Don’t become a news headline!
The ‘Oodnadatta Track’ and other main roads to and from Oodna are graded with reasonable frequency and can be negotiated by 2WD vehicles if there has been no rain, though 4WD would be a better choice. Do not attempt them in a 2WD vehicle after rain and think carefully about it even with 4WD. NEVER leave any roads unless you first tell someone responsible where you are going and when you expect to return - and do not even consider leaving the main roads except with 4WD, preferably in a group, and with suitable supplies and precautions. This is very unforgiving country and you are very isolated. If you should have problems with your vehicle stay with it and do not try to walk for assistance, even though it may be quite a long time before anyone else comes along! Although there is no risk if you are sensible, it is an unfortunate statement of fact that people die out here!
Carry spares and water and do your homework first.
When travelling in this area, at the least you should have enough water to provide several litres per person in the vehicle for several days. You also should have for the vehicle some spare coolant (NB it’s poisonous), oil, fuel and, I would suggest, some two-part epoxy putty in case you hole a fuel tank. Added to that, you should have spare heater hoses and fan belts, plus a reasonable toolkit. With those on board you have a chance of getting to the next town – but if you have plenty of water and you’re on a main road, you will be OK until someone else comes along to provide assistance.
This warning applies ‘with bells on’ during the warmer months. I strongly suggest that only if it is necessary should you undertake road travel in this area in summer (about mid-October until April). It becomes bloody hot! Tourist travel does not count as ‘necessary’, so keep it for the more comfortable months – not only will you be safer, but it will be far more pleasant. You might care to consider that Oodna’s record temperature is over 50, with summer average maximum temperatures in the high 30s (winter maximums are in the low 20s).
For more information on remote area travel, visit this link at the SA Royal Automobile Association.
- Road Trip