What are the road conditions on the Oodnadatta Track? Is it easy to travel out there?
Which car do I need? Can I tow a caravan? Can I use a conventional car?
These are the kind of questions readers ask again and again. I asked the same before my first Outback trip. And this is a good thing! It prevents people from getting in troubles out there.
Although the Oodnadatta Track is one of the easy Outback drives, you can get problems if you don't know what to expect. Road conditions can change quickly. While it is usually a well maintained dirt road, the track can turn into a quagmire after rain.
The track is definitely suitable for All-wheel drive SUVs and of course 4WD vehicles, which allow you to take a rough side track to additional attractions. They are much more convenient, they have better ground clearance, often mud flaps that somewhat prevent the banging of stones underneath your car.
With a 4WD / AWD you are also better prepared if an unpredicted rain shower comes down.
Of course, you will also see conventional cars on the track, even campervans & caravans. However, with the various creek crossings along the track good ground clearance is essential. A fancy car with front spoilers and lowered chassis is not of much use out there! Towing a normal caravan might ruin it on the stony and sometimes corrugated track.
Having said all that, another reason why it is hard to answer the above questions is: I don't know about the driver's ability to deal with conditions which are certainly different than driving on bitumen.
It is important to drive according to the conditions. Don't speed. Always expect a change in the road surface. Washouts, sandy sections, potholes and corrugations appear without warning.
Get the latest updates about road conditions from Outback Roads South Australia, Ph: 1300 361 033
Road surface Oodnadatta Track
by Kevin & Jan
We are planning a trip to Darwin mid 2010 and would dearly love to travel the Oodnadatta track.
Presuming weather conditions are OK, would the road surface be suitable for a 4WD towing a 25ft caravan?
Thank you in anticipation of your reply. Kevin & Jan
Road conditions Oodnadatta Track
I did the Oodnadatta Track on a group tour, with a driver in 2008 (I'm doing the Oodnadatta Track myself next year). One thing that I did pick up on when driving out there, is that it needs to be done at some speed, to sort of skim over the corrigations. This causes a lot of vibration. I was surprised how fast the driver had to drive to give us a reasonably comfortable ride.
I'm just wondering if lighter weight caravans would take the hammering they could get out there. I've booked a Toyota 4x4 for that trip, then hired a HiTop for the rest of the trip of around 2.5 months.
Travelling from Marree to Williams Creek to Coober Pedy
From Marree to Williams Creek to Coober Pedy, what are the road conditions? I only have an ordinary caravan not an off road, is the road corrugated?
Would it be safe enough for me to drive? What is the distance and how long would it take for me to drive from Marree to Coober Pedy?
Caravans on the Oodnadata track
by: Mike (WAX) W
I have transversed the Oodnadata track 2 times and I own a Jayco Poptop. Unless you plan to take a year to do it, or your planning to get a new caravan after your trip, I would leave the van behind.
It is a very long track, it has water crossings, wet or dry, every 5-10 kms or so, so you are constantly slowing down and than accelerating away. (If you carry to much speed through a wash out you are likely to cause damage. Unwise out here).
Furthermore, there are no services between towns and if you experience rain, a towing vehicle will go nowhere on the unsealed surface.
People who travel the outback ignorant or unprepared cause immense inconvenience to those that have to rescue them. Take a look at the book that came with your van. It says nothing about taking your van on 4wd tracks.
After some advise, like everyone else :)
We're planning to do the Oodnadatta Track in about 3 weeks. we'll be towing a Jayco Outback Eagle, another party will have a Goldstream 'offroad' and I'm not sure what the 3rd member of the party will have, a small caravan I believe.
We're planning to take 2-3 days from Marla to Marree. Your thoughts would be appreciated as to whether it will be suitable.
I've talked to various people and everyone gives me a different answer.
Just back from our marathon shake down trip. Did the Oodnadatta Track last week and found it to be in quite good condition.
We did the section from Marla to Oodnadatta first and one of our group in a Prado blew a tyre in the first 50 km's, we had dropped pressure when we first got on the track, but this section is very rocky.
The rest of the drive was not challenging at all and could easily be done with a standard car. In fact we saw a couple of standard vehicles at Oodnadatta campground with on-road caravans.