Simpson Desert camping

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 10:53
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Just seeking people's advice on suitable camping spots across the Simpson. We're going across west to east in June from Oodnadatta using the "combined trek"and will probably camp at Dalhousie Springs the first night. Since we have two young kids in our party of two vehicles we don't want to push it too hard, and it would be good to have a plan on roughly where we will camp each night.
Is it reasonable to plan for Dalhousie Springs(from Oodnadatta) for the first night? People seem to say that 3-4 nights to cross is about right. What about the Lone Gum - is it worth the detour to see it and maybe camp there?

Ian Grose
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Reply By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:16

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:16
Ian,

There are heaps of great spots to camp. Best to pick a spot between dunes so you are sheltered. Oodnadatta to Dalhousie is fairly easy but cxan be interesting if wet. Lone Gum is a bit exposed and there is a good camp spot a bit further up the track.

Peter
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Follow Up By: Ian Grose - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:44

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:44
Thanks Peter. I like your choice of vehicle - I've just spoiled myself and bought a new one. Do you reckon if I allow 50% extra fuel on what I get around town that will be enough?
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Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:46

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:46
Ian,

I got 12l/100km or better around town and consumption across the Simpson was 14.43l/100km. Mine is the last entry on the fuel consumption table in trip planning. Make sure you fill up in Oodnadatta.

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Reply By: Inland Sailor - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:42

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:42
Hi Ian

All my comments are subject to the weather being fine, otherwise its anybodies guess!

Crossed lat Septemberlas year so hadsome more daylight than in June, but it tokk us on;y two nights to cross from Dalhousie to Birdsville. We were in a group of three vehicles, three kid and one [mine] towing a Campertrailer.

Oodnadatta to Dalhousie via the shorter route taking in the Daldousie ruins was an easy trip, Left Oodnadattaabout 11:00 and arrived at Dalhousie before !6:00.
Next day, Left Dalhousie around 9:00 , stoped at Purni Bore to let down the tyres to 18 PSI and then follwed the Rig Road past Mokari airfield and on to Lone Gum for the night. Arrived 16:00, with a couple of stops for lunch, and photos and the need for a second attempt on one dune on the way.

Left from Lone Gum again at 8:30, followed the Rig Road to the Knolls track, then up to the Knolls for lunch. Should have checked tyre pressure at Lunch break as we had some troubles with a further couple of dunes on the way to Poeppel Corner and needed a snatch on these. Stoped at the Markers for the photo's and then up beside Lake Poeppel and onto the first dunes on the QAA line for the night. at around 4:30 - 5:00.

Next Day it was on to Big Red, with lunch on the way, getting toBig Red by 14:00 and after further tyre letting down [and a hitch] over Little Red, on to Birdsville by 15:00.

Hope this helps

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Follow Up By: Ian Grose - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:47

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:47
Brilliant! This sort of info makes it easier to plan. Thank you.
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Reply By: Des Lexic - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:56

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 11:56
You can camp pretty well any where you like.
We took 5 days to cross it with lots of stops and no rush. We had a ball. Take the time to smell the roses so to speak. (They could be a bit thin on the ground out there) LOL
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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:03

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:03
G'day Ian,

We allowed 5 days and did the crossing in 3. Like you we wanted a relaxed trip but what we didn't count on were the flies and in the end we kept going till late avo just to get respite from these blighters ( we did it in late Sept and I believe they get worse as the season progresses - so maybe not an issue). What we found was that there were plenty of places to camp between the dunes and whilst the various ones mentioned are great stops you shouldn't have any problems finding a place when you're ready to pull up. Just to get the juices going,



Kind regards and have a great trip.
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:07

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:07
PS Flies


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Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:27

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:27
Great photos - love the flies on the mug!
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:31

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:31
Hi Ruth,

You're probably used to flies in these numbers but eating and drinking with one of those fly veil thingys was not pleasant. I certainly hope they're not this bad all year round.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:37

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:37
Hi Beatit, people don't believe us when I say that we aren't used to flies at all out here. They come after rain, when the green shoots pop up - out they hatch and very very annoying. They were particularly bad last year (as you well know) and it always fascinates us that you can get out of your car, say 60 klms from Poepples and be enjoying the sand dunes then suddenly about 5 minutes later the flies find you. A lot of people din't spend nearly enough time in the SD last year just passed through it because they couldn't handle the flies - there were some very quick trips across and not many meals eaten.
The weather is nice and only the odd fly at the present time and there is not much likelihood of rain so here's hoping also for a very cold winter to knock them off completely. Very annoying when you are trying to fish or clean fish and there are thousands swarming over you - we are going fishing on Sunday - hope the river has it's fresh flush by then.
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:47

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:47
Hi Ruth,

Hard to imagine I agree but so is the concept of fishing out there. It wasn’t just the flies either last year we were inundated by all type of crawlies one night. We were using a yellow light and they were coming from everywhere, beetles, moths, preying mantis and non descript bugs – even had a blind snake cruising along the ground. So lost faith in the yellow light theory. The following night though not a one, it seemed like we were in a totally different place.

