Simpson:Tag Along or go Alone

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 14:56
ThreadID: 3992 Views:2235 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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I am planning a trip in July with my HJ47 Troopy. I want to drive from Wollongong - Adeleide - Port Agusta - Flinders Ranges - Old Ghan Route to Oodnadatta - Uluru - through Simpson to Birdsville - Broken Hill - Bourke - Wollongong.

Now, I know that I shouldnt drive alone, particulary on the though sections, like the Simpson, but I am having a hard time finding a tag along group that apeals (I am a 23 year old student). Can anyone recomend anything, or is there a culture for meeting other people in the same situation before entering the Simpson up there?

Equipment wise, I am ok, theory wise, I am ok, practice in desert, not to much.

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Reply By: KIM - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 19:10

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 19:10
Whilst it's recommended you do this type of trip with one or more 4wd's, I think you will find that tag-along tours can be a bit of a pain.
Some people enjoy the security and social environment provided by tour organisers, but to a large extent, you will lose your independance and ability to stop or explore areas that are of interest to you.
Most of the trip you are talking about is not difficult in July, providing you don't cop heavy rain and you are well prepared. Like wise for the Simpson Desert. Most of the routres are becoming chopped up through heavy use, which means you will have a rough ride over the dunes.
I'm thinking of doing a similar trip again in June or July (providing I can find the money) because it is a place where a person can gain peace of mind for a short period of time.
AnswerID: 15872

Reply By: Graeme Degotardi - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 20:07

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 20:07
Been there,done that !!

Going from Finke is great and easy but slow as it is like going over small mounds for Km after Km - around 30-40 K's is good. The Gan line is corrugated and cover with the old spikes, but we did that for a few K's as well. Take two days if you can.

The Simpson is great. We have done the WAA line ( our Preferance) and the French Line. The first time we took two days. the second we took 3 days and if I did it again we would 4-5 days. You need to have tyre pressures of no more than 18-20 and less if it is very dry, takre ample water.

It is a remote area but there are a surprising number of cars, so if you have a problem, the worst would be 1 day to wait for help. I would go it alone, take your time and enjoy this fabulous country.

If you go to Dalhousie Springs ( great spot for one to two days) I am sure you will find someone to join.

AnswerID: 15880

Follow Up By: Beddo - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 20:36

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 20:36
Graeme - I was wondering the same thing - sounds like the Simpson is like Cape York with Plenty of vehicles - its hard to find really remote areas now. Yep I like the ability to stop and do things when I like. I use to live at Tibooburra and we explored all over the place between Wanaaring, B'Hill and Innaminka - always wondered if doing the Simpson would be very lonely -guess not. Wouldn't try it in Summer though - I broke down on the Tibooburra / Broken Hill Silver City HWY and did not see another car for 4 hours (had plenty of water - but it was damn hot - joined the roos under the shade of a Gidgee tree). Car was fixable with a bit of effort but not in the main heat of the day - so I waited it out until it was cooler - got a lift to B'Hill and did the shopping and then came back and fixed it.
FollowupID: 9680

Follow Up By: Jo Hetland - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 20:58

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 20:58
So, since the Simpson is trafficated enough to take on alone these days, what are the necessitys besides spares, hf and such. Is there any insurance or some kind of cover you can take out, in case of major breakdown? Could I expect fellow travellers to be kind enough to give a hand just in case?

FollowupID: 9681

Reply By: Beddo - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 21:12

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 21:12
Will everyone is suppose to be self sufficient and your not really to expect help from others - be prepared for the worst. But the Bush Code is that you help other travellers if you can. Meeting other people well at the major stop points on the way such as camp grounds, pubs etc you will meet people in convoys or other people travelling alone. I know up at Cape York there was plenty of people doing it alone which we met up with along the way - many were back packers or middle aged German's or even Japanese on push bikes would you believe. We also saw 2 Germans on trail bikes - one had a 4yrold on the front of hime and his wife had a 2yr old (unbelievable) - they had riden the Gunbarrel HWY, Plenty HWY, Gibb River Rd - all the major 4WD trips.
Also ask here every now and then and see if you can pick up a party.
PS. Are you Jo for Joanne or Jo as in Jo - if you are female don't travel alone (well I wouldn't), Have fun Beddo
AnswerID: 15885

Reply By: bruce.h - Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 21:13

Saturday, Mar 22, 2003 at 21:13
Gday Jo
if you end up doing this trip aloan which by the way can be more relaxing
becauce you only have you to please just make sure you have a decent radio & let the police at each end know roughly where you are going about how long you intend to take & try not to deviate from that plan with out letting them know & let the police at other end of each section know when you get there that way if any thing goes wrong the search to find you is alot quicker & easier & less expensive.then be prepared to meet others on the way be friendly & you will always find somebody going your way who will also enjoy a bit of company.
Regards bruce
AnswerID: 15886

Reply By: Groove - Sunday, Mar 23, 2003 at 21:15

Sunday, Mar 23, 2003 at 21:15
Hi Jo,
I have crossed the Simpson twice now in an NG Pajero. Both trips were alone, if you could call it that, both trips were in school holidays and we encountered at least 3 or 4 other groups every day.

If you have experience in sand driving (approx 1500 dunes each crossing) and take all the usual precautions I would say it is a relatively safe trip. I like the freedom of doing these types of trips alone.

Stick to the more popular routes and you will encounter other travellers, especially during school hols. Hire a VHF or sat phone and make sure you know how to use it before you actually need to.

Allow plenty of fuel, sand driving for four days straight will use more fuel that you are used to. Dont just allow enough fuel to make a single crossing. There are many mud flats between the dunes and after rain these can become very sticky. It is not uncommon to get most of the way acrros and then have to turn around and go back the way you came.

Also dont rely on the police alone make sure you tell family members as well. Also make sure you have the number for the petrol station in Birdsville, they will come and resuce you, for a fee, if things go wrong.

If alone make sure you have some way of anchoring a winch in the sand, just in case.

The Simpson is truely a magic place and worth the effort. The nights are beautiful and the less people with you the better, but thats just me.

AnswerID: 15939

Follow Up By: Groove - Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 09:14

Monday, Mar 24, 2003 at 09:14
I meant HF radio not VHF, but we all knew that!
FollowupID: 9751

Reply By: Ruth - Wednesday, Mar 26, 2003 at 21:44

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2003 at 21:44
You can hire a Sat phone from Oodnadatta or Birdsville Police Stations and leave them at the Police Station on the other side of the Simpson Desert. Plenty of people travelling in July - just beautiful out there. There has been good rain on the western side and it is looking green and some flowers are coming out. Whatever you do - stay out of the salt lakes around Poeples Corner - go north around them - they have already caught a few since the Desert opened last Friday. It's truly a special place - even though there are lots of people crossing - it doesn't mean you will see them. Enjoy.
AnswerID: 16197

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