Uluru area Emergency water query

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Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 05 Apr, 2023 4:55 pm

It's been 50 years since I lived in The Alice so I am out of touch with conditions there.
If we have an unexpected breakdown with the vehicle we'll need some extra water even in July and August. Used to take a 20 litre jerrycan for each person back then plus normal drinking supplies for the time expected. With all the traffic and with mobile phones I'm wondering how many of the 5 litre boxes I should think of packing as a "just in case" supply.
I know I need a minimum of 5 litres per day and Cecile a minimum of 3.5.
We don't want to over think this trip but also don't want to have to hit the panic button if we get a flat tyre twice.
Is allowing a 36 hour ration enough these days?
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby tastrax » Wed 05 Apr, 2023 6:14 pm

Hi Moondog - If you are staying on the main drags then keeping a 20 litre container for emergencies would likely be more than sufficient (from my experience). I generally travel solo and have 20 litres tucked away for emergencies that I have never touched (it does get regularly rotated).

I think what is more important is good vehicle/van preparation before you go. I have travelled 1,000's of kms, generally solo, on less travelled gravel roads and only had one slow leak in a tyre. Never a puncture. I also travel relatively light these days which means less wear on the vehicle. There are heaps of folks on the road at that time of the year and most are friendly, especially if you have issues.

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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby ChrisJHC » Thu 06 Apr, 2023 1:16 pm

If you pack a PLB and register your trip plan with AMSA it’s unlikely you’ll be stuck for more than a few hours.

I think a max of one-day’s emergency water would be plenty.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 06 Apr, 2023 3:51 pm

It's like the spare jerrycan of fuel, unlikely to be needed but I'd kick myself if we got a bit stuck and ran out of drinking water while waiting for a tow
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby stry » Sat 08 Apr, 2023 9:27 am

For only me, I like to have 20L (in 10s and 5s). More for desert trips, but probably still less than most people would carry.

I would not be comfortable with only one day's drinking water per person. Depending on getting help within a narrow time window is not my thing.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 08 Apr, 2023 9:53 am

For my own car I just fill soft drink bottles with tap water and keep them in a cardboard box, in her car I keep a store bought box with a tap.
It's easy enough to buy a couple of extra cardboard boxes of water and label them as emergency only with a red marker.
I am having a new trailer made for the trip as we sold the old one to somebody with the welding skills to repair it.
I want a HD 3*5 but the local maker says a 4*7 would be almost the same cost and tow better, I thought it was drawbar length that made for stable towing not axle width and wanted the smallest trailer for easy storage here.
Hey taztrax what's the little caravan?
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby ChrisJHC » Sun 09 Apr, 2023 9:46 am

Moondog55 wrote:It's been 50 years since I lived in The Alice so I am out of touch with conditions there.
If we have an unexpected breakdown with the vehicle we'll need some extra water even in July and August. Used to take a 20 litre jerrycan for each person back then plus normal drinking supplies for the time expected. With all the traffic and with mobile phones I'm wondering how many of the 5 litre boxes I should think of packing as a "just in case" supply.
I know I need a minimum of 5 litres per day and Cecile a minimum of 3.5.
We don't want to over think this trip but also don't want to have to hit the panic button if we get a flat tyre twice.
Is allowing a 36 hour ration enough these days?
Unless there are medical reasons, that’s a lot of water per day for an emergency situation.
Remember that all you’re doing is sitting around waiting for assistance.
Plus July/August is cool and peak season so I’d expect you’d be quite okay with half the figures you’ve quoted.
If you still have your 20L jerry then that should be plenty of emergency water for the two of you. That would give you 10L each which would be sufficient for 3-4 days in an emergency.
Plus they’re robust and will handle a lot of abuse.

Note that this assumes you’re within cooee of assistance.
If you’re going well off the beaten track then the considerations change significantly!
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 09 Apr, 2023 3:36 pm

If just resting in the shade I could stretch 5l to 2 days
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby stry » Mon 10 Apr, 2023 12:13 pm

Moondog55 wrote:If just resting in the shade I could stretch 5l to 2 days


There's your answer. 5L per day for two of you. I'd like to have minimum 3 days, so 15L. Add another 5kg and you have four days. 15/20L should be more than enough.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 10 Apr, 2023 1:09 pm

I guess that on this road in particular and most of the sealed roads in general that 3 days is pessimistic.
I doubt we'll be using many; if any; dirt roads
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby tastrax » Mon 10 Apr, 2023 9:22 pm

Moondog55 wrote:Hey taztrax what's the little caravan?


