David Carnegie Road - Feedback on the DCR - Updated July 2009.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 00:00


May 2007 - Traversed South to North
July 2009 - Updated - North to south

We approached the DCR from the south turning onto the track from the Great Central Road (GCR) 15 km west of the Tjukayirla Road House. (Can highly recommend the burgers at the road-house if you’re looking for a snappy lunch after a couple of weeks in the bush). Trip concluded over two days 29th and 30th May, 2007

The track north to Empress Spring is still in excellent condition with little wear and tear evident. The undergrowth and shrubs are encroaching onto the track in some places. We spent some time clearing fallen and camel chewed bushes from the track (please take the time to drag them off rather than drive around them. It maintains the integrity and condition of the track and only adds half an hour to your total trip). Plenty of camels about and numerous bustards and dingos.

Found the Exploroz trek note mileage to be out by 7-8 km on the northbound trip so make sure you check the distance between the GCR and Empress Spring for calibration purposes.

Once past the Empress Spring the road condition deteriorates somewhat but is still easily negotiated. Road reaches it’s worst conditions towards its northern end with some deep washaways. At about the 220 km mark, there were a lot of water filled claypans that had to be skirted. The largest was over 100 metres across at the 224.7 km (S 25.32.571 E 124.11.855). A very enjoyable drive with plenty of wildlife and birdlife to be seen. Some great campsites of which a few are listed below. All distances are in kilometres commencing from the Tjukayirla Road House.

July 2009

Heading south on the familiar DCR in early July this year, I was gobsmacked by the numbers of camels on the plains within the first 20 kilometres. We saw close to a hundred in no time. The largest mob was 17 animals with many a group of 7 to 10 individuals. We also spotted a fleet footed dingo darting off the track into the scrub at our approach. The claypan area that was inundated on my last trip north in 2007 was dry this time revealing one of the reasons for the large numbers of camels. In the middle of the largest claypan, a scrape had been dug, no doubt left over from a time when the area was a cattle station. It still contained 10 cm or so of rancid water that no doubt tasted good to a camel.

The track was in excellent condition. When I say excellent, you have to remember that that is comparitively speaking. Although often just two well defined wheel tracks, it was largly uncorrugated and a good run. The odd obstacle and washed out section, particularly about the many stoney rises just needed a bit more caution and time to negotiate. Thank god this remains a well kept secret as an alternate route to the horrendously corrugated Gunbarrel. After the initial plains, the landscapes vary from sandy plains and spinifex to acacia woodlands and every now and then, eucalypt glades that offer an excellent place to camp.

Amazingly, one of the stoney rises topped out at over 555 metres giving fantastic views to the south and south east before dropping off. The following 10m km saw us drop down to below 400 metres again into an unsensed depression of massive proportions. Passing the small scenic claypan I had noted in 2007 as a possible campsite, I decided that it would make an excellent place for lunch so we headed carefully to the far end and had a quick bite in the shade of one of the mulga. While the sun had a bit of bite, it remained cool in the shadows, the hot weather seeming to be fading like an old memory now that we’ve slid under the tropic of capricorn. Lunch location to Empress Spring was only 40 odd km and we arrived about 2.00 p.m. Some wag had set up a mulga mail box with one side roughly cut flat and “RMB 1” painted thereon. You do need a sense of humour out here.

70 km south from Empress spring to the Great Central Road is a bloody super highway. Smooth and recently graded.

1. Large claypan 150 metres to the eastern side of DCR.Great camp with
plenty of dead timber about. Western end of claypan has a soak so
camping well to the east affords good opportunity to watch wildlife arriving
at sunset. 85km S 26.35.371 E 124.13.494
2. Picturesque small claypan on eastern side surrounded by Mulga woodland.
Great campsite. S 26 31.676 E 124.14.415
3. Grove of acacia and gums. Possible water affording good camp site. 124.3
km S 26.24.293 E 124.14.036
4. Eucalypt woodland providing plenty of timber and many great spots to set
up camp 125 to 127.8 km S 26.22.530 E 124.13.780 (northern end)
5. At 145km track becomes very soft with shallow wash-aways
6. Track becomes quite rocky around 180 km culminating in a rocky rise at
S 25.87.168 E 124.20.616
7. Finished at 242.8 km at intersection with Gunbarrel Highway.

''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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