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“Worst camp site ever” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Curtin Springs Station

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Curtin Springs Station
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Lasseter Highway | Via Alice Springs, Northern Territory 0872, Australia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #41 of 84 Hotels in Northern Territory
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Worst camp site ever”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

We paid $25 for a powered site. Only 8 on site. There were over 100 campers on free sites. They were everywhere. We had to pay $3 for a shower on trust. No- one seemed to be paying this but us. Some vehichles turned up in the dark and hooked up to the power illegally. The showers and toilets were in an old shed with no door and were hosed out in the morning when people were wanting to use them. We spent 6 weeks in the area and this was by far the worst place we have ever stayed. We were told we did not have to book the restaurant or a meal. O.k so no booking no meal. We were told to get out of the what was called the kitchen but looked like an eating area as people were actually eating at a able in there

Room Tip: Don't visit this camp site unless you want a free park and are willing to share it with 100+ oth...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CurtinSpringsStation, Manager at Curtin Springs Station, responded to this review, July 21, 2013
Unfortunately Barbara did not enjoy her stay with us. I sincerely hope she found some good things during her time in our special part of the world. Yes, we only have 8 powered sites. Increasingly campers are travelling with their own power, showers, fridges and washing machines. It makes the decision as to whether the huge cost of increasing the number of powered sites is worth it at present. The powered sites have been usually fully booked every night for the last several weeks. It would be difficult for someone use them after hours if not booked as the sites are turned off when not in use. Many visitors book a site for several nights, do their day trips to Ayers Rock or Kings Canyon and return late to the site they have booked and paid for. These could have been those Barbara thought were interlopers. If someone is concerned about whether the correct process is being followed, one option would be to come and let us know, so if we haven't seen it, it can be addressed immediately. In relation to showers. We don't charge for unpowered sites, however we ask all that use the campground to make a small contribution to the very high cost of generating our own power and drilling for, pumping, storing and heating water. Most people pay for showers when they are in the store for some other reason, not just at the time of the shower. Which makes a clear correlation between a shower and payment difficult for others to see. If people aren't willing to participate in an honour system, then there is little that can be done and some people will always abuse the good will of others. The amenities (which do have doors) are cleaned thoroughly every day and finding the best time to do this clean and follow up checks is always a challenge in any campground!

No, there is no need to book for meals. Our dining area/beer garden is our historic Bough Shed. This is the original homestead of the Severin family who lived under it for the first three years they were here. The kitchen is our family kitchen, the staff kitchen and the kitchen for the business. Yes, the family and staff do have their meals in the kitchen as it is their personal kitchen as well. There are signs outside the kitchen door advising to make yourself known at the door and someone will come and take your order. This area is not a public area and if the signs haven't been noticed, then yes, visitors are asked to move out of the kitchen. Visitors can have their meal in the bar if they prefer to be inside rather than outside under the Bough Shed.

This time of the year is the busiest time of the tourist year for Central Australia. There are lots of travellers around and increasingly we are seeing more travellers using their own accommodation in camp trailers or caravans or tents. These visitors will use the free and structured campsites where-ever they can. If you wish to see the magic part of the world with less visitors, then maybe the better option would be to plan your trip for outside the busy time of the year.
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79 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (15)
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Adelaide, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Prior to heading up to Ayers Rock I conducted a bit of research regarding camping options in the area and read a few reviews on here. After viewing some of the terrible reviews I had seen on Trip Advisor, I expected an absolute brothel, but it was not the case.
Let's be realistic here. Curtin Springs is a roadhouse in the middle of the outback, if you are expecting a 5 star hotel....go spend your holiday in Sydney, or Melbourne.
The fact that the owners of Curtin Springs are kind enough to offer FREE camping at their roadhouse should be commended!! There is not much in life today that is free, so hat's off to them for not rorting the system.

Based on further comments on here I expected to need a shower (at an alternative location) after using the showers or toilets at Curtin Springs. This is NOT the case, yes the showers are basic...but, hello, it's - the - outback!!! And the toilets were very clean.

