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  1. #1
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    the tanami track in oz

    has anyone done the tanami track? me and my friend we´re thinking about doing it this summer (or winter down there) and i wonder how´s the track condition and how´s the weather like? does it rain a lot during the winter? anything particular we should watch out for on the track?

    the one thing that worries us the most is the water (seems to be lots of people´s worry as well), we found a couple of water points in the first half of tanami (yuendumu to rabbit flat):

    - renahans bore
    - chilla well
    - refrigerator bore

    at these places it seems to be possible to get water, but we´re not sure. and in the second half of the track, between rabbit flat and billiluna we have no hints for water. and how much should be carry on this track? any other advice or suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schumius
    has anyone done the tanami track? me and my friend we´re thinking about doing it this summer (or winter down there) and i wonder how´s the track condition and how´s the weather like? does it rain a lot during the winter? anything particular we should watch out for on the track?

    the one thing that worries us the most is the water (seems to be lots of people´s worry as well), we found a couple of water points in the first half of tanami (yuendumu to rabbit flat):

    - renahans bore
    - chilla well
    - refrigerator bore

    at these places it seems to be possible to get water, but we´re not sure. and in the second half of the track, between rabbit flat and billiluna we have no hints for water. and how much should be carry on this track? any other advice or suggestions?
    You're talking about the Tanami Desert... I think. I haven't done, and I don't think many others have. I would have to look up an old back issue of a magazine featuring several West Australian riders who may have done it.

    Be aware that this is remote country. Summer temps are VERY hot, winter ones not so much, but also it can get bitterly cold at night. Inappropriate management of water supplies can be fatal. Summer is the monsoon season, and it is unlikely you will get much (if any) rain during winter.

    The bores rely on the Great Artesian Basin, but the water quality cannot be guaranteed.

    If you like sand, and sand dunes and long hard pushing of the bike, then you'll be fine

    I promise I will try to remember to look out that article or two.

  3. #3
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    I checked out some info on Tanami Track, and it is indeed a little rough. Not much wiggle room if something goes wrong. I would figure with the heat of the place, you would need at least a gallon of drinking water a day. That said, it seems if you were able to press on decently each day, you might be able to plan to make it to a water source at least once a day, with the last stretch being the sketchiest..

    I've been considering doing a Mojave and Death Valley tour, and have been researching ways to take more water, such as up to three 1.5 liter bottle cages (Blackburn Bomber, Topeak Modula XL) and an extra square gallon jug on the back rack. You would either have to get used to the extra weight/drink it quickly/or jettison gear or pack pretty light. My challenge won't be finding water so much as not having to find a source each day, allowing me to stay away from "civilization" longer.

    I'd like to hear of someone being able to do this though, as it sounds like a challenge I'd be willing to try...
    Go big.

  4. #4
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    if you're crossing sand in high temps, better plan on more than one gallon per day.
    think about the water loss due to sweat if you're pushing a bike through deep
    sand. deep australian sand. yuck. bull sand.

    i'm pretty sparing with water, but found in west australia on road in 105 degrees,
    i needed about 5 gallons to cover 250 miles in 2-1/4 days.

    tourbike: the 3x1.5 liter bottles should be enough in death valley, even during the
    summer. there are gas stations, resorts, visitor center spaced close enough.
    mohave may require more fluids.

  5. #5
    pierced member
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddlesores
    tourbike: the 3x1.5 liter bottles should be enough in death valley, even during the
    summer. there are gas stations, resorts, visitor center spaced close enough.
    mohave may require more fluids.
    Thanks! I'm also thinking on doing the Atacama desert in Peru- "World's Driest Place", no precipitation in recorded history, and the South Sahara if the political climate ever warms up enough for West to East shot across Africa. Thanks for the info though...
    Go big.

  6. #6
    fks
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    The Tanami Track is 1050 kms from Alice Springs NT to Halls Creek WA and there is only one fuel point (read road house at Rabbit Flat) . Water in creeks is not reliable along this route, even cars have problems and Rabbit Flat only opens on certain days , if you happen to rock up on a day off, forget it, the proprieter WILL NOT open for you on his day off.
    It probably can be done but you would need to carry a lot of water.

  7. #7
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    thanks rowan, it would be cool to read some articles about that route. and to be honest i´m not a big fan of sands so i guess that would make the tour furthur difficult.

    i think this is one of the times that people would happily take their trailer on tour without a second thought. anyone out there willing to lend me his/hers? if anyone´s thinking about a divorce please let me know, i´ll buy ya a beer i have 4 ortlieb water bags, each one can carry up to 10L so i can set off with like 42L on my bike, do you think that would be enough to reach rabbit flat? i suppose i don´t have to drink that much because it´s winter but have no idea of how much we would really drink each day.

    fks, do they have a list of schedules or something like that available online or in the local infomation?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schumius
    thanks rowan, it would be cool to read some articles about that route. and to be honest i´m not a big fan of sands so i guess that would make the tour furthur difficult.

    i think this is one of the times that people would happily take their trailer on tour without a second thought. anyone out there willing to lend me his/hers? if anyone´s thinking about a divorce please let me know, i´ll buy ya a beer i have 4 ortlieb water bags, each one can carry up to 10L so i can set off with like 42L on my bike, do you think that would be enough to reach rabbit flat? i suppose i don´t have to drink that much because it´s winter but have no idea of how much we would really drink each day.

    fks, do they have a list of schedules or something like that available online or in the local infomation?
    Schumius

    I found that article, by Larry Nolan, in the March 1997 Australian Cyclist. I suppose you could say it is a little outdated, but probably not by much. I gather from the information published in Larry's article, that the number of cyclists through Rabbit Flat in the previous 26 years suddenly increased from six to at least 12 in two months.

    Anyway, the Tanami obviously is doable, maybe more so with the insipient occupation by four-wheel-drivers, but there are some warnings in the article, especially about heat, water and sand.

    I will try to scan the four pages and send it to you by PM.

  9. #9
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    Was just browsing through the forums and found this thread. I'm leaving for Alice Springs on Sunday, and will beging my trip to Halls Creek via the Tanami on Tuesday, July 4.

    Drew up a schedule on my blog (which may well change as these things have a tendency of doing on cycle tours), and hopefully will have some cool pics and stories of a successful trip in a few weeks time.

    Fingers crossed.

    Dave

    PS - I'm doing this on my xtracycle, and would just like to say thanks to everyone who gave me advice about the xtracycle and / or the trip on any other threads on which I asked for it.

  10. #10
    eccentric tourer WestOz's Avatar
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    The Tanami is do able. Depending on when you do it, the weather will be the contributing factor. A BOB trailer will haul 40 L of water, however don't put it all in the one container.

    The bore water may need to be treated before drinking. Other water sources are unreliable, like creeks etc.

  11. #11
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    Have you done it WestOz?

  12. #12
    eccentric tourer WestOz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Dave
    Have you done it WestOz?
    No, but I've done other bits of Western Australia. Corrugated roads destroy plastic water containers. Also with the Tanami there are no bike shops, so you are hauling all of your spares.

    Even if you made contact with a bike store, it may still take 3 weeks for the part to arrive. My brother just ordered a BOB trailer, and he lives half way up the WA coast. The trailer took 3 weeks to arrive from Melbourne Victoria.

    Also with Halls Creek, the caravanners pull in get fuel, and then leave straight away. There is a bit of a problem with alcohol in the town if you get my drift.

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