Tanami in July

Submitted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 10:31
ThreadID: 134885 Views:1018 Replies:13 FollowUps:7
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Thinking of going the Alice to Halls Creek via the Tanami in mid July.Have a 4x4 Xtrail & a Jayco Penguin(and 2 children).Am I biting off more than I can chew?
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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 10:51

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 10:51
Are you biting off more than you can chew?

It's a good time to travel weather wise - 20 - high 20's, little or no rain.
X-Trail - capable on the Tanami.
Jayco Penguin - if it's the Outback, no worries. If it's the Tourer, just take it easy (as with any road van on gravel).
2 children - so long as they have a sense of adventure - no worries. Plan in car activities relevant to their age.

The trip is too easy really. The planned route is well travelled and maintained these days. Just make sure you have done all the normal remote travel preparations (Comms, food/water, vehicle prep etc).

The only "too big to chew" bit is how long you want to take to do it? You haven't mentioned this in your post. You could do it in 2 days non stop but a week or more is going to be more enjoyable.

Cheers

Anthony
VKS 3539
Work - a 40 hour interuption to my weekend!
Too many places - too little time

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Reply By: RobAck - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 12:53

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 12:53
A few things to add. Fuel. You will need JC. Tyre pressures. Lower them to help deal with the corrugations. Kids. Allow for plenty of stops. Spare tyre would not go astray and/or a puncture repair kit. Your tyres obviously should be less than half worn. Allow for an average travel speed of 70-80kph. Windscreen repair kit may come in handy as there will be traffic not slowing down and subsequently you get a rock shower at times.

Get the latest track conditions from the Alice Springs VIC who are always very helpful

Rob
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:19

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:19
Did the Tanimi just over a month ago. Not very corrugated but very rocky. Watch out for mine vehicles .
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Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:22

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:22
One other thing I'll add. Get you caravan rims swapped to match the xtrail. Having the same stud pattern and rims/tyres on both vehicle and van will make it easier as all spares will interchange
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Follow Up By: Member - alan m6 - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:37

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:37
Thanks for your input.Very pertinent about marching wheels if u can't carry 2 spares per vehicle
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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:35

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 19:35
You will incur damage.

Don't underestimate the Tanami.

I'm glad I ain't too scared to be lazy
- Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 20:16

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 20:16
We never did. Was on par with the Oodnadatta track.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 21:10

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 21:10
Hi Alan, Rob has brought up an important point - fuel. At very minimum you have to cover 561 kilometres, and that if going into Balgo, for which you have to pre-arrange a permit. You can see all the distances and where fuel can be obtained if you go to My Blog - Tanami fuel distances link. Do you have an auxiliary tank fitted?

I would say 70 - 80 at maximum on the unsealed road if towing, sometimes down 30 kph or even less in bad patches. The slowing down and gear work will also use more fuel than normal open road driving.

Why are you considering the Tanami? Is it as a route between two destinations, or are you looking at it as an adventure to be done?
Motherhen

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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 21:56

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 21:56
Billiluna wouldn't be much further that Balgo and you dont leave the Tanimi and no permit to get fuel. 590K from Yuendumu
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 22:11

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 22:11
I agree with you Ivan, and it is 40 kilometres in to Balgo from the Tanami, compared with two for Billiluna. I was quoting the very minimum, but all beyond the reach of an Xtrail without auxiliary tank. My link has Billiluna to Yuendumu calculated at 595 kilometres, and all relevant distances listed. We had enough to get from Halls Creek to Tilmouth Well, including Wolfe Creek Crater, but a much bigger fuel tank than an Xtrail.

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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Friday, May 19, 2017 at 18:58

Friday, May 19, 2017 at 18:58
We got just past the Balgo turn off when our low fuel light came on in a 2015 Dmax close to max weight towing a trailer. We may have made or not so we used one of our four Jerry cans. Turns out the shop at Bulliluna was closed for lunch when we got there so we went and did Wolfe Creek and then came back later
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 22:36

Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 22:36
Think most has been covered by others but would like to enforce subject of tyres don't have anything exotic size wise. the closer to standard the better forget highway tread pattern all terrain minimum but due to rock mud terrain maybe a option to consider. minimum of two tyres & rim/s-and have ability to change them over onto rim is also good skill to have


2014 at wolf creek crater came across a range rover with 20inch road tyres doing tanami -convinced they had a few tyres issues along the way came across them well short of hwy turn off as they headed towards halls creek after leaving the crater

Expect to see some large mining super quads running on some sections on track
AnswerID: 611198

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Friday, May 19, 2017 at 18:56

Friday, May 19, 2017 at 18:56
Did it once in 2013 and still feeling the effects. Parts are very boring with many km of the same scrub. Left Halls Ck lunchtime and got to WA/NT border at sunset. Next day was the big one - say 600 km of corrugations. It's crossed off the bucket list for now. You may consider sticking to the tar and go up to Katherine then across. Scenery will be basically the same. 500km further but little chance of damage and more relaxing. Check out pix in Places starting with Tanami Road, WA-NT Border for conditions.......... W
Warrie

