A fine trip

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 at 02:41
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We have just returned from a great trip to Cameron Corner, Innamincka and the Flinders Rangers.

A great alternative route to Tibooburra from Broken Hill is to folow the border track. This begins (or ends) at Silverton north west of Broken Hill and vaguly folows the South Oz NSW border. The road actualy runs right next to the dog fence, which is the State boundry for about 40km and its a great spot to inspect the fence. A service track runs along the fence which is used by the border maintenance team. Its an ofence to drive on this track but people do. Penalties aply.

The border track is an unconsolidated dirt road which runs through pastoral properties. It is free of corrugations but there are numerous washaways crossing the track. I particularly enjoyed driving through the Mundi Mundi plains just north of Silverton. To the east lie the low hills of the Barrier Range and to the west the plains which stretch to the horizon. At the time we were there the plains looked like a manicured lawn. I would recomend this road to any BT owner looking to drive to Tibooburra from Broken Hill (or the other way) There are any number of spots to camp. We got "caught" camping on Winnathee station by the property manager who promptly invited us to visit the homestead in the morning. We did and met the family. We gave them some latest release DVD's including Shrek 11 much to the delight of their 9 year old son. They shop every two months and its a 500 + km round trip.

At Milparinka we were told by the locals to pump our tyre up to reduce the risk of stone damage. Elsewhere we were told to deflate tyres. Milparinka is a good spot to look around. It was here that the Sturt expedition of 1844 was stuck for 6 months unable to move due to drought.

We drove to Cameron corner from Tibooburra via the Gorge Loop road and the Jump up Loop road to Olive Downs homestrad. The jump ups are similar to the Breakaways near Coober Pedy. From Olive Downs we folowed the Middle Road to Fort Grey. The Middle Road is demed to be a four wheel drive road but it was much the same as all the other roads in Sturt National Park. The road from Fort Grey more or less folows the Qld border dog fence. Even though the country through the park was beautifuly green we hardly saw any wildlife. Even the big red roos were scarce. One rain storm doesnt brake a drought. Camping in the National Park is only alowed in prescribed areas and a self registration system aplies. A notice at the Fort Grey camp claimed only 12% of campers pay.

Cameron Corner now has a store but it seems out of place so we didnt stay long. We drove to Innamincka via the Bore Field track through Bollards Laggon homestead. A $10 fee aplies payable at the homestead. The road runs right through the dry but soft Bollard Laggon. There are heaps of excelent looking side tracks which criss cross the main road on the northern part of the main road which lead to oil/gas instalations. To reach Innamincka folow the little Bore Field signs, easy realy but we mised one and ended up in a tangle of sand ridges which reqired 4 WD to get out.

Innamincka was busy. Resuplying here is very expensive. And its expensive to camp at the popular spots. Its $5 to camp on the comon which is close to town. There is a shower block in town and a couple of dollars buys a few minutes of hot water. A $11 fee aplies to visit the Bourke and Will dig tree. This includes the camping fee. We visited Coongie Lakes and a $20 a day desert pass aplies here. There is an excelent short cut to Birdsville from Innamincka via Walkers Crossing. I dont know if its suitable for caravans as we didnt go there but those who did said it is a great scenic drive.

From Innamincka we drove down the old Strzelecki track to the Flinders Ranges. Both old and new tracks are in great condition. The new is like a free way.

We left the Strzelecki at Moolawatana and headed for Arkaroola. The road deteriorated as we aproached the ranges.There were sections of corrugations and lots of nasty washaways. These were much worse than those along the border track and were a real pain because we had to cross them at a slow speed or risk becoming air borne. It may be necesary to remove WDH along here (we dont tow)

Arkaroola is interesting. We had some great walks here. There are some rough drives here too but we prefered the walks.

The drive to Wilpena via Blinman was magical. The country changed from red cragy peaks to beautiful green hills and the roadside was awash with wild flowers. Mt Chambers gorge is a great place to bush camp (free) on the way to Blinman.

The drive through Brachina gorge was superb (do it in both directions ) There are small alocated camping spots along here as well as casual spots along the river. Some riverside campers were flooded in the deluge which dumped on the Flinders while we were there. Bunyaroo gorge is interesting too. The road through the gorge is actualy the river bed. All of the roads in the area are designated as 2 WD and there were more cars than 4 WD here. Some of the roads are very steep and the curves qite sharp. The walks around the gorges are easy with super views.

We saw no caravans in the gorges.

Wilpena was busy as school holidays were in full swing. There are great walks here of varying degres of dificulty. We tried the shorter but steeper St Marys peak walk. We got within 1.8km from the top but got caught in the downpour. Earlier we caught a glimpse of the sumit in swirling mist.It looked formidable and Rita was aprehensive. When it rained it became dangerously slipery. The trail became a watercourse. Rita who is better insulated than me coped with the cold well. I am skiny and sufered from mild hypothermia. My hands became totaly useles.

Remakably the major dirt roads in the area remained open and we were able to drive and camp at Dingly Dell in pouring rain.

I was surprised to see so few caravans on this trip. We saw the Trakmaster caravan rally somewhere on the beter roads in the Flinders. There were 7 vans of diferent sizes in convoy. The lead and sweeper vehicles were Ford F250's with Trakmaster slideon campers on the back. ( a good signal to send to Trakmaster caravan owners). The only BT we saw was parked at the Broken Hill caravan park.

It was interesting to note the diferent styles of camping. The most popular was tenting folowed by camper trailers of all descriptions. There were a few wind up types as well. The most popular vehicle was Nissan's 3.0L turbo diesel. They were everywhere. Very few people were traveling solo (as we do) but were in groups. They also tended to stay in their groups and not mingle with others.

We only stayed in one caravan park (at Arkaroola yuk) and did not conect to mains power for our whole 4 weeks away. We camped in National Park camp grounds or bush camped.

I would recomend this trip to any BT owner.


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Reply By: Flipp'n Lorry - Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 at 05:05

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 at 05:05
This is a fantastic posting - you have taken a lot of trouble to re-create your adventures in a way that any of us could easily follow your directions and enjoy the experience.

Thank you so much,

AnswerID: 565153

Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 at 09:38

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 at 09:38
Great to know the places you can take a BT. Looking at the map, we can't be sure. Did you have to leave then van behind on any of this trip?

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AnswerID: 565154

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 at 23:11

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004 at 23:11
Hi Motherhen

We dont tow these days but there was nothing that would hurt a BT on the entire trip. It would be best to leave the van at a camp and drive through Brachina and Bunyeroo gorges. Just easier and less stressful. Everyone drives through the gorges solo. The van park at Wilpena was qite full. You could leave the van at Dingley Dell. Its nice and flat but space is limited.

To explore the Gammon Ranges NP you can leave the van at the caravan park at Arkaroola ($15/night unpowered) or bush camp on the river. We stayed at the cara park as the bush camp sites were full (school hols) There are good camps at Weetootla Gorge and Grindells hut south of Arkaroola.

AnswerID: 565155

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