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A John McDouall Stuart Journey.

11 Days

Birds Camping Hotel Accomodation

In Memory of Stuart; Kekwick & Head

John McDouall Stuart has been described as Australia’s greatest Inland Explorer.
John Bailey, author of “Mr Stuarts Track” describes him as “the man who would rather be riding through solitary expanse where he could be dwarfed into insignificance by the immensity of the desert - a place where the sky seemed higher, the horizon further away & the freedom greater..”


Harry & Sandy Osborn feel privileged to offer this unique opportunity to visit many places in Central Australia seen by John McDouall Stuart on his Fourth Expedition – the first Europeans to enter, what we proudly know as Central Australia in the Northern Territory.

For 10 years from 1993, Ossies’ operated a Horse Tour business. Twice during this time, Harry and his horse Bamyilli lead riders through Stuarts Pass and below Brinkleys Bluff, all the while developing empathy for those brave horsemen of the 1860’s.

In planning our 2 departures per year:
First Journey - we will be at Central Mount Stuart on the 23rd of April – the anniversary of Kekwick & Stuart climbing Central Mount Stuart.
Second Journey – we will be at Attack Creek on the 26th of June – the anniversary of Stuart & his party being turned back by the Warramungu.

Apart from Chambers Pillar, the destinations of this tour are rarely visited by anyone.



Day 1
Meet & greet & town tour - includes Anzac Hill, Telegraph Station.

Day 2
Pick up from Alice Springs 8.00 am. West along Larapinta Drive we divert into Standley Chasm, where we will enjoy the short walk into this well visited and picturesque landscape. Continue to Namitjira Drive, then off road, up stream in Hugh River past relics of Old Owen Springs Station (the 2nd in the N.T). We drive through Stuarts Pass & camp in the Hugh River, south of Brinkleys Bluff. If desired, walk in the footsteps of John McDouall Stuart along the Hugh River, or spend time reflecting on the valour of our heroic explorer.
• Bush Camp south of Brinkleys Bluff

Day 3
We retrace Stuarts path south along the Hugh River through the Waterhouse Range. Learn about other Pioneers who operated Owen Springs Station, visit the second building in Central Australia. A Brief 1Okms along the Stuart Hwy, off road to Rainbow Valley & onto Chambers Pillar
• Overnight camp at this famous “Explorers Beacon”

Day 4
Out of the SWAG early to savour sunrise on the magnificent sandstone Pillar which guided many early Pioneers. Northeast from the Pillar, we leave Stuarts Tracks to experience the efforts of those who followed Stuart & built the Overland Telegraph Line, the ruins of Alice Well on the junction of Alice Creek & the Hugh River, then north along the Old Ghan rail line – steeped in Pioneering History. We return to Alice Springs for over night accommodation.
• Overnight Accommodation in Alice Springs

Day 5
Depart Alice Springs 8.30am then NW along Tanami Rd. Station track to the north leads us to Mt Harris, where Stuart built a cone of stones on his 5th Expedition. Time to climb Mt Harris – an easy climb.
On through thick stands of Mulga and open spinifex country, where Stuarts horses & men craved water. We arrive at Anna’s Reservoir in the Reynolds Ranges – this small rockhole saved Stuarts life a number of times.
• Bush Camp where Stuart camped in Wicksteed Creek

Day 6
As Stuart did we relax here at this very remote rockhole. For the medium fit & adventurous, nearby Mt Freeling, which Stuart climbed, may attract you. Birdwatching, painting, photography or just cogitating at this beautiful place is soul reparation at its best.
• Second nights bush camp amongst River Gums & Birds where the ghosts of Stuart, Kekwick & Head impart to us the importance of this life saving Rock Hole. An eerie experience that few will know!

Day 7
North through Reynolds Range we find Bean Trees where Stuart makes mention of these unusual plants. We cross modern day Aileron & Pine Hill Stations, with permission of helpful owners, who allow us to follow Stuarts hoof prints along the Woodforde River (he named). Along this section I’m proud to show the Pioneering heritage of my dear friend, Alex Coppock’s family, who arrived here in the early 1930s. We find our track following another section of the Overland Telegraph Line until we return briefly to the Stuart Highway at TiTree. Onto the Hanson River adjacent to Central Mt Stuart, where we camp for 2 nights.
• Bush camp in the lea of Central Mount Stuart

Day 8
A full day to allow Ossies clients to emulate climbing of the mountain he called Mt Sturt on the 23rd April 1860.
I class myself as moderately fit.I climbed Central Mount Stuart on Saturday 19th April 2008, I am very pleased to have stood where Explorer Stuart stood 148 years ago.
• Bush camp in the lea of Central Mount Stuart

Day 9
North along the Stuart Highway, enjoy morning tea & walk at the Devils Marbles. Brief stop at Tennant Creek , then north to the old Tennant Creek Telegraph Station for lunch.
At Attack Creek, we view a memorial for our intrepid Exploring Trio. East along a station track to a billabong which is likely to be the place that Stuart, Kekwick & Head had their path blocked by Warramungu Tribesmen – therefore we camp where they wanted to!
• Tonight we bush camp 148 years to the date that Stuart and his men reached this location

Day 10
Like Stuart we turn southwards, unlike him our journey is along the comfortable Stuart Highway. Back through Tennant Creek we turn east onto a gravel road, 90kms south. Stuart named the Davenport Ranges but didn’t venture as far east as we will go. Therefore we will enjoy
the beautiful mountainous country he did not see.
• Our final camp is beside the Frew River which usually has water in it

Day 11
A leisurely departure, on our final morning. The scenery is spectacular, the track is rough and slow as we wend our way back to the Stuart Highway. It takes 4 ½ hours to do 150km.
• Late afternoon we return to Alice Springs



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