What are the Rig Rd/ K1 tracks like as a nice drive.

Submitted: Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 12:21
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I am crossing the Simpson again next year with 3 - 4 other vehicles. Probably E-W then circling around through Alice and then down the Hay river track N-S.

I have the impression that the French line will be too busy and am looking at going down Knolls again then E-W on the Rig Rd. Then coming home I plan to go down hay river track then down the K1 / Warburton track.

My question is what are the Rig Rd and Warburton / K1 sections like? Are they flatter and more like clay, or similar to the more northern parts of the Simpson? Do you get the desert and dune atmosphere. I believe the sand is less red too.

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 17:53

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 17:53
K1 Warburton were just so smooth a few weeks ago BooBook.
(except little bit around the actual warburton - dried churned mud)

The inside track was actually better than the normal way.

However E-W on Rig had some big jump ups.

You do get the atmosphere North of K1/Rig junction particularly on Rig.

I will be looking for an excuse to also go north of Alice and see
what the top speed of the 4800 is and do my part to support the new unlimited seed trial.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 18:30

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 18:30
Thanks Robin

Nice to see you are helping the trial.
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Reply By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 21:00

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 21:00
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Follow Up By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 21:12

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 at 21:12
Should also mention...Do your homework carefully on fuel requirements if you are coming down the Hay river track. There is nothing between Jervois Stn and Birdsville or Mungarannie. You will also need permits to travel the area and they can take quite some weeks to get.
The Hay river track is a delight in good weather. Quite narrow and time consuming but pretty.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 06:52

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 06:52
Thanks Brenton, I'm planning to carry 240l or possibly 260l of diesel. it's 790km from Jervois to Mungarannie and I understand mostly inter-dunal. At a planned conservative 26l/100k based on previous desert trips that's about 200l as an expected top. I have the permits sussed out with Joel Flemming. I have auto goop on the way thanks to StephenL and can't wait.
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Follow Up By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 09:33

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 09:33
Boobook i'm pretty sure I calculated the distance from Jervois to Mungarannie at about 900+Km? It's further than Birdsville but. Fuel depends a little on any side diversions you may take, personal driving habits, load weight, and weather and track conditions....even so you probably wont need 260l of diesel. As you state the trip is mainly interdunal and easy by 4WD standards. It remains a challenge as it is isolated and with few if any one to help if you break down. We did the trip last aug-sept and the weather was perfect with spring flowers everywhere.. I drove a 4500 petrol 100 series, took 320l in a long range fuel tank + 2 jerries and had plenty left over..I used about 25-26l/100. Mates had a diesel 100 series and took two spare jerries on top of the 140 the cruiser carries. I'm not sure on his useage but he also had plenty left over. We were not towing a camper I might point out. If towing there are still a dozen or so dunes in the E-W section that could test you and the slim track in the hay river area would make backing or turning difficult in some areas.
Oh..be prepared for pinstriping...the narrow hay track area is lined with paint loveing Acacias.
Its a pleasant trip with a wide variety of conditions and flora. In many ways we enjoyed it more than the Simpson crossing as it was more isolated, and less monotonous.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:36

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:36
Thanks Brenton, I plan to double check all my distances but I will do that run straight away, it is the longest even by my current calculations.

Will let you know what I come up with,in case I am doing something wrong.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 16:38

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 16:38
Hi Brenton,

I have calculated the Jervois to Mungeranie run a few times, and while I am doing it by running a track on a map, I keep getting about 800 - 820km even with a few minor diversions.

Can I ask how you calculate it to be over 900km, 100km extra at 25l/100k would be too close for comfort.

I would be interested in your or other feedback on this distance.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 16:47

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 16:47
Brenton, I should also mention at the expense of being howled down by the Dudley Do-Right brigade that I will be towing my camper and the fuel use is representative of that.

All, Pleeeeeeeeeeese start a different thread if you want to voice an opinion on towing in the Simpson or anywhere else. Go for broke on your own thread if you think it is important enough for the 300th time, but please don't hijack this one.
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Follow Up By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 20:35

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 20:35
Not sure if I can find my calcs still...but I remember I also allowed the trip around Lindsay's property out to the rock etc and to Lake Caroline..which we found a bit boring. I will email you personally ..if i can work out how to do it.
Have more pics if you need them?

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 21:21

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 21:21
That is very kind of you to offer Brenton. However the onus is on me to do the research, so don't sweat if it isn't easily at hand. More pics would always be welcome though.

