National Oka Gathering

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28 May 2020 10:32 #1 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells created the topic: National Oka Gathering
- NATIONAL OKA GATHERING -




Such a gathering has been proposed in the past but has never got off the ground, well how about re-visiting the idea and having another crack ?

Our abandoned outback winters 'adventure' this year was to be a central Australian trip involving up to 4 Oka's traveling parts of the Madigan Line, Colson and Hay River Tracks with a bit of the Simpson Desert thrown in for good measure :) and with Alice Springs to be the major re-supply point. It turned out that there were other Oka's proposing travel in the vicinity at the same time and a loose proposal was touted for an informal get together, 'a confluence of Okas' if you like to occur over a day or so at Old Andado Station east of Alice Springs in late June.

Unfortunately Covid-19 put paid to these plans but the idea of a national 'Oka Meet' remains. So how about it ?

Alice Springs is an obvious choice as it's about as central as you can get in Australia, is readily accessible and is already 'on the way' to many outback and other destinations :) Alice Springs is a great tourist destination in itself with much to see and do all year round. Major events such as Henley on the Todd, Camel Cup, Finke Desert Race to name several of the better known events are held in the winter months of June, July, August.

Selecting a suitable venue for an indeterminate amount of Okas randomly arriving and departing over a week or so may be a bit of a challenge. From full on camp ground with all facilities at $40+ per night or so to bush camp at $0 a night with no facilities or something in between. There's plenty to choose from in and around Alice, though 'on the water' may be a bit difficult :) What do people want ?

Alice Springs isn't the only possible venue though, how about Birdsville ?, the Great Outback Crossroads. Whichever way you come or go to Birdsville it's an adventure in the making :) Plenty of history and things to see and do. Bush camping under the trees at the south east end of the Birdsville Billabong camp ground would IMO be a great venue for a 'National Oka Gathering'.

A suitable 'centrally located' bush option could be the privately owned Muloorina Waterhole just out of Maree or the mile long Eringa Waterhole on the Mt Dare Rd. Both venues on the way to / from the western end of the Simpson Desert, Lake Eyre, Painted Desert etc.

Timing is also important, unless you're a dirt racing aficionado you may not want to be in Alice during the Finke Desert Race or to be in Birdsville during the Birdsville Cup but it may be handy to 'top or tail' an Oka gathering with such an event :)

School holidays is another variable, most I think would want to avoid the holiday crowds (and pricing) especially in a post Covid-19 environment with increased domestic travel.
East coast school holidays are basically 25 June to 12 July, WA, SA & NT from 3 July to 16 or 18 July. Finke Desert Race is Queens B'day weekend 11-14 June. Henley on Todd, Camel Cup and Birdsville races are held in August / September.

With a scenario of having an Oka gathering 'on the way' to elsewhere, presumably north, IMO post school hols is leaving it a bit late as it's starting to get hot up north. Also the week prior to 'The Finke' is arguably Alice Springs most busiest of the year and to be avoided if possible.

My suggestion would be over the weekend of Sat.19th and Sun. 20th June 2021 and a couple of days either side.

So, how about it, what do you think, do-able or a pipe dream ?

Deano & Kaye :)
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29 May 2020 19:48 #2 by Alister McBride
Alister McBride replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Pipe dreams often turn into reality... If i have the oka ready by then (i'm assuming winterish next year) i'm keen on Alice.

Get on board peoples, the oka family needs to get together every now and then :D

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30 May 2020 07:37 #3 by Paul Scherek
Paul Scherek replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Sounds like a great idea to me. I personally prefer bush camping, but happy to meet any old where. Good one Deano!

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30 May 2020 11:10 #4 by Rick Whitworth
Rick Whitworth replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
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30 May 2020 11:41 #5 by Alister McBride
Alister McBride replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
I like the way you think there Rick... We've got oka's we can meet anywhere! Which one of the five crosses should it be?

Are people thinking next winter?

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01 Jun 2020 17:27 #6 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Unfortunately not a hell of a lot to see or do at any of those 'crosses' :( In the general area though is Chambers Pillar which is a pretty scenic spot with (from memory) two distinct camping areas though I haven't been there for a few years. About 4 hours drive from Alice Springs on a good day / good road :)



Here's a location map also showing a good tour route.



If it's bush camping you're after with an easy drive this is a pretty good 'South of Alice' trip shown in blue. There is also good camping at many sites along the old Hugh River Stock Route. Particularly nice near the railway bridge from memory :) There are several good camping areas in the Owen Springs Reserve, some are 'dog friendly' but 'basic bush' and no services. The main camping area and ranger station has amenities, shade and is pleasant camping (but no dogs).

Old Andado Station is a wonderful historic site 1/2 day or so to the south-east of Alice and is IMO one of Central Australias most scenic short drives.