The cost for a shower is $3 (using the honesty system) and that is really a small price to pay to refresh yourself. The water was hot and I was more than happy to pay the minimal fee (to assist in the water heating cost) for a shower......once again, look at it in perspective - they have given you free camping!!! It has been implied on here that people don't pay for the shower so I hope that if you are planning to stay, please do the right thing and pay, it is a small price and if abused it could impact on future backpackers/campers that attend this area for holidays.

My only suggestion would be perhaps having a hand soap dispenser available in the toilets for use after number twosies, and having toilet brushes in the stalls so that some people can perhaps get the hint to clean up after themselves. But that is not a negative reflection on Curtin Springs as they keep the toilet block very clean under the circumstances. I could only imagine that the brushes were removed because people were stealing them perhaps (who would, yuck).....but if theft is the reason then perhaps chain them to the wall and let people clean up their own mess! (hopefully).

Even though it was a budget trip for me (and my backpacking travel buddies) we still had a drink at the roadhouse pub. The drinks from behind the bar were reasonably priced (as much as they could be in the outback), I have paid a LOT more in a city nightclub for a beer......but the takeaway cartons of beer were very high (again, that is hardly the fault of Curtin Springs, it's just standard for the area). The bar staff were very friendly and helpful (especially the Canadian bloke). There is laminated information sheets at the bar explaining the cattle station etc, well worth the read.
The station owner (Ash) was behind the bar and had a yak with us for a while (even if I had misread the information sheet and mistakenly called him Peter - Sorry dude!!). Even the local musket shootin' station-hand talked to us - so, yeah, friendly atmosphere inside the pub!

Personally I think it is highly recommended to stay here, especially if you are on a budget. I was happy to spend the money I saved in camping fees in the bar instead having a few drinks with the locals!!
So, thanks to Ash, the Canadian guy and American chick behind the bar and the station-hand for a good outback experience!!
:)

If you are on a budget and want to save a few bucks then read below. The camping prices at UIara will knock you for a six!! You can have the Ayers Rock experience in full with time to spare.
We stayed at Curtin Springs (Free camping there) overnight and then made our way to the Ayers Rock area at the crack of dawn to begin our visit. We only spent one night at the Ayers Rock Camp Ground: Their exorbitant prices determined that!!

If you are on a budget, by using the following formula you can easily get to see and do everything within the national park in two days and make it back to Curtin Springs:

*Curtin Springs overnight.
*An early start to do things at Ayers Rock NP.
*Overnight at the Ulara camp ground
*An early start the following day for the sunrise and spent doing things in the area.

We managed to see the early sunrise, do the Mala walk, complete the 7 km hike around The Olga’s, stop at the Olga’s viewing area, visit the cultural centre (twice), climb the rock itself, view the sunset, see another sunrise the following day, do the base walk and still got back to Curtin Springs in the afternoon.

Good planning will save you a lot in camping fees.
Happy travels!!

Room Tip: N/A - We were camping in tents
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

We stayed overnight at the Curtin Springs Station to break up the drive from Ayers Rock Resort to Alice Springs. We had a good-sized comfortable family room with one double bed and three single beds and fridge (no TV), and air conditioner unit in each of the the three rooms. We combined our stay with the SEIT Mount Connor tour (2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and had a great dinner in the Curtin Springs Restaurant as part of that tour.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013 via mobile

We under estimated the distance to Uluru and driving in the pitch black and seeing Curtin Springs pop up with free camping, toilets and showers for a small fee was a lifesaver. Cute little bar and outdoor sitting area with a huge bird aviary was such a nice surprise. Set up camp in a quiet spot and felt very safe and had a great sleep. Emu roaming the campground next morning was icing in the cake. Would recommend as a stop to break up the drive and have a drink.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basel, Switzerland
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

After several years with my wife we decided to return to Uluru-Kata Tjuta region and we stayed at the Curtin Springs station again. Yes, it is very basic, but on the other hand the en-suite containers have everything you need for a good sleep. A shower, a toilet, air conditioning, even a kettle for a morning tee or coffee, should you want one. All for the fraction of the price of Yulara accomodation. And if you need more, you can ask at the bar/reception, they try to help whenever they can.
Furthermore, the real outback feel out there is priceless. One afternoon we took SEIT Outback tour to Mt. Conner and it was stunning.
oup of people (six) and