You are quite right we took less time then we had allocated and this was a shame as there is so much to enjoy.

Hope the fishing is good, otherwise just chalk it up as a nice day out.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 19:21

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 19:21
It was really bad for insects late last year - wouldn't have liked to be in your camp with all t hose little visitors attracted to the yellow light - that's not supposed to happen.
Hopefully, the water has flown down the river from Diamantina Lakes (it's still 1.73m and steady) there so the fish will be stirred up with the fresh. We go fishing a lot - more so than when we are at the coast. Also hope for catch some, but if we don't it doesn't really matter (got one freezer full and ready for visitors) because it will be the last chance to have a day away - once you go over the grid it seems like a holiday - before the visitors arrive. Let you know if we catch anything.
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 08:46

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 08:46
Good to hear it wasn't the norm about those insects, we were really surprised with the failure of the yellow light and presumed it was all about being the only light available. Shows you how observant I am, didn't notice any water out there hence the fishing remark. Amazing really in such a dry place. Hope the water flows for you Ruth and the fish come on the bite.

I agree with you, anytime away from the usual daily routine seems like a holiday and whilst I also like my fishing it is more about being out somewhere watching the world go by that is the main attraction for me.

All the best and have an enjoyable trip.

Kind regards
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:04

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:04
Ian,

The other replies have said it all.

Dalhousie Springs can get a bit crowded, it is a great place for a swim but I don't camp here. I would normally get past Purnie bore.

When I take a convoy across I average about 16klm per hour for the day and that includes stops for lunch ,ect ect.

Have a look at the Lone Gum tree you have gone that far a little more will be worth it.

The French Line is the shortest way across but I have always found the WAA line the best.

Any swale(the land between the sand dunes) makes a good camp site. 200mt from the track is ideal. When you get the Desert Parks Pass, available through this site, it will explain all about how to cross the desert and is full of maps and info.

Have a great trip and it is one that you will remember

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:25

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:25
This is all very good advice - only bit of advice I will add has been said a million times and will probably have to be said a million more - if you have the correct tyre pressure (for the dunes) you should never have to snatch anything over a dune, especially in June after lots of traffic.
18 in front and 20 in rear is fine to start with but you will need to drop it more (possibly) - if you have to back up for any dune then your tyre pressure is not low enough. As for having a trailer on - the pressure should be even down as far as 11 in the trailer - depending on how soft the sand is. And, yes, I do understand that you will probably weigh very heavily and yes, I also understand the man in the tyre shop or the book that someone wrote said you should never let your tyres down below 'xyz' - but you asked for advice and this is what people who travel the SD regularly do for ease and comfort of travel. Sorry, I'm not really yelling, just being forceful in the deliverance of this my lecture. I really do want you to have a great time of there - it's magnificent and there are some surprisingly beautiful camps just over the hill/dune and lots of things to see. It is a good place to 'smell the roses' - and as there has been no rain so far the little sticky flies might have bunked off.
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Follow Up By: craig - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 02:02

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 02:02
Spot on advice.
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Follow Up By: Inland Sailor - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 09:41

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 09:41
Coulnd't agree more. As I said higher up, learnt that lesson to late in the crossing. But thats why you do it, to learn from experiences.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L- Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 13:18

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 13:18
Well said. Ruth would see and hear it all the time. My advise is that people that have crossed the Simpson in 2 or 3 days are the type of people that do the trip just to say they have crossed the Simpson. Having travelled the Simpson many times, my advise is take your time and make the most of one of Australia's true outback places. One you have been bitten by the Simpson bug, I know that you will be back again and again. Ever trip is different from your last trip.
Take your time, it is not a race, and make sure you drop your tyre pressures.

Stephen!MPG:3!
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 13:38

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 13:38
G'day Stephen L,

"My advise is that people that have crossed the Simpson in 2 or 3 days are the type of people that do the trip just to say they have crossed the Simpson."

well, I would suggest that some people may just be trying to put together the most time that they can, from where they live, to enjoy an experience of the Simpson. There are many different circumstances and people may be trying to make the most of an opportunity which may not come around again for a while. At the very least, they should not be under any illusion that not much preparation is required. Agreed though, it is indeed most important, if you can, to "take your time and make the most of one of Australia's true outback places."

cheers.
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Reply By: Rock Crawler - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 20:14

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 20:14
we were there last july and guess what , no flies lol . If all goes well , we will be there in June around the 2oth for dailhousie
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Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 12:34

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 12:34
Oh no, head for the hills!!
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Reply By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 20:49

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 20:49
hi ian
the stay at Dalhousie Springs is great you swim at the spring and realy get refress but do not camp there
go past DALHOUSIE Spring to the next camp site WHICH has a DROP Tolet and a bore hot shower i canot rember the nme but it is only about half hour travel and it is the start of the simpson trip
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Follow Up By: Rock Crawler - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 22:09

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 22:09
Purney bore
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Follow Up By: Ruth from Birdsville Caravan Park - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 12:38

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 12:38
Also, very good advice.
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