Track Trailer TVAN, damn expensive for new models but older ones just as capable. That’s a 2006 model.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 11 Apr, 2023 10:40 am

Nice rigs.
Even second hand a bit too much for us just now as we are trying to get rid of the mortgage before Cecile retires next year.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Fri 14 Apr, 2023 1:42 pm

Do people carry full medical kits these days?
Ditto on first aid kits, I could downsize my kit to suit the trip. leave out the splints and neck braces for instance
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Biggles » Sat 15 Apr, 2023 4:40 pm

I have travelled (and worked) extensively through the NT in nursing before retiring, including from Alice base and also Tennant Creek. Drives from Alice were often 800km return a day.

Where exactly are you going?

Touring on weekends I never had trouble finding water (I took my own one 20 litre tub on most occasions), but then I did not go full off-road, just reasonly self-contained and only going to places I knew well from many previous trips e.g. Kings Canyon (a major drive), the lovely, quiet Trephina, Ormiston, Redbank, some smaller obscure gorges, Devil's Marbles etc.. If you venture west beyond Hermannsburg or to places like Rainbow Valley, you're going to have to consider very seriously a robust set of wheels and supplies, not just water; would not do these "out-back" adventures in anything other than a 4WD, and ideally a high-clearance 4WD. N then E from Alice (Devils Marbls is far north, and water is not a problem en route, but must be carried if you are camping there — beware of the dingoes!), to e.g. Trephina Gorge, plenty water there, and it can be hot and dry in July and August; a German couple died there when they wandered off-track — reflected heat from rocks melted the glue in my shoes in 2014! I would very strongly suggest, on the basis that you are not familiar with the NT environment, that you have a satellite phone, PLB and something like HEMA maps navigation with a very detailed NT focus.

Don't forget to give good and proper attention to the wheels (esp. the trailer) that will get you there! I am concerned about people taking cars in poor mechanical condition on long road trips e.g backpacker vans — oh God.... You should get in some practice driving with a loaded trailer on local gravel roads; sway-bars should be standard. Packing down each evening and again the next morning is a teamwork effort, and everything must be checked and checked again.

What are you driving up there? And have you driven the route before? One point to consider: ensure the car can take fuel other than ULP91 e.g. PULP95 to PULP98, E10, E85; ULP91 and PULP98, E85 were not available in e.g. Pimba or Marla on three occasions! So that's another thing to consider, what to put in your car when expectations of the availability of one fuel fail.

The tarmac drive to Uluru is long and a bit boring, but in excellent condition compared to 50 years ago!! The drive to Kata Tjuta is much the same, albeit with a few landmarks e.g. Mount Sonder and the granite massifs themselves. Getting caught in a wild thunderstorm here can be memorable — and frightening. Out here, you have to trust your best instincts of preparedness — no phone reception, hence a satellite phone or, failing that, a passing 4WD (and they are plentiful out there, though not always on the tried-and-true sealed tourist routes). I will correct a misconception: it can be hot anywhere in the NT in the southern winter peak season for travel, and you will get sunburnt. Early November is the cut-off as the temp can soar to 40-something before 11am. Uluru and Kata Tjuta are truly infernally hot in November.

Would advise local enquiry on conditions before you drive on dirt roads. Some remote roads can be the subject of carjacking, or the laying of concealed spanish riders so you will puncture and then the carjackers pounce.

I have friends living and working in Alice, I thought I would mention this:
Consider personal and family security as a priority if the town is transit stop. Alice is a rough place to be at the moment; tourists have always been a honeypot for potential 'strikes', now even more so. The caravan parks are like fortresses now; my last stay was at the MacDonnnell Ranges CP (free pancakes and syrup on Saturday mornings!) on southern outskirts; even that hasn't escaped trouble. Rocks are frequently hurled at cars (and The Ghan!) at The Gap and on the northern/western exits of Alice. It's a very, very troubling time presently.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Eremophila » Sat 15 Apr, 2023 5:49 pm

MD did live in Alice some years ago (as did I), he’s familiar with the conditions :D
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Warin » Sat 15 Apr, 2023 9:10 pm

Moondog55 wrote:I want a HD 3*5 but the local maker says a 4*7 would be almost the same cost and tow better, I thought it was drawbar length that made for stable towing not axle width and wanted the smallest trailer for easy storage here.

