Road and track conditions

Saturday 8th June 2019 (updated monthly, or when track conditions change).

If there has been rain in the area please check for temporary road closures on the SA website  http://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/OutbackRoads 
and the NT website 
http://www.ntlis.nt.gov.au/roadreport/obstructions-byregion.jsp 



            
  THE EYRE CREEK BYPASS IS OPEN AND THE WATER IS A COMFORTABLE DEPTH AT THE FORD. THE MAIN CROSSING IS STILL A LONG WAY FROM BEING OPEN.


Stephan Purcell of Birdsville police has supplied his latest update which details the route to get across the Eyre Creek.

I have reproduced Stephan's report below. If travelling from West to East look for the detour signs to leave the QAA line to access the bypass.

Update #10 from Birdsville Police regarding the 2019 Flood Event @31/5/2019 for your information.

 

Hello All,

It’s fair to say that the Outback is well and truly open for business and the scenery is amazing.

A big thankyou goes out to all involved who have either worked or provided information in relation to getting the roads opened in a safe and timely manner.

Council Road Reports and State Traffic Reports provide the most up to date information and travellers should continue to refer to these reports when planning their journey out west.

With the expected increase in traffic movement now that roads have re-opened and the increase in tourist coming to upcoming events, can we please continue to remind people that conditions can change without warning and they need to drive to the current conditions.

Many roads require some roadworks to be completed and in some places temporary detours have been made.  Drivers need to concentrate, take breaks, slow down around roadwork sites and ensure they arrive safely at their destinations.

ROAD CONDITIONS @31/5/2019

Birdsville to the North

Roads into Bedourie are OPEN from the North (Road works in progress)  

Bedourie to Windorah OPEN to 4WD High clearance drive with caution.

Bedourie to Birdsville OPEN to all traffic via Lake Machattie By Pass with caution (Approx extra 70klms).

Birdsville to the East

Birdsville to Windorah OPEN to 4WD High Clearance with caution .

Arrabury Road to SA  OPEN

Cordillo Downs Road to SA OPEN from Birdsville Developmental Road to Arrabury Road turnoff.  

Birdsville to the West (Eyre Creek By Pass OPEN @1/6/2019)

The Simpson Desert National Park Road (Birdsville to Big Red) is OPEN. Extreme caution is needed on this road due to washouts, rutting and corrugations as result of recent flooding, please drive to the conditions.   

Access to the Munga-Thirri National Park via the QAA line is OPEN (Big Red heading west) via a bypass at Eyre Creek.

Access to Birdsville from Poeppels Corner via the QAA line is OPEN (Heading East) via a by pass at Eyre Creek

The Eyre Creek is still flowing across the QAA line.  It will be some time before water recedes and the tracks dry out.

A detour/By pass track around Eyre Creek on the QAA line has been checked and where possible signed with detour and directional arrow signs to assist travellers.

The detour/By pass travels north (Approx 30klm each way) from either end of the QAA line and then east/west  (Approx 15klm)   

The detour crosses the Eyre Creek at a previously used crossing point.  The water level at this point is Approx 300mm and the crossing is Approx 50 meters wide the base is stone/Rock based.

Extreme caution is required whenever completing a water crossing.  Ensure that you check before crossing.  It is recommended to travel with other people and have appropriate recovery equipment.

Birdsville to the South

The Birdsville track is OPEN to 4WD vehicles only Strictly no towing with Caution at detours and ponded water.

The Birdsville Inside Track and the Warburton Crossing will remain CLOSED. 

Walkers Crossing is OPEN to 4WD vehicles, drive to track conditions.

Big Red Bash

For those travelling to the Big Red Bash will be happy to know that the event site is currently high and dry.

Barring any further weather events access to Birdsville from all directions will be possible.

Travelling to the area will be simply stunning, so please as well as enjoying the magnificent small towns and wonderful people along the way be sure to take your time and enjoy the once in a lifetime scenery that will be on display.

Cheers

Stephan Pursell

Officer in Charge, Birdsville Police Station, Mount Isa District | Queensland Police Service
Birdsville Police Station 17 MacDonald Street Birdsville QLD 4482 | Australia
ph: +61 7 4744 1666 | M: 0401 999 363 | fax: +61 7 4656 3213  | e:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  | w: www.police.qld.gov.au   






I HAVE POSTED SOME VIDEO OF THE EYRE CREEK ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.

WHEN DRIVING ON FLOODED ROADS, STAY IN THE CENTRE OF THE ROAD UNLESS THERE IS A WELL MARKED AND DRY BYPASS.
THE CENTRE OF THE ROAD IS THE FIRMEST. TRYING TO GET ONTO SEEMINGLY DRY EDGES WILL USUALLY GET YOU INTO TROUBLE.


