Simpson trip summary

Submitted: Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 12:53
ThreadID: 58845 Views:3121 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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Thought I would send thru a quick summary of our trip across the Simpson incase anyone is close to going.

Left Adelaide the headed towards the Birdsville track. Entered via the Warburton track to face very soft dunes (no tracks so had to run up each dune to find the way over). Met up with the Rig Road and took this to Mt Dare.
From Mt Dare we refuelled and headed across the French line to Birdsville.

Fuel was not as bad as i thought. $2.20 at Mt Dare, $1,80 at Birsdville. Approx $2.00 at Mungerannie (all Diesel).

Our GQ 2.8td excelled with fuel economy doing 16 litres per 100km across the dunes (carrying food and water for 3 bike riders). Carried 165 litres of fuel but only needed approx 80 - 90 litres for each crossing.
the Petrol car along with us (Pajero) averaged 28 litres per 100 km across the dunes.

The rain hit on our way back across the French line. A classic example of always be prepared for the unexpected. We carried extra rations for just this scenario so it was fine that we spent an extra night or two due to slower travelling. The lakes in between the dunes were a nightmare with mud and slosh everywhere. A great example of having the correct tyres as our ST-C's had good enough tread pattern to handle this. The Pajero did not and whilst it did surprise me with it 's abilities, the tyres made it very difficult in the muddy stuff (no grip). Even A/T tyres would not have been good enough (as we saw getting other cars out of bogs). Good open treads did the trick without being too aggressive to rip the track up for everyone else.

A Ford Ranger trayback along with us ingested water into it's air cleaner so this was a very close call. Whilst he was drying it out I thought it was a good opportunity to clean out mine (on a snorkel). It was as good as new! Snorkels are a great investment and will save your engine (and your holidays) in this type of weather.

The last lake at the base of big red was the most challenging. We hit this at night and could not find a way over (we walked it and it seemed impossible). The bikes only just mad it over and recommened that we stay the night on the next dune back and look at it in the morning. The easy track across the lake to the right was also impassable. Eventually we went over in our Patrol but only just made it over! The other cars drove around the lake to the North. We later found out that a car got stuck the night before us and the local policeman had to winch them out. We found their Maxtracs that they used in the mud (walking over the night before) and luckily ran into them at the caravan park to return them.

The Birdsville track heading home (South) was a nighmare also being only just passable (closed to anything over 3 tonnes). Again good tyres and plenty of clearnance as the wheel ruts in the mud was quite deep. The night before 2 Patrols took 6 hours to go 100km. They were very relieved to hit the showers in the Birdsville caravan park!

All in all a great trip but a great example of always prepare for the worst. Have a well prepared car and always have a few days up your sleeve when you plan incase travelling takes longer than planned.
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 13:12

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 13:12
Thanks for that report Gossy.... I must admit I'm teetering on calling off our planned trip (for the July school holidays) as I've been reading how much rain they've had up there.

We will be in a group and several of us will be towing trailers, so I'm fully aware of the potential for drama.

Cheers mate and glad you had a great time.

AnswerID: 310316

Follow Up By: Dean - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 15:33

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 15:33
Hi Roachie,
We also are heading across in the July holidays, for the first time. Are you considering on pulling out due to the trailers or do you reckon, even if it doesnt rain between now and July, it could still be too wet too cross.
We are going west-east along the French line, if all goes well we may run into you.
No matter what we will be checking with the locals to check on the conditions just before we leave, or go to plan B.
FollowupID: 576544

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 19:40

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 19:40
We are planning east to west along the Rig Road once we get to Poeppels Corner. Have done the French Line before and it is not the most intersting track....just more and more sand dunes.

We will only be deterred if there is any more rain between now and then up that way.

Word is that at the moment they are about to re-open the desert tracks, so in a couple of weeks it should be really good and the wild-flowers should be out (the girls like that sorta chit!!! hahaha).


FollowupID: 576609

Reply By: AndrewX - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 16:58

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 16:58
Roachie if the trailer people are planning to cross the Simpson I have just one word of advice for them .... don't! Also Gossy there must have been something amiss with that Pajero using 28l/100km. I went across in a petrol Prado some years ago and used 18.2l/100km from Oodnadatta to Birdsville via Dalhousie and the French Line. We were of course fully loaded. A diesel Cruiser (non turbo) used 14.35l/100km and a Disco TD used even less at 13.16l/100km. Get the Paj to have a tune up!! Did the Patrol get over Big Red? We had a TD Patrol with us and he couldn't make it but of course conditions vary out there from day to day.
AnswerID: 310351

Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 19:44

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 19:44
Are you referring to just the current situation, or do you mean that people shouldn't cross the Simpson with a trailer at any time?

I know there are people who curse at people for towing trailers. We did it a couple of years ago and had no problems at all except for the extensive water around Spring Creek delta. Even then , we didn't really have any worries getting across, it was just very rough, with lots of hidden holes in the water.

I wouldn't try to cross the Simpson if the conditions weren't right. If it's very dry or very wet, we won't be attempting it.

However, as far as the trailers themselves are concerned, I firmly believe that a rig with trailer will do less damage to the dunes (assuming the tyre pressures are dropped to the proper level), than a vehicle with no trailer, where that car has not dropped pressures sufficiently.

I appreciate your point of view and seek your clarification as per my opening sentence of this response, please

FollowupID: 576390

Reply By: Gossy - Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 17:08

Monday, Jun 16, 2008 at 17:08
no didn't do Big Red ourselves this time as I was in a rush to get back into Birdsville and also help a motorbike with an electrical issue. After all the rain we just wanted to get into Birdsville and shower and give the local cop the good news that we were out. Done it heaps of times before so already got the tick in the box. The other cars had enough time to do it once though.

The dune was very soft as the road was closed so no traffic on it for a couple of days. Was nice to have the whole place to ourselves though as it can be a traffic jam there at times!

The track heading out to the main track into town was completely under water. Lucky there was another track just off to the side for most of the way on the higher ground!
AnswerID: 310352

Reply By: Brian - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:12

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:12
Gossy.... good story! We're heading out next week to that area, so I am watching the threads about Birdsville very closely!!!!


Brian (Gold Coast)
AnswerID: 310457

Reply By: Brian - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:36

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:36
Also Gossy, what date did you start/end the trip?


Brian (Gold Coast)

AnswerID: 310460

Follow Up By: Gossy - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:53

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 08:53
first 2 weeks of June.
FollowupID: 576495

Follow Up By: Brian - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 09:24

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008 at 09:24
Cheers mate....
FollowupID: 576499

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