simpson desert

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 19, 2001 at 00:00
ThreadID: 283 Views:1998 Replies:6 FollowUps:1
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I am proposing a trip across the Simpson 2002. Can anyone give advice on suitability of towing camper trailer and if you are better travelling east to west or vice versa.
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Reply By: Tom - Wednesday, Jun 20, 2001 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jun 20, 2001 at 00:00
Hi Darrin
The Simpson is becoming quite a popular trip and lots of people do it from both directions, many even towing trailers. HOWEVER it is easier to travel from west to east as the prevailing winds assist in banking sand on the dunes on that side, whereas the eastern side can sometimes be impossibly steep. Further, while it is still frequently done I would strongly recommend against towing a trailer. Towing a trailer just makes a difficult job that much harder. Not only do you risk the real prospect of vehicle and trailer damage given the heavy conditions,it also causes considerably greater environmental damage as you struggle up and over dunes. Further there is little in this world to beat travelling as simply as possible, sleeping under the clear desert skies. Having said that I'm sure that if you are insistent upon dragging the trailer you won't be the only or last one to do so. Make sure you keep up to date with the Desert Parks Bulletin ( ) regularly before you go.
Have a great time. I'm sure you will.
AnswerID: 656

Reply By: mark - Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00

Thursday, Jun 21, 2001 at 00:00
I did the desert two years ago towing a trailer west to east, however prevailing winds prior to this were in fact from east to west changing the shape of the dunes. the dunes will alter in shape in a matter of days. east to west travellers that time had a much easier crossing.As for towing trailer, next time I'll go without trailer as it did hamper some progress at some dunes.
AnswerID: 660

Reply By: Graham Comitti - Saturday, Jun 23, 2001 at 00:00

Saturday, Jun 23, 2001 at 00:00
Darrin, We have not yet done the simpson, but most reports seem to indicate a west to east is usually the easiset. We intend doing this trip is 3 or so years time, leaving our van at Birdsville traversing east to west then back west to east via differnt route...pick up the van and head off agin......

Check with SA Parks re you towing the van, I believe they discourage towing and if you do have a problem with the van out there then the recovery can be very costly. the extra strain placed on your vehicle may also cause it to have a breakdown that it may well not have had if you weren't towing....

enjoy the tripp......
AnswerID: 670

Reply By: Greg - Tuesday, Jul 03, 2001 at 00:00

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2001 at 00:00
Darrin see my response to Kevin Mann above. I have just returned from a double crossing. My only advice is definitely no trailers and go as early in the season as possible (may) but steer clear of the hot weather.
AnswerID: 718

Reply By: Ruth Doyle - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2001 at 00:00

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2001 at 00:00
Darrin, I live in Birdsville and just love going into the Desert. It's best travelling west to east because Birdsville is at the end. BUT, each summer when we have the winds and big dust storms things change and things can change very quickly in the Desert - in hours. Unfortunately, books that have been written on Desert Crossings are dated. This year one track may be easier/harder than the other. Also, the best time to travel in the Desert is May, June, July - it's quite cold out there at night and frost often happens. The days are beautiful - sunny, warm and clear. August and September are notoriously windy months and dust storms happen - they take the form of a nasty wind blowing from everywhichway and usually do a 360 degree during the course of the day, often ending with a shower of rain and the temperature can drop drastically - after the storm is usually beautiful - but during the stom is fairly horrid. If using a tent, drop the tent and lie on it - sure beats watching it blow away. The Desert is truly magical and needs to be taken slowly (you can't make much more than 25 klms/hour anyhow)to appreciate all there is to see. This year with the rains just recently there are lots of birds in Eyre Creek (which is still running) and the flowers are just blossoming. PLEASE DO NOT CONSIDER A TRAILER - why give your family all that hassle? Why knock the dunes around anymore than you do with a vehicle? Have a lot of money on your M/C or Visa for the recovery vehicle when things go wrong - first thing they do is ask for the M/C number. It is so easy to roll your swag or a small tent in the back of the vehicle. If you need a trailer then leave it on either side of the Desert and do a double crossing. That's good fun. The Desert isn't really there just to cross to get from one place to another - it's there for exploration and appreciation - and you can spend weeks in there finding and appreciating. Sorry, don't mean to lecture. Hope this helps - let me know if you want some more information. Contact a local if you want to know the REAL story. Best of luck.
AnswerID: 723

Follow Up By: Darrin - Friday, Jul 06, 2001 at 00:00

Friday, Jul 06, 2001 at 00:00
Ruth, thanks for the info. You can't beat local knowledge. I will take your advice. It seems everyone is recommending to leave the trailer. I'm not worried about the trailer breaking I know it's strong enough it is more the strain on the vehicle for the distance and the enviroment.
FollowupID: 218

Reply By: Jim Searle - Monday, Jul 23, 2001 at 00:00

Monday, Jul 23, 2001 at 00:00
Darrin, we have just returned from crossing west to east. It was great! The track was just open after being closed due to rain. After viewing some of the bog holes, I was really impressed with how conditions can change in a short period of time. There had been some people stuck at Dalhousie springs for 10 days just before we arrived. I also meet a fellow who had to leave his vehicle for 3 months last year before it was dry enough to get it out. What I am trying to say is that conditions can change very quickly out there. I also noted that the dunes were starting become quite rough due to the traffic. whereas we used about 90 litres of diesel for the crossing, I believe that this figure will go up as the track gets rougher and " run-up" speeds to the dunes are reduced.
aside from all that, it was a great trip with my 2.8 Nissan getting a hard time from the other Cruisers. We did get bogged at Spring Creek delta but then one of the cruisers did at Eyre Creek. And which vehicle got up Big Red the greatest distance?? the Nissan.
Read as much as you can, talk to some one who has been across lately and then enjoy the trip.
AnswerID: 790

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