Simpson Desert

Hi All

We are planning to do a trip across the Simpson from Adelaide via Oodnadatta, Dalhousie, etc then back home via the Birdsville track. Looking to go April 12th, allowing 2 weeks. Can anyone comment on past travels that time of year? eg. weather and track conditions (although understand each year is different). We are taking two little kids and a camper trailer. The trailer wheels (which we will reduce psi) follow in our car tracks and we have loads of sand driving + 4x4 experience, but first long trip with the trailer. Any advice on routes etc?
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 21:09

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 21:09
Read the post on page 2 regarding exactly the same thing
Post 54850 Will give u good info
AnswerID: 289195

Reply By: Pete and Lez - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 21:12

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 21:12
HI, Have you had lots of experience towing a camper in sand? The sand in the simpson is very fine red sand. When the desert is dry it can be very difficult. We crossed a few years ago without a trailer and just planned a route across utilising as many tracks as possible, ie, didn't just go straight across. We sort of zig zagged our way across.
Good Luck, Pete and Lez
AnswerID: 289196

Reply By: lynxxy - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 21:20

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 21:20
Friends of mine are just back from the simpson last september...I too have a camper trailer and asked them what they thought of me taking mine accross...

They said i would have a very hard time trying to get it through, going up all the sanddunes would be really difficult. Some vehicles have trouble going up some dunes without a trailer...and so trailers are not recommended.

I have a brand new landcruiser, so it wasnt because of my car. It was just a basic thought amongst those that travel the trek..they suggest no trailers.

They also said they only saw one vehicle pulling a campertrailer during the whole simpson dessert trek...although they saw many pulling trailers along the oodnadatta trek.

that being said, I wouldnt be taking a tent>
AnswerID: 289199

Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 22:04

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 22:04
April can bring pretty varied temps from 10 at night up to 37 during the day. Also it can be quite windy which blows fresh crests on the dunes making it difficult to get over particually with a trailer. The track can be obscure in places at that time as there is very little traffic up till May when it starts to cool down. Check the BOM site for weather conditions.
I wouldn't normally recomend anyone tow a trailer accross the Simpson while travelling alone particually if they haven't been there before.
To get a better idea of your vehicles ability what car do you drive & what trailer are you towing???
Cheers Craig...............
AnswerID: 289212

Follow Up By: abchelle - Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 at 15:20

Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 at 15:20
Thanks for the info - we are towing with a 3 lt turbo diesel Toyota Hilux. We have just purchsed a 'Built-Tough' off-road trailer (Adelaide made). We are also travelling with our experienced parents in their new landcruiser, so they are able to help out, plus have done the Simpson in July many years ago.

Thanks for your help and response - following many of the comments we may postpone our trip to July which is what our parents wanted to begin with!

Many thanks.
FollowupID: 555148

Follow Up By: Crackles - Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 at 17:38

Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 at 17:38
A 3L turbo hilux will tow a camper accross the Simpson pretty well. Your trailer is a touch low and with the longish drawbar you may find it will plough the tops off some dunes particually in April when wind blown. With a 2nd car scouting just ahead to let you know whats coming up you wont get caught out too often & they can also quickly snatch you over.
July would be the more comfortable & easier time to travel but seeing you have a 2nd car I wouldn't discount April either.
Cheers Craig...........
FollowupID: 555168

Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 22:16

Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at 22:16
We crossed Simpson second half of April last year. Temp was between 35 - 38 degC from memory. You NEED to take fly nets for each person.

Sand is very soft due to warmth generally and also, as of about 11am each day, dunes became much more challenging due to warmth / sand softening up - this was very noticeable. Needed to take 30km diversion at Eyre Crk which was fine (trailer or not) - with Qld rain that might be the case again.

It was definitely harder travelling east at that time last year, but as others have said most difficult dunes have an easier option for trailer units etc.

Otherwise you'll find plenty of info on this site on all subjects e.g. water.

Have a wonderful trip. JD
AnswerID: 289219

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 06:44

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 06:44
Hi jdwynn, I am interested in your comment .."but as others have said most difficult dunes have an easier option for trailer units etc.".... I strongly disagree with this statement.

I would also strongly suggest that people do not take trailers as a vehicle just cannot avoid cutting up the dunes when towing.
FollowupID: 554550

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 07:50

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 07:50
Fair comment Kiwi. I don't agree with trailers in these locations either but I do accept people take them. In these locations I certainly make it my business to drive on the main path only to avoid degrading the route more than is absolutely necessary. JD
FollowupID: 554554

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (SA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 08:29

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 08:29
Hi abchelle
The earliest that we have ever made any Simpson trips was early May. Like above, the sand will be very fine and soft if there is no rain. It will be very early in the season and some tracks will be blown over from the previous summer winds and very high temperatures. As for day time temperatures, how long is a piece of string. We had a few days of 43ºC, with most days between 36ºC and 38ºC.
At that time of the year you should be looking at about 14psi tyre pressure, lower if towing, and do not forget to lower your camper trailer tyres by at least 2psi lower than your vehicle. DO NOT travel by your self, and take some Maxtrax, as you will get bogged many times because of the very soft sand.
The easyiest tracks to follow will be the Rig Road, but the last big Sand dune before you reach the K1 line can be very hard early in the season.
Make sure that you also take extra fuel and lots of water.


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AnswerID: 289258

Follow Up By: North Coast Bob - Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 21:44

Monday, Feb 25, 2008 at 21:44
Hi abchelle,

Last August/Sept we took five camper trailers acroos the Simpson from West to East. The Rig Road is the best route and the last 20 sanddunes were hard and the last one was the worst. Wind storms had covered the tops of the dunes and made it difficult.

As Stephen says above make sure you go in a group and take Maxtraxs. We did and they were wonderful - had every other recovery item but only used the Maxtraks and shovels.
A sat. phone and lots of water are essential.

Once we got to the K1 line we went via Warburton Crossing to join the Birdsville Track. The Ranger at Dalhousie organised permission with the owners for us to go through (just so there was no hassles and to check if it was open)

We had a hard but wonderful adventure. Hope you enjoy your trip.

FollowupID: 554673

Reply By: abchelle - Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 at 15:22

Thursday, Feb 28, 2008 at 15:22
Thanks everyone for your valuable comments and opinions. Some really good things to consider have been raised, and in light of this we may consider postponig the trip to July holidays (just wanted to avoid the 'busy' season, but it does have soem advantages!)
Thanks again for your time and input! abchelle
AnswerID: 289821

Reply By: Alexmei - Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 01:41

Monday, Mar 24, 2008 at 01:41

Me and my son will be across Simpson around 14- 15th April, just same as your way, so far just one car going and plan back to Sydney 25th. I have some soft sand driving experience as well. also we have prepared: 6 new BFG tyre (2 spare), over 100L water, long rang tank (270L), Satellite Phone, GPS, UHF radio, and all the recover gears, and just need find some company, so if you will keep April trip plan, we can go together.

LC100 V8
M: 041 220 8966

AnswerID: 294326

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