Corner Country in Subaru Outback

Submitted: Monday, Jan 19, 2004 at 23:52
ThreadID: 9876 Views:3756 Replies:10 FollowUps:4
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(My first post!)

Looking at tackling Arkaroola to Cameron Corner, possibly via Innamincka, then to Tibooburra and Broken Hill next week in my '99 Subaru Outback (manual trans). Have done some limited gravel and earth roading in the Outback, but would like some advice on:

1. Tyres. I have road tyres (Pirrelli 6000) on the Outback. I'm very aware these aren't for off-roading, but will they be adequate for the roads I am considering?

2. Tyres again. I have read in many places that 2 spare tyres should be considered as essential. I've always been curious about the rationale for this - is it likely that 2 tyres can be damaged in a single incident due to the terrain, or is this more a simple case of "being prepared"?

3. Bore Track south from Innamincka to Bollards Lagoon. Is this wise considering my vehicle? I'm aware of the $10 fee, and will contact the station before I undertake the journey for advice.

4. Moomba Viewing Area on the new Strezlecki Track - is it worth the extra distance?

5. Weather/road conditions at the moment. I'm aware of the floods further north and some isolated thunderstorms around Moomba recently - are these any cause for concern?

All responses will be gratefully appreciated.
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Reply By: John - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 01:14

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 01:14
Hi HSpirit
Having just been to a lot of this area I will state that if you do not have two spares and very good off road tyres do not try it the roads are very tough on good 4wd tyres like BFG All Terrains so they will murder your road tyres.

All creek beds in the northern Flinders and in the Streszleki Track area were dry when I was there 2 weeks ago but you should check SA roads reports for current status the floods up north will be moving south through the channel country and Cooper Basin area so conditions will change quickly.

Even if it does not rain consider that it is currently the hottest period of the year I had Temps of 55 degress in Innaminka I carried 100 litres of water and a sat phone as we saw little traffic for many many hours (Read 100's of KM) at a time if you break down you will probably be waiting for a long time for anyone else to come along.

Moomba Viewing is a case of do you like refineries as this is what you are looking at from about 2km, I found it interesting but thats me.

I would consider this trip very carefully in your vehicle, I have not done Bollards others will no doubt provide you with better answers than I can on this aspect.
Be bloody carefull and think about this.

AnswerID: 43613

Reply By: Lech - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 03:38

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 03:38
going down Strzelecky Track a month ago from Strzelecky Crossing to Lyndhurst I met 4 rods trains so I think it is quite a bussy road.
I fully agree with John as to temperatures. 50 is really a deadly temperature and is not uncommon around Innamincka in January.

I drove Bore Track a couple of years ago. Upper part of the track is to certain extent similar to French Fine - sand dunes up and down so 4wd, sufficient high clearance, some recovery gear and some knowledge of 4WD driving are necessary.


AnswerID: 43620

Reply By: Member - Des Lexik(SA) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 10:31

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 10:31
Hspirit, We travelled in that area a couple of years ago(in a conventional 4WD) and came across a chap going out to Coongie Lakes in a Forrester towing a camper trailer. I think you would be OK in the Outback(We also have one although the Exec. Officer won't let me take it out bush) The tyre issue will be a main concern as well as your arrival and departure angles on the subie. They are the angle from the point where the tyre meets the road to the lowest part of the front and rear overhang of the body. The serious subie drivers fit a lift kit to help this problem. The Outback's angles are very poor. I'd wait until the cooler months before I ventured into that area.
The Outback allwheel drive is a very capable vehicle on the dirt and will not let you down. You will have to be more wary of approaching and leaving creeks, sand dunes and in the sand, your wheel tracks may not match those created by vehicles in front of you which will make the going harder for you.
I would recommend that you travel in the company of at least 1 other vehicle especially if it's your first trip into the out back.
Take your time and enjoy the trip. Dare to Lead not to Follow
AnswerID: 43640

Reply By: MJS - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 10:38

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 10:38
I am leaving on the 30th of Jan to do the simpson and then back down to flinders via Akaroola, BE CAREFULL we've had months of preperation to do this trip in the summer, and my verhicle is made for this type of work.
You will need 2 spares, tyre repair eqiupment and some recovery gear, not to mention all the supplies you must carry to cope with the climate extremes if the worst was to happen. Taking this into consideration in 1993 i did the Oondnadatta track in flood, when we got to curdimurka we found a Datsun Sunny and a Falcon ute stranded, we helped these guys all the way to Alice Springs ( we towed them a real lot!!! ), so you might meet up with someone that may provide help if required.
Please have fun and take every precaution, you never know we may meet up out their!!!

All the best, How Far? Lets Go!!!
AnswerID: 43642

Follow Up By: landie - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 12:25

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 12:25

I'm curious as to your timing for a Simpson crossing. Not knocking it, but is there a particular reason for choosing this time? I've been across twice in the last 18 months, love it, but it has been in the cooler months.

