Melbourne to Alice

Dozza

New Member
Hi guys, can anyone give me a good route to the Alice (from Melbourne)without going to Adelaide, we want offroad as much as possible but not too serious.
 

millsy

4x4 Earth Contributer
OK Dozza, here is one of many possible routes -

Melbourne to Nhill, to Murrayville ( good dirt road if not too much rain, and pleasant wilderness views of the Big Desert for about 80km. Not too remote, should be a car through every three or four hours if help needed. A few ruts and small wash-aways across the clay topping, so keep the speed down to about 70km/hr, or you will be doing some heavy braking! ), to Sturt Highway, via pretty good tracks up the western side of the Murray Sunset National Park ( the top end of the Border Track, narrow and varied surfaces so averaging about 40km/hr through the Park- see details of these tracks below ), to Renmark via Sturt Highway, to Monash, about 3km west of Monash turn right at a T junction and travel to Morgan ( passing a couple of the old overland route hotels used by the drovers, one at Overland Corner which is still operating ).

From Monash to Morgan is a secondary bitumen road, but it is used by some of the semi's as they make there way from the Alice to Sydney, by the shortest route.

Then for some more dirt up to Yunta, from Morgan. See details below.

From Yunta to Arkaroola. All dirt, and a bit corrugated in places if they have not graded it recently.

Arkaroola is actually about 30km north of the main (dirt) track through to Leigh Creek, so if you are pushing for time you might end up going straight past the turn off to Arkaroola. Would be a pity because it is supposed to be great scenic area. Have only seen it myself by night! The mozzies took a liking to me and I fled! But try to stop for half an hour at the interpretive centre 5km west of Nepabunna ( 60km east of Leigh Creek). Great history and artefacts, dreamtime stories, etc of this area in an open sided hut. Cold drinks available in the meeting hall/canteen nearby, and very friendly locals keen to have a chat with people stopping in for a look.

From Leigh Creek up to Maree, across to Oodnadatta, and then across to Marla on the Stuart Highway.

Or if you are keen you could travel north from Oodnadatta following the old Ghan railway line to the Alice. All dirt I believe. I am not sure of the exact details of this route, but I have seen write ups in the magazines, and various videos. You will need to check it out!

Murrayville to Sturt Highway:
I have travelled down the Millewa South Bore Track, from where it crosses Pheney’s track, about halfway down the Sunset Park, down to Murrayville. It was a very pleasant 2 hour drive.
So you would head west from Murrayville, on the Mallee Highway, for about 6.5km and turn right into the Carina North Road. ( Dirt from here up to the Sturt Highway ).
Travel up the Carina North Road until it changes name to Bellbird Road ( where it crosses Wheeler Road about 20km north of the Mallee Highway), and then to the Border Track a little further north.

Turn right onto the Millewa South Bore Track and continue up to Pheney’s Track A bit sandy in a few parts along here, but not too soft. Turn left onto Pheney’s Track and head west to meet the Border Track. Turn right onto the Border Track and head north. Or, you could keep on going straight past the Millewa South Bore Track turn-off and stay on the Border Track.

Continue up this Border Track and it will take you up to the Sturt Highway, about 2km east of Yamba. Total distance from Murrayville toYamba is about 150 km.

Morgan to Yunta:
I have travelled from Burra through to Yunta via dirt roads north east of Burra, past Lilydale Station and on to Yunta. I found it a quite enjoyable drive through dry sheep station country. I have posted a trip report on the Tracks section of this site - look for the Manoora to Yunta . . . . posting in the SA section. So I am using Google Maps to suggest a route from Morgan up to those tracks I drove last year and then along these to Yunta;

From the centre of Morgan, turn into the main bitumen road that heads towards Burra. ( It is called Morgan Terrace in the town of Morgan, but I am sure it will have a large green sign directing you to Burra. ) Travel 31.5km to where you turn off to the right onto a dirt road called Redcliffe Road, at a place called Maude on the bitumen road. ( Might not be much at Maude! )

Drive for 23.3 km along this Redcliffe Road to a Y intersection. Looking at the Satellite View, it is not really a simple Y intersection, the road actually does a turn to the left just after you drive through the grounds of a station homestead. About 300m after passing the homestead another road branches off on your right and heads east, north east, but you just keep going straight ahead in a west north westerly direction.

Drive for about 33km past this homestead, in a west north westerly direction, passing by a few side roads, until meeting a more major road at a T intersection called the Eastern Road. Turn right onto this Eastern Road.

Drive 17km along the Eastern Road to find the Hogback Ln ( Line? ) road and turn left into this north south running road. 30.2km up this Hogback Road is where I joined it from the west ( from Pine Creek) last summer. It was one of my first trips in my ‘new’ MQ Patrol, and I remember feeling a bit isolated out here. This did not seem to be a very well used road, so you might want to reconsider and just drive to Yunta on the bitumen from Morgan across to Burra and up the Barrier Highway.

