Brisbane to Simpson

Submitted: Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 20:56
ThreadID: 137567 Views:3560 Replies:2 FollowUps:10
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I am back after not being on this site for many years :)

I need some advice from the well seasoned desert travellers. I am going to the Big Red Bash next year and I have started my planning. We are leaving Brisbane on the 5th July and have 12 days before we need to check into the festival. I would like to do the Simpson as part of this trip. My plan is to leave the camper in Birdsville and swag it into the desert. I have looked at my Hema maps and looks like there's so many different ways you can go about it, so I want to ask the people who have done this trip what you think is the best way to go about starting at Birdsville and ending up back there without seeing the same stuff twice.

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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:15

Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:15
Well as you need to get a Desert Parks Pass, you could just do 2 lines in the SA part, any of the 3 legs in either direction (French, WAA lines, or Rig Rd).

But if you're reasonably setup for desert travel, you could do any of the routes from Birdsville to Mt Dare, then do Madigan Line back from there which brings you back to Eyre Ck, and the little return on QAA to Big Red.

Bear in mind the desert will be mad with people crossing, but doing it this way you can avoid some of the main crowd on the return leg.

Madigan used to be remote / have an isolated feel to it, now it's more travelled.
You will need to get the free permit for that from the central land council, easy to do online.

You could go to BV via a southern route through Innamincka, then Walkers X or Cordillo, and maybe a route via Windorah back.

I've done both ways ex Brisbane, and they are both interesting.
AnswerID: 622673

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:22

Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:22
Note - you will have to be well supplied with food and water, as there is limited for a double crossing ex Mt Dare, or even Oodnadatta.

Without knowing your vehicle / logistics capabilities, it's hard to say if you can manage this in the 12 days even.
A regular crossing SA is say 4 days, Madigan 6, so tight.
You need to add a bit of restocking time, and of course drive there from Bris.

I did Bris - Walkers X (BV Tk end) in 2-1/2 days a couple of years ago, but it's a good slog, on that trip we did Rig Rd via Warburton, it was hot so we just got it done fast, 2 days to 3 O'Clock Ck.

Probably more feasible to do French or WAA line, then return via Rig Rd and up Knolls Tk to Peoppel and QAA back.
You will likely need to go to Mt Dare for fuel, and cask water top off.
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Follow Up By: Cornel B - Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:26

Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:26
Thanks mate,

Pretty well kitted out and do allot of touring and remote camping so not so worried about that it's more the time it's all going to take to make sure I don't miss the bash haha
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:37

Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:37
Well you shouldn't have any dramas doing a double SA crossing, provided the weather's ok and nothing breaks.
Say 3 to Birdsville, then you have 2 x 4 days for crossings and a spare day in between for stocking and / or safety day.

A crossing can be done in 3 days, but 4 is less stress, and while some say they like 5 or even 6 days, the longer you're out there the more water / food, beer etc you need to carry.
So I generally recommend 4 days to people, especially if it's a first time crossing.
Got to enjoy it, we typically get going fairly early, around 0800, make camp by 3 or 4 latest.

I just have to mention again how it will be very busy, and I'm talking line ups while someone with highway tyre pressures is bogged and blocking a dune here and there.
No kidding, you can be sat 15, 20 minutes sometimes, and then playing leap frog with larger or slower moving groups, sometimes it's a little like peak hour on the M1 heading to Brissy on a weekday morning.
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Follow Up By: Cornel B - Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:43

Sunday, Dec 16, 2018 at 21:43
Not sure if I am that keen for a double for my first one, I can always come back and spend more time there :) sure as hell sounds good though. The wife and 2 young kids will be with me so it means 4 x of everything so space is an issue for provisions the Patrol Wagon can only fit so much :)
FollowupID: 895711

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 07:35

Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 07:35
That info changes a lot Cornel.
As you say the gear & provisions for 4 is far too much for double crossing, 8 + days in most wagons.

I would maybe do that loop drive Bris - Birdsville

Stops here are decent days driving = 4 days

Return loop BV - Bris via Windorah / Roma

Camp wherever you feel the family needs on that retun, probably another 4 days, maybe 5.

Do a run out to Poeppel Corner with the family, maybe swag the one night camping near there.
You won't need an SA Desert Parks Pass then either.

You could possible organise a loop over a few days / 2 nights, do a run up the Hay River Tk to Madigan line camp 16, then turn east and also visit camps 17 to 22, coming out at Eyre Ck / QAA junction on the Eyre Ck bypass track.

That would be a good alternative.
With 4 or 5 days travel to BV, you would have less crowds for that and the little desert run to Poeppel Cnr, then 3 or 4 days to do that loop into the eastern desert, and then plenty of time to get to Big Red and set up in a good spot and wait for the main concert crowds.

