Current Conditions in the Simpson Desert

Submitted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 16:25
ThreadID: 86669 Views:2923 Replies:2 FollowUps:4
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Having gathered the excellent information from this forum and the other site links, I am aware that the Eyre Creek crossing is still closed and entry to the Simpson Desert from Birdsville is not possible at the moment.

Accordingly, I am planning a Simpson Desert loop from Mt Dare to Poeppell's Corner and back to Mt Dare.

If anyone has been into the desert this year, could you please advise of the track conditions.

I was looking at footage from trips last year and it seemed to be boggy claypan after boggy claypan resulting in days of muddy recoveries. Given all the water this year I was worried that it may be the same.

So some current knowledge will help me with my plans.

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Reply By: rumpig - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 16:59

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 16:59
we crossed The Simpson Desert last year just after Eyre Creek bypass had opened and it was nothing like you described with muddy clay pan after mudy clay plan, it was actually a nice easy drive for us. i had mates who came through about 3 - 4 weeks after we crossed and it bucketed down with rain on them on their first night, thus turning it into what you described above.
sorry i can't help with current conditions, but don't assume it will be really muddy, as it might well not be if it hasn't rained out there recently.
below is a pic of one clay pan from our crossing.....

AnswerID: 456006

Follow Up By: Member - Luke B (ACT) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 12:41

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 12:41
Hello Rumpig,

thanks for the information.
You are right, I looked back at one of the trip reports I was getting my information from and it does describe how rain just before an during the trip was experienced. It is likely that this caused the muddy conditions I described.
Good to hear of your experience.
FollowupID: 729035

Reply By: Member - Graeme K (ACT) - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 17:27

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 17:27
Hi Luke

Just got back from the Simpson desert - May 21. I was with 3 other vehicles and we did a loop from Mt Dare, Dalhousie Springs, along the French Line to the Erabena Tk, down to the Lone Gum Tree, on to the Rig Road, back to the French Line at Wonga Junction and on to Dalhousie Springs. There was only one patch of water (on an early part of the Rig Road ie heading west) but it had a bypass and we took it - I have no love of mud!.

All the dunes were easy to get over - most were quite firm. Took all the recovery gear, including Maxtrax, and none of it saw the light of day.

Originally we intended turning off the French Line at Lindsay Junction and go down the Knolls Track. We opted out of this because we spoke to a couple who had tried to do that but were confronted with some very bad ruts on this track - very deep - and it took them 5hr to do 14km (not sure whether it was before or after the WAA Line.

I would go back tomorrow if the opportunity arouse!!!

AnswerID: 456012

Follow Up By: Member - Luke B (ACT) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 12:46

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 12:46
Hello Graeme,

Thanks for the excellent current information. I was hoping to find someone like you who has just come back.
Your info has made me even more keen to get under way.
Its interesting what you heard about the Knolls Track. I was planning to go up that track from down at the Lone Gum Tree. I will make sure I get the information on that track when I get up there.

Thanks again.
FollowupID: 729036

Follow Up By: Jasper1912 - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 17:22

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 17:22

How long did it take you to do that loop? Having spoken with the police at Birdsville about Eyre Creek I suspect it will still be closed in late July so think we'll be doing the loop as well. Did think about going right through to Poepples then coming back via Knolls Track - will rethink that!

FollowupID: 732520

Follow Up By: Member - Graeme K (ACT) - Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 20:57

Friday, Jul 01, 2011 at 20:57

We took only three days. If I did it again I would take longer as I like to stop and investigate anything and every thing. When (not if) I do this trip again I would begin the day later, have longer stops during the day and stop earlier. Despite saying this we did not have any days where we left at the crack of dawn and drove until dusk - it just illustrates my enthusiasm to investigate. I took several hundred photos and am still enthusiastically telling everyone about the trip.

I originally considered going to Poepples Corner but was unsure if one of the vehicles would be able to make the round trip - fuel wise. As it turned out our fuel consumption was significantly less than guesstimated (tracks were quite firm) and we could have done it - as is always the case its much easier to look back after the event.

I would have also gone down the Knolls Track and if the conditions were in deed as bad as described we could have turned west onto the WAA Line if the bad section was south of the WAA Line. If the bad section was prior to the WAA Line we could have returned to the French Line and back tracked to the Erabena Tk.

FollowupID: 732539

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