Information contained in this notice is a general view of what to expect, track conditions change due to weather or deterioration by vehicle numbers.  The Simpson becomes rougher as the year goes on due to vehicles with incorrect tyre pressure and/or towing trailers.

Use UHF repeaters, (duplex) to contact locals ie; Pink Roadhouse ch7 Dup or Mt Dare Hotel Ch 6 (Ch 2 near Dalhousie)  or Ch 40 if close to the hotel, when necessary. Not for vehicle to vehicle communication.  UHF repeater channels are 1-8 and 31-38 and are there for your safety not for chit-chat. Channel 10 UHF is for use in the Simpson Desert to check for oncoming  traffic, choose an unallocated channel for "chit chat".

Really do use caution and reduced tyre pressures will help if it's muddy. Sand pressures are best if it's really wet.  

Drive carefully on all Outback roads even if they have been graded.


NOTE:
Drop your tyre pressure by at least 20% (from highway pressure) for travel on these outback tracks (or reduce pressure until they bulge a little), the risk of tyre damage is greatly reduced, you will have a smoother ride and better traction.  As a guide - below 30psi on the dirt/gravel and below 20psi in the sand. N.B. Keep speeds down on low sand tyre pressures.

Please leave ALL gates as you found them. In a convoy make this is clear to the last vehicle through the gate. Slow down and move over for oncoming traffic or when being overtaken, in the interest of safety and to avoid a broken windscreen.

Trailers that are not purpose built for tough off road conditions are definitely NOT recommended. Leave the 6'x4' garden trailer home and hire a decent one! Check out www.mtdare.com.au vehicle preparation for more tips.  Otherwise be prepared to visit our workshop for repairs.

DRIVING TIP
Slow down in rutted sections (caused by a vehicle’s wheels after rain), this is the cause of many roll overs. Avoid driving at night as animals, sharp corners and road damage are hard to see. Slow down when driving through puddles and creeks, excess speed is of no benefit and can cause water to enter the air intake of the engine resulting a costly repair.



ROAD CONDITIONS


IF THE NT ROAD REPORT DIFFERS FROM OURS PLEASE CALL US FOR CLARIFICATION



KULGERA – FINKE OPEN 4wd


A good run on a well graded road.  Watch out for dips and some washouts at flood ways and creeks. Kulgera had rain but the road is fine.

(2 hr 150 km)



LAMBERT CENTRE OPEN, 4wd only

The 12km drive is slow, a bit sandy and has many washouts; allow at least an hour to return to the Kulgera – Finke rd. There’s a flag pole that looks like it belongs in Canberra and marks the geographical centre of Aus, and a long drop toilet, this should stop the toilet paper confetti from decorating the bush.  This track is not maintained and is passable by 4x4 only.

1 hr, 24 km


ALICE – FINKE (OLD GHAN TRACK) OPEN, 4wd


The Finke Desert race is on this weekend (7-9th June) so avoid it unless you want watch the race.
The sandy sections after Bundooma siding will have some soft sections and there will be corrugations developing.
Slow and undulating whoops along the old road now the “Finke Desert Race Track”, this section is not maintained.
 Beware of washouts along the railway line/road; watch out at creeks and dips.    Beware of oncoming traffic; beware of abandoned cars, severe washouts & rutting. 4x4 is necessary.

Fuel and other supplies are available at Maryvale Station Store.

4 hr, 220 km


ALICE – OLD ANDADO OPEN, 4wd    OPEN. LOOK OUT FOR WASHOUTS.



Now also known as the Binns track. An easy run from the Airport to Alambi Station on a well graded road.  The drive through the Rodinga Range is quite spectacular. This is definitely a worthwhile alternative way to go south (or north) and the Mac Clark reserve is only a short detour to see the Waddy trees, (Australia's rarest tree). Watch out for possible bulldust sections or washouts, high clearance 4x4 recommended. Beware of Bulldust.
Add 1 hr if visiting the Waddy trees.

5 hr, 320 km


OLD ANDADO – MT DARE


  
Molly Clark has passed away, but you are still welcome to have a look around or to camp at Old Andado. The old homestead is like a living museum, so please treat it with respect and leave all items as they were found. Please respect the hard work that Molly has put into preserving a piece of Outback cattle station history for all of us to enjoy.  Look after the place and don't leave any rubbish, there is no rubbish disposal there. If you are interested in caretaking, look at the website.

Please leave a donation in the jar in the kitchen and look at www.oldandado.com.au  for more info and details of the Bash.

Mt Dare is the start of the Old Andado track that is now also known as the Binns track, this is one of the Outback’s picturesque drives through the Finke River flood out and the Binns Track continues past Alice Springs to meander through the Territory and finish at Timber Creek, a great 2 week journey. 