Take plenty of entertainment for the kids for those last few days, and some reading material for yourselves.

Birdsville also has an interesting tour map ex the info centre, you can easily spend a day around BV sights, and up to the ancient Waddi trees about 15 km north of town.

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Follow Up By: Cornel B - Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 12:06

Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 12:06
Sounds like an excellent plan thanks for your help
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Reply By: rumpig - Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 10:33

Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 10:33
Have you been out that way / Central Australia anywhere before, and how far do you travel maximum distance wise each day?
There is heaps to see out there, Currawinya National Park between Eulo and Hungerford with it's shearing shed that is probably the best maintained shed i've seen is a park well worth exploring, Sturt National Park near Tibboburra with it's jump ups has stunning scenery, Cameron Corner and Haddon Corners are out there to tick off the have visited list, then Burke and Wills Dig Tree and associated graves and markers, Coongie Lakes etc around Innamincka are there to see, then if you decide to cross the Simpson Desert you can head up Finke way to Lamberts Centre of Australia and come back down the Oodnadatta Track with all it's rail history...there's all that and so much more to see, that you'll need to just pick some and come back again to do others.
I think if you have your heart set on crossing The Simpson you have to head straight to Birdsville which is gojng to be about 3 or 4 days gone already possibly even 5 days depending on how far you want to drive each day, and possibly means lots of kilometres to cover with not much time at all to look around. Thargomindah is about 1000klms from Brisbane for example, i did that in a day back in July but others take atleast 2 or 3 days to cover that distance....then it's onto Innamincka and Birdsville which knocks another few days off, can be done in a very big day though if you don't look at anything (personally I enjoyed Walkers Crossing route more then Cordillo Downs route, but either is a nice enough drive), but it's more like 2 straight away you're down i'll say a minimum of 3 big days of just driving, but more like 4 or 5 days if you want a holiday of sorts.... then say 3 or 4 days to cross the desert and leaves X amount of days to get back to Birdsville (maybe you'll later have to detour to Coober Pedy for supplies as well?). My choice would be hoof it to Lamberts Centre after crossing the desert, then do Oodnadatta and Strezlecki Tracks back to Birdsville, checking out the rail history along the way, but it's a hell of an overall drive to do in 12 days, not for someone not liking to driving big distances on outback roads each's definitely doable though and a trip some people will love, but for others it'll be far from a relaxing holiday and they'll be exhausted afterwards and needing a holiday to recover.
Another option is to do The Simpson another time, take your time getting to Birdsville via Currawinya and Sturt National Parks, onto Cameron Corner then Innamincka area to look around, tick off Haddon Corner also if that's your thing or just onto Birdsville via Walkers Crossing (if open) or Cordillo Downs routes....just depends what you want to see really and how much driving you want to do each day.

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Follow Up By: Cornel B - Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 12:09

Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 12:09

No it will be my first time out that way. We don't mind doing long days traveling, the kids are used to it and have their DVD players and games in the back to keep them busy for days.

I will mark all these spots on my maps and have a look at it all :) Thanks for your help and input.
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Follow Up By: Gbc.. - Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 12:35

Monday, Dec 17, 2018 at 12:35
If you've never been that way before I concur with the above. Head out through Currawinya/Wanaaring/Tib/Cameron Corner/Innaminka and up to Birdsville, enjoying the amazing run.
You can then drop off the trailer and have a night or three out in the Simpson past Eyre Creek, Poeppel area and come back without trying to 'do' the Simpson twice.
It is a big place and you are driving past a help of a lot of great places to draw a line through an item on a list.
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Follow Up By: Member - Mark C (QLD) - Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 at 08:43

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 at 08:43
We did currawinya, Wanaaring, Tibboburra, Cameron corner, innamincka and Birdsville easily in 10 days from toowoomba with a couple of nights in currawinya and commeron corner(due to rain). So add in 3 days in Simpson no problem. We towed an exodus 11 and no problems. You could even take it to Poeppel corner but not preferred.
Mark And Helen QLD
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 at 09:09

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 at 09:09
One thing I will add is that road conditions will likely change out there big time with how much holiday and bash traffic will be about. We came through the Merty Merty this year after all the bash traffic had come and gone, the road here in particular was chopped up big time, massive holes on dune crests and horrendous corrugations in some stretches...we were down to walking pace in one stretch with tyre pressures well deflated for example. We came through the same section of road again a few months later in the September school holiday, talk about chalk and cheese in conditions, no big tyre deflation needed and easily driven at a decent speed. So all I'm saying here is to maybe allow a touch extra travel time when planning distances, just in case similar happens out that way again.
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