Great Central Road

I was spending the Winter at Tamala Station, Useless Loop/Shark Bay on
the West coast (great camping and fishing - plenty of Pink Snapper,
Sea Mullet, Sand Flathead and the odd Tailor), and a traveller I ran
into said he'd just been across the Great Central Road from Yulara to
Laverton. Said that there'd been a bit of rain through quite a bit of
it and the flowers were great, plenty of camels and plenty of greenery.
I thought that sounded like a good opportunity to see an area that
probably wouldn't look that good very often so I upped stakes and
headed off. I pulled into Overlander Roadhouse, fuelled up and set off
South to the Butchers Track and swung South-east to Murchison
Settlement then on to Mt Magnet. Pretty well maintained road with the
last 80km being a bit rough (corrugations). The Syncro handled it fine
but the 6x4 Trailer I tow had me a little wary.
Then it was on to Leonora and Laverton (bitumen). I grabbed Permits
for the Great Central Road from the Internet - both W.A. and N.T. Land
Councils email them back for printing out - and headed off.
The first 320km or so to Djukayirla wasn't too bad corrugation-wise
but the first 50km from Laverton was a little stony. I counted 81
wrecks along the way and there were about 30 more at the Djukayirla
dump. Not a bad Campground and Caravan Park there - Petrol and Diesel
both $1.90. The trailer was giving me concerns and sure enough, 80km
on a spring broke - not only broke but pulled the hanger out of the
bottom of the trailer. I had some angle iron (but could of used
something from the continuing wrecks) and drilled and bolted a piece
inside and a piece outside to hold the hanger, and replaced the spring
with my spare one.
Wildflowers were plentiful with the odd family of camels and quite a
few goannas but no kangaroos or emus, which struck me as unusual. The
last 100km into Warbuton was a real bone-shaker and the Caravan Park
there was all fenced in with Hardi-fence so I didn't stay - didn't
note the fuel prices there either. The Aboriginal Heritage Centre
there looked impressive and would be the best place for that kind of
thing of all of the trip.

.... to be continued.
Leaving Warburton the road wasn't too bad and some places very good -
a Grader was working between there and Warakurna but at Warakurna
there was a Grader & Trailer outfit complete with fuel tanks and
accomodation unit parked up and needing an operator. The Giles weather
station, a 10min walk up the road from Warakurna was quite
interesting - surprising what they monitor.
Up until this point, the countryside had been mainly undulating, but
things got interesting from Warakurna (as with Djukayirla, the
Campground there was $10 pp/pn and the fuel prices $1.90). The Ranges
got increasingly spectacular with the Petermann Range awesome. The
road was mostly very corrugated with some patches very sandy. About
50km from Docker River a leaf broke in the other trailer spring so I
rolled up the bed in the Syncro and moved all the trailer stuff in -
Generator, tools, fridge, bits and pieces. All up an extre 400kg I'd
guess.
The road from there to The Olgas was abysmal - some places corrugated,
some places stony, some places sandy - the whole box and dice. I kept
thinking of that $29 billion surplus that Costello was raving about.
I first sighted The Olgas about 4 in the afternoon and decided to slow
down from my 40kmh and watch the sun behind me throwing on them. Truly
Magnificent. I arrived there at the Sunset Viewing Area with the last
rays and was quite disappointed at the poor view up close because of
the scrub and trees - a million times better viewing from further out.
Overall it's a good trip worth doing, but once is enough for me as far
as the Western side goes. I'd go from Yulara back to Warakurna again.
The Trailer made it OK and I had it all fixed up at Alice Springs - I
doubt that I'd take a standard box-trailer there again.
The Syncro handled it all very well and was especially brilliant
crossing the centres looking for better parts of the road.
The corrugations made me think of changing to Old Man Emu shockies or
similar - anyone got any thoughts of the merits of this?

Michael.