Coffs to Uluru and back. Suggestions please.

Just starting the planning stages for a months trip next April. There are two cars going, a Subaru Forester and a Mitsubishi Pajero.

Coffs Harbour,
Broken Hill,
Mount Isa,
Coffs Harbour.

I would like to drive a few off bitumen tracks during the trip. I own the Pajero, so wouldn't think twice about it, but due to the Forester tagging along, it's made me think twice. Obviously it is a 4wd car, but it doesn't quite have the clearance of a 4x4 as you'd know it. It is standard in setup.

We're looking at maps and planning where's good to see, but I hoped that some experience could shine some light on our trip, and most importantly where the Subaru will have to stop play.

Mr Rum

4x4 Earth Legend
I’m with Todd, the Forrester will be fine on the Oodnadatta Track if the tyres are up to the task.
For what it’s worth, I’ve actually taken the wife’s Holden Captiva along there twice without issue, and wouldn’t hesitate to do it a third.

This thread actually reminded me of a video I found while researching for a trip...
Just remember tyre pressures when you hit the corrugations.... parts of the Oodnadatta were quite rough this year considering it is normally like a highway.
As for Uluru to Kings Canyon it is all bitumen.
If exploring around Alice Springs some of the tracks to the Gorges can be shitty, so tyre pressure is important as usual. The Track to Palm Valley can be rough and sandy.
With sensible driving the Subaru will be fine.
As for things to see getting there..... depends how much time and how many km's you want to be doing each day.
Lake Keepit is a nice lace for a night, about 5 hours for you.
Then there is a free camp 63km's past Cobar that is nice even though it is next to the highway... there is little road noise after about 10pm.
If you haven't bee to Broken Hill before then a visit to Silverton and The Sculptures is well worth.
Maybe look at turning off at Yunta and going via Weetootla Gorge and then to Leigh Creek and up the Oodnadatta Track.
There is heaps to see along the Odd. Track so enjoy it.
You could also look at going up via Fincke and a visit to Lambert's Center and then out to Kulgera. The Subaru would be fine IMO.

Hope this helps.
Enjoy the trip.
Thanks for the replies so far folks. I'll read up on them.

Glad to see that the Forester can happily adventure. Not having driven on many corrugations before (I'm a English lad, only been here for 3 years!), what do you recommend dropping the rubber to?
Got to balance between time and places we want to visit. Seemingly not much to see around that top left corner coming back to Queensland. Hopefully a few longer days to knock come KM's off the trip. Same for the NSW end.


Well-Known Member
I just got back from doing a lot of that trip and we met a few Commodores and Falcons on the Oodnadatta Track, Finke to Kulgera Rd and the Ghan Heritage Road from Fink to Alice. They are good roads when dry. If it rains then almost nothing can get through. We were on the Strzelecki Track coming from Camerons Corner and passed 3 bogged semis that had been stuck for 10 hours because they just slid sideways off the road. Honestly, we were sliding all over the place trying to stay straight. We ended up getting stuck for 3 hours just south of Merty Merty due to sticky mud filling the wheel wells and causing issues with tyre rotation and starting to wear grooves in brand new tryes. I removed the wheel and couldn't get it off because of the suction against the body of the car, the mud was absolutely a nightmare. Once we cleared the mud from the wheel well then we just drove out. A few kilometres down the road it was as dry as a bone.

BTW, on a lighter car we run the pressures a bit lower, 24-25psi. My car is a similar size to the Forester and 25psi was perfect for me, but a lot depends on how much weight you are carrying. Keep the speed lower too 80 +/- 10 kph depending on the state of the road but err lower.

There are a lot of fantastic places you can visit. Besides the obvious, Uluru etc, I reckon Chambers Pillar and Palm Valley are great. There are some mountain ranges, gorges and chasms around Alice on Larapinta Drive that are very scenic too. We camped at Halligans Bay off the Oodnadatta Track on the shore of Lake Eyre and got to see it with water which was pretty cool, so the rain had an upside for us.

We didn't come back through QLD, no time. The Plenty Hwy is a long hall, I've done it before and the corro's were intense. If you want to see Mt Isa and are running short of time or sick of dirt, it's quicker following the tar.

Have a great trip.


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Yep that was us, the rain drove us in that direction as we weren't supposed to be anywhere near there. Was that your car that looked like it was setting up the chairs in the car park for lunch? We ended up camping at Lake Eyre that night. Much fun was had anyway. :)


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Yep that was me.
We were not meant to be there either. We were trying to head into the desert from the west side but got stuck at Coober Pedy with the track closures so had to head back down the black top and up through Roxby Downs and down via Marree to go up to Birdsville and entered desert from the east
We popped up the extra 50k to Coward Springs for lunch


Well-Known Member
The road from William Creek to Coober Pedy was open the day after and we were surprised how nice a drive it was, more scenic than I was expecting. You must have missed it by a day if you went through Roxby Downs?