Simpson Geographic Centre Research

Submitted: Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 08:33
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Hi Guys I'm trying to get any info for a possible trip to Simpson Geo-Centre.

This appears to be a very difficult place to get to

Info seems very scarce and I don't think anyone from here has done it since Stephen did it some years ago.

Last year we did some reconnaissance checking on an old track marked going east from 30km up the Colson track and also the approach used on the Exploroz notes from the Madigan line.

We could not find any trace of either.

The north simpson desert map booklet shows an approach from the french line 13km east of Erabena and this looks on paper as the best way.
It shows a path in about 50km to a junction and nothing from there - can't ever remember seeing this track.

Appreciate any comments.

Robin

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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 08:54

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 08:54
Is this of any help.

Phil

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 10:16

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 10:16
Thanks Phil - probably not much help but thanks for taking the time.

Stephen has some info as per exploroz notes but I am also trying to find where the following track came from - I can find no info on it although it appears a support group may have driven it as part of a walking expedition.

This track doesn't appear on your more general map section.




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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 09:11

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 09:11
Hi Robin

I will go through my waypoint lists tonight.

Yes best way is to take the Colson Track north from the French Line. That ia a very good and easy drive. At a point where you mentioned, there is the old bleep line, heading in a general north east direction. That is the slower section of the drive. It will take about 2 days to do that section, which will bring you out on an old, but generally good shot line heading north.

At a point where it is time to head west, the old shot line has all but disappeared.

I am replying from my iPad, so I will send more details tonight on the main computer.



Cheers



Stephen


ps you soon realise when out there that many so called lines on the topo maps just do not exist any more. From there I have a better way of getting out of the desert, some of the best Simpson country I have seen and will bring you out near Peoppel Corner
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 20:03

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 20:03
Er Stephen, did you mean 'shotline'? Even though it may be crappy. LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 22:48

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 22:48
Hi Allan

Shotline in name, but a bleep line to find and follow....see below


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Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 19:44

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 19:44
Robin,
when????
cheers
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:54

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:54
Hi Howard

I'm thinking late july- thru August would be best.

Still have to see if its practical , as haven't found any info on the track picture I posted above yet.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 12:27

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 12:27
Bugger (PM sent) but that timing is out for this year.

My carer doesn't have any more leave left. Wouldn't like to load anyone up with any responsibilities. So the long trips without her are out for me. I think we will stick to the planning for a solo Canning transit next year. Always interested in how you go.

Phil



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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:52

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:52
Robin,
I suggest you contact David Owen - he was/is a pioneer of the Madigan Line track - identified the camps and put in the markers. David and his wife Joan ran a 4wd tour company (called Aussie Tracks) up until recently and one of their regular tours was to the Geographic Centre of the Simpson. My first Madigan Line trip was on one of his trips in 2004 and he encouraged me to do the geocentre trip taking the old shotlines off the Colson but as yet haven't got around to doing it.
I don't know whether is contact details in this link are still valid, but worth a try.http://www.outbackadventures.com.au/
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:58

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:58
Thanks Phil - it really seems like no one has done it recently - I will try to follow that link up as I pretty keen to give it a go this year.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 22:46

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 22:46
Hi Robin

I have made the track file red so it is easy to see against the colour of the dunes.


This the way in from the Colson Track....



As you can see, this will be your best way into the Geo Centre. Do not get advise from others that have not been there. You will be able to see the track that I am talking about when you open ozi. Once you hit this track, it is generally a good run through, with only a couple of sections that were blown over.



We went around the block as such, but it would have been far easier to retrace our tracks back to the main track in.
















The section heading back east will take some finding and you will need a very good eye.....the Madigan Line will be easy compared to this section....pure virgin country with no tracks what so ever.














It is not a trip to be rushed and you must be prepared for anything...............



Cheers



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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:39

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 10:39
Great Stuff Stephen and I do appreciate the time you have taken - hope to be talking to you more.

I'm still trying to find out about the other track (as per the picture I posted above). It appears both shorter and follows the swales instead of cutting across.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 12:52

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 12:52
Awesome Stephen. Thanks for the detailed post.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 14:09

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 14:09
Firstly, Thanks Mike, but as EO Members, that is what it is all about, helping others with reliable information when asked.


Now Robin, back to your question.

To be very honest, I have never seen that booklet that shows the track straight up from the French Line, and trust me, it does not exist.

Back in 2003 when I started doing my research on how to get there, it was a very closely guarded secret, those that went were not prepared to offer any help at all.

