Geosurveys Hill ??

Submitted: Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 13:47
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We may or we may not go for a drive over there, depends on any interest from my mate who is a bush mechanic and has done some travelling with us in various countries.

I would appreciate any information from those who have actually done the trip via Geosurveys Hill in the NT.

I am sure that someone on here, perhaps Willem, has at some stage ventured to the geographic centre of the Simpson ?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, ideas based on your experience of this trek ?

Peterll
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Reply By: Willem - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:21

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:21
Hi Peter

I was on my way there last year but cut my journey short due to higher fuel usage than usual. It is also on my list of things to do in the future :-)

Exploroz Member Peter2 with the Hummer might see this post and reply, as he has been out there quite recently, I think.


Cheers
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Follow Up By: peterll - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:35

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:35
Ah! I was just reading the Spinifex Trail and another of your trips on your webpage Willem....some great reading.

Thank you for the reply and I will certainly keep my eye out for Peter2 and his thoughts, should he reply.

Like most, I suppose at our age we too have "the list".... hang glide from Everest...swim the Amazon and such.. one of mine is to go to the centre..stand there and have a picture taken and then place that "tick"

I did note in particular being in 1st low for a long time. I have driven a couple of hours at 5km under similar conditions but have always wondered if we shoudl stop now and then and let the gearbox cool ??

Thank you again
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Reply By: Peter 2 - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:37

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:37
Willem/Peter
We are intending to poke around out there later this year round june/july.
Peter
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Follow Up By: peterll - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:43

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:43
Hi Peter2... June / July ? hmmm maybe I need to rearrange a flight..wonder if the missus would mind delaying by a month ..lol

We hope to have our new Toyota built by April and ready to go by May..depends on some fiddly bits of course.

Besides a Sat phone (Iridium) would you suggest a Codan/Barrett as well ?

Two spares tyres or three ? (apart from repair kits etc.)

cheers
Peterll
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:38

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:38
Geosurvey Hill is in the middle of the North Simpson.

Which direction are you planning to come from or go to???
What other experience do you have in the Simpson Desert?
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Follow Up By: peterll - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:53

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 14:53
Hi Phil... west to east, Mt Dare to Birdsville although we may detour over through Kalamurina if we get permission from the new owners and then down to Mungerannie.

We have never driven over Big Red..why would you as there is a perfect track around.. lol but to answer your question..I sort of know my way along the French line ..or how to get from Clifton Hills to Moomba and such.

And a couple of meanderings in other countries..but still would not even think of this trip alone.
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Follow Up By: peterll - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 15:22

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 15:22
Ooops..one wouldn't go across Kalamurina if going west to east..

Actually, if the advice was to go east to west, then from Mt Dare we would head for Cowarie then to Kalamurina (Warburton creek..which rumour tells me is not accessible under the new ownership ??) and then Mungerannie.. we know the owners out on Cowarie and so fuel and tracks across should be ok.. maybe

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Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 17:17

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 17:17
Our 4WD Club did a trip last year going from Old Andado, across to Geosurveys Hill and down a swale to Knolls track and out by the Warburton Track. Leader is a very experienced desert driver and took some years to research the trip. Plan was to be prepared for a trip lasting up to 2 weeks - in fact it took 12 days. Much of the trip relied on GPS navigation as there are no tracks. Fuel consumption went as high as 1km per litre. Some days only about 30km was covered. Problems encountered included plenty of side wall punctures, various broken parts, and radiators clogged with spinifex.
Definitely not a trip for any but those who are very experienced and well prepared for all aspects of desert travel.

Suggest you gain desert experience by doing something like the Hay River Track (not on your own though) as this has sections where there is no track, some challenging dunes but where there are at least a few more travellers to assist if things go pear shaped.

Cheers,
Val.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 19:48

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 19:48
Hi Val
Good advise, but can not compare the Hay River Trip. That is very easy, where you are following tracks nearly all of the Way. The Geo trip is 110% pure cross country with no or very few tracks at all. In 500kms of Geo area, less that 100kms of very old shot line, if you can find them.