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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Friday, May 19, 2017 at 23:46

Friday, May 19, 2017 at 23:46
Hi Alan
We did the Tanami in 2013. Passed a Commodore travelling towards Halls Creek. They were moving slowly but nevertheless getting along satisfactorily. Tyres are an issue. With road tyres the sidewalls are quite exposed to rock damage as you lower your tyre pressures to cope with the corrugations.
We managed Tilmouth Wells to Stretch Lagoon easily in a day.Stretch Lagoon is a great camping spot about 15 km south of Billiluna on the Canning Stock Route. You need to call into the shop at Billiluna for a camping permit. When we were there they had just installed excellent composting toilets.
The road to Wolfe Creek Crater was particularly rough. Recommend not camping there as it is very exposed, however it is bearable.
There is a quarantine station just before you reach the main highway near Halls Creek. When we were there it was an absolute disgrace. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned up for a very long time. Check with WA Ag about what you can and cannot take in to WA.
The Tanami is worth doing. Sure it can be a little monotonous but you can then tick it off your bucket list.
Tilmouth Wells has a very acceptable caravan park.
Robert
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Follow Up By: Member - pete g1 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 00:12

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 00:12
"""Tilmouth Wells has a very acceptable caravan park.""

definately !
Keep smiling....it keeps everyone guessing

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Reply By: Member - pete g1 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 00:11

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 00:11
Gidday A M6
some generic suggestions
tyre pressures; 25-30psi, 70-80kph should be fine depending on vehicle loading & your driving speed etc. We found WA side rougher than NT ( in Sept '15)
Take your "ready to go" rig over a weigh bridge (with kids on board) & record all axle weights so you understand where the load is being carried.
BUY a tyre monitor system for your trip (include trailer), @ $200-350 for a system including auto alarms is far cheaper than replacing a $400-500 tyre in the bush ( Tanami or where-ever)
Think about rim size matching, but dont do your head in over it, it's not that bad aX the Tanami. Ensure you have new or 80% tyres on all wheels for the trip.
Fuel, assess consumption based on your experience, plus 20% for unknowns. carry a 20ltr reserve anyway.
Scenery; it's not a barren desert, but with kids, "are we there yet" could do your head in.
It's a 3 day transit as a minimum with trailer / kids & interest stops. 2 days if you just go for it.
NO fuel or assistance at Rabbit Flat.
ENSURE YOU SECURE your rig if camping adjacent to communities. This includes any over night stop overs where you are within the van. ( strategically placed empty drink cans on string can help )
Enjoy a remote area of Oz that is quickly changing.
Shell servos in Fitzroy & Halls Xing take Coles 4c discount vouchers

cheers
Keep smiling....it keeps everyone guessing

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Reply By: Member - Robyn R4 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:34

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:34
Have you towed on gravel/corrugations?
Know your fuel consumption and then add some!
We thought we were ok with 2 jerry cans for our car but a 3rd would've been the difference between "being confident that we could make it to Halls Ck for fuel" vs "maybe we won't quite make it after all and we'd better camp overnight near Billiluna and get fuel there in the morning"!
Be aware of Billiluna's opening hours-we only just fluked getting fuel (even though it was opening hours) because the owner was filling up a couple of trail bikes...another 20 minutes and he was on his way to Wolf Creek Crater for the day...as you do in the outback!
:)
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Reply By: David T6 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 12:39

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 12:39
My experience last year on the Tanami.
Left Alice on Friday arvo and headed for Tilmouth Wells and camped for the night. It was pension day and there were lots of locals driving south very fast for the party. They do not slow down and two wheels on the tar and two in the dirt is normal. Be very careful.
As others have said, not a lot to look at, but very pretty scenery. Beware of camels, espescially if driving at night.
I left Tilmouth at about 0500 and arrived in Wolfe Creek at about 1600. Blew a shock absorber on the camper and spent 1 hr replacing that.
Wolfe Creek worth a visit. Nice place to stay maybe 2 days.
The road was roughest around the Granites gold mine area.
It may be worth paying for outback breakdown assistance like Club 4x4 offer.
Tyre pressure monitor will be worthwhile and two spares.
AnswerID: 611241

Reply By: Member - Baz Sunshine Coast - Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 18:28

Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 18:28
Came off the Tanami 2 weeks ago. The WA end was rough. The NT end was bearable but still hard on the vehicle and I have a coil sprung Patrol with slide on camper. It is a boring drive and could be very scary for your kids if something broke in the wrong area. Knowing what I know now there's no way I would put young kids or a set up like yours over that road. It isn't worth the stress.
Baz
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Follow Up By: IvanTheTerrible - Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 20:02

Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 20:02
My kids loved it. With the amount of traffic there is nothing to worry about
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