Crossing the Simpson Desert

Submitted: Monday, Jun 02, 2008 at 09:43
ThreadID: 58283 Views:2818 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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A family of 4 ( 2 children under 5) looking to travel with another vehicle from Birdsville across the Desert to Mt Dare. Will be towing aluminium camping trailer behind a Nissan Patrol. Will be arriving in Birdsville around the 2nd or 3rd of September 2008.
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Reply By: Mike - Monday, Jun 02, 2008 at 10:42

Monday, Jun 02, 2008 at 10:42
It is HIGHLY reccommended that you do NOT take trailers into the simpson.

Happy trails, Mike.
AnswerID: 307299

Follow Up By: Member - Serg (VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 09:50

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 09:50
Yup. They either super tuff team or (more likely) not that bright (to say it soft). Not only caravan highly discouraged, but it is also said that East-West crossing more difficult. Not only they pick more difficult route, but want to tow a van and with small kids during the edge of season where became hotter. Some people strange indeed. Wondering if they ever drive on sand.

FollowupID: 573323

Follow Up By: Member - Serg (VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 09:51

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 09:51
Sorry – they said trailer, not van, but it does not matter much – they still highly unwelcome in the desert.
FollowupID: 573324

Follow Up By: socket - Friday, Jun 06, 2008 at 21:38

Friday, Jun 06, 2008 at 21:38
g,day serg, just wondering who made you the desert police , sounds like your just a condersending , opinionated dick head , this bloke is obviously looking for another vehicle to make his trip safer for him & his family so they are not travelling solo.if you were leaveing to cross the desert the same time why not travel together & maybe help each other. highly unwelcome in the desert , what is that bull bleep about your a bleep mate yours sincerely dave
FollowupID: 574055

Follow Up By: Member - Serg (VIC) - Tuesday, Jun 10, 2008 at 10:10

Tuesday, Jun 10, 2008 at 10:10
G’day socket!

Under no means I can pretend on “dessert police” role just because I am about to make my first crossing this winter. Thus I am very interested in any dessert related topic. From all my reading I have strong impression that OP either very experience and self-confident traveler (why then he need a companion?) or someone who does not understand what he is doing (then I do not like to be his companion). My odds 5 to 95 – this is where my answer came from. I also cannot find companion car and decide to try my last luck at beginning of the track or do it by myself. Would I like to join their party? Nope, unless I am happy to train myself in extensive recovery. Sorry, but this is what seems to me the case.

BTW he newer answer on comments.


PS “they highly unwelcome” refers to trailers, not to people. Sorry if I expressed myself not clear enough.
FollowupID: 574991

Reply By: mechpete - Monday, Jun 02, 2008 at 22:11

Monday, Jun 02, 2008 at 22:11
have seen it done but be prepared you will get stuck on some of the sand dunes ,an it will use heaps more fuel .
keep ya tyre pressure on the trailer well down as well as the vehicle .
AnswerID: 307404

Reply By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 11:06

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 11:06
Don't let some of these people put you off, as long as you are prepared its not that bigger drama. The main thing is that your trailer is a good off-road type. As for direction of travel they say East to West is the hardest but this year, or when I was there, it was the much easier direction and I travelled both.
Anyway have a good trip and enjoy yourselves.
AnswerID: 307492

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 13:58

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 13:58

We crossed Simpson in April last year, and west to east at that time was without doubt the more difficult direction. But prevailing winds head east so I find it all a bit strange.

Re trailer, I checked out your profile photographs. It looks like you have been lots of places with the trailer. It also looks as though you travel alone, so how do you go getting over the difficult dunes? I would think the biggest concern is being stranded on a hill (with no one to pull you forward) with trailer jack-knifing as you try to back down. How have you handled that type of situation if you've had it?

Cheers JD
FollowupID: 573347

Follow Up By: Member - Chris & Debbie (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 16:46

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 16:46
Yes we travel solo as we have yet to find another couple with our travel, habits? Most of the dunes if you are running with them are not a problem, the main problem is when you have a step up, these we try and find a way around.
The idea is to stay straight, avoiding turning on the way up. I managed to do that on one dune and trying to reverse jack-knifed the trailer. By just a un-hitching the trailer and digging behind the wheels untill it rolled out the way, we were able to reverse the car. If that didn't work i would have just pulled out the hand winch, buried the spare and drag it backwards. Just needed to find another way over that dune.

We usually treat our holidays as an adventure with only a rough plan and destination in mind, that way, as in out last trip, if it doesnt go as planned we are not dissapointed. Being well prepared for any eventuality is the main thing.
FollowupID: 573372

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 20:27

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2008 at 20:27
thanks for that Chris. We've just bought an offroad camper so that's a new world for us and have been contemplating what trouble we could get ourselves in and how we would get out. We also have odd travel habits and find ourselves alone often. Cheers JD
FollowupID: 573423

Reply By: Jayco In The Bush - Thursday, Jun 05, 2008 at 13:06

Thursday, Jun 05, 2008 at 13:06
You never said which track. Ok im calming down, assuming you are taking the french line. You bloody idiot. Putting your family through that. When will the traffic be heading to the races. When we came over from mt dare the traffic was busy. We came across 4 blokes in an 80 series towing a trailer, they were heading to the races for a good old time. Didn't want to pull them through but you cant leave them behind we helped. Some of them dunes it took our two cars to pull them over. The A frame broke. We used more fuel and camped an extra night.Ok imagine this, some one is coming from the other direction full boar pulling a mate over. You doing the same. Who gives way? You got no room. Dont think for one minute you can straddle the dunes. The road goes straight. Its hot out there during the day in winter, how can you put your babies through that in Sept. Ditch the trailer and swag it. Actually ring the shell servo at Birdsville. Ask for Barnsy. Ask his advice.
AnswerID: 307869

Reply By: Vivid Adventures - Thursday, Jun 05, 2008 at 14:48

Thursday, Jun 05, 2008 at 14:48
It's all rather vague to answer effectively. What trailer? What Patrol? How well set up? How experienced are you at towing trailers in dune country?

Trailers are discouraged in the Simpson as you can see from the rhetoric on this thread, but mostly because of a history of problems with inexperienced people and/or inadequate trailers/rigs.

I use an ally gear trailer but it is purpose built and very rugged. It has been across the Simpson, down the Telegraph Track, across the A-B, deep into the Great Victoria, up the Canning incl out to the Calvert Range and across more dunes than I care to count - I suspect the low power vehicle/trailer combo has caused less damage or churning up of tracks than many a high-powered lone vehicle.
AnswerID: 307880

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