Part 1 of this topic focused on the things to see along the track, here I’ll look at the practicalities of travel in this area and provide information to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
This trip best suits camping, with no commercial accommodation available along the track. However, for options at either end you have:
- Ceduna – all forms of accommodation.
- Goog’s Lake – good camping spots, none with facilities.
- Tarcoola – now largely a ghost town, this was once a thriving community and serviced a gold mine nearby. This is now the spot where the Ghan rail line heads north and the Indian Pacific line heads west. It may be possible to camp on the town outskirts.
- Kingoonya – an old railway settlement that has been largely abandoned. However, the pub has been revitalised and is well worth a stop. Some accommodation is available as is a camping area. Check out the revamped Kingoonya Hotel.
- Glendambo – on the Stuart Highway, there is a motel and caravan park.
- Mount Ive Station – in the Gawler Ranges and with access to Lake Gairdner, this station provides camping as well as stone cottages and shearer’s quarters Get more information on Mt Ive Station here.
The actual track is in an isolated area, is narrow, sandy and crosses many dunes, some quite steep.
Like all outback travel, top class preparation and self-sufficiency are the keys to an enjoyable experience providing positive memories for years to come.
Here are some major factors to consider:
- Food – stock up at Ceduna and carry all food required to at least get you to the next major town, with a couple of days extra supplies in case of breakdown. This is most likely to be Coober Pedy if continuing north or Port Augusta if returning south.
- Water – don’t rely on any access to water along the way, especially drinking water. Carry all you need, again ensuring extra in case of breakdown. Supplies can be replenished at Glendambo.
- Shelter – Apart from the accommodation options previously mentioned, there are numerous spots to camp along the way. Flies can be a real problem during the day, especially in warm weather. Fly nets are a must to help maintain your sanity. See Snowys for all the gear to combat the dreaded flies.
- Fires – campfires are allowed most of the year, but firewood can be scarce. Carry your own.
- Fuel – There is no fuel between Ceduna and Kingoonya or Glendambo so ensure you carry enough to cover this distance, with a good margin for error, keeping in mind the increased fuel consumption resulting from sand driving.
- Tyres – When on Goog’s Track itself reduce tyre pressures considerably to make dune crossings easier and to avoid damage to the track. Check out the Cooper Tires website for their excellent guide to tyre pressures.
- Communication – there is no reliable mobile phone coverage along the track so carry a good UHF radio as a minimum.
- Vehicle – have your vehicle thoroughly checked before leaving and ensure your mechanic knows where you are heading so that everything is looked at. Be very aware of carrying as little gear as possible to avoid overloading your vehicle. Try to pack light gear on a roof rack to keep the centre of gravity low. Ensure you do not exceed your vehicles legal Gross Vehicle Mass as insurance can be voided if an accident occurs as a result of overloading.
- Personal – fly nets are a must – don’t leave home without them! Good insect repellent is another must, especially if there is any groundwater laying around. The mozzies can be a real problem. Have lightweight clothes that cover arms and legs and always wear a hat in the sun – you can burn very quickly, even in the winter.
- Caravans and Camper Trailers – a good sturdy camper trailer could undertake Goog’s Track but may cause difficulties over some of the steeper dunes. Caravans should not tackle this track.
- Safety – have a sand flag mounted high on the vehicle to make it as visible as possible to any on-coming traffic. Scan on your UHF radio to get some warning if there are other vehicles around and make contact to organise where to pass.
Some Tips and Bush Etiquette
- Approaching vehicles – to avoid windscreen damage, slow down when another vehicle is approaching.
- Keep headlights on – make your vehicle visible, especially on dusty tracks.
- Station tracks – do not travel down station tracks, even to find a camping spot. This is like driving into someone’s driveway in the city.
- Camping spots – never camp near stock watering points as this scares stock away, leaving them without water.
- Driving through water – After significant rain you will come across large pools of water spreading across the road. The temptation is to drive over to the edge as it appears the water is shallower. Don’t. The pool exists because the road surface under the water is hard, but the edges are generally soft and often consist of deep mud. Use a low gear and drive steadily right through the middle of the pool.
- Animal hazards – keep a constant eye out for wandering stock and kangaroos and emus can also be a hazard so keep speed down and avoid having to make sudden direction changes on dirt road. Quite often large wedge-tail eagles can be seen feasting on a dead carcass on the road. Slow right down and sound your horn. These birds, especially with a belly full of fresh meat, are slow to fly off and potentially can fly right into your vehicle causing significant damage and trauma to your passengers. One way to occupy your passengers is to rotate sitting in the front passenger seat with this person having the important role of official animal spotter.
- If in trouble – never leave your vehicle if broken down. Many have perished trying to walk to help, generally becoming disoriented and dying of dehydration. Your vehicle contains all of your supplies, provides shelter and is far easier to see by a search party. Use whatever communication system you have to try and get help. Surrounding stations often monitor the emergency UHF channel and usually use a dedicated channel to communicate with their workers. Cycle through channels giving a mayday message and wait for a reply before trying the next channel.
Where To From Here
There are a number of alternatives to either head home or continue on to other places.
- Once the Trans-Continental Rail Line has been reached, the only alternative initially is to head east. The road that follows the rail line to the west has now been closed to private vehicles and is only used by rail maintenance crews. The track east leads to Kingoonya and on to Glendambo on the Stuart Highway. From there it is north to Coober Pedy.
- Option 1 – head east to Kingoonya and then south where a track weaves through Lake Gairdner National Park, past Lake Acraman and onto either Wirrulla or Yantanabie on the Eyre Highway.
- Option 2 – take the same track from Kingoonya as detailed in option 1 but take the track south-east from Hiltaba, leading to the Gawler Ranges National Park. To visit the park take the track south at Yardea Station. If not wanting to visit the National Park, continue on this track past Thuriga and Buckleboo Stations meeting the Eyre Highway at Kimba.
- Option 3 – once again take the track south from Kingoonya for 95km, taking the left fork at this point. This track leads on to Mt Ive Station and eventually meets the Eyre Highway at Iron Knob.
- Head east to Kingoonya and continue on to the Stuart Highway at Glendambo. The highway south will lead to Pimba, nearby Woomera and Port Augusta.
- There are no tracks west from this point.
Distances and Services
Fuel: U = unleaded D = diesel L = LPG
Accommodation: CP = caravan park H = hotel/motel C = cabin
|Distance from Ceduna||Fuel||Accommodation||Public Toilets|
|Wudinna (via Gawler Ranges NP)||659||U,D, L||CP,H,C||Y|
|Mt. Ive||533||U,D||C, camping||Y|
Have you got a tale from Googs Track, tell us about it in the comments below.
About the writer...
After experiencing camping, and being a boy scout as a child, I developed a love of the outdoors and the outback. I’ve taken every opportunity to travel across the outback through South Australia, the Northern Territory, and down the Western Australian Coast. In more recent times, after becoming an empty nester, I have organised and led many outback trips for family members, friends and acquaintances, to explore some of the more remote places across the country.