You want the trailer track width to be the same as the car/tow vehicle. Particularly on dirt roads! That way it does not hit bumps different from the car, nor nails, screws, rocks etc.
Trailer tires .. light truck tyres will carry a load and not get flats... ( :oops: now I've done it .. jinxed)

Truckies fix flat tubeless tyres with 'string' patch kits.. https://www.atvstore.com.au/p/MCS-Tyre- ... gIQf_D_BwE I've used them with some success - ~3 tyres to worn out and 1 tyre leaky - needed refilling every second day .. I replaced that one (these are officially 'temporary' repairs only). Of course you'll need a pump and long nose pliers to pull what ever made the flat out of the tyre. With skill you can patch the tyre on the vehicle - you may need water, detergent and a brush to find the hole.. I have used my shaving brush for the brush .. detergent and water you probably already have.

Alice camping. I have used a camp site very close to town centre in the past on a number of occasions .. they were good - no troubles... and not on the main road. I would use it again. http://alicespringstouristpark.com.au/ LTTS have it on their approved list too.

Do take some cash. I've been in a place that lost electricity ... so no cards etc. But with cash you could get stuff.. except for fuel as that needs a pump which needs electricity... took an hour for it to come back on - travelling diesel mechanic took a look.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 15 Apr, 2023 10:17 pm

Well as it happens I just bought a cheap used trailer.
It was cheap enough that if it breaks down after we get back I'll consider it money well spent.
A shame about The Alice, I have mostly very fond memories of my time there, we could give the township a miss I suppose given the stuff happening around there.
Some of the kids at Yirara College were really smart and damned hardworking WT *$&# has happened over the last 40 years for kids to think they have no future and no hope?
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 15 Apr, 2023 10:38 pm

The KIA takes premium diesel but will run on truck diesel if it has to. Sounds a bit like Nuigini Highlands type troubles, but I won't be carrying a pistol or a shotgun for obvious reasons, carjackers up there carried M-16s and all other sorts of weapons, and steal everything leave you naked on the side of the road to start walking back to town
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Warin » Sun 16 Apr, 2023 9:51 am

Moondog55 wrote:Well as it happens I just bought a cheap used trailer.


Regrease the wheel bearings. Not the only failure that could occur, but the easiest one to avoid.
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 16 Apr, 2023 2:08 pm

And pump grease into the shackles and the Treg hitch. Need to find a good grease gun as both mine are U/S.
I'll be asking the brains trust for some help soon on a DIY solution to putting in a bed for Cecile and adding some sort of tent roof of standing height to this
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Biggles » Sun 16 Apr, 2023 2:46 pm

Looking at that trailer...you want to sleep in that?? :shock:
if your KIA is a 7 or 8 seater (or a 5-6p wagon), kit that out with a double mattress, and store everything else in the trailer out of the way as would be the usual intention. The trailer doesn't look all that welcoming for one or two people, no matter that it is in its bare-bones form.

Setting up any people mover semi-permanently with a mattress, lights, drawers and sundry facilities (think Mercedes Vito, VW and Hyundai Staria) is the achievable dream of many, just that it's a costly and involved undertaking. Look at #vanlife posts for examples. Yes, you wonder where those young, nubile roadrunners get their ducats from... :lol:
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 16 Apr, 2023 4:17 pm

The Kia is very uncomfortable to sleep in because it isn't flat, one of the reasons Cecile can't sleep on a camp cot or stretcher. I won't be sleeping in the trailer, I have a swag and stretcher
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Re: Uluru area Emergency water query

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 27 Apr, 2023 12:26 pm

Biggles wrote:Looking at that trailer...you want to sleep in that?? :shock:
if your KIA is a 7 or 8 seater (or a 5-6p wagon), kit that out with a double mattress, and store everything else in the trailer out of the way as would be the usual intention. The trailer doesn't look all that welcoming for one or two people, no matter that it is in its bare-bones form.

Setting up any people mover semi-permanently with a mattress, lights, drawers and sundry facilities (think Mercedes Vito, VW and Hyundai Staria) is the achievable dream of many, just that it's a costly and involved undertaking. Look at #vanlife posts for examples. Yes, you wonder where those young, nubile roadrunners get their ducats from... :lol:


Well we have decided to sell the rack so I need to work something out with the trailer naked.
Thinking about a hinge set-up for one side and a bed platform made from marine plywood about 800mm wide
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