After countless emails, searches etc, I finally got hold of a very reliable contact. 3 computers later, I have lost his details, but if you look in places here on EO, I wrote a brief history of how it was determined etc.

The large tower was erected by Members of the Victorian CFA Four Wheel Drive Club and it was one of those members that was able to help me out. The chap gave me a lot of information, but no waypoints or track files. What I can tell you is they always used the track coming off of the Colson Track.

Unlike the Madigan, this track does not very very much traffic, so in fact it is moving map country and you only know that you are track when you compare it with your moving map.

The point where the track enters the main track north was the limit of any tracks heading south. Try as we did, there was no sign of any track what so ever. So we then headed east knowing there should be more shot line in the general direction that we were travelling.



The above track to the shot line was all over the place, as you can see from my track file. At the point where the computer showed that we were on the shot line, will it was just not there. We drove at a snails pace past the track a few times before we got out of the vehicles and search on foot for it. After about 10 minutes, I found it. It was so overgrown, that the only way that you could see the track was to be right on top of it, but then use you imagination and look into the distance for any signs that may exist over the dunes in front of you. It was that overgrown that if you stood 5 feet either side if the faint track, there was no sign of it at all. The further east we travelled, the track become more defined and easier to follow. The 2 images below show show what a so called shot line that should be on the map can look like.




Many times the shotlines had been taken back by natures decades before and there were still some modern day evidence to let you know you were on track. Other times the tracks through the Gidgee could be seen from a long way off, and you just point your car in that direction, knowing that thee will be a track to find hopefully.






Please feel free to ask any further questions.




Cheers



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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 18:17

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 18:17
Stephen the booklet that bit came from was available off exploroz and its from outbacktravellers.com.au.

It gives credits to Ian Stabler whom many here would remember from Mt Dare before his death in 2007.

I enclose another photo and it would appear that he travelled that first section you described from Colson east toward the Geo centre.

The booklet does not show anything past the junction top right and I am guessing he drove south to French line intersecting 13km east of Erabena. May have been a once off.

If the above turns out to be the case then it offers two ways in.

Unfortunately the bit up to the Geo centre wasn't driven - but from the centre out I would have paths that both you and Chris have driven.




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Follow Up By: Member - Justin O (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 18:15

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 18:15
Stephen, my guess is that the pits were dug for a place to burn off excess gas piped in while drilling for oil.
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Reply By: Member - Chris (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 14:44

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 14:44
Hi Robin

We did the Geographic Centre in Aug 2010, four vehicles, diesel 80 series, 3.0ltr patrol Diesel Pajero and a v6 petrol Prado.
If you like I can send you the ozi plot file.We started at Birdsville across to Mt Dare up to Old Andado then Mac Clark Reserve, Madigan camp 1A, camp2 east to the Colson track headed south for a few K's then basically due east to Geosurveys Hilll then south east to the centre headed south again then east to Poeppel corner oil well. I also have a Waypoint file which has the various POI's on the way if required

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 16:17

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 16:17
That would be very helpful Chris , sounds like you had an exciting trip also. Twice now I have attempted to get from Camp2 or at least the twins and follow the track across to the Colson but each time we lost any track and had to dead reckon it.

I will try to get as much info as I can and see if it all makes sense before heading off.
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 17:52

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 17:52
Sent an Email sent to your hotmail account Robin

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 18:54

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 18:54
Got it Chris - I like the wr450 in your name , its only 4 years since I rode Simpson on my DRZ400 and I love to be on it again out there , but can't complain as we will be riding the Big Dessert for Anzac.
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Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 17:10

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 17:10
Robin,
just remembered that Willem Kempon ( ex EO)did a return trip in 2006 (he originally went in 87)
in 2006 he entered from erabena .
I will see if i can contact him for more details as he is pretty sketchy in his write up on his webpage.
regards
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 17:59

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 17:59
Thanks Howard - sent you a message also.

The photo I posted in reply 1 enters from the Erabena way and I think I need to know more about the various approaches at this stage.
I'll try to add more under Stephens post as it looks like he came in from west from Colson to the Erabena track.

I remember Willem , I suggested a way up a hill to him once,he ignored it and got up anyway - then I went my way and couldn't make it until I cheated and slammed in both lockers.
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Reply By: equinox - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 21:23

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 21:23
Hi Robin,

Have you thought of just going straight up the dune corridor and back from the French Line?

Some of these old shotlines (as in Stephens pictures) are sometimes easier to drive alongside of than on.