I can see that a trip around Lindsay's would add a bit and I probably should allow more for that alone.

God this site is great at times.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:03

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:03
We last travelled Hay River in 2005 - it followed 100mm of rain about 4 weeks prior, so the sand was reasonably firm. My TD79 series (which gives similar economy to my 200series) used 154L to cover 890km between Jervois and Mungarannie. One of the people on my trip towed a TVan behind a troopie, also with the same TD motor. He used 10% more fuel than I did.
There are a lot of easy kms on that trip. The 100k from Jervois to Batton Hill and at the other end, the tracks from Beachcomber Well south to Mungarannie are very easy on fuel (assuming no rain).

If I was a gambling man, I expect your 200 series plus Tvan will use 170L for the 890km (which includes the jaunt up to Lake Caroline and the bush tucker and Goyders Pillar trips.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:25

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:25
Great feedback Phil. Looks like 900km is the consensus too.

154l seems good economy ( 17.3) and 170l is 19.3l/100km. If I go up 20% from that and assume 23l/100km on average, that's 205l plus either 35l or 55l to spare based on 240l or 260l.

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Reply By: Danna - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 03:20

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 03:20
Hi Boobook
We went from Birdsville to Mt. Dare in 2012, by Rig Road. Rig Road couldn’t improve since at all; it would get only worst, as it is not maintained. It is extremely difficult as on lots of dunes the clay capping is broken beyond possibility to drive on it. We have to drive on very soft loose sand next to broken clay capping. Dunes have sand cups blown on top very high. Some almost as high as The Big Red and very often the sand cup is not visible from bottom of the dune. There was no traffic at all. Near The Knolls we met first two vehicles, coming from Mt. Dare, also highly modified and well “geared” for these kind of challenging conditions. We only went to see The Knolls, but we return back to Rig Rd, as we were avoiding French Line. We wouldn’t even thing to go that way towing any kind of camper. To drive from Mt. Dare /west to east/ is little easier than from east to west / Birdsville to Mt. Dare.
We went from Mt. Dare to Birdsville by Madigan Line and we even found camp 1. It is challenging, but not as difficult as Rig Rd. Lots and lots of “moguls”.
From Birdsville we drove very easy way by Hay River Track. Do your self a favor, and pre-arrange your permit for this part of Simpson as aborigines do seriously policing track on total end at Button Hill camp! People without permit pay quite substantial “bounty”.
So, I hope this report is going to be some help to you.
Cheers Dana
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:18

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:18
Boobook, your plan sounds good.
My suggestion is to do a conventional Simpson crossing from east to west. WAA Line would be my slight preference but French Line is fine too.
Rig Road was average 12 years ago when I last did the full length of it - sounds like it is no better - lots of washaways etc back then and the countryside was average.
Doing the Simpson E-W or W-E doesn't matter - no matter which way I've done it over the years, it's been good.
Hay River track is good fun.
K1-Warburton track is usually a walk in the park.
Where the Rig Road links to the K1 - lots of soft dunes and jump ups on the Rig road which would be a challenge if coming from the west towards K1. Been the case for many years. But that won't affect you. On the times we've done it, we've had a bit of a play on those dunes just to see what they're like.
Keep planning and enjoy!
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 06:44

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 06:44
Thanks Phil that sort of confirms my thoughts. I have done the WAA line and am tossing up alternatives this time. Also is it possible to give an idea of the average speed on the K1 - Warburton track? I'm guessing it is typical slow travel on the top half of the K1 lint then I have read 40 - 60k as you head south on the Warburton track. Does that sound anywhere near right.
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Follow Up By: Danna - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 07:21

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 07:21
As a prevailing wind in this region is from West to East, the drive is of cause easier from West to East (Mt. Dare to Birdsville).
Driving a conventional way, by French Line has it’s disadvantage too; there it most of time big traffic. In full season, for average morning (7am to 12pm) you would meet at least 30vehicles going opposite way. So, for us it was not a nice or a pleasant drive. We love serenity of wilderness without crowd, that’s why we are always solo drivers. But for that, one must be really equipped not only with top quality gear, but also more than only basic natura survival skills and the good knowledge of vehicle.
Worrying about if…. or if not…. is no good for this type of enjoyment.
Worrying would make you tired, sick and than you may make most likely fatal mistake.
Cheers Dana
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:20

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:20
Dana, It all depends on where you go and the luck of the draw. I never go in school holidays. Yep there's more traffic on the French Line, but it's only a problem if you let it get to you. Oncoming traffic is not an issue - they appear and then they're gone. Main hassles we've had is when large groups go in the same direction, in which case we usually pull up for a cup of tea and let them go.