Watch out for cattle. Some track re-alignment has been done allowing more room for larger vehicles and caravans, so ignore the GPS and follow the track.  Beware at cattle yards as the track can be hard to see.  There is extensive bulldust throughout the Finke floodout, take care.  There are many gates, leave them as you find them, this section is not maintained, high clearance 4x4 is essential.
Beware of bulldust.

2 hr, 100 km


FINKE – MT DARE  -OPEN 


Watch out for whoa buoys (raised mounds to deter water from flowing along the track) at Charlotte waters. Slow down for oncoming traffic. There are no services or fuel available for the public at New Crown Station. Watch out for cattle and leave gates as you find them. UHF repeater channel 6 covers this area, use this only to contact the Pub.

  1 1/2 hr, 100 km

Finke is an alcohol free Aboriginal community; there is no campground or toilets and no services for travellers except for the Finke community store which has limited hours.

Mt Dare Hotel has fuel and is licensed, take away alcohol is available, fuel & supplies are also available at Maryvale Stn Store.


MT DARE – DALHOUSIE SPRINGS   -OPEN
4wd

The short cut starting 10 km from Mt Dare has recently been graded and is in great condition. There are no shops or fuel available at Dalhousie Springs; but there are cold showers and two dumps for your rubbish.   Dalhousie Pass or Desert Parks Pass are needed for this area, you can purchase both passes at the Mt Dare Hotel or online. UHF repeater channel 6 & 2 covers some of this area, use this only to contact the Pub.

1 1/2 hr 70 km


FIREWOOD COLLECTION OR WOOD FIRES ARE NO LONGER PERMITTED IN WITJIRA NATIONAL PARK AT ALL.  (This does not include the Simpson Desert Conservation Park or Regional Reserves.)  Camp fires are still permitted at Mt Dare, collect fire wood before entering the Park and arriving at Mt Dare.


MT DARE – HAMILTON Stn – OODNADATTA. 

The graders have been through and most of the track is good with some bypasses in place.

Beware of cattle & on-coming traffic traveling over the Sand hills just south of Hamilton Homestead. Eringa Waterhole is a nice spot for a rest, but please take all your rubbish with you when you leave.  Look after this area as it is a privilege to use it. Watch out for cattle.  This was Kidman's first ever property. No pass needed for this track. UHF repeater channel 6 covers some of this area, use this only to contact the Pub.  



4 hr, 250 km


DALHOUSIE – HAMILTON Stn (via Pedirka ruins)
 
Take care and slowdown in rutted sections as this track is the cause of many roll overs and broken trailers, Dalhousie Pass or a Desert Parks Pass is needed for this area. 4x4 ONLY.  Camping at Pedirka Ruins is prohibited.



2 hr, 85 km



SIMPSON DESERT



PLEASE CONSIDER BEFORE BRINGING A CAMPER TRAILER ACROSS THE DESERT. WE HAVE HAD TO DO A NUMBER OF RECOVERIES OF CARS TOWING TRAILERS WITH CLUTCH, AND SUSPENSION PROBLEMS. THIS CAN BE AN EXPENSIVE EXERCISE.

THE SIMPSON DESERT & CONSERVATION RESERVES ARE CLOSED FOR THE SUMMER. REOPENING ON 15TH MARCH 2019

Dalhousie Springs & the Witjira National Parks are 4wd

Sand flags are now compulsory for 4wd's doing the Simpson Desert crossing.  Flags must be 3.5m from the ground and be mounted from the Bulbar or Bumper at the front of the 4wd, or at least 2m high mounted to the front of a roof rack.  Motorcycles are exempt but must travel with their headlight on.

If salt lakes are wet, stay STRICTLY to the wheel tracks in the centre (I mean it), maintain a steady moderate pace about 15 - 25k/hr and DON"T use excessive speed, it won't help; 2nd low range is fine.  If you become bogged ensure your tyres are reduced (14-16psi is good) and have another vehicle enter behind you and "snatch" you out.  MaxTrax are great if you're on your own.  There are detours to the North around most Salt Lakes if required.  A Desert Parks Pass is needed for the Simpson Desert.


DALHOUSIE SPRINGS – PURNI BORE.

S
till rough in places, with some corrugations and sandy in patches also, use caution.

2 hr, 70 km


ROCKS ROAD – OODNADATTA CLOSED

PERMANENTLY CLOSED don’t use this track at all unless you have permission from the Oodnadatta Police. 8670 7805


FRENCH LINE, PURNI – POEPPEL CORNER, OPEN
 
The French Line is the most demanding track in the Simpson, it has very soft sand and is slow going all the way (15–20 km/h), it has been getting rougher over the years; reduced tyre pressures are essential. 
Scalloping is contributed to mostly by vehicles with incorrect tyre pressure along with towing trailers.Trying to drive the Simpson in 2WD is not being clever, it is damaging the track. Trailers of any kind are NOT recommended on the French Line (use the Rig rd). It’s very important to CHECK YOUR TYRE PRESSURE (15 – 20 psi). This is the most demanding and difficult track in the Simpson.West to East is a bit easier though. DEFINITELY USE 4x4.