Most people think that there are big dunes in the Simpson. Out in the Centre your eyes will drop out at the size of some huge mothers.

The Simpson is one very special place that will never leave your blood

Cheers

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:05

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:05
Geeez....1km/l....what were they driving?


My worst consumption out there was 3.8km/l and that was with a trailer in tow.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:34

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:34
Stephen L, Willem,

I was suggesting the Hay R as a way to gain experience, rather than making it out to be anything like equivalent to the Geosurveys run. In 2006 when it was very dry along the Hay River, and following some big fires, there was quite a stretch where the tracks had all disappeared.
For the Geosurveys run, the leader was in a diesel Troopy, others were in the usual selection of Toyotas, Nissans, Mitsus. No trailers. That was an extreme figure, and thanks to the careful planning there was some fuel to spare at the end of the trip. There was a lot of loose, active sand on the dunes last year, and big spinifex.

Val.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 21:12

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 21:12
Hi Val
I know from where you are coming from, my comments were not meant as a dig at you.

One big and very big feature of the Simpson, is that no 2 trips will be the same, as the weather will have the greatest say if the tracks are easy or hard.

One trip a few years back, the desert was covered in water and as green as far as the eye could see. Other years no rain, high summer temperatures and high winds made every easy dune a challenge.

The most important thing is for everyone to make the effort and see this great desert.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 19:36

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 19:36
Hi Peter
If you do this trip, it will sort the Boys out from the Men
I lead a group of friends nearly 2 years ago. You will be in low range second and first most of the time, with a few but very short section where you will be able to get into 3rd. The quickest way will be straight up the Colson Track (we came in from Mac Clarke Reserve)
You need to get permission from Andado Station to use their property- if you come in via Mac Clarke Reserve, most people never do and that gets up their skin.
The front lead vehicles will get lots of side wall punctures, so make sure you take extra tubes, wheels and puncture repair plugs etc.
From Geosurveys Hill, we went further north east then down to the Geographical centre of the Simpson(Which you must see if you are in the neighbourhood. Each vehicle should carry 300 lites of diesel-sorry no petrol vehicles. Each vehicle also had 120 lites of water.
Most days we averaged about 30kms of travel with our slowest only 22kms, yes you can walk faster.
If you want to speak further, give me a call (08) 88423662, only tonight or after Monday, heading up the River for the weekend.

On average, only 1 group venture out there each year. When you get back onto the usual tracks of the Simpson, you think you will be in heaven. Our constant companion in the vehicle was our heavy duty bottle jack and snatch strap. In the end, we could have a new wheel on the car in the sand in under 10 minutes. Sounds long, but remember you will have to did under your vehicle first.

I could go on and on, but its unreal out, with lots to see, Old Fuel Dumps, Aboriginal sights etc. etc You will love it


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Stephen
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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:08

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:08
G'day Stephen

"You need to get permission from Andado Station to use their property- if you come in via Mac Clarke Reserve, most people never do and that gets up their skin."

No longer so. Track from Mac Clark Reserve now part of Territory Explorer Way (I was there July 07) up to The Twins and beyond.


Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:27

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:27
Hi Willem
What would get up their skin, was when they found some half wit drivers would just head bush from the main track. Not knowing if someone was stranded, or injured, they would spend many hours following these tracks only to find that had returned to the main track many kilometres later.
Like Robbie told me, he does not mind people out there, just as long as they stick to the main track.

Take care Willem

Cheers

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:48

Friday, Jan 25, 2008 at 20:48
Well ye can't protect halfwits from themselves....lol
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris R (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 09:19

Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 09:19
Hi Stephen

Can you make a few observations about the tyres to use out there - size/width/tubeless/wheels/splits etc not maker

Like your dragon pic and admire your sense of adventure

Chris
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 11:50

Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 11:50
I will butt in here Chris, although the question is addressed to Stephen. He can say his piece too....lol

Simpson Geo Centre trek in Suzuki 1987....I ran BFG Muddies on steels at 20psi. My mate ran Desert Duellers. Good floatation over sand. No punctures.

