Driving from Melbourne to Uluru - pitfalls and advice please!
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Dec 4, 2012 5:33 PM Last Post By: brother_no_2
Dec 2, 2012 6:46 PM
Three of us are planning to drive from Melbourne through Adelaide and up the Stuart highway to Alice Springs and if we make good enough time possibly on to Darwin at Easter. We want to make sure we are really prepared for this trip so I thought I would see if anyone else has driven this route and can you let us know your experience? We'd be really interested to hear how difficult of a drive this could be and to be fully aware of all the precautions we need to take from people's personal experiences.
Dec 2, 2012 7:10 PM
1It's not difficult, just depends on how long you have realistically. Are you planning on returning to Melbourne? Or is this a 1 way trip?
Easter is early net year, so the weather may still be quite hot.
One thing for planning purposes, don't drive at night. In fact, aim to cease driving about an hour before sunset at the very least. Not impossible, just takes some planning and doing.
Dec 2, 2012 7:49 PM
2It's an easy drive but be prepared for being really, really bored. It is a long drive (obviously) with very little change in the scenery. Sometimes you'll drive for ages without even a bend in the road. Bring your own music - the radio stop working very soon once heading truly north.
Other things to think about, car hire is hard to find unlimited mileage and most do not allow driving after dark in NT and for a bloody good reason. Pay attention to your fuel - it's far between stations have plenty of water in the car.
Slow down or stop if you see bouncing kangaroos - they have an annoying habit of jumping in front of the car.
Make sure you have good travel insurance - if you have none, at least buy ambulance cover or risk paying $5000 if you need one.
Dec 2, 2012 8:17 PM
Dec 2, 2012 8:35 PM
Dec 2, 2012 9:32 PM
5Yes. Kangaroos, sheep cows, and camels. All exist in big numbers along the unfenced Stuart Highway and wander on to the road at night. Truck drivers and other big vehicles have reinforced bullbars for such an occasion, but the larger animals can still do a good deal of damage.
Hence it is advised in the strongest possible terms not to drive on outback roads of an evening. I would suggest the advice also applies to the A2.
Dec 2, 2012 10:32 PM
6and make sure you fill your car with loads of munchies and liquid refreshments before you leave Melbourne.
those outback 7/11's charge like a wounded bull, and love it when a car load of bored tourists pull up for some culture.
Dec 2, 2012 11:01 PM
7Agree with all of the above. Driving at night carries a huge risk of hitting some sort of animal and if in a rental car, this will cost you a fortune and wreck your holiday.
Distances are huge, roads boring, but in daylight hours essentially safe. There's plenty of trucks and cars heading both ways so you won't be stuck for long if anything happens.
There are road houses every few hundreds klms for fuel and food, but the more food and drink you take with you the cheaper it will be.
Dec 3, 2012 12:06 AM
Dec 3, 2012 2:50 AM
9Hi - thanks for the advice everyone! yes we are pretty sure it will be miles and miles of one road but heck - at least we'll have our own story to tell about how boring the drive is lol :-) Thanks for letting us know about driving at night - just like in Botswana then - the roads are generally okay but a grey elephant on a grey road at night is invisible and you don't want to hit one of those!
We'll get planning and let everyone know how it goes!
Dec 3, 2012 3:33 AM
Dec 3, 2012 3:57 AM
11yes it is but i've still written two vehicles off due to kangaroo strikes..
one happened around midday, the silly 3foot high Kangaroo just sat there starring at me, right in the middle of the road.. I chose the option, or guessed, that it was going to either going to jump forward or stay still.. so I veers to the right.. the kangaroo spins on its tail and hops directly into my poor little Subaru Brumby... darn thing just about exploded..lol.. yes, i was going much too fast !!!!
that was in the Barrington Tops.
the other time was outside Mt Isa, about 7am, when mum and bub decide to dash across the highway.. yes i was going too fast.. luckily the vehicle was a council Ute.. so, not mine!
and lets not forget the Emu, Wombat, Dingo, Horse, Eagle (and other smaller birds), ooh, and humans..
notice i said that they hit me, your honour!!!!
Dec 3, 2012 4:50 AM
12Quite a lot of the road is fenced now, the territory side has been for 20 years (built some of it meself),and more recently much of the north of south Australia, though lots is still unfenced too, watch out for mobs of black cattle which like to hang around the hwy at nighttime to get the residual warmth from the bitumin between marla and the border.
I drive at night quite a bit and find that most of the time you're pretty right, but if you start seeing lots of dead roos, and or bloodstained patches on the road then you should probably slow down, alot.
Apart from wildlife it's heaps more relaxing and way less traffic in the wee hours, but don't expect 24 hour servos apart from portagutter, Coober Pedy , and Alice springs .
If staying in Coober Pedy, and you should, then stay in one of the underground places, I prefer Ribas 5 k out of town as I can sleep easier with my car parked outside there
And counter intuitively the best immediate reaction when there a roo in your headlights is to turn them off, along with hitting the brakes, this gives the roo a chance to hop off away from the sound rather than being trapped and stunned by the light.
All up I do the return trip at least every year and I love it
Dec 3, 2012 2:14 PM
Dec 3, 2012 2:32 PM
14""darn thing just about exploded..lo""
when i said this I meant the car, not the Roo.
let me explain...
Im going 100km/h and Skippy jumps out in front of me and stops dead in the middle of the road and turns its head to look at us, (me and my dog ThegoodDrNo, and a Subaru Brumby), bearing down on it....
I have probably 2 seconds to decide what to do..
I go right, so does the bloody Roo..
nothing to do except brake (dont slam them on) brace for the impact and close them eyes for a second just in case.
We collide. My bonnet immediately flips up and covers the entire screen (dont panic) .
I concentrate on stopping the vehicle quickly (dont slam) ,in a straight line.
I stop and get out of the Brumby and look back at the Roo. Its laying dead on the road.
I look at my vehicle, its destroyed.. the front end is foooked good and proper. Bumper, lights, radiator, panels.. Skippy landed on the roof of the vehicle and at one stage had his head poking inside the passenger window... very wierd!!!..
I look back at the Roo and think, "well atleast I can get some free dog food for TheDoc" ,.
The Kangaroo had different ideas however....
As I call the dog to help itself to Skippy for lunch, the Roo looks up, see's whats heading its way, and its up and off like Jack Flash..
unbelievable.. my car exploded, the roo jumps a way..lol
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