Simpson double crossing - route options

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 15:09
ThreadID: 117512 Views:2132 Replies:10 FollowUps:3
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We are planning a double crossing, start and finish Birdsville.
Have done much reading and just need to ask for some collective wisdom
We will be coming down to Birdsville from Winton. Time available will not allow us to do a single crossing on to circular route (say via Alice ) back to north Qld hence the double crossing .
I also know that W to E is easier, and obviously there are route options.

So my question is, what route would you suggest? We were thinking using different lines there and back. Should we take the easiest route E-W and come back the harder ones as the going is better?
This is a one-off for us with the Simpson, so we would appreciate a route option that will give us the 'Simpson Experience'

Thank you in advance
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 16:20

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 16:20
I did a double crossing last year.

We left Birdsville, crossed to Mt Dare then up through Finke to Alice Springs, across the Plenty Highway to the top of the Hay River then down that to Poeppel Corner.
We went south from there, but you could head East back to Birdsville. That way you get a different experience as you mostly head in between dunes. River camping along the river too. You would have to add a couple of days at Alice to restock ete and take in Chambers Pillar.

I would avoide the Frnch line and head across the WAA line. Quieter and less rutted.

As to E-W or W-E. I think it depends more on the traffic and weather. The upside to heading W-E is that the dunes get steeper so you get to learn as you go.

AnswerID: 552540

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 17:06

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 17:06

It doesn't really matter what route you take , its just a fantastic trip whatever way you take . West to East is certainly harder so the return trip with the experience you will have will be really enjoyable. This time of the year the French line or QAA will be fairly quite.
18psi is the way to go , don't be tempted to increase tyre pressure much more than that , its makes it so much easier with the correct pressures.

Enjoy the trip, you will love the Simo

AnswerID: 552542

Reply By: cookie1 - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 17:35

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 17:35
Past experience has shown the Rig Road to be the easiest and possibly less used route so would suggest that for the West bound journey to Mt Dare to top up with fuel & supplies and then back across the French line to Birdsville.

There is more scalloping on the western side than the Eastern side being the less travelled direction but the crests are a little steeper on the Eastern side given the push from the West but less scalloped. I typically apply a little bit of the go pedal heading down the scallops as it makes the ride a little easier - not too much though you don't want to get out of control going down.

Tyre pressures are critical as is engaging 4wd, I have seen many doing it tough by high tyre pressures & / or not engaging 4wd.

Make sure you have your Desert Parks Permit and a Flag as well as decent communications gear.

Take your time & enjoy, I can say with certainty that it wont be your last - it is addictive.

AnswerID: 552544

Reply By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 18:06

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 18:06
You could also come down the Birdsville track, or the inside track, and turn north through Warburton crossing, then west along the Rig Road/WAA line to Dalhousie/Mt Dare, then straight back to Birdsville along the French and QAA lines.
AnswerID: 552548

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 18:15

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 18:15
Suggested route would be run down the Burdsville track Warburton,rig road, knolls track up to WAA line via Lone Gum,Erebena track,WAA line, Rig road , French Line to Dalhousie
And then then either the QAA or Frenchline for the return trip or vise versa
The southern end of the Simpson is different scenery, not as nice in my opinion but still needs to be seen to be appreciated

AnswerID: 552550

Reply By: Member - Scrubby (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 18:57

Thursday, Apr 16, 2015 at 18:57
G`day CJ,

Have a look at this one in the "blogs section" for heaps of info that might help.


It was back in 2008 but I don`t think things have changed much.
Take note of the alternative route to and from Dalhousie Spring to Mt Dare, via Blood Creek bore is much better.

The place is addictive, I have now done 3 crossings.

Stay safe and enjoy the trip.

AnswerID: 552552

Reply By: CSeaJay - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 08:21

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 08:21
Thank you to all who replied, and for the ideas shared. We are experienced in sand and desert (have done CSR amongst others) but are novices to the sights and routes of the Simpson. The above has certainly given us clarity on options to consider.

Friend last night suggested to do only half the Simpson. From Birdsville west and then north on the Hay (which will give us a circular route back to NQld to consider as it does not go as far west therefore time saved)

Cheers, safe travels
AnswerID: 552570

Reply By: vk1dx - Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 09:34

Friday, Apr 17, 2015 at 09:34
I didn't read all the posts but here are two options

Birdsville to Poepell Corner then down Knolls Track and the Rig Road to Lone Gum. From Lone Gum up the Erabeena Track to swing west on the WAA line and back east on the French line to turn north on the Hay River Track at Poeppel Corner. North to Jervois and turn east to QLD or the Plenty Highway and Donohue Highway to Boulia and homewards from there.


Birdsville onto the Birdsville track and down to Warburton Crossing and enter the Simpson on the K1 line to Lone Gum. From Lone Gum up to the WAA line and west to join the French line at Moraki well junctions. Then east to Poeppel Corner and out to Birdsville on the QAA line.
AnswerID: 552577

Reply By: Member - KeithB - Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 15:21

Monday, Apr 27, 2015 at 15:21
We crossed in four days from Mt Dare via the French line two days ago and were impressed by the excellent condition of the track. It dries out a fair bit east of Purni Bore but the western side of the desert is blooming with wildflowers. The 100mm of rain in January seems to have transformed the place.
We towed a camper trailer, ran at 16/19psi hot pressures and had no problems. We'll be back for sure. Check in advance regarding road closures. I think the Hay track is currently closed.
AnswerID: 552985

Follow Up By: Member - maxum II - Friday, May 01, 2015 at 09:07

Friday, May 01, 2015 at 09:07
KeithB What size/weight trailer, any problems? I have a 2 tonne unit towed by a LC 200 is it too heavy for the dunes?

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FollowupID: 838885

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Friday, May 01, 2015 at 10:07

Friday, May 01, 2015 at 10:07
maxum, I have crossed the Simpson E-W a couple of times towing a camper. My Tvan would probably be 1.5 T with all the beer and fuel in it.

I got stuck to th epoint of needing a snatch once last time.

I found the difference between 14 and 16 PSI to be major.

Also I would carry 220l of diesel at least. I think I used 180 - 190l last time.
FollowupID: 838887

Follow Up By: Member - KeithB - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 12:31

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 12:31
Maxum II our Chinese trailer weighed only 950 kg dry and I guess about 1,300 kg loaded. Our 200 would have weighed in at about 3,600 kg loaded (has a GVM upgrade).
So we were about 5 tonnes all up.
We carried all kinds of recovery gear which we did not thankfully have to use. I would think twice about towing 2,000kg, especially if the sand was a lot drier than what we experienced.
I spent every second or third night screwing out camper back together and repairing stone damage from the tracks along the way.
Be wary of hot Vs cold tyre pressures. Wew cracked both side walls in our new Cooper ST Maxx tyres on the rear which is something that I will take up with Coopers. Barnsey at the Birdsville roadhouse reclonned it might be a crook batch.
FollowupID: 839004

Reply By: The Landy - Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 18:07

Sunday, May 03, 2015 at 18:07
This is how I did a solo vehicle "double-crossing" many years ago...

Met a "double; a stand-in" halfway across going the other way...!

A touch off topic, but I hope you enjoy the trip...

Cheers, Baz - The Landy

AnswerID: 553238

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