Simpson GEO Centre trek 2006....Cooper STT on alloys on GQ at 15psi and Eldorado on trailer at 10psi. Good floatation over sand No punctures

2 x Gibson Desert treks witrh same tyres and rims as above at 15psi. Good floatation over sand but Mulga turpentine accounted for 18 punctures and 3 destroyed tyres.

Simpson, Central Aus and Top End 12ply Rag tyres on splits. 12psi on GQ and 8psi on trailer on sand with good traction but heavier fuel usage. No punctures.

Cross country driving requires tough sidewalled tyres and rags on splits are good for this. The less aggressive the tread the better. ATM I have aggressive tread tyres but wqill shift to highway style next time around.

Cheers

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:40

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 19:40
Hi Chris
Sorry for the delay, have been away for the weekend.
Like Willem said above, it will all depend on where you are driving and the conditions encountered at the time, I have travelled the Simpson Desert countless times on the usual travelled tracks with never a puncture. When we did the Geo trip, had brand new LT fitted to 6 rims.
I was running 14psi and the lead vehicle all the way. I had countless punctures, side wall at that and ruined 2 tyres. It would make you cry, but that's what you have to expect when you head where there are no tracks at all. From my personal experience, in the Mulga stake country, most tyres will have similar problems, the country is very tough. Also to note, it will be the first few vehicle that will have the punctures, as they are clearing thee track for the following vehicles. Of the 5 vehicles, the last 2 in the group never received a puncture at all. Surprising that they did not want to swap position in the convoy.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: peterll - Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 02:09

Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 02:09
And it is certainly very much appreciated all the thoughts and advice from Stephen L, Val, Willem and others who have experienced the trek into the Simpson via this route.

Can't thank you enough as I am now inspired.

Suggestions of doing the Hay River trip sound sensible to me and perhaps as we intend this years sojourn to cover some 3 months, we could work in both and then some.

Our current plan is to head to Perth, pick up the trusty Toyo and then head east. One of our travel companions will join us in Kalgoorlie for the trip across the Anne Beadel to Coober Pedy, from there we are not sure as to how we will make our way to Birdsville, probably SWMBO will choose the bitumen (Threeways, Isa and south)

This is not an adventure that is spur of the moment and yes we have done much reading but thought that if ever there were to be folks that have the "knowledge" they would be found here on ExplorOz.

The only section not yet fully worked on is the bit between French Line and Cowarie station, perhaps that has to be direct line travel as well ? Once we reach the NW boundary of the station we should be fine as I know how to get to Mungerannie from then on across station tracks.

It is our hope to be able to place that "tick" on our short list of things yet to do in life.

Thank you again for all your thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Who knows we may see some of you around the tracks one day

cheers
Peterll

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 08:04

Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 08:04
Hi Peter.
If you intend to go from the French Line cross country, out through the bottom section of the Simpson, be very careful, as you are still in National Park Country, and if caught, the DEH will come down on you very heavy - It is a big No No to drive off road in the SA Section of the National Park.
Speaking to Rangers 2 years ago, and they were watching very carefully tracks out from the Warburton River Area.
The only section of the Simpson where it is still legal to drive Off Road, in the Crown Land on the NT Side of the Boarder.

The Geo trip is the only Simpson Trip that will take you 110% of the way of pure cross country travel, which is so very different than following the well travelled tracks in the Simpson, like the Colson, Hay River and the Standard Simpson Crossing.

Another thing, if it was me with a new vehicle, I would leave it home. The Geo trip is very hard on vehicles and you brand new vehicle will not be new when you finish that trip.

Most people do not comprehend just how hard it is out there!