16 hr, 195 km


RIG ROAD & K1, PURNI – POEPPEL CORNER, OPEN

This track is the least demanding but has been deteriorating over the years and becoming quite rough; with many sand drifts and with its clay capping slowly breaking up, travel is becoming more difficult.  Care must be taken when cresting sand dunes; this track has corrugations, deep washouts & rutting. Sand dunes between the Knolls track and the K-1 Line are more difficult to cross especially from the west, single vehicle travel or trailers are not recommended in this section.  The K-1 line may be difficult to navigate along as it is seldom used.

16 hr, 399 km


WARBURTON TRACK

THE TRACK IS CLOSED

Call the Mungerannie Hotel for more info 08 8675 8317.


WAA LINE & KNOLLS TRACK, PURNI – POEPPEL CORNER, OPEN

This has the same soft and sandy conditions as the French Line but with smaller dunes and very picturesque after rain. While in this area take a look at the Lone Gum and the Knolls; this is a scenic but fragile part of the Simpson, please stay on the track. USE 4x4.

16 hr, 237 km


QAA LINE, POEPPEL CORNER – BIRDSVILLE, OPEN

Travel is much like the French Line only the sand dunes get bigger and further apart, with the biggest dune being BIG RED, it is very rough and corrugated on the western approaches. There is a detour around this giant dune if you can’t get over it, (don’t kill yourself trying) you can also cross over at Little Red only 2km further south.  Take care at salt lakes as they can be a bit wet; drive in existing wheel tracks only. USE 4x4.

6 ½ hr, 170 km
 

NOTE:
The Simpson Desert is a dangerous place if you are not well prepared. It is recommended to have a Sat-phone or HF radio as well as a UHF, extra water, fuel and supplies, a sand flag is now compulsory.

Towing trailers across the Simpson is strongly discouraged, it's very difficult, it's hard on the vehicle and trailer resulting in frequent bogging.  Exceptional skill and a powerful vehicle with lower tyre pressures are necessary, possibly as low as 14PSI.  Having to dig or be towed out of a bog is a certainty, testing friendships with the burden.  Some people still persist with towing their trailer and the result can be costly if it goes wrong, take this advice and leave the trailer at Birdsville or Mt Dare if you are not very experienced. 

Towing a camper trailer with any dual-cab Ute can have dire consequences resulting a bent, or cracked chassis.


You should allow at least 3-4 full days to cross the Simpson; the desert has no respect for itineraries so plan for the unexpected.  Make sure you have a Desert Parks Pass, a flag that can be seen, at least 2.5 m high above the bull bar and a UHF radio on channel 10.  Sat Phones can be hired from or dropped off at the Mt Dare Hotel and the Birdsville info centre. PLEASE TAKE RUBBISH WITH YOU AND BURN ALL TOILET PAPER, so it doesn’t blow around in the wind. It may be necessary to pick up someone else’s rubbish. You can deposit rubbish in the dumps at the Dalhousie Springs or Birdsville.

Desert tracks are not maintained so take care, conditions can change rapidly, especially when it's windy or when there has been rain. CHECK YOUR TYRE PRESSURE we understand that you have a lot of weight but start at 20 psi in the rear & 18 psi in the front, “hot” and reduce further if you have difficulty, maybe as low as 15psi in some cases.  You have a 4X4 use it, this is a 4WD track, select 4wd.  For advice on how much fuel to take or any other questions about Outback travel just look at the vehicle preparation page, or call, or E-mail Mt Dare Hotel, advice is free, recovery is not.

Go to www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/visitorinformation/latest/index.htm and click on the link for more information about Desert Parks SA. More info about QLD Parks at http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/simpson-desert/about.html

WEATHER

Late Spring days and it is starting to get warmer. Temperature in the high 30's to 40's


EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE THE ACCURACY OF THIS INFORMATION BULLETIN, CONDITIONS CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY SO USE COMMON SENSE AND TAKE CARE. Travel times are only a guide, drive according to the conditions at all times.

This Bulletin is prepared by the Mt Dare Hotel, with information gathered from many sources, including tourist feedback, care and common sense should always be used. Further information is available by contacting MT DARE HOTEL:

Enjoy your trip and have a safe one.


Ph- 08 8670 7835
Web: www.mtdare.com.au
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mail: PMB 267, Alice Springs NT 0872