FollowupID: 305886

Follow Up By: Ruth - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 18:26

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 18:26
Gee I'm a bit curious as to why you chose this time to do the Desert. Right now at 5:43 p.m. it is 45 degrees in Birdsville itself. You need to check with the Birdsville Police because I think you will find the Desert is closed. There has already been a few rescues over the Summer.
FollowupID: 305934

Reply By: Arkay - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 13:53

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 13:53
Had an auto Forrester. Now have a bigger 4WD with low range. I believe if you look at the following you should be O.K. in the Subaru Outback.
Forget Arkaroola to the Strzelecki Track (Mt. Hopeless) via Moolawtana. This section is hell on ALL tyres as stated by others above. Go to Arkaroola another time (don't expect to do the Echo Camp Back Track in the Subaru). Forget the Bore Track (too Outbacky for the Outback). Do go up the Strzelecki Track via Lyndhurst to Innamincka (slow down & move over for the big trucks). Look around the NPWLS station (old Nursing Station) rebuilt by Australian Geographic, and the DifgTree, Burkes Grave, Cullyamura Waterhole, etc. Retrace down the Strzelecki to Merty Merty and then to Cameron Corner via Bollards Lagoon (Bollards has accomodation, or did). Then Tibooburra to Broken Hill and home. Take 2 spare tyres due odd size & replacements unlikely to be available out there. Yeah, sure, AT tyres would be best, but there is nothing very rocky on the route outlined above, and road tyres may be better in soft sand Merty Merty to Sturt National Park. What people have said about company, water & the right time of year is absolutely correct. If it RAINS, expect about 3 days to dry out enough to proceed further. Carry (at least) a 5 watt output UHF CB radio. Think about EPIRB for this and other later trips. You'll have a ball! The author will not be held responsible for any....etc.
AnswerID: 43667

Follow Up By: HSpirit - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 15:33

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 15:33
The Outback is a dual range manual, but I do appreciate your advice, particularly regarding the Balcanoona-Moolawtana route, which I had no idea was so bad. Will certainly avoid that route and take the longer route via Copley and Lyndhurst instead.

Given all considerations (including weather!) I will put off Moomba and Innamincka to a later, cooler time. By the sounds of it the Lyndhurst - Merty Merty - Cameron Corner - Tibooburra route sounds like the best balance between adventure, comfort and safety.

Thanks again to all for their opinions and advice, it has been very helpful :)
FollowupID: 305907

Reply By: Member -Bob & Lex (Sydney) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 19:05

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 19:05
1 other thing let your tyre pressures down to about 25psi so tyres will mould around rocks, less chance off a flat & take it easy. Have a good time.Regards Bob
Where to next
AnswerID: 43712

Reply By: Member - Royce- Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 22:43

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 22:43
In 1996 or was it 97........... my wife and two teenage kids crossed the Tanami and up the Buchanan Hwy with a 1984 Subie towing and off road trailer loaded down with all the recovery gear we could carry and bikes and canoes..... We did it just fine! We DID however get two flats within 10 minutes! One on the trailer [cruiser wheels] and one on the old Sube. We carried two spares for the Subie but not for the trailer... so sweated it for the next 400ks.

Have fun. Royce
AnswerID: 43745

Reply By: Member - Frank - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:09

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:09
These boys above have covered it, but they take for granted that everyone can actualy change a tyre, my only advice is if you can not, learn you will feel a lot more confident.

I lived most of my life in this area and I tell you now if you dont like the heat do not go in the summer it will spoil a great experience as this is some of the best country in australiaCBS
Cant Bl**dy Sitstill
AnswerID: 43753

Reply By: Member - Ken - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:13

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2004 at 23:13
Evening HS

I have done the Bore Track twice (Both Ways). The last trip was South to North in Jul 03.

I drive a tricked up Troopy, however have been driving in similar conditions in the WA goldfields since I was kid 50yrs ago.

The dirt roads you are talking about, we used to drive FJ,FE & FB holdens on and through in 50's & 60's with the odd hiccup or two and never thought twice about it because we always drove to the conditions of the day.

Dry - Magic

Wet - and you are in deep doody old son.

Anyway, I had a bunch of people in Camerons Cnr hear me asking whether or not the Bore Track was open and the owner said yes.

They all wanted to know what & where it was.

Long story cut short - I ended up leading them up the bore track to Innaminka and one of them was a little Suzuki straight out of the shop. Never missed a beat or looked in need of a recovery.

The moral of this story is, drive to the conditions of the day, taking your time and being aware and careful, and your vehicle will go amazing places.

The track is adequately signed, but you have to look for the signs in some places. They are tiny little 'mothers'.

Also the Bollards Lagoon Station owners advice on the track condition is the 'god' you obey. Thats why you pay the $10.00.

Regards and have a nice trip

Ken Robinson
AnswerID: 43754

Reply By: Rob - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 06:05

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 06:05
Arkaroola is tough on tyres - and there can be great bloody boulders on the track if there has been any rain or its a while since they maintained them. Ive done both rear tyres within 5 minutes of one another (Troopy running Desert Duelers) only had one spare and had to limp back with a PK screw blocking the leak.
Lower the tyre pressures for rocks...but not enough to get the side walls damaged.
Look at the tyres on the Station/Nat Parks vehicles up that way and you will find they are all skinny ones and they are all badly cut up. The scenery is fantastic if your careful.
AnswerID: 45133

Follow Up By: HSpirit - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 10:40

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 10:40
Thanks Rob (and everyone) for the responses. In the end we only went as far as Arkaroola. Took a rather torturous track up to Paralana Hot Springs, and a slightly less torturous track to Lake Frome - both of my accounts are in a response to the 'Gammon Ranges' trek on this site.

Dropped the tyre pressures to 32 psi and that saw us through - probably could have dropped them down to 30 psi - but we had two spares with us anyway. The main roads around the Gammon Ranges are fine, but the side tracks are certainly very slow going in parts.
FollowupID: 307256

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