I tell most people that have done the Simpson and find it hard, never to try and attempt a true cross country trip, as once you are committed, there is no turning back, only to follow a very slow trip down one of the swales. The only reason why I am saying this, is because true Virgin Dunes out in the middle are huge, and near impossible to tackle from the East. No run ups out there, just rocking from side to side in first low range, trying to pick the best and easyiest way over every dune.

If you read Reg Spriggs stories of his ventures, making the first ever motor vehicle crossing of the Simpson, it was from the West to the East for a very good reason, the sheer way that Virgin Dunes must be approached.

The Hay River Trip is one of the Best standard Simpson trips to tackle in a Four Wheel Drive.

The most important thing to do is do not put off a standard Simpson Trip, like I said above, every trip is different, but the most important thing is DO IT, it will get in your blood and you will make this area a repeat trip, year after year.

All the Best and enjoy your Simpson Adventure.

Cheers Stephen
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Follow Up By: peterll - Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 09:30

Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 09:30
Hi Stephen,

Hmm and I best go find a copy of Reg Spriggs adventures, as the fascination for the Simpson is strong. One of those "must do" things in life.

Thanks for the advice on how SA Parks operate..that does present a slight problem on how we were to end our sojourn.

And I can see the problem with prevailing winds and going east to west.

I suppose the reverse could be worked out..i.e. K1 / French, Mt Dare, Oil Dump and on to Birdsville, Adelaide, Sydney to put the vehicles on the boat for Asia.

More of less a big circle route in a way.

As for new verses old vehicle..well new means it works well..old means it may be about to break..but I do take your thoughts on the results of taking a new vehicle.

We have been across the SImpson on what are now the high traffic routes before and I suppose that is what is spurring us on.

One more trip, smell the dust and all.

This is part of our grand trek. We are going to return to many of the old stops on our journey around the world made many years ago now. Funnily enough, in some parts, it is actually more dangerous now than it once was.

Like you say Stephen, once you have it in your blood it is difficult not to go, one more time.

Thanks again..Peterll


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 13:18

Saturday, Jan 26, 2008 at 13:18
Hi Peter
The book is call "Dune is a Four Letter Word"

As for the new v old.
If it was a brand new vehicle,straight from the showroom, it will come back with possible under side damage (bent Sump plate, possible mud flaps missing, paint work with the tell tale signs of bush work etc)
Old I ment a vehicle that is still in first class mechanical condition and one that you will not sigh at when timber and bushes rub down the side.

Once again, have a great trip

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: LCRUZA (VIC) - Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 13:59

Monday, Jan 28, 2008 at 13:59
In 2004 I took 4 vehicles in from the Colson Track East to Geosurvey's Hill then South East to the top of an old sesmic line (not been used for many years and was hard to find) then South down to Centre of the Simpson then further South to another track that went West back to the Colson track. From the Colson Track to Geosurveyor's Hill was one and a half days then another half day to the sesmic line. So really only 2 days of real xcountry although there are other old tracks out there that we came across.

I had a petrol 80 and no problems with fuel as I had 320Lt.

Well worth the trip and as other have said not many people get out there.

Ron
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Follow Up By: peterll - Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 02:07

Tuesday, Jan 29, 2008 at 02:07
Hi Ron,

Thank you for the information as it does help with our planning of the trek very much. Especially your mention of fuel use.

We had been planning the trek more of less from Maree north to Kalamurinna and then west. Pick up the rig road and then up and around via Geosurveys Hil and on to Birdsville.

Many who have replied have advised that west to east may not be such a great idea and so we are now reconsidering all of our options. I will have another look at the Colson track idea.

I have been across the Simpson a few times over the years going both ways and for whatever the reason this trek just seemed like something we should do.

And yes, I do have some other desert driving experience. What seems years ago now took us to northern Africa and so followed the Dakar tracks..now that was interesting to say the least as even if we met someone there was a minor language problem.

Thanks again

Peterll
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Follow Up By: LCRUZA (VIC) - Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 09:39

Thursday, Jan 31, 2008 at 09:39
Peterll

If you want any other details of where we went then PM me.

Ron
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