Madigan line trip

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 12:29
ThreadID: 134652 Views:4353 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Hi folks. My wife and I are in the habit of clearing off from our part of Victoria in winter (no surprises there!) into the wonderful outback of Australia. We are interested in doing the Madigan Line sometime - maybe even in 2017 if it were possible to organise in time. The time of year would preferably be, say mid-July to late August (get my drift on the timing?). At this stage we are planning West-East i.e. starting from Old Andado (where we have been before). Like the Simpson we hear from other souces it's easier that way. Also we are probably only thinking of going as far as the Hay River Tk - which we also covered a couple of years back. Firstly, any advice from those who have done it? Secondly, as it's not something to do alone, is anyone interested in perhaps forming a group of, say 4-6?
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 14:33

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 14:33
Mark / Dee, it's a great drive, did it mid July last year.
Enjoyed it that much we are doing another route across, this time a little south of there, but still in the NT.

Anyway, it easy enough to do (solo ?) if you're experienced and well prepared.
Usual precautions with comms, sat phone or hire.
You can access camps 1, 1a, 5 to 16 (last camp on Hay River Tk), but I reckon you might as well do to camp 22, because it does have an interesting change of terrain, some great terrain etc, large creeks, Annandale ruins . . . I enjoyed the end of the really undulating terrain in the eastern side of Madigan, this ended not long after heading east towrds camp 17, and then some very stunning colour through there on the dunes and clay / salt pans.

But on the other hand, if you decide to go down the HR Tk and out, you can catch Poeppel Corner if you haven't been that way before.
Going that way, you could also head down to Warburton X to get out of the desert, fuel etc permitting (to Mungerannie).
AnswerID: 610184

Reply By: Rob K (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 15:35

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 15:35
Hi Markndee,

Did the Madigan Line this time of year two years ago with 4 other vehicles - one of which was a near stock standard Mitsubishi Triton with a very heavy load. Other vehicles were well set up Toyota Landcruisers (LC100, FJ Cruiser and 2x 79 Series). We were probably one of the first groups through the area for that season and did a east to west crossing all the way from Birdsville to Mt Dare.

The Triton struggled with the dunes because of clearance and load, was the most knocked around vehicle in the group and in retrospect needed to be better prepared for such a trip (upgraded suspension, LT tyres, auxiliary fuel tank etc.). That said, it did make it across the Madigan Line, along with a detour to Geosurvey Hill and the Geographic Centre of the Simpson Desert - with support from the group.

If the picture in your member profile shows your current vehicle, I would strongly recommend not to do this trip alone. Would be hard work. I'm also of the impression that the Madigan Line has become very popular in recent years and the track may be getting more use and the consequential issues of more groups using the track. The track itself is fairly well defined between Camp 5 and Camp 16, less so as you go further east and a GPS might be required. West to east would be easier to negotiate and many of the dune crossings have momentum sapping bends at the top and bottom of each dune.

Usual advice about remote desert travel apply (tyre pressure, communications, fuel supply, water etc) and its a long way to travel. Average speed would keep you in high 2nd for most of the trip and a average distance of 80-90 kilometres per day.

Preparation is key and group support essential for an enjoyable trip.
If you enjoy the outback isolation, you'll love the Madigan Line. Didn't meet a sole the whole 8 days we were in the Simpson.

Good luck with hooking up with some other interested travelers. Maybe list the trip in 'Gatherings' for EOIs.


AnswerID: 610189

Follow Up By: Member - Markndee - Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 17:16

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 17:16
Thanks for that useful info Rob. Where/how do I get to 'Gatherings' - I haven't used the Explore-Oz site much in the past so still finding my way around it.
Cheers, Mark
PS Our vehicle is an Isuzu DMax dual cab, tray body. It has a long range fuel tank and I carry a couple of jerry cans of extra fuel in the tray. A few years back we broke a rear spring coming across the Anne-Beadell so we chained up the rear axle to the chassis and coninued on to Coober Pedy - couldn't have travelled any faster if we wanted to it was so rough (in the SA section). We also had heavy duty shockers put on. Haven't had any trouble since. We have a sat phone and recovery gear. We did the Simpson before that - was surprised at how easy it was to get up Big Red - high 2nd. Anyway, just love that desert country.
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Follow Up By: Rob K (VIC) - Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 08:42

Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 08:42
Hi Mark, if you go to the menu (top left) and click on 'Members' you'll see a tab called 'Trips/Gatherings'. Click on this and put in your trip details. It will place another forum post as 'Trips/Gathering' and provide a link for other members to register an interest.

Good luck with the planning.


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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 18:17

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 18:17
We're going across Madigan in July, Markndee.

Leave Birdsville about 10th, across Simpson to Mt Dare, then back across Madigan & doing camps 17-22. 4 vehicles across to Mt Dare, then 3 over the Madigan.

We had a Dmax do the same trip with us last year, handled it no worries. Shat on my Landcruiser on at least 2 occasions. Think it used 163L for entire trip, our V8 used 232L.


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AnswerID: 610194

Follow Up By: Member - Markndee - Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 21:46

Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 at 21:46
Good to hear from you Bob and thanks for the response.
That timing could fit in very well with us - if you'd have us along. Maybe we need to keep in touch to see if we can meet up. We don't have any particular plans at this stage so it would be easy enough for us to fit in I think. We wanted to do Goog's Track sometime (started that a couple of years back but had to pull out not far in when my fuel tank sprung an unexplained leak). We could even do Goog's Track then head up the Stuart Hwy and in to Mt Dare. We did the trip from Mt Dare to Old Andado a few years back - which I presume would be the starting point.
We did the tip of Cape York last year - I reckon half the people we bumped into were from Victoria. We're in Ballarat and it snowed the day before we left one year. If you want to get in touch my email is
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 06:33

Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 06:33
Googs / Madigan is exactly what we did last year :)
We went up to Kulgera, fuel up, then camped Lamberts, last fuel next morning at Finke.
You have 20km more to travel from Finke over Mt Dare, not much in it, but very quick going up the blacktop and then east, rather than dirt from Coober Pedy.

I fee lit saves a little time, a bit longer, and less harsh on the loaded vehicles.

This June trips we are planning on either route, depending on what route the few vehicles going from Adelaide would like to do.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 06:46

Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 06:46
Will be in touch Mark, with few more details,


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Reply By: Sigmund - Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 11:00

Friday, Apr 14, 2017 at 11:00
Sounds like a great trip.
Pity I'm committed already.
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