Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

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Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby nig » Sat May 03, 2014 7:59 am

So today we are packing and hitting the road tomorrow.

Plans are to head out through Burke and Tibooburra to Innaminka, up to Coongie Lakes, then via Cordillo Downs road to Birds ville, Boulia, along Plenty Highway, turn off to Arltunga, Ruby Gap, Ross River, Alice Springs, do the Kings Canyon/Ularu loop, Chamber's Pillar, Oodnadatta Track, top end of Flinders Ranges then head back towards civilisation, pick up the dog and head to Nana Glen for JLW14.

That's the plan anyway, a lot depends on weather, road conditions and mood. Will check in with updates and pictures when Internet connectivity permits.
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby beaujest4 » Sat May 03, 2014 8:56 am

Sounds good Nig, take care and have fun.

We do expect a comprehensive trip report with photos when Internet connectivity permits and an in depth report at JLW
Cheers Al

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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby Taziiy » Sat May 03, 2014 2:17 pm

sounds like agreat big trip

would love to do travelling like that one day
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby rat patrol » Wed May 07, 2014 5:39 am

Looking forward to seeing some nice pics you pair and a report when you can :thumbsup:
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby nig » Sat May 10, 2014 4:42 pm

Now that we are in the land of Internet connectivity (Birdsville) after several days in the wilderness, thought it about time to send an update.

So we left home as per plans on 4/5 and headed towards Dubbo. Stayed in Goobang National Park - nice campground, every bit as good as when we stayed there a couple of years ago. Next day, after a short stop in Narromine to top up supplies, and fix our first breakage of the trip (a blown cigarette lighter plug on the camp lights) we droned on up the road towards Bourke, a pretty monotonous road.

Got to Bourke, an as expected it looked a bit like a war zone, with bars on windows and doors and an general hostile aura. We stayed at the caravan park at North Bourke, which was a different world to the main town on the south of the river

So after a good night's sleep an a nice hot shower we headed off intending to go to Tibooburra. Wrong, the road was closed - looks like it got washed out so they have closed it for repairs. A quick adjustment to our plans and we headed for Hungerford. It was a good gravel road, hardly surprising as about the only traffic we saw was graders, stopped counting after the fourth one. From Hungerford we continued on to Thargominda and kept going to spend the night at Noccundra Lagoon. We seem to have lost a bucket today, obviously I did not tie it on well enough

Wednesday we continued on to Innamincka, re fueled and replenished our  fly spray  (files  are bit of an issue) and then found a nice shady campsite on Coopers Creek at Cullyamurra waterhole.

Next day we went back through Innamincka and headed out to Coongie Lakes. This is a beautiful spot and we'll worth the side trip. It is about a 2 hour run from Innamincka so you could do it as a day trip, but we spent the night and we're rewarded by a colorful sunset.

Next morning was warm and the flies were up early so it was not really very pleasant outdoors, so we packed up and drove all day. Back to Innaminka to top up with fuel, and then on up the Cordillo Downs road. Just out of Innamincka we hit a bull - dust hole that through everything up in the air, I clearly saw the top of the trailer in the mirror. A couple of kilometers down the road we pulled over for a cuppa, and worker from one of the gas fields pulled in behind us - "have you guys lost a Jerry can of water? Just found one in middle of the road". Sure enough, the can holder on the trailer was empty. So the guy hands it over, waves and does a u-turn and heads back to town. We kind of wondered how far he would have chased us if we had  not stopped?

Anyway as I said, flies were nasty so apart from quick food/drink/photo stops, we just kept driving through some spectacular countryside, and other really flat barren looking expanses. Stopped and had a look a the Cordillo Downs shearing shed ruins, it was the largest in the country with 120 stands, but it has not seen sheep since the 1940s.

So we kept driving, and checked into Birdsville Caravan Park just as it was getting dark and the flies were turning in for the night. Today we did a bit of maintenance, the rocky roads have left their mark, had lunch at the pub and a generally relaxed day. Tomorrow we head up to Boulia, and the day after head off along the Plenty probably back into the internet wilderness
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby beaujest4 » Sat May 10, 2014 7:57 pm

Sounds like a good trip so far. You may have camped with Kenny Koala and never knew it. He was staying at Innamincka for a few days, last we heard.

