Driving the Canning Stock Route: Essential Preparation for an Epic Adventure

Let's explore the essential preparations required for driving the entire length of the Canning Stock Route

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Pat Callinan
May 15 2024
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The Canning Stock Route, stretching over 1,850 kilometres through the remote outback of Western Australia, is a challenging and rewarding journey for 4X4 enthusiasts. This journey requires thorough preparation. In this article, we will explore the essential preparations required for driving the entire length of the Canning Stock Route, including water sterilisation and supplies, fuel rationing, vehicle upgrades, spare parts, and the importance of Recovery Cover.

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Water Sterilisation and Supplies:

Water is a vital resource when traversing the Canning Stock Route, as reliable water sources are scarce. It is crucial to carry enough water for drinking, cooking, and washing. Additionally, invest in a reliable water sterilisation system, such as water purification tablets or a portable water filter, to ensure safe drinking water throughout the journey. There are bores along the way, and while the water usually tastes okay and looks clean, our delicate guts nowadays can be severely affected by bacteria. Trust me, I got slack on one run, and the entire crew had a case of the squirts. Not pretty! Animals like snakes can fall into the wells, die and infect the water. And it is dark down there, so you never quite know what you’re pulling up in the bucket.

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water well canning stock route

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water sterilisation canning stock route

Brief History of the Canning Stock Route:

The Canning Stock Route was established in the early 1900s by Alfred Canning to transport cattle from the Kimberley region to markets in the south. It was a monumental engineering feat, spanning vast desert landscapes and requiring the construction of wells along the route. Today, it serves as an iconic 4X4 track, attracting adventurers looking for a challenging and remote experience. The track does have a dark past though. Do some historical reading to get some depth in your travels.

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farmers wind mill canning stock route

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sunset canning stock route WA australia

Fuel Supplies and Rationing:

Fuel availability is limited along the Canning Stock Route, with long distances between fuel stations. It is crucial to plan your fuel consumption carefully and carry enough fuel to cover the entire route. Calculate your vehicle's fuel consumption rate and factor in any detours or unexpected delays to ensure you have an adequate supply. While there used to be fuel drops, theft of fuel put an end to that. However, Kunawarritji, near Well 33, does tend to have reliable diesel supplies.

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windscreen view 4wd canning stock route

Being Well Prepared:

Preparation is key when tackling the Canning Stock Route. Ensure your vehicle is in excellent condition, with regular servicing and maintenance performed before the journey. Upgrading your suspension is highly recommended to handle the rough and corrugated terrain. Consider installing heavy-duty shock absorbers, springs, and a quality bull bar for added protection.

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pat callinan vehicle bullbar canning stock route

Essential Spare Parts:

Carrying essential spare parts is crucial for any remote 4X4 adventure, and the Canning Stock Route is no exception. Some of the most important spare parts to consider include spare tires, tire repair kits, spare fuel filters, fan belts, hoses, and a comprehensive toolkit. It is also advisable to carry spare fluids, such as engine oil and coolant, to address any unforeseen issues.

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4wd and offroad camper trailer canning stock route

Recovery Cover:

The Canning Stock Route is a remote and challenging track, and the importance of having adequate insurance coverage cannot be overstated. Recovery Cover from insurers like Club 4X4 provides peace of mind in case of breakdowns, accidents, or other emergencies. This coverage ensures that you have access to funds for professional assistance. A recovery in remote parts of the Canning can cost around $30,000. Club 4X4 Insurance offers $1500 recovery cover as standard, but this can be upgraded to $15,000 or $30,000. Don’t forget to read the PDS to see if the cover is right for you.

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off road recovery cover canning stock route

Scratch Protection:

With a track as remote as this, there’s no such thing as hedge trimmers to keep the trackside bushes in check. As a result, these thorny, scratchy bushes grow over the track, and will play merry hell with your duco. Paint protection is essential, in the form of something like a Bushwrapz or vinyl wrap. Either that or be prepared to do some serious cut and polish when you get back home.

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remote travel canning stock route

Driving the entire length of the Canning Stock Route is a remarkable adventure that requires thorough preparation and careful consideration of essential factors. From water sterilisation and supplies to fuel rationing and vehicle upgrades, every aspect must be meticulously planned. Carrying spare parts and having Recovery Cover from insurers like Club 4x4 is crucial for tackling the challenges of this remote and demanding track. By being well-prepared and taking necessary precautions, you can embark on an unforgettable journey through the rugged beauty of the Canning Stock Route, confident in your ability to handle any situation that may arise.

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Pat Callinan
Pat Callinan is one of Australia's leading four wheel drive experts. Pat Callinan's 4X4 Adventures is sponsored by Club 4X4