Tony, if you've gone WAA before then go French Line this time. Average speed on the K1 would be 30-40 kph when rolling. In 2006 we (2 vehicles not towing) travelled from warburton Crossing to a spot just north of the shot line on the Hay River track in a normal days travel. But we usually travel less distance than this because we are usually in a group of 6-8 vehicles.

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:26

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 22:26
Just to add, in 2006 we did 276km on the K1 in a day (2 vehicles, no towing).
In 2005 we did 163 km in a day on the K1. That was 8 vehicles, one towing and at a relaxed pace.
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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:28

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:28
BB Don't get me wrong here. But what do you mean by a "nice" drive? I wonder if we are getting too darn casual about a casual drive through a desert. It is remote and can kill. Sure our WAA line was a walk in the park and no doubt as many others have also found out. But if anything goes wrong it is still remote.

Enjoy it mate but don't treat it as a "nice" drive. As no doubt you won't anyway and it was just a bad choice of words using "nice" in the subject.

But I still wonder if we, and I include the general experienced 4WD fraternity, are getting too casual about it. Hmmmmm

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Follow Up By: equinox - Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:58

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 at 20:58
Hi Phil,
Any drive we do can be a nice drive before it goes pear shaped.

Why worry about something that may never happen?

We can worry & worry and nothing ever happens or we can have a nice drive and nothing ever happens. Or we can worry and its goes pear shaped or we can have a nice drive until it goes pear shaped.

You're going up the CSR next year. Are you going to worry about the whole trip the whole time thinking about what the worst case scenario is? Or are you going to go on a "nice drive" and worry about any problems that may occur after or near to when they occur.

If something bad is going to happen it is going to happen anyway - you might as well just go for a nice drive.


PS - these are my opinions only and any perception of me trying to force my opinions onto others is unfounded, as we all have free will. I do not say "you must", "you will be stupid not too" or "it is essential" or "is is mandatory" that you must go for a nice drive, you may make the decision :-)

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 06:32

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 06:32
Phil please don't focus too much on the term 'nice drive'. Perhaps I should have picked a better term.

I don't mean 'nice drive' as in "I'm going to put a picnic rug in the boot of the Commodore and cross the Simpson desert over 3 1/2 weeks."
I have been 4wding for over 30 years, have a sat phone, HF radio, UHF, full set of 6 appropriate tyres, and repair kit, can carry 240 of diesel, 120l of water, in a party of 3 vehicles, I've crossed several deserts many times and done many 3 - 4 week outback trips, inc the Simpson, done first aid courses, 4wd courses and sand courses, and go away 4wding about every 6 weeks.

I ask this question as part of 12 month preparation for a trip for June next year. I hope that qualifies me to look for a nice drive across the desert. :-)

What I meant is what is the scenery like further south in the Simpson, and along the rig road given the rig road was built for trucks and has a clay pan, and further south gets out of the dune area, also is the road flat and clay, or sand?

I'm seeking advice on the route on that basis, I did think that was implied, but apparently not. I didn't plan on putting my full trip prep details on the forum to address all sorts of unrelated questions. Perhaps I should have, explaining my preparation to people I've never met took more typing that the original question. Sorry for confusing you. I hope all that isn't too casual.

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 07:33

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 07:33
Hey BB No sweat mate. I wasn't confused. Just my comments about us all and our seemingly casual attitude to all this remote travel. Not directed at you at all.

What about waiting until you get to Mt Dare or Birdsville to decide which way to go. It's not as if you have to make a booking! Ha!

I asked Mt Dare what the tracks were like and was told that the WAA line was the worst. That was a red flag to a bull to us. We took the WAA line. Not only because it was supposed to be the hardest but because we figured that it would be the least travelled as a lot would take the, please excuse the choice here mate, "nice" ways. We prefer the isolation. But this shows my point. Personally maybe we are also getting a little over confident in the car. Just thoughts mate.

The desert wasn't like the WA flower show but it was amazing. Simply the best drive to date.

We are trying to get time enough for a Simpson detour on the way to or from the CSR next year but when one works it is hard to get the extra time to "smell the roses" on the way.


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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:47

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:47
Ok Phil, I think I'll focus on my OP and planning.
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