Melrose to Port Stephens (RR)

Ride Report : 14-15 October 2018

This was a return run on blacktop from Melrose to Port Stephens

General Route

 Legend:

  • red line as recorded track,
  • orange dots are spotwalla data points (using BubbleGPS) – 10 minute intervals
  • There may picture icons which contain photos and standard message icons for breaks.
  • S & F – start and finish.
Number of Riders
solo
incidents
none
Commentary

This ride was the culmination of the Flinders Ranges ride. I planned to take 2 nights but arrived in Narromine by 2pm on the second day so I thought I’d just go through to Dunedoo to make the next day shorter. However, when I refueled at Dubbo, it was 3:15pm with 425km to get home. I made the bold decision that it it would be better to be in my own bed even if the last couple of hours were ridden in the dark. This option sounded a lot better than another night in a musty motel so I refueled again in Merriwa to avoid a fill later and just kept going.

The takeaway from this was that 983kms in one sitting (lunch and fuel stops excluded) wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it just showed how good an airhawk seat can be. Of course, I wouldn’t have done it if I were headed for an overnight camp or even staying in a hotel from an 8:30pm finish.

Accommodation

One night in Wilcannia

Stats

Actual 1,549 kms

Ambient Temp 7-37C
Max Engine Temp (at front rocker cover) 134C
Road Conditions no rain
all roads dry & dusty
dust storm(ish) east of Wilcannia to Nyngan
Costs Fuel: $130 O/N: $65 (plus meals)

Flinders Ranges Ride (RR)

This report is for the actual Flinders Ranges ride based on plans Part A and Part B.

Ride Report – 08.10.2018-15.10.2018

flinders ranges hancock lookout

Highlights
  • Iga-Warta Aboriginal Community
  • Deserted Township of Leigh Creek
  • Beltana Historic Township
  • Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges
  • Stokes Hill Lookout
  • Wilpena Panorama (Hawker)
  • Arden Vale Road and Warren Gorge
  • Hancocks Lookout
  • The Bridal Trail
Video
General Route
Icon

Flinders Ranges GPX 3.42 MB 19 downloads

GPX download of Flinders Ranges tracks from Arkaroola to Melrose via Leigh Creek,...

Instead of the planned route going north from Arkaroola on Umberatana Road, I went through Gammon Ranges to Copley. Umberatana road would have been nice if I’d been with a few other riders but it was so rough it would have been 1st and 2nd gear most of the way and taken too long to get back to Gammon Ranges Road.

Overnight in Copley, Craddock, Warren Gorge, Craddock and Melrose (and then Wilcannia on the way home)

Degree of Difficulty

I classify all the tracks on this ride as 1 and 2. Due to my incident on the Bridal Trail, I may consider this a level 3 track but this is not because of remoteness. There seems to always be plenty of people around.

Number of Riders
solo
incidents
1 – drop on The Bridal Trail
1 – kangaroo strike on Orrerroo Road north of Craddock – busted a lot of the headlight wiring and bent cowling brackets. Took a couple of hours to put back together in Hawker.
Map


Legend:

  • red line as recorded track,
  • orange dots are spotwalla data points (using BubbleGPS) – 10 minute intervals
  • There may picture icons which contain photos and standard message icons for breaks.
  • S & F – start and finish.
Commentary

This was, after all, the Flinders Ranges ride I had planned. Although the scenery was great, the roads were good and mostly gravel which is what I like, I think I got a bit bored. A lot of the same, like seeing churches, seen one, seen’m all – with gorges.

I’m happy I finally went and saw the ranges and I appreciate the geology a lot more now. I also appreciate the weather conditions and how dry the area is. It’s obvious why farming activities have dramatically retreated from the north over the last century.

You have to pay to drive thru the NPs. I didn’t know that. But the stupid thing is that you cannot pay via honor system like the camp grounds, you must pay online before you enter. But of course, there’s no mobile reception at the pay stations. No wonder the pay stations are covered in graffiti exclaiming how stupid it is to require payment online when you know there’s no mobile reception to make the transaction. 

A lot of goats out west. Thank God they nearly always run away from oncoming vehicles unlike our dumb roos.

Cautions

Kangaroos – lots of them, small but they come out of nowhere. Simple mistake on the Bridal Trail – take it easy and unlike me, keep your head up in that last section if you’re going up (east).

Accommodation in the Flinders Ranges

Arkaroola caravan park, Leigh Creek Hotel (Copley), Camping in Warren Gorge, Craddock Hotel – the hotels are not cheap in the Flinders especially if you stay on the main tourist routes.

Arkaroola ‘resort’ is pretty expensive ($10 for a pot of tea?) but the guy at the desk (he’s called ‘large’ for good reason) is very helpful. Gave me pegs, knows the area well and directed me to Iga-Warta and Leigh Creek.

Craddock Hotel was recommended to me by the Hotelier at Leigh Creek (Copley). It’s off the main tourist route so it’s a bit cheaper. It’s funky and has a great restaurant. The Hotel is practically all there is to Craddock – highly recommended.

OSM Map Corrections

I made sure the track at Hancocks Lookout is not routable because the gate is locked. You have to backtrack out.

Latest Edits to Open Street Maps

Next Time in the Flinders Ranges

The Ride Plans A and B for the Flinders Ranges are still possible for a return trip. The run through Yandinna , Illinawortina, Umberatana Rd and Narrina Station would be better done in company.

