Hay River Track

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 03, 2019 at 16:15
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Afternoon all, I'm in the throe's of planning a Simpson Trip for next year dodging the Bash and as much of the July school holidays as possible. One option that I am considering is doing the Hay River Track from Poeppel Crn to Batton Hill Camp and then through to Alice.

Can anybody who has done this track give me any pointers and how long it took between these 2 points as we are time poor as usual. AND we are not towing and are all seasoned travelers.

I've read that navigation may be an issue? Anything else would be greatly appreciated, eg if permits other than the SA Desert Parks Pass are needed .

Thanks

Dunc

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2019 at 16:31

Thursday, Jan 03, 2019 at 16:31
Hi Dunc

Apart from the SA Desert Park Pass, you will also need a permit from Joel Flemming in Alice Springs to enter the Aboriginal Land north of Lake Caroline and then Batton Hill Itself.

It is one of the best Simpson drives and once you hit the lower Hay River, it is a dead easy drive. Make sure you go out to Lake Caroline, and if you are lucky, it could also have water in it.

From Poeppel Corner, were were on the Hay River track for 4 days before we arrived in Batton Hill. As for navigation, Blind Fredy could do it, as it is now a very well worn track, compared to 14 years ago when we first did it. It was first opened up to the paying public during the 2004 tourist season and when we did it in 2005, there had been less than 200 vehicles on it.

Enjoy the drive.



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Follow Up By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2019 at 18:34

Thursday, Jan 03, 2019 at 18:34
Thanks Stephen that's very helpful. Still in the planning stage and there is every chance we will be too time poor to do what I hope in the 3 weeks available.

cheers

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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Jan 03, 2019 at 21:29

Thursday, Jan 03, 2019 at 21:29
Hi Dunc,

We did it in 3 days from Poepple's with leisurely driving and no trouble whatsoever with navigation.
Stephen has covered the permit issue but I must say that getting the permit from Jol Fleming's "Direct 4WD" business in Alice Springs was some problem. I do not know why it should have been, but it was.
Organisation at Batton Hill was also chaotic. I think Jol and his crew were having a bad day or two!
Nevertheless, it was a great drive.


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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 09:06

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 09:06
Allen : As you may be aware of Jol relies somewhat on his helpers , he's a credit & passionate about his interests .
One of the driving forces in establishing vehicles into the Finke Desert Race wayback and also the Driving Force in the Alice Springs Off Road Racing Club . First met Joel way back in the mid 80s when he used to drive around in a Holden one tonne ute that would go more places than your average 4wder.... LOL
I always call in on him when in the area and his place is always a buzz with things happening the next big adventure/ expedition . He's got a few blogs/ video out there which are always a good read.
Cheers nick
Cheers Nick b

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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 09:14

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 09:14
Almost forgot : That Jol is the reason that we all can use that trak , he is the one that organised it with the Aboriginals enter their lands
Cheers Nick b

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 10:49

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 10:49
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Yes Nick, I am very well aware of Jol's diverse activities and of his handicap.
My point is that if you advertise something and charge a fee for it (access permit, escorted tour, camping facility etc.) then you need to deliver such, or at least apologise and refund if delivery cannot be made.
Without going into all the detail, there was a group of a dozen vehicles who were very inconvenienced at the time of our visit.
Just being the mover & shaker of lots of events does not excuse poor delivery of a promised service.
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Reply By: Siringo - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 11:19

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 11:19
Did the Hay River in 2017. It's not difficult to drive or find your way. On our trip we were the first through for that season going south-north. I was the lead vehicle and I didn't have any difficulty following the track.

I have read/heard online that the Hay River may not be open any longer? I cannot confirm that, but you may like to follow that line of enquiry up just to make sure you can still do the tack.

When we went through in 2017 it was a condition that you had to pay for and stay 1 night at Baton Hill camp. We paid but didn't stay. The camp was in a bit of a mess/rundown & the locals didn't approach us, so we just went on. With that in mind, I'm not sure if Baton Hill is still going?

Again, you may like to follow that line of enquiry up just to make sure.

Good luck.
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Follow Up By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 11:37

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 11:37
Thanks for that, I would phone and make inquiries when and if the trip is a certainty. Like many things these days closures of access and onto properties is becoming more commonplace, often due to the actions of a few inconsiderate's.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 12:04

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 12:04
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Well the link I gave above is still active and I have not heard otherwise but that is no guarantee after all.

A problem of any indigenous operation can be that it can be suspended for "social" reasons such as 'Sorry Business' (funerals) without notice and without time definition. That is the way, and we must accept it gracefully. I'm not suggesting that this is necessarily the case with Batton Hill Camp at this time.