From the French line its only about 80kms, and you will be able to do that in a day easily enough, and no sandridges to cross.

Cheers
Alan

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 23:37

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 23:37
Hi Alan

Very slow going at times and from past experiences in that Simpson cross country terrain, the 80 kilometres would take a very good 2 days, if not into your third. At many times it is low range first, second and then if you strike a good section, into third.




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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:55

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:55
Certainly a consideration Alan , the map section I put at end of reply 5 appears to do that and hence I am certainly trying to find out more.

Could be hard as Stephen says- but if OzRovers comment below about destrying shotlines then who knows it may be the way to go.
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 11:41

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 11:41
Those shot line were basically non-existent in 2010, especially around the centre, the interdunes were just large blowouts and mogules and if not carefull very easy to get hung up on or in.
As Stephen said it is very slow going some days only made 30km's.
The easiest is if you can get ontop of a dune and run along, think I have seen them called a sky highway somewhere. Although care needs to be taken as the Prado in out group nearly rolled when the side of one dune dropped away.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:28

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:28
As you and stephen and I agree Chris , it can get real hard real quick but 30kms a day without some serious issue would be a new low record for me , I think when we lost the madigan line once and mogulled along we still did 48km.

I'm filling in a map from info you both provided and my own stuff and its start to look good with only a couple of bits missing now.
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 14:36

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 14:36
We did have two mechanical probs with the Prado that slowed us up and hour or so but otherwise just slow going, not even a flat tyre. The straight line distance would have been less as it can take a bit of backtracking to find a way through at times.
The trip leader had done the Madigan 3 times and said it was a lot easier than this trip.
Total of Distance Travelled each day starting at Mt Dare finishing at East of Birdsville

Tuesday 10th - 53k
Wednesday 11th - 62k
Thursday 12th - 35k
Friday 13th - 42k
Saturday 14th - 33k
Sunday 15th - 44k
Monday16th - 55k
Tuesday 17th -39k
Wednesday 18 - 96k
Thursday 19th - 145k
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 21:27

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 21:27
Hi Robin and Chris

I can beat that....haha... our record, or should I say our slowest day was a grand total of only 22 kilometers, northeast of Geosurvey Hill.

The mogals were that tall, deep and so close together that it was taking around 35 minutes to get from one dune to the other, a distance of around 500 metres......





The only small flat area that we could find to camp was on the top of a dune.



It was like that for a day and a half and were we glad to be finally free of some of the worst terrain we have had to crawl over.




Cheers




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Follow Up By: Member - Chris (QLD) - Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 09:40

Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 09:40
Thats about the same area we had trouble with Stephen, same as you hung up on mogules and had to camp ontop a dune.
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Reply By: Ozrover - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:30

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:30
Looks like hard work Robin!

Saw some great country out there when I took a load of Jet A1 out last year to Simpson No 1 well.

The petroleum guys said that there was a group out there as they were leaving tearing up the shot lines, I can only assume to prevent people from using them?

Might have to go & have a look myself sometime.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:59

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 08:59
I remember you were going on that trip last year Jeff , sounds like you made it ok - hope fully we can get you to tell us how it went later on.
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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 10:47

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 10:47
Robin,

Went well, took out ten drums of Jet A1 & one of diesel, very nice mining roads out there, did 350ks each way from Mt Dare, left at 5.00am & was home by 9.00pm that night.

I had a look at the maps & it looks like around 45 km north-east from the fuel dump @ Simpson #1 airstrip to the geocentre.

Some serious country out there.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:23

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:23
Quite a trip to do in a day Jeff and I understand you were at work.

Just imagine if you were on holiday.
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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 14:47

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 14:47
The mining roads are better than our local roads around here!

The dune crossings were a bit soft though' especially pulling over two tonne.

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Reply By: Candace S. - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:59

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 13:59
Now THIS is the kind of trip I wish I could go on!! It is as intriguing to me as the Dragon Tree Soak trip report I read last year. Another real adventure!

Sounds like you've received a lot of good information, but even with all that help it will still be quite a challenge. Good luck!
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Reply By: Andrew (Whyalla) - Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 19:38

Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013 at 19:38
Hi Robin

Logged in to say g'day. Good to see you're still out there living the adventures.
Sounds like a good trip and a challenge.

Enjoy!

cheers

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 08:57

Monday, Apr 29, 2013 at 08:57
Good to see your still around Andrew - I don't know when I will give up , just turned 65 and come back from a Vic Desert trip with a 4800 Patrol which casts a shadow on our HSV Maloo ute.
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