Tanami Road Part B

CONFIDENCE has been boosted after surviving 500+ km on the Tanami Road, so we rattle off towards the WA border. 

A big wetland is the first surprise, and the desert keeps on rolling out its endless cinema of backdrops. A field of hunched red termite mounds, a kilometre or so of tall white-boned trees, spiky red flowering bushes, golden grasses – the scenery changes endlessly. Small squadrons of budgerigars swoop and dip overhead, flashing fluoro green as they make their precision turns.

The worst of the corrugations on the road appear close to the border and beyond, but it is possible to travel in reasonable comfort by driving in the sandy verge on the wrong side of the road. You can see the oncoming plumes of dust from any traffic, so there’s plenty of time to manoeuvre out of the way. 

Our second and final night on the Tanami was spent camped next to Stretch Lagoon, about 16km from the main road and on the way to the Canning Stock route. A permit to stay on the Aboriginal land can be purchased from the community store at Billiluna, for $30.

Pleasant spot. Lots of bird life thriving on the fish in the lagoon.

Next morning we returned to the Tanami Road, detouring into the Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater.

Here we decant our jerry cans of diesel into the tank. As we head towards Halls Creek, we have finally found the “bad” part of the road. A group zooming past in a battered, skittish Commodore sedan doesn’t seem too concerned. The empty VB cans bouncing in their wake might have something to do with it.



    • Didn’t you walk the Camino on your own, Kerrie? Braver than me, that’s for sure. But as far as feeling safe camped alone in the bush – I think it’s probably safer than Sydney. And look at today’s news from Manchester. Crowds are no guarantee of safety, sadly. We were a bit anxious about mechanical breakdowns, because I don’t think the NRMA would turn up in half an hour 😂 but there are plenty of passing trucks & other travellers out there, if something disastrous happens. We reckon we’ve had our share of mechanical issues this trip (well, I hope so …) Thanks for reading 😊

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      • Lol! Yes, I did head over to Spain on my own to walk the Camino! 🙂 But what I meant was the bush camping thing…. we travel on our own no trouble, but have not been brave enough to set up camp anywhere other than in a designated camp area. We are heading up to Cape York in July…going with 3 or 4 other vehicles, can hardly wait to be on the road again. Loving your trip; the photos and you write so very well! I reckon you’ve had your fair share of mechanical issues this trip too!


      • That sounds like a great trip – and so good to miss the worst of winter. We find the Wikkicamps app is a good one if you are looking for free or paid campsites. Campers can comment on the facilities/conditions and you can get up to date info. Our little van makes it easy for overnighting in out-of-the -way spots. Self-contained, minimal set up, and we can make a quick getaway if we have to 😂

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    • Thanks Lo. So many people have asked about the road conditions, but everyone has different tolerances don’t they? It was good for Paul to go that way, lots of nostalgia after travelling that way in the early 70s with Ray and Joan and the York caravan. Rabbit Flat has since closed and you can’t wander freely around the Granites anymore, but the budgies and dingoes were still there!

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