Nevertheless if you also enjoy the wide open spaces and have faith in your vehicle I can say I did enjoy the tracks out here. (After another 32km you will reach the Braemar homestead, which is occupied.)

So after passing the road that comes in from Pine Creek on the left ( 30.2km north of the Eastern Road) travel a further 6km north, north east, to where the road veers right as it meets another road coming in from the left. You will travel in an easterly direction for 4.3km, the road will veer north easterly for another 8.3km, and then an almost 90 degree right bend into an almost south westerly direction for another 13.7km. Here you will meet a T junction where you turn left, so now heading north west again, and a few hundred metres past this intersection is Braemar Station homestead.

Yunta is 110km further up the track. Heading in a north easterly direction for the first 40km from Braemar, then turning left at a T junction and heading north, gradually veering around in a north westerly direction for the run into Yunta. There are various homesteads ( Lilydale for example ) and you can relax in the knowledge that there will be local traffic passing along at least once a day, if not more often ( in case of breakdown ). If you get the UHF repeater map you will be able to determine if you are within range of a tower, and which frequency to use. I have the details for this map, or could post you a copy if you want one.)

Here is the link to the Google map route I plotted. I could not get the Google driver to go up the border track, he insisted on going across the Sunset Park further to the east! Not sure why; from:princes Hwy to:Western Hwy to:Western Hwy to:Mallee Hwy to:Unknown street to:Braun Rd to:Sturt Hwy to:Morgan Renmark Rd to:Redcliffe Rd to:Unknown street to:Unknown street to:Unknown street to:Unknown street to:Unknown street to:Barrier Hwy to:U

Hope this mostly makes sense! Give us an email if you need any clarification or extra details. Cheers, Millsy.

Pic 1 - Nhill to Murrayville road through the Big Desert
Pic 2 - Millewa South Bore Track
Pic 3 - Hogback Road, I think, or maybe north of Braemar?
Pic 4 - As it says! T junction south east of Yunta
Pic 5 - One of the several creeks/homesteads between last pic and Yunta
 

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gdog

Member
...you could travel north from Oodnadatta following the old Ghan railway...

I've do that route. Nice! Plenty of dust and it's not grated very often at all, so bumby in parts. Your on the railway line. There is enough room for cars to pass each other but it can be tight in sections. Drivers got to stay on top of their game. It's easy to get faster and faster then you hit a bad pocket of dust or corrugations and bring yourself undone. Take it easy, enjoy the sheer amount of sky you can see! Awesome!
 

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BUSHNUT

Well-Known Member
Millsy has pretty well covered it definitely do the old Ghan line if you don't have to get to Alice fast, basically it is up the Oodnadatta track to Mt Dare and from there to Finke. Just WEST of finke there is Lamberts centre, the Geometric centre of Australia, out in the middle of Mallee type scrub, there is a minature of the large flagpole in Canberra there,the loneliest flagpole in the world , they say , nothing spectacular but you can safely say you have been to the centre of Australia.

Head up the Old Ghan line and when you reach 24 degrees 39'48.44"S,134 degrees 08'33.93E there is a track ( not signposted) turn westwards to Titjkala and from there go out to Chambers Pillar, it is well worth the trip

Conditions on the Ghan line were mild in August when we went , drop your pressures to at least 22 psi, we met some people towing camper trailers who said it was hard going, they obviously hadn't crossed the Simpson .

I have written trip reports on it for the forum and have put up slideshows for all to look at
 
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millsy

4x4 Earth Contributer
A few more pics between Arkaroola turn off and Leigh Creek;

Pic 1 - Just west of the turn off, where I escaped from mozzies
Pic 2 - Passing through a gorge east of Nepabunna
Pic 3 - Airconditioned gym!
Pic 4 - Interpretive centre 5km west of Nepabunna
Pic 5 - Hills with stories - Dreamtime stories!
 

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Dozza

New Member
Fantastic response guys, very helpful. Does anyone know what weather would I likely get around easter?
 

millsy

4x4 Earth Contributer
Just heard the the long range forecast from a privateer. He is farmer on the SA west coast who has being doing these long range forcasts for thirty years, but cannot remember his name!

He reckons it is going to be a warm easter, but that there will be rains across SA in the weeks before then, so at least the dust will have been settled. May be a little bit of green tinge across the paddocks. But I guess it takes a fair bit of rain for that to happen after such a long hot summer!

Let us know if you end up doing any of the tracks I mentioned. I would be interested to hear how you found them. And of course we would be keen to hear of any of the highlights, and 'tricky' bits, that you had. They all make for a good yarn, and good memories.

Stay safe and have a good trip, Millsy!
 
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