Might have to check your load after those big bull dust holes by the sound of it though.
Cheers Al

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PpzveeXLO8
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby Taziiy » Sun May 11, 2014 9:30 pm

nice to hear your going good on your trip
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby rat patrol » Fri May 16, 2014 5:30 am

How's it going out the you pair hope all is well and you are having a great time. :thumbsup:
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby nig » Fri May 16, 2014 9:51 am

Am in Alice Springs and have some Internet, so here are a couple of updates:

14/5/14

My last update had us leaving Birdsville on the Sunday morning (mother's day) , which came off as planned after breakfast at the Birdsville Bakery. It is a fairly boring run up to Boulia and apart from a couple of stops to stretch legs/have a cuppa, was pretty uneventful apart from picking up a fresh cracked in my windscreen courtesy of a passing toy - mover on the back of an F250. Got to Boulia in time to set up and have a late lunch and a relaxing afternoon - the flies were even reasonably well behaved.

Next day we topped up with fuel and supplies and headed west on the Donahue Highway, which becomes the Plenty Highway at the NT border. I had been apprehensive about this bit of road as the road condition reports had it as being a bit rough. I need not have worried, the local council had decided to grade the road to encourage bikes going to Ulysses Club AGM in Alice Springs to travel through Boulia. So apart from trashing a tyre on the trailer it was a pretty quick run to Tobermorey just over the border - had thought this was as far as we would get in a day, but once we had lunch under a tree at the station decided to push on to Jervoir, a couple of hundred ks further along the Plenty. This bit of road was quite variable with long good stretches interspersed with corrugations and rutted bull - dust. It was hard and noisy driving, however we pulled into Jervoir Station at about 4:30 dusty and tired, to find ourselves camping with 8 motorcyclists and the F250/toy-mover that had passed us yesterday. They had a pretty exiteing day, with one of them having a hard fall and spending the rest of the trip in the F250 with his bike in the trailer. Anyway, they were a bit too tired to carry on late and the campground was pretty quiet from about 10:00 until a road train load of cattle groaned and rattled it's way past at 2:00 to park up behind the homestead for a kip.

Today we got going at about 9:00, we let the bikes go ahead so we did not have to worry about them passing us in the dust, unfortunately the road train also escaped about 10 minutes before we were ready to roll, so we did not hurry and once we were moving just kept his dust cloud about a kilometer or so ahead up us until he stopped to check his tyres after an hour, so pulled past him, had a quick chat with the driver (a young guy in his mid 20th, quite a surprise as most the drivers we have encountered of late have been more like our age) and got on our way. This part of the trip was through some beautiful country, dead flat between weathered ranges of hills, with white - trunked gum trees topped by bright green foliage. Saw quite a few huge termite mounds. Anyway, only a short drive today, we got to The Gemtree about lunch time, set up camp and had lunch at the shop here and then caught up on a bit of laundry and lazing around in the heat of the day. Temps are in the high 20th, and the humidity is pretty low so conditions are really nice, and the flyproblem is not as bad as it was around Innamincka and Birdsville
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby nig » Fri May 16, 2014 9:53 am

15/5/14
So tonight we are at Ross River, about 70 ks east of Alice Springs and as we are heading back Alice tomorrow, am hoping this will get sent when we are in the land of Internet connectivity.

Alice Springs is really a nice place, all the people we dealt with there were good, the only blot was some rather raucous indigenous individuals around the park next to the river, otherwise a nice bunch. The town is full of motorcyclists at the moment for the Ulysses Club AGM, they are expecting around 1,000 bikes in town for the event so it is pretty big, and everywhere you go you see heaps of bikes. We got the trailer spare tyre sorted out and as luck would have it a young guy who runs his own steel fabrication business was in the tyre place while we were there, so he took our broken spare wheel mount away and rebuilt it for a pretty good price, so all up we got most of our issues sorted out there and left in a good frame of mind with the pantry replenished as well an headed out here to Ross River.

Ross River is in a great spot in the East McDonald Ranges, nice campground in some spectacular terrain. Additional spice was lobbing into the campground during an indigenous women's seminar. There was about 50 women from all age groups and from remote communities gathered here, plus organizers  and a few blokes to do the packing driving etc. They had 9 brightly coloured Toyota Troopies plus a Coaster bus and several trailers, and we all sleeping out under the stars under swags or group tarps.It was a delightful atmosphere with them singing around their campfires as it got dark last night. They all packed up and left this morning, and that was an entertaining bit of theatre while we had our breakfast.

