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Tasgandy Profile
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Date Registered: 02-2011
Location: The Grampians Victoria
TOTAL POSTS: 13
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Grampians to Birdsville and Back


Marree - Birdsville – Windorah – Charleville – Bourke & Back Home
NB: my first trip report - hope I don't bore anyone.

On Monday the 9th June 2014 after making sure I’d loaded everything for my 3 week trip I headed off towards Marree via Renmark and Burra stopping a couple of nights along the way at reasonably priced en-suite cabins in caravan parks. As I decided to stop two nights at Marree (Roadhouse) I took the opportunity to wander/drive around and spend time at places like Mould Springs located along the Oodnadatta Track, Lake Eyre South and Hergott Springs. I’m told by the locals Hergott Springs is the original site of Marree. If you get a chance to have a meal or a “drop of the doings” at the local Marree Pub, over the road from the Roadhouse, introduce yourself to the Guy with the great looking hat, it’s Phil the owner………….a wealth of local information and a nice bloke. Turns out I had met him some 24 years ago when his Rotary club and mine did several weekends at a “driver reviver” road stop…………small world.

My next overnight stop was at the Mungerannie Hotel where I ran into several interesting characters, 2 mining engineers that spend about 9 months of the year out here, an artesian bore mechanic that lives in a caravan van 12 months of the year and a “drinking buddy” that drives a 4x4 truck supplying food etc. to the Camel trekkers tourist groups. As there was a group returning from a long drive crossing the Simpson Desert camped at the side of the Pub the night of song etc. by the fire was a long one.

Now heading off to Birdsville along the “Birdsville Gravel Highway” which was in general in very good condition, dry and nice to drive once one’s tyre pressures had been dropped down to around 24psi (hot) as some of those gibbers are large. Only one vehicle passed me whilst I was boiling the billy however about a dozen or so 4 be’s were heading back from Birdsville to Marree. I was hoping to travel to Birdsville via the “inside track” but the advisory road sign stated “ROAD CLOSED”.

After spending a couple of nights at the Birdsville Hotel (not cheap $140.00 / night but very nice) visiting all the local “must see” sights including Big Red which I did not drive up; not only was I on my own but surprisingly no one else was out there at the time. I have spent many 4x4 hours in Mountain high country NSW/Vic & Tasmania but absolutely no time driving “in sand”, so I admit “I squibbed it”. Coffee and locally baked bread/pies etc. from the well known Birdsville Bakery were consumed along with “outdoor” dining and a BIG fire pit at the Birdsville Pub as this is standard on Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights. $25.00 or $29.00 a head depending upon your choice from the blackboard menu.

After taking some 8 days stop-start touring as one does getting to Birdsville it was time to head off up the track on a bright sunny day heading for Windorah via several “tourist must see” locations including Betoota; with a current population of “Zero”. I also came across “Hotel JC” well what’s left of it. In 1884 the local property and Pub were officially named “Canterbury” as the submitted Township name of “JC” was not accepted by the Post Masters General Department. Check out my pic of the Info board at the old hotel site. Even though they had received a good downpour of rain 3 days before I got there the advisory road sign at Birdsville and advice from the Roadhouse, stated “4 wheel drive only”.

Once I had worked my way through a bit of slush, mud & a couple of small water filled floodways and a lot of dried out red stuff I was happy to see a little bit of the “black stuff” to drive on albeit only very narrow. Here’s where I met my first of many cattle filled road trains taking care to “exit left” well before meeting them on the narrow stuff.

Windorah to Quilpie, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Bourke etc. back home to the Grampians calling in on many “free bed stop” Mates from the old days. I won’t bore anyone with the tourist spots and country Pubs visited however there are some pics I’ve included on Photo-bucket
I must say that I enjoyed myself so much that I’ve already commenced my saving plan to head back out there next July 2015, I think I’ll head up the Oodnadatta Track, it’s a great BIG W I D E country out there.

For those interested: http://s1122.photobucket.com/user/tasgandy/library/WIN7
 
2005 X-Trail Ti 5 speed manual – Yokohama Geolander A/T’s 215/65/16 – 38psi bitumen - 24psi gravel. No punctures, no wildlife hit/kill, dearest unleaded petrol $2.00 per litre at Mungerannie, only $1.81 at Birdsville, just under 5,000 kilometers travelled, 20litres spare fuel, 20 litres water, 2 spare tyres, 160Ltr/hour twin air compressor, satellite phone, GME 80 channel UHF, Garmin 3490LM sat. navigation. 390 photos taken and 6 hours of mostly boring video/audio via Full HD 1920 x 1080 Dash Cam to remind me of a great drive.
 Regards Tas


Last edited by Tasgandy, 15/Jul/2014, 12:52 pm


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2005 Ti L Geolander A/T-S®
12/Jul/2014, 8:09 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 12-2010
Location: Macquarie Fields SYDNEY
TOTAL POSTS: 989
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Re: Grampians to Birdsville and Back


Great report...not boring at all. Great pics and there sure are some wide open spaces out there.

cheers

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Dave Peek
X-1756 (c)
2010 T31 ST-L (S2) CVT Precision Grey.
Tow Bar, bash plates, PEDDERS lift, YOKO GEO AT/S tyres.


13/Jul/2014, 8:03 am Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 05-2009
Location: Pine Rivers
TOTAL POSTS: 15
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Re: Grampians to Birdsville and Back


Fantastic report - Well done. Am looking at heading out towards Birdsville from Brisbane next March/April 2015. After the rain out there did you have much trouble travelling on the road - I noticed that the Xy got a bit dirty at one stage.

Stewy

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Stewy X-1267(c)



2009 T31 ST Petrol Twilight Manual headlight protectors,
bonnet protector, tow pack,kick plates, mats,
rear tray protector, extra rear drawer, Anderson plug
13/Jul/2014, 8:38 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 02-2011
Location: The Grampians Victoria
TOTAL POSTS: 13
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Re: Grampians to Birdsville and Back


Yes Stewy the Xy did get a little "Grubby" truth is it's still a little grubby as it's wet, cold & muddy down here at the moment.
Traveling West from Charleville across to the left hand turn off the "Diamantina Developmental" road to Birdsville is an easy bitumen drive. Heading "left" off down the "Birdsville Developmental" road to Birdsville is where I came across varied gravel road conditions. Areas of the "gibbers", "red stuff" dry and/or wet/slushy, several "flood ways" with water (only about 12 inches deep) as it had rained 3 days prior to me driving from Birdsville to Charleville.

None of the road conditions were an issue to the Xy, Geolander A/T tyre pressures dropped down to 24 psi (hot), average speed around 65kph, I estimate as low as 20kph up to 80kph+ where I came upon the emergency bitumen air strip (there were about 3 of them from memory). I probably hit some water ways a little fast hence the "Grubby" Xy.

Stewy it's a drive worth doing............enjoy. I'm going up there again next year myself. Tas

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2005 Ti L Geolander A/T-S®
14/Jul/2014, 11:52 am Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 07-2013
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
TOTAL POSTS: 66
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Re:


Great report and photos; looks like you had fun. Staying at the Birdsville hotel sounds a bit flash ;-)

I definitely went up big red when I went out there, but I squibbed on going down the other side, because of the thought of not being able to get back and being stuck on the Simpson desert side haha.


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David

Member No: X-3186
2012 Nissan X-Trail ST-L


15/Jul/2014, 5:52 am Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 


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