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Starcross, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

Stayed for two nights the food was the best the T bone steak was great room was very clean and tidy.You will find Peter the owner in the bar with his dog you must speak to him he is a real gem all of the staff are great to talk to. It cost a lot less to stay hear the the near by over priced resort and the fuel is a lot cheaper as well, you can even give the resident emu a hug if you like.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maldegem, Belgium
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

What can I say about my stay on the Curtain Springs Station?
Well, I was very, very disappointed.
Especially on their frequently advertised “Outback Hospitality”, or the lack there of.
The accommodation could make do. The budget room was indeed just that. A bed, 60cm of free room around its three sides and 2 bookshelves. The advantage being it took the aircon just minutes to get the temperature to 24°. But made it like you were sleeping in a meat locker. Not a problem as such. Just another experience. And the room was tidy.
The shared accommodations were a bit out of date, but everything worked and was as clean as could reasonably be. The room was A$ 65 a night, so reasonable money/value ratio for the region.
Food, drinks and petrol according to the region, so rather expensive. But the steak was OK.
What really disappointed me was the attitude and response I got when I returned to the station the second night I was there, and when I asked if I could make a phone-call to help out a company of 4 people that I encountered on the way home, who did run out of diesel. It was already pitch dark then.
I was immediately told to use the pay phone out the back. Maybe they don’t have a phone in reception/bar (didn’t ask, but would be surprised if they didn’t), they certainly did not offer to make the phone-call themselves. As would be very hospitable, me being a costumer and a foreigner. But no problem, I would use the phone outside. One was with prepaid cards, which I don’t have, and the coin operated one was being used by a girl. I waited, and the young man accompanying the girl asked if I would like to make a call as well (?). I told him that I had promised someone to make the call to help him out, and his immediate reaction was: “Where they Aboriginals?” I could have seen this one coming. I answered him they were. And again the foreseeable reaction came: “Oh, that happens all the time. Don’t pay any attention to them. They should know better.” I didn’t react on this, and just answered him that I had promised somebody to make the call, and that that was what I was going to do. He than grunted and told me it would certainly take more than half an hour to finish the call. And indeed, when the girl finished her call (after about 10 minutes), he took over and began talking himself, as there was absolutely no hurry. It was only 45 minutes later (I regularely checked) that I could finally make the call.
Now I don’t want to start a conversation here about the attitude towards the indigenous people, because that is not my point. My point is that I was the one who asked to make the call. Me, the paying costumer. I made a promise, and where I come from a man is as good as his word. They made it difficult for me to keep this promise, gave no help at all and even patronised me for it. Now, the guy on the phone was a German speaking (and probably German) station hand of this property. In Belgium we are still familiar with the way the Germans think about their fellow men, as they displayed in 1914 and 1940. Our countryside is full of graves (also Australian ones) to remind us. But this total lack of respect for me as costumer I have seldom seen before. Would it have been that big of a deal to interrupt his call for just 1 minute (that was as long as it took me)? Or would it have been that hard to let me use the office phone?
So if this is what “Outback Hospitality” is all about, I will kindly pass next time. If this is the attitude you are looking for, go ahead, otherwise just pay the extra few dollars and stay in the resort. It’s certainly more convenient, and I’ll bet you will be treated with more respect and professionalism.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Curtin Springs Station

Address: Lasseter Highway | Via Alice Springs, Northern Territory 0872, Australia
Location: Australia > Northern Territory
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #41 of 84 Hotels in Northern Territory
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Curtin Springs is just 85km from the Ayers Rock/Olgas National Park & is well located for visits to Ayer's Rock, The Olgas & Kings Canyon or tours to Mount Conner. It provides reasonable priced accommodation, free unpowered camping, powered sites, licensed pub, homestyle meals & station tours. Open from 7am until late daily with petrol, diesel, auto gas, hot & cold drinks, ice creams, food, souvenirs as well as alcohol to drink in or takeaway. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Curtin Springs Station Australia/Northern Territory

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