Today we left the camper at Ross River and went up into the hills to check out the Arltunga historical reserve, site of NT's first town as a result of a gold rush, and then on up to Ruby Gap which involved a bit serious aired down low range 4WD to get to the site of NT's first ruby rush. The fact that the rubys were actually garnets did not stop the miners coming, and then they all moved on to gold at Arltunga. Anyway a beautiful spot, really spectacular gorges and creeks, the road mostly followed creek beds and the 44 ks out took about 2 hours.

Tomorrow the plan is to head back to Alice Springs, get fuel and a couple of other bits and pieces, do a bit of Interneting and get some emails off and then head south to Chambers Pillar
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby beaujest4 » Fri May 16, 2014 11:11 am

Sounds good Nig, waiting for the photos
Cheers Al

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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby nig » Mon May 19, 2014 3:29 pm

So since the last update, last Friday, we attended to a few things in Alice Springs, and then headed South down the Old South Road bound for Chambers Pillar. The road follows the old Gran railway track, which of course is becoming a race track for Finke desert race in a few weeks. The course preparation looked fairly complete with markings up all along the track, but the best part for us was they had graded the road, so a nice smooth run for about 100ks up until we turned off for Chambers Pillar. The road from the turnoff to Maryvale Station was not too bad, but the last 43 ks from there on was pretty horrible, with corrugations, washouts sand and rocks - took about an hour and a half. The Pillar is in a very remote spot, and even though there were 2 other vehicles there they were camped far enough away that we did not notice them, loverly and quiet. Unfortunately it was also overcast so we did not get any of the traditional sunrise/sunset photo affects. Still, it was pretty impressive, and the view to the south went for miles.

Next day it was still overcast, so we packed early and headed back. I had dropped the tyre pressure a bit more before the return trip and it made the going a bit easier, it did not seem so far this time. We knew when we were getting close to the main road as we saw the dust trails of bikes practicing on the Finke racetrack. We did not stay with the Old South Road for long though, taking a short cut to the Sturt Highway via the Hugh River Stock route, another well maintained gravel road, and then turned south and droned down the highway to Desert Oaks Resort, where we had a break for lunch and then we headed west toward Ularu. Stopped at Mt. Ebenezer roadhouse for fuel, which was a surprise as the maps all had the place closed - it opened under new owners a bit over a month ago, and is the cheapest fuel along the road ($2.00/litre). We continued westward and set up camp at Curtin Springs, a camp ground next to the roadhouse that was pretty basic but OK and only about an hour from Ularu, we stayed here 2 nights and did Ularu/Kata Tjuta (or for us old foggys, Ayers Rock/Olgas) as a day trip.

The Rock was predictably impressive, as was the $25 per head to visit. We did the walk to the rock pool on the southwest side, drove the lap and took heaps of pictures like good tourists, and then headed for the Olga. They don't look far away, but it is quiet a drive to get there - once again pretty impressive but as it was the middle of the day we did not walk far, the heat coming back of the rocks was getting a bit much. We checked out the souvenir shops, and we're a bit disappointed to see everything seemed to be made in China, or had a price tag over the place of origin, so we left them for the Asian tourists. Back at camp we did a bit of laundry, and then treated ourselves to diner out at the Curtin Springs restaurant, which was an open sided bough shelter, very nice.

Today we did another early pack and headed round to King Creek, only about 175ks. After setting up camp here, we went and did the half hour helicopter trip out over Kings Canyon - a real indulgence, but a great experience as neither of us had been up in one before
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby nig » Mon May 19, 2014 3:33 pm

beaujest4 wrote:Sounds good Nig, waiting for the photos

A bit difficult with some of the sporadic connections we are getting, will put them all up on photobucket when we get back and post them up.
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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby beaujest4 » Tue May 20, 2014 11:29 am

:thumbsup:
Cheers Al

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Re: Nig's 2014 'Big Trip'

Postby nig » Wed May 21, 2014 9:50 am

A quick update while we are passing through Alice, topping up supplies

Did the Mereenie loop round from Kings Canyon to Namatjira Drive yesterday, did several gorge walks and enjoyed some spectacular scenery. Camped overnight at a place called Serpentine Chalet Dam, didn't see an chalets or dams, Bush camped next to a dry creek with no one else around, a clear night with no cloud and thousands of stars. Today we are heading south, and hope to be on the Oodnadatta Track sometime tomorrow, will report back in as connectivity permits.
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