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Follow Up By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 13:16

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 13:16
Thanks Allan, the permit fee is a bit steep but that is the penalty if you want to travel through somebody else's backyard.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 14:53

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 14:53
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Yes Dunc, the "permit fee" is a bit steep at $220. It was only $200 when we last travelled there.

Furthermore, the fees are somewhat unusual for Indigenous Lands......
The "Hay River Track" from Madigan's Route crossing in the south to batton Hill in the north passes through Atnetye Land which is now freehold Native Title.
Transit permits to travel through this land are vested with the Northern Land Council and are issued free of charge. However an additional $220 permit is required by Direct 4WD (Jol Fleming) to traverse this track. (no documentation was issued) A further requirement is to pay $20 per person per night to stay at Batton Hill campground which is "operated by the family of Lindsay Bookie" who presumably receive that money.
What is not clear is who receives the $220 transit fee.
It would be nice to know who receives the benefit of the $220 transit fee and whether there is a legal justification for it when NLC has issued a permit free of charge.


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Follow Up By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 15:39

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 15:39
If like you say Allan that you didn't get any paperwork to prove you had a permit what would be the consequence of travelling the track without that 'permit'?

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Follow Up By: Siringo - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 15:58

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 15:58
On our trip some of the others never received paperwork for the Hay track even after paying. They took bank statements that showed payment coming out.

When we got to Batton Hill I stopped right next to the house there and a young fella just looked at me and walked away. We stayed there for around 10-15 minutes and no one came near us.

I've always felt this entire fee paying thing is dodgey, I have no qualms about paying, but sometimes I do feel like I'm being taken for a ride.

I just pay the fees, then nothing/no one can have a go at you.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 16:04

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 16:04
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Dunc, I did get the free transit permit from Central Land Council (not NLC, sorry) and I carried a copy of my emailed application to Direct 4WD together with a print-out of my $200 direct deposit bank transaction. In my mind, that should have been sufficient to demonstrate my right to be on that track.

The "consequence"? I dunno, I have obtained permits and travelled all over this country for many years and have never been asked to produce a permit. I'm a bit dissapointed actually. lol
There have been times when my transit permit dates failed to match the actual travel dates and had I been challenged I would have remained polite but mumbled-and-bumbled like an idiot who does not know what day it is. LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 20:31

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 20:31
Hey Allan

Would you like me to stir the pot a lot more..........

The biggest con of all is the fee to visit Goyders Pillar, which was $50 per vehicle way back in 2005 and cash at that.

Why is it a complete con.....?

For the simple fact that it is not Aboriginal land, and belongs to the pastoral lease of Tarlton Downs.....

How do I know this.....quite simple, I gave them a phone call last year.

First hand facts from the Manager were :

They have never given Batton Hill permission to take people there.

They have never received one cent for any visits from anyone. So if they have never received one single cent, then where has at that money gone........

During my phone calls with them, I asked if I could go there as private person and the answer was yes, but just give them a call first so they know who is out there.

So does this let the cat out of the bag and stirring up a hornets nest?



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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 22:08

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 22:08
Is it accessed via Batton Hill land ?
Most likely as it would be a good excuse to rort travellers some more.
Bloody cheeky though.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 22:36

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 22:36
Hi Les

If they use the very same route, then both a yes and no.

Lindsay used to take you on a big loop, the first bit was still on Aboriginal land and then you entered pastoral land. The return loop was then all pastoral land and then coming back into the main road into Batton Hill and entering Aboriginal land.

So if you had permission, you could get there on all pastoral land.

Either way Goyders Pillar is private land and not Aboriginal.

The biggest issue would still be that if you do/not know the area, you would not know what track to take to find Goyders Pillar



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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 22:59

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 22:59
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Les,

For starters, it is Atnetye Native Title Land, not "Batton Hill Land" and as Stephen has said, Chambers Pillar is on Tarlton Downs Station property. Secondly, the road in from the Plenty Hwy near Jervois Station runs along the northern boundary of the Atnetye Land. It is a formed and fenced road providing station property access. It by-passes Batton Hill campsite by about 2km to the north and continues to Goyders Pillar and loops back to itself to near Batton Hill. A branch track goes south to Batton Hill campsite. I doubt that any of it is on Atnetye Land and even if it were, a free transit permit may be obtained from Central Land Council. Goyders Pillar itself is certainly not on Native Title land.

Stephen, Thanks for that, I can confirm what you have said re access to Goyders Pillar. There is a fishy smell in the air.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 23:03

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 23:03
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Stephen, I was still composing and typing while you posted your above Followup which corroborates what I said.

