Owen Springs Reserve

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesStuart Highway & Owen Springs Access Tk
FinishLarapinta Drive & Owen Springs Rd
DifficultyDifficulty 1/5
Suitable for4WD AWD Caravan Camper 
Distance55.48 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed28.41 km/hr
Driving Time1 hr 57 mins
Page Updated: 9 Mar 2010

Description

Travelling around 66kms south west on the Stuart Highway from Alice Springs takes you to the starting point of the trek. It can be done in a minimum of half a day, although a full day is recommended to take in all the sights. The track runs a total of 55 and a half kilometres along a single-dirt track, which is mostly an easy run on a hard surface except on a couple of places of patches of very soft sand where it drops into the Hugh Riverbed. Camper Trailers and Off-Road caravans could be towed along this track. The Owen Springs track ends at the junction of the Larapinta Drive, which is bitumen all the way for the final 50km return to Alice Springs.

There are 2 great areas for bush camping (no facilities), namely at Redbank Waterhole on the Hugh River (a 2km side track), and also within Lawrence Gorge. Redbank Waterhole offers a peaceful rest area amongst the River Red Gums although they only offer limited shade. There is often enough water in the hole during the peak travel season to cool off in and the hole shows signs of having more water after good rains. Further along the track interesting stops are at Haunted Tree Bore and Old Owen Springs Homestead ruins. You could expect to see Red kangaroos and numerous birds including Port Lincoln Parrots and Honeyeaters and flowering corkwood trees.

North of Larapinta Drive there are more camping opportunities at Birthday Gap Waterhole and Reedy Waterhole, which are accessed from the Namatjira Drive. The turnoff however is a hundred metres or so before the Hugh River causeway and is unmarked. Both these places are accessible without fees or permits. For more information on this area in general, see our West MacDonnell Ranges Trek Note.

How to Use this Trek Note

Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places on each POI page.

If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
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  • You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
  • If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
  • If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.

Environment

This trek takes you over plains and through a gorge. The main flora feature is mulga scrub, which is interspersed with corkwood and ironwood trees. Along the river fringes elegant River Red Gums provide shady retreats for wildlife, which include a variety of birds and kangaroos.

History

The first white men to travel through this country were the explorers, John McDouall Stuart, William Kekwick and Benjamin Head. On 11 April 1860, whilst travelling north along the Hugh River they discovered a large water hole. Stuart named this waterhole Owen Springs. One of the results of this discovery led to the Overland Telegraph Line following the Hugh River through Lawrence Gorge in the Waterhouse Range in 1872. In the same year William Gilbert established a cattle run on Owen Springs and built the first station homestead in the Northern Territory. After the death of the last lessee of the Pastoral Lease, the Northern Territory Government acquired the property in the year 2000 and opened it in a limited capacity for free public recreation in 2003.

Preparation

A full tank of fuel is required plus at least 40 litres of water if camping more than one day. There are no facilities at either of the camping areas. Please bury all human waste more than 50 metres from any river bed and burn all paper used. The normal safety and comfort rules apply in this harsh climate and please remember to take your rubbish away with you, keep to designated tracks, all cultural items and wildlife are protected. Open fires are allowed in the designated camping areas but please extinguish them before you leave your camp site so as to minimise the risk of bushfires.

You will only find these tracks detailed on 250K mapsheets, and not on smaller scale map sheets. It is also not currently shown on the Hema GDT NC map, or any other paper maps we hold in stock. We used the SG5301 Henbury map from the Natmap 250K Raster Mapsheets on CD.

Permits

None required

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol Fuel is available at Alice Springs although this town is not represented in this trek note.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 8 litres4cyl 9 litres4cyl 11 litres
6cyl 9 litres6cyl 10 litres6cyl 10 litres
8cyl 9 litres8cyl 9 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Alice Springs Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 47.02km NE
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C36.435.132.628.223.019.819.722.627.230.933.635.4
Mean Min. °C21.520.717.512.68.25.04.06.010.314.817.920.2
Mean Rain mm38.643.832.316.318.913.615.09.28.521.429.136.9
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Supplies are available at Alice Springs although this town is not represented in this trek note.

Map

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What to See

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Where to Stay

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Directions

LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Stuart Highway & Owen Springs Access Tk to Owen Springs Access Tk & Redbank Waterhole Access4.02 kmNW304° 6 min
Owen Springs Access Tk & Redbank Waterhole Access to Redbank Waterhole3.63 kmSW228° 5 min
Redbank Waterhole to Owen Springs Access Tk & Redbank Waterhole Access3.63 kmNE48° 5 min
Owen Springs Access Tk & Redbank Waterhole Access to Owen Springs Access Tk & James Range Bore Access2.47 kmNW311° 5 min
Owen Springs Access Tk & James Range Bore Access to Victory Waterhole13.96 kmNW322° 33 min
Victory Waterhole to Haunted Tree Bore4.76 kmN16 min
Haunted Tree Bore to Lawrence Gorge3.59 kmNE58° 8 min
Lawrence Gorge to Old Owen Springs (Ruins)1.71 kmN19° 5 min
Old Owen Springs (Ruins) to Owen Springs Access Tk & 5 Mile Bore Access0.57 kmNW332° 1 min
Owen Springs Access Tk & 5 Mile Bore Access to Owen Springs Access Tk & Whitepoint Bore Access0.44 kmN353° 1 min
Owen Springs Access Tk & Whitepoint Bore Access to Owen Springs Ranger Station - Emergency Use Only12.16 kmN18° 21 min
Owen Springs Ranger Station - Emergency Use Only to Owen Springs0.72 kmN359° 1 min
Owen Springs to Hugh River, Owen Springs Rd0.25 kmW287°
Hugh River, Owen Springs Rd to Larapinta Drive & Owen Springs Rd3.57 kmNW336° 5 min
Stuart Highway & Owen Springs Access Tk to Larapinta Drive & Owen Springs Rd55.48 km  1 hr 57 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

Related

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Travel Journals

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