Trip 9 – Lasseter’s Hwy & The Great Central Road

From Yulara, the campground at Uluru (Ayers Rock), you drive west, out of the N.T. on the Lasseter Hwy to Tjukaruru Rd on our way to the W.A. border, on what can only be described as a pretty poor dirt road.  If it’s dry and recently graded, as we’ve driven it in the past, it’s not too bad, however, on this trip it had recently rained and there were lots of large muddy puddles, some taking up the entire road, necessitating some snazzy navigating and 4wd’ing to get through. .

For some reason the N.T. guys have simply graded a channel through the desert and sand dunes, so when it rains the road becomes an impromptu river!  We made it through ok though, with only two close’ish calls at getting bogged, and as soon as we hit the N.T./W.A. border the road conditions change into a dirt highway, easily capable of sustaining a 90km+ driving speed, even towing.  The W.A. built road is raised and finished with gravel so while it would still be slippy in the wet, it needs a lot of rain for it to flood and become boggy.  I’ve grabbed some screen shots from our dashcam of the N.T. mud puddles we had to navigate and posted them below.

We refuelled at Warakurna and had intended to camp there for the night, however, there was a funeral taking place for an aboriginal lad killed in an accident in Mt Magnet, and most of the community were in attendance.  Unfortunately, this also meant that the one and only fuel store was also closed out of respect, reopening after they’d received word that the funeral service was complete.  After yelling through the door we managed to get the attention of the shop dude who informed us of the situation, but then said they were allowed to sell fuel only to travellers.  Yay, we could refuel and continue our trip however unleaded was $2.40/ltr!!  We haven’t paid that much for petrol since we drove to Kalumburu in far north W.A.

Our overnight stop from Yulara ended up being at a roadside stop approx. 130kms east of Warakurna, still some 100kms from Warburton.  Nice and quiet, off the road, and we had the place to ourselves, that is until a car load of locals turned up in what must have been a completely unroadworthy, and I suspect unregistered, old commodore station wagon.  They were on their way home to Warburton after attending the funeral and popped into the roadside stop to see if there were any ‘tourists’ around with an air compressor.  Luckily we have one and after feeling a bit dubious at being in the middle of nowhere, by ourselves, when a car load of local blokes turned up, they turned out to be friendly and were thankful that they could pump up their flat tyre for the last 100kms into Warburton.  I noted that the wheels on the passenger side, didn’t get to see the drivers side, were both held on by three wheel nuts per wheel only, with the other two wheel studs just sitting through the rim.  The back side window was smashed and an attempt had been made to tape it with plastic but that’d also ripped so their car was full of dust, poor buggers.

Went to bed to a warm night, with crystal clear, star filled skies, only to be awoken a couple of hours later by some wind and light rain which persisted most of the night.  Luckily for us we were already on the W.A. side of the border and the road out was fine.  340kms to our next stop, see you then.

 

puddle 1

The first major puddle, no real problems on this one as we drove up the right hand side

 

puddle 2

The 2nd major puddle, again not an issue but this next section of bank was pretty steep and we were a little worried we’d slip down into the mud..

 

puddle 3

The last and most challenging puddle.  No easy way around and I chose left at the last moment.  Pretty slippy but we managed to make it through

 

Some wildflower pics along the Great Central Road.

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Sturt Desert Pea

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