I'm afraid though that Duncan asked a simple question about track condition and we have sent up a rocket! (Well, I did work at Woomera. lol)
Sorry about that Duncan but it is no reason to not do the Hay River trek provided that you don't mind the permit fee.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 03:49

Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 03:49
Thanks Stephen and Allan.
It’s all relative and will likely be in Duncan’s knowledge arsenal now.
He can know 2 ways to get there for a look if he likes, and sounds like he would not even know about access on Atnetye land if the locals are so visitor indifferent as travellers pass through.
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Follow Up By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 17:28

Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 17:28
Guys thanks for the tangent, some interesting stuff there. Permits, the legality of, their cost of, and where the money goes has always been topics for, at times heated, discussion and always with a fair degree of hearsay.

Interestingly when you contact the various Aboriginal corporations you can often leave more confused then when you first rang. Definitely the case at times here in Perth when sourcing permits for some reserves.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 19:11

Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 19:11
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Dunc,

We need to appreciate that the Aboriginal ethos is very different to that of the Whites. Theirs is a more emotive and spiritual approach to daily living than our logical and highly organised behaviour.

When we expect the indigenous people to respond and behave as we do is when we can become somewhat disgruntled. Their view of property and money is very different to ours. For us to expect it to be the same is inappropriate.

I have endeavoured to study and more understand "their way" and am currently reading "Why Warriors Lie Down and Die" which relates to the indigenous people of Arnhem Land. It explains a great deal and is helping me to understand the problems of reconciliation in general.


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 20:34

Saturday, Jan 05, 2019 at 20:34
Hi Allan again

That is very interesting, as like others, we also never received any office permit to travel that area either, and was told that it was all taken care of, but like you do, printed copies of my emails for the “just in case”.

Another thing was was not good for business was I was continually phoning and emailing to get the way point list, and it sounded like that in the end they were emailed to me to just shut me up.

Another interesting thing was it must be a very good trust thing, as Lindsay could neither read or write, and would put all his faith in Jol.

Having said that it is a great drive and would love to do it again one day.



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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 18:27

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 18:27
We haven't done the full Hay River track, but late September, '18, I travelled south to north, from Poeppel's Corner as far as Camp 16. Weather was a little warmer than I like, but travelling was good and I only had one issue, a very slow leak in a rear tyre.



North of Beachcomber was good travelling, going north, but heading south may have been a little harder. Members of a major 4WD mob in Vic were the last to go that way, and I'd suggest it may not have been as easy for them as it was for me. The gravel north to Beachcomber was a bit corrugated, in many sections.



I didn't log where I camped that night, but was about 40-50kms south of Camp 16. From there, there was a deterioration in the track, with plenty of rocking 'n rolling along the uneven surface. I was probably a little impatient too, but wanted to get to Adria Downs before dark.

Haven't been north of camp 15, but the road to there is quite good, with few rough sections. There are a number of good camps too, up that way. Enjoy,

Bob

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Follow Up By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 19:53

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 19:53
Thanks Bob, all good info. Your photo looks easy going.

cheers

Dunc

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 19:58

Friday, Jan 04, 2019 at 19:58
It is Dunc, compared to travel east - west or vice versa.
Hay River Tk mostly follows the dune direction instead of across them, with the very occasional minor challenge.
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Reply By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 10:38

Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 10:38
found this from 'outbacktravelaustralia' thought some might find this interesting as it mentions the Hay river track & Jol's involvement .
blog ~ Jol Fleming
Jol sent me a parts of this~ his Original blog ~ many years ago when reflecting on Finke desert race .
A snippet from the link above .
*May 2004 on: Jol has been a mentor for tourism in the Simpson Desert and has helped Lindsay Bookie set up the Batton Hill Bush Camp, allowing travellers access to the Hay River Track and the northern Simpson. He does the tour bookings for the camp as well as using his influence to get good press on this special place, this has seen the visitation go from 10 vehicles in 2003 to 210 vehicles in the winter of 2006
Cheers Nick b

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 10:46

Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 10:46
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Sorry Nick but your link to "blog ~ Jol Fleming" doesn't work.

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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 14:17

Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 14:17
Ok thanks Alan I will have a another look at it when I'm at the computer or it's pretty easy to find in a Google search Under Outback travel Australia
Cheers
Cheers Nick b

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 14:26

Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 14:26
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It's here Nick.
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 15:30

Sunday, Jan 06, 2019 at 15:30
thanks Allan : for the link , i mustn't have saved it b4 posting .... too much of a hurry to get out into the shed this morning .... LOL :))

I thought this was a pretty good description of him & would hate to think anyone would think otherwise . good hearted man IMO

cheers
Cheers Nick b

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