Simpson Desert

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 16:51
ThreadID: 89000 Views:3343 Replies:6 FollowUps:6
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Gday all,

Have just crossed the Simpson Desert from West to East a few weeks ago. I thought I would post up my details to help anyone else doing the same.

Vehicle is an '02 Toyota Hilux diesel with 5LE engine with snorkel and Uni Filter.

Been on the road for nearly 5 months so we're carrying a fair bit of gear along with the usual. Recovery kit, hand winch, Hi-lift jack, second spare on roof rack, awning, camp oven, tools and spares. Also have a thumper in the tray, 40L engel, solar panel, tent and double swag. Along with our clothes and food this adds up.

Normally record around 8 - 8.5 km/l economy highway driving running around 40 psi on Bridgestone Desert Duellers (30% tread left)

We carried 90L of water and 160L of diesel for the crossing. We drove only on the french line and the QAA line and had to take the detour around Eyre Ck and Big Red

The stats for my trip are as follows:

Total kms from Mt Dare to Birdsville - 606km
Moving time - 20 hours 30 min
Time Stopped (excluding nights) - 5hours 30 min
Moving Avg - 29.5 km/h
Overall Avg - 23.3 km/h

We used 98 litres of diesel for economy of 6.18 km/l. This was running hot tyre pressures of 20psi in the rear and 18psi in the front. If doing again I would probably drop another 2psi out of each to make some of the dunes easier.

Overall we found the crossing easier than we were expecting. Taking into account that the first 140 kms and the last 25kms (roughly) there are no dunes and we averaged around 40 - 50 km/h for these sections. We found the french line up to Knolls tk junction was quite easy with mainly small dunes. Some we had a second go at, mainly due to the large ruts and lack of run up. (tried to trake them all easy the 1st time). From there to Poeppel Corner it got significantly harder for 40 km. The dunes were steeper and softer at the top with larger ruts. ((I would recommend doing this section early in the morning, the sand was harder and less dug up earlier in the day)). From here to big red the dunes eased of a little and most of them were easy enough to cross.

For the most part we were using H1 or H2 to get over the dunes. During the hard section we were using L3 to get some more drive.

We spent 3 nights / 4 days on the track, the 3rd being at Eyre Ck on the water, and could have easily done it in 3 days. Although next time I would spend an extra day and drive less each day.

Hope this info can help someone planning thier trip. If anyone wants more info dont hesitate to ask.


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Reply By: member-PradoMad - Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 19:11

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 19:11
thanks for that; planning to go next year.
AnswerID: 464916

Reply By: NTVRX - Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 19:54

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 19:54
Hi Larry, Having read your post with interest & knowing nothing much about 02 Hilux can you enlighten me as to what H1 & H2 mean please. Monty
AnswerID: 464924

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 20:02

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 20:02
Hi Monty. H1 & H2 are 1st and 2nd gear in high range 4wd. L3 is 3rd gear in low range. Cheers,Bob

FollowupID: 738853

Follow Up By: NTVRX - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 00:07

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 00:07
Thanks for that.
FollowupID: 738877

Reply By: Member - Blaze - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 00:16

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 00:16
Gday Larry,

We are going across in 2 1/2 weeks and have heard rumours about the rats which most I know are probabaly true, that they are a fair few all the way across, but I heard that they are so thick at Dalhousie Springs that people are sleeping on roof racks, and the rats are chewing through tents and swags, can you enlighten if there is any truth to this?

Not a 100% sure yet which track we are tacking on the way, we are going West to East and we are looking for the hardest trek, so any feedback will be appreciated.

AnswerID: 464943

Follow Up By: Larry Fysh - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 07:46

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 07:46
Gday blaze,

We also heard about the rat and mice plagues. I can say that at Dalhousie we didnt see or hear any. As mentioned we are in a swag. we heard they were thick at Poppel's corner, but didnt stay there. The only night we saw them was at Eyre Ck, and they were big buggers there, got into our rubbish bag, but stayed away from the swag

We have seen a lot more up around Alice and down at Cooper Ck, the girlfriend lost her thong to one.

As for hardest track... We travelled on our own, but there was a group behind us a little way. They took the rig road and then up the Knolls Tk. After talking we found out that we had similiar driving time and they covered more kms. Some of thier group said the track was hard with interesting switchbacks at top of dunes and that the track was fairly close in parts (read bush pinstriping). cant say for sure as we didnt drive this track.

Enjoy your trip.
FollowupID: 738883

Follow Up By: Member - Blaze - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 13:14

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 13:14
Thanks for the Feed back Laryy, its always good to get help from people on the ground or have just been there. I am certain we will enjoy ourselves we have every other trip across so see no reason this should disappoint..

Again Thanks
FollowupID: 738909

Reply By: Member Brian (Gold Coast) - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 07:26

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 07:26
Hi Larry,
That is a great write up!Well done mate and thanks for sharing your experience.



AnswerID: 464946

Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 11:07

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 11:07
Did an 5 day west to east before the races and travelled most roads
ie french line, rig, waa,colson, lower rig, erabena, waa, knolls, french line,
we had a trailer in the group and it needed 5 snatches on last section of WAA and only 2 on French line.the waa section before knolls has had very little traffic..
there was also a nice wet claypan just before hitting the knolls we detoured north but it willl most likely be dry by now.
french line from poeppels in has also had little traffic as it has only been used since eyre ck bypass opened 18 july as a lot of traffic had gone out hay river from poeppels prior to that.eyre creek bypass is very good station tracks.
water level at goonmillera had dropped over 6 inches between first week of august and end of august. bow wave doesnt even get to bumper level.
the new bypass from big red to birdsville was causing all sorts of problems to the uninitiated going out from town on day trips
a couple of the dunes along the border fence are pretty soft and all are cut up.
hope this helps
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Follow Up By: Member - Blaze - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 13:12

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 13:12
Thanks for the info Howard,

Sounds like we will be doing our original plan, which basically was running down then across the WAA till the Knolls then up and across the last part of the French Line to Poeppels and the QAA Line to Big Red, least this way I will have driven every bit of the simpson desert tracks over the years except for Madigans which is next years trip.

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Follow Up By: Member - THOR01 - Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 19:53

Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 19:53
G'day Howard
I followed your trip report every bit of the way and it brought back some great memories. What a trip.
FollowupID: 739193

Reply By: Moira S - Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 11:54

Friday, Sep 16, 2011 at 11:54
Thanks for your write up. We are planning to cross same direction next winter - can't wait.
Every day above ground is a good one so don't waste it:)

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