Stats

Actual 834 kms

Ambient Temp 20-37C
Max Engine Temp (at front rocker cover) 134C
Road Conditions

no rain
all roads dry & dusty
some causeways
very little water
no sand

Costs Fuel: $63
O/N: nil-$15 Camping $60-$95 Hotels (plus meals)
Tyres: $38

Next: The run home from Melrose

Pooncarie to Arkaroola (RR)

From Scrapheap ride to Pooncarie, this was a liaison ride from Pooncarie to Arkaroola via Yunta, finishing one ride and starting another. But it was a challenge nonetheless and introduced some risks which invite a separate ride report.

arkaroola
Arkaroola Village
Day 1 – Pooncarie to Yunta

Early start on Sunday morning. Headed west past Ginko Mine and the (dry) lakes then up B79 Silver City Highway to Coombah.

Destination Distance Arrive Depart
BP Pooncarie (dep 07.10.2018)     8:00 AM
Coombah Roadhouse 162 10:00 AM 10:30 AM
Sturt Vale Road & Eastern Road 190 1:30 PM 1:45 PM
BP Yunta (overnight) 94 3:30 PM  
Total 444    
Fuel Range (Coombah to Yunta) 284    
  1. Dirt: 136 km
  2. Asphalt: 53 km (Silver City Highway)
  3. Dirt: 255 km
Map


Legend:

  • red line – recorded tracks by day,
  • orange dots – spotwalla waypoints (using BubbleGPS)
  • white icons – symbols for Food, Fuel, Rest, Sightseeing, Law Enforcement and Bonus/Flag. green or yellow numbered banners – OK or custom text messages respectively.
Highlights
  • 15kms of sand dunes mostly on the eastern side of the border
  • some rather persistent whirlwinds on the SA side.
Icon

Pooncarie to Arkaroola GPX 2.60 MB 7 downloads

2 GPX tracks from Pooncarie to Arkaroola via an overnight stop in Yunta. The first...
Degree of Difficulty

I rate these tracks as mostly 1 and 2 on my scale of difficulty. However, in hindsight, the Loch Lilly and Eastern Roads should be rated as 3 because of the sand and the remoteness of the tracks.

Video

Polia and Nob Roads going west from Pooncarie were in pretty good condition albeit a little sandy. The haul road west from Ginko was in very good condition. The road trains were flying. I’ve since realigned the Haul Road on OSM to its current route.

Morning tea at Coombah and took some spare fuel.

This leg was probably the riskiest leg of my journey when you consider the distance and sense of remoteness between Silver City Highway and Yunta.

After leaving Silver City Highway on Loch Lilly, it was clear that not a lot of traffic uses this road. Toward the SA border there was about 15kms of sand dunes. Fortunately they were not large dunes and very low traffic meant that there was no rutting to contend with. Once over the border, you aren’t far from the Oakvale property but it’s best to know this before you go there.

The track on the SA side (Eastern Road) was closely bordered by salt bush which did a good job of hiding the small kangaroos which were plentiful. Several close calls.

Overnight – Yunta
Day 2 – Yunta to Arkaroola
Destination Distance Arrive Depart
BP Yunta (dep 08.10.2018)     8:00 AM
Waukaringa Hotel Ruin 82 9:30 AM 10:00 AM
Arkaroola (overnight) 235 1:00 PM  
Total 324    
Fuel Range (Yunta to Arkaroola) 316    

Read more from some resources here:

The 300+kms north from Yunta (as in ‘punter’) was a wide road. Some parts were in good condition and most was very heavily corrugated. I was expecting to see road trains going up and down but I only saw 2-3 other cars all day.

NUMBER OF RIDERS
solo
INCIDENTS
none – a few near misses with kangaroos
STATS

Planned: 730kms; Actual: 730kms

Road Conditions mostly dry
some causeways south of Yunta
sand dunes crossing the SA border

Next The Flinders Ranges Ride

Scrapheap 9 to Pooncarie (RR)

Ride report: 3-6 October 2018

The destination for the 2018 Scrapheap adventure ride was Pooncarie, NSW.

Darling River - Pooncarie
Darling River – Pooncarie
General Route

The planned route included overnight stops in Canowindra and Hillston, intending to cover as much off-road ground as possible. Unfortunately, heavy rain forced a change in plans.

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Scrapheap 9 to Pooncarie GPX 2.46 MB 6 downloads

The Scrapheap 9 ride to Pooncarie started in Wisemans Ferry. Tracks went via Canowindra,...


Legend:

  • Colored tracks are planned route, replace by red line as recorded track when completed,
  • orange dots are spotwalla data points (using BubbleGPS) – 10 minute intervals
  • There may picture icons which contain photos and standard message icons for breaks.
  • S & F – start and finish.
Video
HIGHLIGHTS

Tarana to Canowindra, especially Lagoon Rd into Rockley and Old Lachlan Road into Neville

The ride to Canowindra was as per the plan. But heavy rain resulted in closed roads from Hillston onwards. Unfortunately a detour was required at Condoblin so we headed to Hay for the night.

The weather from Hay to Balranald was much better and a group of riders decided to make the run up via Lake Mungo to Pooncarie instead of going thru Wentworth with the main support vehicles.

The roads thru to Lake Mungo and Pooncarie were quite unusual. Plenty of dust but also large patches of wet slippery sand. There were also some large fissures in the road which looked pretty scary. Those who came thru the next day reported the road was dry again.

We paid our respect to Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, the oldest (42,000 years) remains of modern humans outside Africa, and made the final run to Pooncarie. We arrived well ahead of the others who went via Wentworth.

More information about the rides at the Scrapheap Adventure Ride Website and about Down Syndrome at Down Syndrome NSW website.

NUMBER OF RIDERS
over 100
INCIDENTS
none
STATS

Planned: 1,121kms; Actual: 1,448kms

Road Conditions rain – day 2
day 2 mostly black top
day 1 some causeways
roads into Lake Mungo very unusual due to recent rains

Next: Pooncarie to Arkaroola