Members Trips

Sandy Blight Junction Road Adventure

 

sandy blight junction road
adventure

 


After having read Len Beadells book "Beating About The Bush", which is a story about the construction of Sandy Blight Junction Road, I just had to go see for myself. Early August my wife Erica, son Patrick and two great friends Rick and Carroll set off to travel this track South to North. Rick had his immaculate HJ80 Turbo and I had my New 200TTD Cruiser and Aussie Swag Rover LX Camper Trailer. The 200 was replacing my faithful 80 series and I was eager to put it to the test. I would not be disappointed.

 

  Len Beadells Grader located at Giles

 

We set off from Newcastle and Rick from Sydney, we all met up at Nyngan Caravan Park and headed for Cameron's Corner, Strzelecki Track, Oodnadatta Track, Mulga Park Road around the back of Mt Connor to Yulara For a day of rest and relaxation.

 

Great Central Road looking back at the Olgas  

 

The roads so far were in fantastic condition with only some corrugations, and the 200 handled these with out any discomfort. Rick and I had swapped cars for about 30km just to compare if the 200 was any better then the 80 series. Now I am a big 80s fan and lost considerable sleep when considering purchasing the 200. The 80 immediately felt small compared to the 200 and the engine noise!!! well you are certainly left in no doubt that the old 6 cylinder oiler is doing its job, that's for sure.
I am sold, the 200 is a fantastic, comfortable, powerful, and most of all my wife loved it.

After the rest we headed off across the Tjukururu Road (Great Central Road) to Giles Meteorological Station and the Warakurna Road House for a refuel. We then back tracked to the start of Sandy Blight Junction Road just west of Docker River. The first 55km to the Tjukurla turn off is wide and smooth although some patches are very sandy. After 27km the turn off to Bungabiddy Rock Hole appears on your left. This road is narrow and rocky, at the end there is a camp area and about a 300m walk to the rock hole.

 

Bungabiddy Rock Hole
 

 

the track into Bungabiddy Sandy Blight Junction Road

 

After the Tjukurla Turn off the road narrows considerably to a two wheel track, mostly sandy with some corrugations, generally easy going and not difficult. Later on a couple of the sand hills present a small challenge but no real problems. Beadell spent considerable time surveying between the sand dunes and only has to cross them a couple of times. After about 46km you come across one of several of Len Beadell's Plaque. We made it a mission to locate all of his plaques and found all but the one that was located at the junction Great Central Road and Giles Mulga Park Roads

 

Len Beadell Plaque top of Sir Fredrick Range

 We did not know at the time There is a book you can sign to say you have been there. That's a grubby me after 3 days bush camping

 

After another 22 km there is a turn off to the left to Sir Fredrick Range, it is hard to see and fortunately my in car Hema Maps and Oz Explorer Navigation system was spot on. This road is overgrown and very narrow there is a turn around spot at the end but even this requires some backing and fiddling with the trailer. The girls took one look at the track going up the range and said not going up there. I began to disconnect the trailer as I wanted to try the 200 out in some serious stuff. However as Rick and I were the only starters, I left the trailer on the 200 and we proceeded in the reliable old 80. The first 800m had the old girl scrambling for traction over the 6" round loose stones. If you get up this bit ok then you will make it to the top, it gets easier but not much. The view from the top is fantastic, you can see for hundreds of kilometres in all directions.

From here on the scenery gets better and better. The track becomes more interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. There are some lovely camping spots under the Desert Oaks and wonderful sunsets. There are many wild camels in this area and we came across several herds wandering along the track.

 

There are several bores along the track we stopped at one with an operational hand pump and it delivered clean fresh water. Certainly handy to know if you have a problem or just want to have a freshen up.

 

operational pump Davenport Hills

 

The Track takes a slight detour around to the base of the Davenport Hills instead of going up and over a medium sand hill. I elected to take the detour as it took me closer to the hills.


Beadell then made a direct line for Me Leisler which can be seen in the distance. Just before you reach Mt Leister you will come across another Beadell Plaque and the Tietkens Tree, or at least what is left of it. Tietkens was one of our early explorers and he blazed this tree on his exploration of this area.

 


The track keeps east of the Kintor Range and Mt Strickalnd eventually coming to the end at the intersection of Garry Junction Road. We turned right and headed east towards Alice Springs. Garry Junction Road is 4 lanes wide and was super smooth there are some nice scenery along the way to Papunya particularly around the Haasts Bluff. We arrived in Alice just in time for the Todd River Regatta which is a series of boat races up and down the dry sandy Todd River. The whole town turns out for this event.

 


After a couple of days rest in Alice we headed for home via Artunga. We wanted to cut across to the Plenty Highway via Cattlewater Pass but it was closed so we had to use Pinnacle Road which joins the Plenty Just east of the Gem Tree. Whilst this is a roundabout way of getting to the plenty the drive and scenery are well worth it.

So ends the adventure of Sandy Blight Junction. 332 km long accessible with a soft roader 4 wheel drive such as an X trail or the like. You don't have to go up Fredrick Range as this requires a vehicle with low range, other wise it is a great trip.

 


article by Wayne and Erica Bell

 

september 2012