New Outback track excites adventurous grey nomads

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Balgo Track could be a winner for grey nomads
The Balgo Hills are a popular lookout. PIC: Matt Bamford/ABC

Grey nomads who fear the Big Lap is becoming less of an adventure as the march of the bitumen slowly makes Outback areas more easily accessible, will be delighted to hear of plans for a new ‘serious’ track.

A new road is being opened up across sacred lands in Western Australia’s far-north which is designed for those determined to take on the toughest bush tracks. It will cross some of the most remote and untouched ancient country in the world.

The ABC reports that the initiative is being led by the Balgo community, an isolated township 2,800 kilometres north of Perth, on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert. The 140-kilometre road winds will through the Balgo Hills, a savannah plain dotted with spinifex, and is surrounded by expansive rock formations that glow a deep red at sunset.

The Wirrimanu Corporation, which represents Balgo’s residents, has been busy carving the track out of the desert.

Chairman Nathaniel Stretch said the community wants tourists to experience the isolated landscape, which has remained largely unchanged for countless generations.

“Tourists will miss some of the rough roads but we will still have the Outback, we are still trying to maintain that once the bitumen comes to the Tanami Road,” he told the ABC. “We’re trying to make campsites — we know tourists like to look at the stars and the view.”

The Corporation also wants to teach more non-Aboriginal people about the country, which has been populated by tribes for tens of thousands of years.

“We want to show visitors how our ancestors survived in the desert,” he said. “This project is important to ensure our future is strong … what you can see from that view is our story.”

The ABC says camping and four-wheel drive enthusiasts will be able to spot teams of wild brumbies roaming the plains and see sacred sites dotted along the route. They may also stumble across fossils when they walk among the remnants of what locals believe is a coral reef that existed when the area was underwater millions of years ago.

A four-wheel drive is a minimum requirement and visitors are encouraged to bring a week’s worth of food, water, and plenty of spare tyres. Reaching the track will involves a full day’s drive from the nearest towns of Halls Creek, in the west, or Alice Springs, to the east.

It is hoped the road will be open to tourists next year.

  • Are you looking for an adventure like this one, or does a trip along a sealed Tanami Road seem quite adventurous enough? Comment below.
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3 Responses to New Outback track excites adventurous grey nomads

  1. This is a start, but your last paragraph explains the issues of most grey nomads that would like to visit these areas, “a four wheel drive is minimum”. Having a 4×4 is not always an essential item for a lot of grey nomads, the sooner these tracks, roads are bitumen-ed the better for all, there is no reason why some of the local tracks can’t remain unmade for the enthusiast. But in essence the old saying is still most relevant, “build it and they will come”. In the meantime those without a 4 wheel drive or those that can’t afford the extra expense of paying for multiple spare tyres will continue to follow the black top around this magnificent country.

  2. “the sooner these tracks, roads are bitumen-ed the better for all”…?
    Shane, the cost of laying and maintaining bitumen is huge in these parts of the country…and part of the attraction for many folk is the fact that its no sealed, so I have to respectfully disagree with you….nearly 10,000 folk travel the dirt roads to Birdsville to the big bash, sure lay bitumen, but the cost if huge, the maintenance is a fortune, and the very reason many of us travel to these parts is that it is the dirt and gravel outback…:)
    Just saying that’s all.

  3. Can’t wait

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