Simpson Desert: from west to east

Submitted: Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 18:09
ThreadID: 102301 Views:2747 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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Hello everybody
We want to tackle the Simpson desert this July. As we are from overseas we will be on our own. We have travelled around Australia and it’s outback form many years, but never tried so many sand dunes. So far we always met great Australian people who helped us or we could travel along with. We made many great friends.
What’s your experience on the Simpson Desert Track? Will we be OK venturing alone onto the French Line?
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Reply By: Michaeljp - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 19:52

Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 19:52
I'm doing it aswell in early July, starting around the 10th or 11th or there abouts. Its my first time driving the Simpson and im doing it solo. 1 car 1 person, me. There will be many others on the track aswell so dont worry you wont be alone if something does go wrong. You will be alright travelling it alone, just have enough food fuel water and a UHF rado to talk toothers on the track.
AnswerID: 511405

Reply By: locked hilux - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 21:04

Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 21:04
first of all dont underestimate the outback. I have seen many tourist from over seas try to go every where and some even try to tackle the desert in a wicked van if you dont have agood 4wd think again, and you should carry heaps of water and food so many people break down and are just not prepared for it, have some recovery gear a shovel is the best and may be maxtrax or something similar. Just dont kid yourself if you think it will be like a highway it is not. And for god sake take with you what you take in dont leave anything out there so much of the outback is being ruined by people that dont care, but the big thing is there are still peolple that die in the outback or the are stranded for days I think with all the 4wds out there now people think it is tooo easy but the bush can always make someone come unstuck.
the big thing is be prepared and dont just go into it like a gun how idiot.
AnswerID: 511411

Follow Up By: Fitzi C - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 19:27

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 19:27
Well, what you are suggesting is so basic, that I won't go into it. We have travelled for about 30 years around Australia - and we have observed, that not only overseas tourists have shown manners - sorry to say.
FollowupID: 789791

Reply By: Jon W (Toow - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 21:14

Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 21:14
What are you driving and what extra fuel will you be carrying? How many spare tyres will you be carrying? What communications will you have? Do you have a UHF radio, sat phone and PLB? You should not rely solely on the help of others.
Jon W
AnswerID: 511413

Follow Up By: Fitzi C - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 23:22

Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 23:22
We are driving a Troopcarrier with extra fuel tank (180 l) probably plus extra canister, 2 spares, winch and rented UHF radio.
FollowupID: 789659

Follow Up By: cookie1 - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 11:06

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 11:06
Did you mean a rented HF Radio? If so, with respect, I trust they are they going to show you how it works.

FollowupID: 789757

Follow Up By: Fitzi C - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 19:38

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 19:38
Thanks, Jon W, you are right, of course we won't rely solely on the help of others - we never have, but we have always liked to meet people and join in for a good yarn. Each track has it's own type of people, so we just wondered ... looking forward to a great experience.
FollowupID: 789793

Reply By: cookie1 - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 22:23

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 22:23
Fitzi C
a couple of people here have asked a couple of what I think are pertinent questions and made some, what I think, are reasonable observations.

I have read through your post a couple of times now and it doesn't list your experience, where you have been, how long you plan to do this, whether you realise you need a permit, what recovery gear you do or don't have, you say you are renting a UHF radio, but as they are relatively cheap, I have asked whether you mean a HF Radio as there is a big difference, but have elected not to answer my question.

I have seen the actual site where a german couple got stuck and indeed she lost her life and the 4x4 was driven out by the police. Now I am certainly not intending to offend as I believe others haven't intended to offend you but, you are going to venture into some serious remote area and I had believed you came on here to seek some information.

Now I have been across the Simpson several times and I have come across people that are very ill prepared and indeed a thread recently on this site uncovered a person that by the look of it didn't understand the etiquette of travelling in these areas as, he didn't communicate warn anyone of his presence on his UHF, no sand flag , possibly tyre pressures a little too high etc etc and nearly had an accident out there.

Now I and a group of experienced friends will be going East to West and may possibly come across you going the opposite way. I dearly hope that you do have a sand flag, monitor your UHF and put out the occassional calls noting your relative location and watch for activity whilst at the top of a dune every now & then.

Cheers & travel safe
AnswerID: 511546

Follow Up By: Fitzi C - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 22:42

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 22:42
Thanks for your remarks and - no worries - we will certainly comply to the rules you mentioned!
Have a great trip!
FollowupID: 789927

Reply By: sleepy71 - Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 22:56

Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 22:56
Hi All,

As already stated, you must have a properly setup 4wd, which includes:
1) extra fuel
2) extra food and water
3) 12v Air Compressor
4) Spare Tyres & Tubes
5) Tyre puncture repair kit
6) UHF Radio
7) Satellite Phone or HF Radio
8) Recovery Equipment ( shovel, snatch strap, Maxtrax)
9) warm clothes ( as it gets cold overnight)
11) Most Important - A Desert Parks Pass!!! - Without this, you can't travel through the Desert!!! ( This has maps and other useful information)

And if you do get stuck, STAY with Your Vehicle!!

I have done 2 crossings of the Simpson, about 20 years ago, and about to do my 3rd in late August/Early Sept.

AnswerID: 512195

Reply By: Barbera72 - Friday, May 31, 2013 at 08:54

Friday, May 31, 2013 at 08:54
Fitzi, just to enter in the specific: for my experience on desert and sand driving, the Simpson crossing via French and QAA line is most of the time an easy and well travelled 4X4 route (either east to west or vice-versa) unless some heavy rainfall occoured. The higher dunes close to Birdsville can be tricky only in very dry conditions and if you are towing a trailer. If you stop on top of the dunes and check the track, you'll have an idea on who's travelling and in witch direction and how far they are, then a sand flag will be sufficient IMO.

When I tackle those central and "remote" tracks I usually carry with me water and food supplies (compacted) for 7 days but most importantly I make sure the vehicle is in seriously top condition before I start the trip. Aussies often like to refer as Australia remoteness as a dangerous obstacle for OS tourists because they haven't travelled offroad outside Australia. They don't often realize there are far more remote and challenging offroad track spread around other continents. The story of the German couple stranded half-way between Halligan Bay and William Creek springs out every time I talk to a local when travelling outback.

I believe Australia is one of the safest Country I travelled (if not "the" safest), and the tracks and road are most of the time in very good conditions at least for modern 4X4 vehicles. Common sense and good basic preparation will ensure the traveller will have a good time and enjoy a fantastic scenery from sea to the desert. But this is superfluous for a seasoned traveller like you.

You can check this video, is about sections of the QAA line the stretch from Eyre Creek to Big Red.

AnswerID: 512210

Follow Up By: Fitzi C - Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 20:56

Monday, Jun 03, 2013 at 20:56
Dear Barbera72
Back from a trip with our Troopy over here I saw your notes and the video. Many thanks!
We are very much looking forward to our trip and all the preparations are well underway!
FollowupID: 790880

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