:07

went down there about 6 weeks ago.

SBJT same as usual. Shocking corrugations in northern section, but otherwise not too bad.

Its pretty remote, so you'll need to be well set up. Weather is warming up too.

My mate found a dead Canadian teacher at the wheel of his car on the SBJT some years ago. Broke down, no comms, no water. Gawn.

You will need two permits. Let the kids climb up the Sir Frederick Range.

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Follow Up By: Member - Steadylenny - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 09:16

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 09:16
hi bob , thanks for the info we are well prepared but towing a camper trailer behind a 130 defender,
is there any deep sand and how do people go towing through this area ?
also hoe far is it from glen Helen to the turn oh to Sbjt?
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Follow Up By: x4by4 - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 11:46

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 11:46
That sounds like an urban myth to me. I can find no mention of a Canadian death or any other traveler dying on the SBJT. Would you have any other info or date when it was supposed to have occurred.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Sep 23, 2011 at 23:13

Friday, Sep 23, 2011 at 23:13
Hi SteadyLenny

Do you mean to go from Glen Helen to Papunya to (almost) Kintore and the Sandy Blight Junction Road? I don't know of any other possible route from Glen Helen to Kintore. The road from Kintore to the West MacDonnells was described by Len Beadell as “Amongst the most picturesque in Central Australia” .

The Gary Junction Road altogether is a nicer alternative to the Great Central Road if not wanting to specifically go to Warburton. Others here will be able to fill you in on the Sandy Blight Junction Road, or check through the Blogs.


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Follow Up By: Member - Steadylenny - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 09:24

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 09:24
hi Mh , thanks for the reply , yes I think you are spot on with the directions and this sounds like the way we wanted to go!
we are heading to kalgoorlie so I thing gary hwy takes us too far north.
we were only going to warby for fuel . is there alternatives?

we don't have a sat phone or hf radio , just UHF , so don't want to go too remote !
my only real concern is sand bogged , or getting lost , are the main tracks well defined & marked and will a 130 defender towing camper be ok?


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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 11:02

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 11:02
Hi Steve

I would not take the Sandy Blight Road without having a satellite phone. It is one of the iconic Beadell tracks, but a journey on its own rather than a short cut. Friends towing went through a couple of weeks before our Gary Junction trip, and they were aware that a breakdown could cost them up to $20,000 in recovery of car and trailer. It took them three days, sometime down to 3 kph, and sometimes having to make their own bypass around a washout.

Having good fuel capacity, on the Great Central Road we fuelled at Yulara then again at Tjukayirla.

On the Gary Junction (travelling west to east) we topped up at Marble Bar, and again at Kunawarritji near Well 33 (which proved to be the dearest and Kiwikurra would have been a better choice), then again at Kintore.

Fuel is available at all the major communities although not all take EFTPOS or credit cards.

We were travelling with a satellite phone on both occasions, and did have breakages, but only used the phone on this occasion to report home to the family. It proved invaluable having the phone with a breakdown another time. A simple bolt breakage can leave you immobilised.


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Reply By: Member - hopbush - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 10:30

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 10:30
Hi Steadylenny,
The Sandy Blight track is very remote and isolated and I would not travel it without a sat phone or hf radio.
When I travelled it in June this year, it was as stated by Bob, terribly corrugated on the northern end and just plain rough elsewhere. There are areas of sand and low to moderate dunes which should be ok if you are towing, but I do not tow so cannot state definitively. Apart from numerous tracks at the Kintore end which can be a little confusing, you should have no troubles finding your way if you have basic outback savvy and good maps. But I will repeat that I think it would be foolhardy to do this track without good communications.
I saw only one other vehicle in one and a half days on the track.
It's an awesome trip and the scenery alone is worth the journey, but take care, as it is potentially damaging to vehicles.
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Reply By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 12:11

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 12:11
you would be crazy to do without a Sat phone or HF.
Probably best to suck it up and drive through Yulara..
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Follow Up By: Member - Steadylenny - Monday, Oct 03, 2011 at 00:19

Monday, Oct 03, 2011 at 00:19
Yes thanks for the support , you sound like a typical Yalara advocate ,
Turns out i was correct in my judgment of the bleep hole called yalara or should I say Ayers rock as we Aussies prefer.
That cow that runs the mechanical repairs ( Pat) and her suck hole counterparts could not even be bothered helping us with a minor mechanical repair because the real owners of the business had instructed Pat the rat , that she was not to allowed to do any repairs whilst stocktaking , instead I had to spend $ 1000 + and lost 3 days to get the car repaired in Alice springs.
I would like for nothing more than her whomb to dry up and she gives birth to spiders!

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Follow Up By: Tjukayirla Roadhouse - Monday, Oct 03, 2011 at 13:47

Monday, Oct 03, 2011 at 13:47
maybe it was the attitude that did it for ya .. LOL

P.S it's Yulara with a U :-)
FollowupID: 740759

Reply By: x4by4 - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 12:16

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 12:16
I was there early June 2011 and only saw one vehicle, I did not expect to see any.
There is good camping on the river at Finke 2 mile opposite Glen Helen but a little sandy (4wd).
GH to Papunya is 71 km and Papunya to SBJ is 255 km, total 236 km

There is a spot you could camp if you follow the track left at the stones, it comes back out to the main track and there is a rock hole there.
There is a great camping spot with water (bore hand pump) in WA about 15km from the border. I was there early June 2011 solo vehicle..

There were two places where the track now turns early to go over a dune where the original track took a less steep crossing by following the swath for another 600 mtr or so and going around the dune, I took the old way just to see where the track went.

I agree with Bob, have the kids walk up Sir Frederick Range. I drove it but it is steep with loose stones, and would be a buggar if you didn't make and had to back down.

I strongly suggest that you carry a PLB (EPIRB). I do not think a Sat phone is necessary.

Pete Toyota 80 series 1Hz
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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 15:45

Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 15:45
Couple of blog entries from my trip along there a couple of years ago. Be aware that the hand pump along the track was returning salty and undrinkable water, OK for showers but not for drinking. If you go that way, perhaps you could update us on the quality of the water there.

SBJT - Sir Frederick Range and southern end

SBJT - and some mishaps along the way

SBJT - The northern end



''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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