Location



A fairly remote site oozing with history and old time beauty on the edge of the Simpson Desert and was the proposed site for this years mini impromptu gathering :)


Deano :)
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01 Jun 2020 17:39 #7 by mort
mort replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Hi Dean,
I have every intention to be there and I dont really care where there is but as always dont know what the future holds.
As a suggestion would it not be better to re-post on the open forum as there are a lot of members who dont always log in and so may miss the topic or at least put up an announcement indicating to log in to read important post.
Martyn

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01 Jun 2020 17:51 #8 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
My "Alice Springs and Environs" choice though for a site that has the best mix for a diverse group of touring Oka Owners would be Gosses Bluff 175 Km west of Alice Springs and 212 Km north-east of Ayers Rock.

This has good sheltered camping with basic facilities, prolific bird life, walks etc and on the way to / from many other central Australian icons though generally not as frequented as it's the furthest out from Alice Springs. Easily accessible with the Oka (2WD) although the final drive in can be a bit bumpy.



Here's the location map, good road to / from Alice Springs and with all the Chasms and Gorges you can eat along the way :)



For an easily accessible 'bush camp' with plenty of options this one ticks the boxes IMO :)

Deano :)
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01 Jun 2020 17:57 #9 by nugget
nugget replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
We would certainly be interested all things being equal.

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01 Jun 2020 19:07 #10 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: National Oka Gathering

mort wrote: Hi Dean,
.................... As a suggestion would it not be better to re-post on the open forum as there are a lot of members who dont always log in and so may miss the topic or at least put up an announcement indicating to log in to read important post.
Martyn


Hi Martyn, I posted in 'OKA Gatherings & Travels' as it seemed the obvious place to post :), but I take your point that it may not be visible to others. This may not be such a bad thing at this 'flying a kite' stage :) as I'm not sure that having all and sundry involved at this stage would be helpful, but as you say members that may not log in regularly should still be able to have an input and be informed.

I confess that I'm not all that sure which forums are open so if you'd be good enough to pen a suitable pointer, or suggest a relevant sub-forum for me to do so I'd appreciate it :)

Deano :)

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02 Jun 2020 08:28 #11 by Tony Lee
Tony Lee replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Ruby Gap well East of Alice was pretty good although access can be a problem

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02 Jun 2020 16:52 #12 by Harry
Harry replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
What a great idea Professor and Kay
The temperature will be perfect for us southerners and cool for the northers
Any where in the center is good and as we all know that there is lots to do and see
We can break all Oka gathering records well we can try
How about security ??
Black dog
Might need a little help This guy from Chris and H is coming along well in training
Not sure if it is a male or female we are having a little trust issues and not able to get the coat off as it seems to like his / her new title :)
Mary gave the black dog security a bit of her inner power but being 4 years old next week could use a bit more ( thank you ) Holty
Hope you all stay safe service the Oka’s and hope there will be a great gathering plenty of time to organize ourselves
Cheers

Oka 045 the WIDE Motorhome 6bt cummins 500 watt solar diesel heating gas cooking up grade LSD front and rear diffs to 4:56 from 4:88 . 320 lt fuel 153 lt fresh water in 3 separate tanks 3 house batteries 1 start battery 176 lt upright fridge/freezer Black dog security
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03 Jun 2020 06:56 #13 by OKABloke
OKABloke replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
No Camping Allowed at Gosse's Bluff

For Sale:
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20mm Spring Hanger Pin Upgrade Kits.

David
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03 Jun 2020 10:36 #14 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
This park is closed as a health and safety precaution due to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Re-opening 5 June 2020.

Damn, but you're right there David !

I just had a look at the fact sheet :(

Gosses Bluff fact Sheet

We stayed overnight there this time last year (along with a couple of other vehicles), seemed a pretty obvious camp site :(

Well it looks like 'plan b' then :) The quest for a suitable venue continues, all suggestions gratefully received :)

Deano :)

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03 Jun 2020 11:28 #15 by Harry
Harry replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Hay I got the place Pine gap we can all be Gardner’s even at midnight
There are a few oka owners with connections

Oka 045 the WIDE Motorhome 6bt cummins 500 watt solar diesel heating gas cooking up grade LSD front and rear diffs to 4:56 from 4:88 . 320 lt fuel 153 lt fresh water in 3 separate tanks 3 house batteries 1 start battery 176 lt upright fridge/freezer Black dog security

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03 Jun 2020 16:32 #16 by Peter Davis
Peter Davis replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Sounds all very good but aren't the SA , Qld, WA and NT borders closed to travellers due to covid.

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03 Jun 2020 16:53 #17 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: National Oka Gathering

Peter Davis wrote: Sounds all very good but aren't the SA , Qld, WA and NT borders closed to travellers due to covid.


Certainly are Peter but I'm working on the assumption / hope that in 12 months time internal borders will be open :)

Deano :)

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03 Jun 2020 17:10 #18 by Peter Davis
Peter Davis replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Yes I certainly hope so. Didn't notice the year proposed.

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03 Jun 2020 17:56 #19 by mort
mort replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Hi Dean,
I could change the category to open forum instead of members only that way all can see but as normal only logged in members can respond if there is no objection.
Martyn
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04 Jun 2020 15:46 #20 by Dean and Kaye Howells
Dean and Kaye Howells replied the topic: National Oka Gathering
Sounds good to me Mort :)

I'm currently following up a couple of other suggested 'venues' to the north and north east of Alice but any and all suggestions gratefully accepted.

Deano :)

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