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Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

auckland
Level Contributor
62 posts
32 reviews
Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

We are group of 5 people doing a road trip from Alice Springs to Perth via Great Central Road (Yulara, Laverton, Kargoolie and Perth). We are hiring a campervan but not sure if this road is a sealed one as we are not allowed to take campervan on non-sealed roads ? Can someone please advise if this is a feasible route to take or any other alternatives? We have 10 days in total and want to see places in Alice Springs area and also around Perth such as Albany, Hyden

Thanks

Sydney
Level Contributor
1,511 posts
134 reviews
1. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

hi there,

have a look at this site; it gives fuel stops etc

exploroz.com/TrekNotes/WDeserts/Great_Centra…

I doubt that you would be allowed to take a campervan on that road - you will need to check with your rental company. In any case, it is very remote. It's hard to comprehend just how remote much of Australia is, and how hazardous. Driving on sandy, corrugated roads is for 4wds and even then, you need experience to pick the bulldust holes etc.It's not until you find yourself bogged in bulldust, broken down etc, that the enormity of the situation hits you (believe me, I have learnt the hard way!!) Sometimes noone will come by for days. You must carry a UHF radio, or even better, a satellite phone (can be hired - ask 4wd hire company).

I would stick to the black top (ie sealed road); south from Alice Springs via Yulara on the Stuart Highway to Port Augusta, then west on the Eyre Highway. The road along the South Australian coast has some beautiful views and there is plenty of traffic ( I mean other people about, not traffic jams, so radios etc are unnecessary). From Yulara to Perth should take you a comfortable 4-5 days, so you will have time for Albany (a full day's drive from Perth). Maybe come into Perth via Kalgoorlie, then do a loop down to Albany and up through the Margaret River ?

You will be driving (and working) quite hard to fit it all in, with sightseeing as well in Alice, Perth etc. This may sound dumb, but Australia is huge - the distances somehow don't look so big on paper, but my experience with relatives (from Europe) is that they usually bite off more than they can chew. However,I'm sure you already realise that you will have to maintain a fairly hectic pace.

Have fun!

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin, Kakadu National Park
Level Contributor
3,179 posts
190 reviews
2. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

The road from alice Springs is only sealed as far as Yuluru. The road then is gravel and often in poor condition ie washaways, deep corrugations and bull dust. The campervan would not be up to that type of road and no matter how well you wash it, there will be plenty of red dust to show you have been off road. As you will be travelling through aboriginal reserves so you will need permits before you go.

Fly to Alice, do some local trips see other posts for suitable sites,(allow at least 2 days) then to Yulura for sunset and sunrise, visit Olgas then drive to Cobber Peddy (2 days) then to Kalgoolie, (another long drive 2+ days). doesn't give you much time for Perth.

auckland
Level Contributor
62 posts
32 reviews
3. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

Thank you for your replies

Yes, we do realise that we will be in a v big country (compared to nz :P)

I know that this is a silly question but do the roadhouses have beds so that we can stay there overnight ? What other alternatives are available to us for accomodation, in case we dont take a 2wd motorhome

I have heard from my colleagues that roadhouses are quite dirty unhygienic and people are quite rude to tourists, is this the case?

Also..we are flying from Brisbane to Alice but have chked out a few websites (qantas, tiger airways, Jet star & webjet.com.au) but they are not coming cheap! Costs roughly 250 bucks pp one way which is more than our flight from Auckland to Brissy! can someone recommend other websites for cheap tickets?

One last question! Our other alternative is to drive from Yulara to Katherine, Darwin and then along the coast down to Perth..is this route a sealed road ?

Thanks heaps

Sydney
Level Contributor
1,511 posts
134 reviews
4. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

Info re accommodation and camp sites on the Great central Road is on the website I nominated in previous post:

exploroz.com/TrekNotes/WDeserts/Great_Centra…

Also travelling times etc.

It's hard to generalize about behaviour but it's probably fair to say that away from the big centres, service can be patchy. Some people are lovely, some people are not. We have encountered surly attitudes probably more often in remote areas than in more populated ones, but then it takes a special kind of person to live in such isolation. You just have to go with the flow. As to unhygienic...I couldn't say, but expect rough and ready and you won't be disappointed...you are a long way from anywhere and there isn't that much demand (most people camp, tow 4wd campers). Where you are proposing to go is seriously remote.

The road through Katherine is sealed, but that's a helluva drive, with not that much to see. Can't really see how you could fit in Alice S., Yulara ,Darwin, Perth, Albany and 5000klms in between in 10 days. Why not go south then west across the Nullabor?

Don't know about airfares, but AS and Yulara and hugely popular with tourists and perhaps that's why it's hard to find a bargain.

Sydney
Level Contributor
1,511 posts
134 reviews
5. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

Whoops, I must correct myself re 'not much to see' - I was more thinking that you won't have time to look, given time constraints. There are so many things to do and see (heaps of them and truly unique eg Ningaloo Reef, Bungle Bungles, Kimbereley etc etc), you could easily spend weeks doing that drive. But there are huge distances in between.

Alice Springs...
Level Contributor
821 posts
28 reviews
6. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

Hi,

You're attempting an awful lot in a very short time. Reading all this it appears that you have about 10 days from arriving in Alice (from Brisbane) to leaving Perth. The Great Central Rd is not sealed so it seems that's not an option for you, unless you're hiring a 4WD (and even then some hire car companies specify certain roads that are off limits so you would need to read your small print very carefully).

The other viable driving option is to head south through Coober Pedy, Port Augusta and then west. To do that comfortably and safely you're looking at 4 - 5 days to get across to Kalgoorlie/Esperance.

The other option is to spend a few days in and around Alice then fly to Perth and continue your travels there. Going up via Katherine and Broome you would need your whole 10 days just to drive and you wouldn't get out of the car to enjoy anything!I did Broome to Alice a few years ago in 3 days and it was horrible - wouldn't recommend that sort of distance in that short a time to anyone!

As far as accommodation, on the sealed roads, most roadhouses have reasonable accommodation, though some are more basic than others. I've never stayed at one that I wouldn't go back to again.

Hope the rest of your planning goes well, please ask if you've got more questions.

auckland
Level Contributor
62 posts
32 reviews
7. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

Thanks for the valuable info. I guess we need to cut down our attractions in order to cover that distance in the short span of time we have

Also, wanted to ask one more q..Is it safe to drive at night in the outback ? I have heard that people usually stop driving after sundown because of the kangaroos that come in the way and damage the vehicle cos we plan to do some night driving.

Thanks

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
Level Contributor
25,177 posts
70 reviews
8. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

I would not advise driving in the outback at night. The odds of hiting something or swerving to avoid hitting something and then going off the road at a great rate of knots are very high.

rural West Aussie
Destination Expert
for Perth
Level Contributor
25,177 posts
70 reviews
9. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

PLus you'd be amazed at how much wildlife there can be even in a seemingly empty bit of land like the Nullarbor.

Alice Springs...
Level Contributor
821 posts
28 reviews
10. Re: Alice Springs - Perth via Great Central Road

Hi,

I would strongly recommend no night driving. Most of our outback accidents happen at night - it's just not worth the risk. Plus, again, check the small print of your hire vehicle. Some specifically exclude paying out for accidents after dark, or single vehicle accidents involving animals.

Cheers,

Sue