Birdsville to Simpson Desert NP

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 16:25
ThreadID: 141522 Views:5723 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
Hi all,
Can someone tell me what the track is like from Birdsville to the Simpson Desert National Park?

I'm not into serious 4WDing and pushing my vehicle to the limit crossing sand dunes!!

I want to go as far as the boundary into the National park and then return to Birdsville.

Is there a park sign indicating when you have entered the park?

Any help greatly appreciated...

Rob
2011 Toyota Landcruiser 200s
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Reply By: Mikee5 - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 17:31

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 17:31
It is an easy drive from Birdsville to Big Red, the first dune of the Simpson Desert.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 19:18

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 19:18
Big Red is on private station property, 36km from Birdsville, not in the National Park, but you can drive there freely.
To get to the National Park will require crossing 30km of dunes.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 21:02

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 21:02
. . . and the dunes east side aren't babies, and can be soft if hot / dry making for soft sand.
They do peter out into the Nat Pk section a bit, even after Eyre Ck I'd say from memory.

Still, usually plenty of other4WD's on that section, or better, have a 2nd 4WD with you.
Drop tyres to 18psi to start, should be ok with a little excitement for you.

Yes, there is a sign you are entering Munga-Thirri NP, but your basic sat nav SHOULD have it shown on the map too, OR take a paper map and hopefully you can pick where you are as you progress.

Take some basic recovery and safety gear, water, UHF, not sure how you're set up, but ask again here if unsure.
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Follow Up By: Life Member - Duncan W (WA) - Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 10:20

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021 at 10:20
And in my opinion the first dune west of Big Red is the hardest dune to actually climb. You soon learn what pressures and gearing to use on this one.

Dunc
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Reply By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 22:50

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 at 22:50
Bob,

It’s an easy drive out to the boundary.

As for pushing your vehicle to the limited, it’s only the gung ho idiots that do that.

If you are a first time sand driver, the moment you hit Little Red, drop your tyres to 14 psi and you will be able to just walk up the dunes provided you engage four wheel drive.

Make sure you have a sand flag for safety

By the time you hit Eyre Creek, which is usually about 30 minutes out from Big Red, you will have mastered sand driving. The dunes out there are not close together, with some swales up to five kilometres between the dunes.

But be warned, if you are not prepared to lower tyres pressures, it will be a drive from hell, you will get bogged and you will have to drive your vehicle to the limits to get over the east facing dunes......period.
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Reply By: pmk03 - Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 21:03

Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 21:03
Hi Rob
Here is a video of that very trip that we did a couple of years back. It will give you an idea of what to expect.
We travel this section every time we are in Birdsville & it doesn't change that much except for the Eyre Creek crossing. Sometimes there's a bypass other times it's dry & you can drive right across it
Just take it easy, drop your tyre pressures, as already said. There is usually a bit of traffic out there these days so worst case help is not too far away.

Hope this helps
Paul
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Follow Up By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 23:08

Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 23:08
Another great video Paul and nails the drive perfectly.

You are sure right, It does not change much except in very good years, when we have seen it green and well all the way through.
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Reply By: Bush Traveller - Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 13:37

Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 13:37
Hi all,
Thanks to everyone who replied.
The info certainly helps a lot .
Thanks Paul for the video, that really shows how it is and I am reasonably confident in doing the same trip out to the NP border and back to Birdsville.

A couple of questions...
1. Roughly what speed were you doing at the base of Big Red, just trying to get an idea how fast I should go.
2. I'm curious about the Eyre Ck bypass, how much more does it add to the distance? Is it only used when the creek is quite full?

We will be out there some time in June this year.
Cheers
Rob

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Follow Up By: Stephen L (Clare) SA - Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 15:55

Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 15:55
I will be the first to reply, and you will get another lot of replies.

1 . It will all depend on tyre pressures and just how soft the sand is and the time of day. Speed will do damage to your vehicle and some guys go like there in no tomorrow.

If you want to just take it nice and easy, without pushing your car, 10 psi will see you do it with ease, just taking your time in second low range.

2. From memory, the Goonamillera detour crossing will add around from memory 60 odd kilometres to the driving distance. In the video, the crossing was dry and seen it just under 1 metre deep, but has a very stoney bottom, so no fears of getting bogged.

The detour is used when the main Eyre Creek crossing is closed and often you will see where the gung ho drivers have tried to cross it and would have had fun in the very soft, muddy bottom.

When things are very deep out at Goonamillera there are 2 other detours to the south through more interesting country.

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Follow Up By: pmk03 - Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 17:38

Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 17:38
Hi Rob,
Pretty much what Stephen said.
Although on that day we ran 20psi (hot).
Not sure of the speed, My 22 year old Daughter was driving the ones in the video, but we usually start close to the bottom with not much run up. Use low range as said & our's was an auto so we just let the box do it's thing.
Speed is not the key but momentum does help, don't go overboard though. It can be bouncy & you may do some damage.
Have seen some dill's take a huge run up. Probably half the way back to the next dune....They must be doing close to 80 to 100 kmh by the time they reach the bottom. This is not needed.
Go & have some fun. There will be some there that can do it & some that can't. Probably not so much to do with the vehicle they are driving as to their driving skills.
We have been there many times in different vehicles over the years & never had any problems getting up the dunes. Having said that we were out there with a bunch of drivers that had only had High Country experience & had never been on sand before & they struggled until they adapted to the conditions......
Cheers
Paul
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 19:38

Saturday, Apr 17, 2021 at 19:38
.
Hi Rob,

Stephen has nailed it.

We have done many crossings in a heavily loaded Troopy and never had a problem at 18psi tyres.
Although the Ranger at Dalhousie Springs said he runs at 15psi all the time.
It is safe to go as low as 10psi provided no sharp turns.

Don't be afraid to drop your tyre pressure and simply drive over the dunes without a lot of speed.
Just ease off as you crest watching out for oncoming vehicles and bikes and be aware that the track may suddenly turn L or R at the top.
Don't copy the idiots who charge over at great speed. It is not necessary and plain stupid and track damaging.

Have a ball.
Cheers
Allan

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