the track to Mt Dare Hotel. This part of the road was very rough and we needed to take it slowly. Some people who drive the desert divert direct to Dalhousie Springs which is a slightly shorter road but we needed to go to Mt Dare Hotel for two reasons. Firstly this is the last fuel before Birdsville (which is 450 kms from Mt Dare) and secondly we needed to collect the satellite phone we had pre-booked. A satellite phone is not essential but highly recommended. As we were travelling the desert as one single vehicle we did not have any back up if we encountered any difficulties. The hire was $140 for four days plus a connection fee per call and $3 a minute for local and $5 a minute for NZ calls. We did not plan to use it much at all!
The hotel is the only sign of life at Mt Dare yet provides an excellent service. The hotel serves meals and drinks and limited grocery items. We had to buy a South Australian desert pass for $150 to give us a permit to drive through the desert – this covers a twelve month period and there isn’t an option to buy one for a lesser period even though most travellers travel the desert areas for only a few days or weeks in the year.