Simpson in June

Hi All,
I am intending to do a loop through the Simpson, starting from Birdsville around the 4th June. Doing a loop because I'll have a camper trailer and will need to leave it in Birdsville for the desert bit. I had some friends lined up to come along but they have pulled out. I'm reluctant to go as a single vehicle, not worried about getting stuck more in case of mechanical issues. My vehicle is reliable, I am experienced with all the gear and I will have emergency beacon plus satphone but I don't really want to end up in a situation of asking others for help. Was wondering if anyone else will be there around that time and wouldn't object to us tagging along. Tony
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Reply By: Ozrover - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 12:15

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 12:15
You shouldn't have too many issues with going out into the simpson Desert in June as a single vehicle.

There will be plenty of people travelling across both ways at that time of year so if you do have a problem someone won't be too far behind.

just stick to the main tracks & carry plenty of food & water in case you do have to spend a couple of extra days out there.

AnswerID: 481854

Follow Up By: TonyY - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 12:47

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 12:47
Thanks Jeff, appreciate the advice. I have a fair amount of karma stored up from helping out other people over the years but hopefully I won't have to use it!

Cheers Tony
FollowupID: 757167

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 14:27

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 14:27
Hi Tony

We have been in exactly the same situation that you are in. As we had travelled the Simpson countless time over the years and knew what to expect. Fiona and I had no hesitation in doing a solo trip (and have done so again solo).

The main tips that I can advise and if you follow them, it should be plain sailing as such through the desert. My preferred direction of travel is a east to west when possible. Last year the dunes were back to their usual soft state, so tyre pressure will either be your friend or your worst enemy.

Being solo, the moment that you enter the desert as such, I would drop tyre pressures down to 14 psi and you will walk up the eastern face of the soft dunes in either 1st or 2nd high.

Make sure that you have a sand flag, as you do not want to meet anyone head on at the top of a dune. When at the top of the larger dunes (You will know what I mean once you are out there) I always put out a call on the UHF, Channel 10 - the preferred channel for the Simpson Desert, to see in anyone is heading east. With a good UHF Antenna, you will be surprised how far you can get and my best coverage has been 40 kilometres, we were leaving Peoppel Corner and I contacted a group at the Knolls turn off.

You will not be alone out there and you will be surprised how many other solo vehicles that you will come across.

A set of MaxTrax can be very handy, as well as a long handled shovel.

The solitude out there by yourself is unreal and to sit back and watch the set set is one sight that you will never forget.

Have a great trip and providing your vehicle in 100% mechanical OK, you will have a ball.


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AnswerID: 481862

Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 05:55

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 05:55
Great call Steve !
The only thing I can add to that is to make sure you use the scan function on your UHF, to listen for the "nuf nuff's" that do not use channel 10, and there will be lots of them.

Keep calling your position, and the direstion you are heading.

Just do your homework and enjoy the beauty, it's an awesome place.


FollowupID: 757233

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 14:48

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 14:48
Hi Tony,

The Simpson is not difficult provided you lower your tyre pressures as Stephen advised. While it is not exactly the Hume Highway, you will encounter plenty of other vehicles so you have no safety concerns, but be sure to stay on the main track.

Contrary to the beliefs of some drivers, there is no need to hurl yourself at the dunes. An approach at about 20 kph in 1st or 2nd high is fine, peeling off the power just as you reach the crest so that you simply roll over the top at almost no speed, ready to easily follow the often diverting track.

The nights out there in June will be very chilly and the night sky is incredible especially if you are camped away from other campers lights. A zillion stars and the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon. It is possibly my favourite place in Australia.

Have a ball Tony.


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AnswerID: 481864

Reply By: Gossy - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 15:05

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 15:05
just by raising those concerns means you have a level head!

The Simpson is busy but to be honest if you have a major mechanical breakdown it's not really a problem for anyone. A major problem can just be sent on radio to Birdsville for them to come and collect you and tow you back.

Most of the trip you would be out of direct UHF contact but it can be relayed through the various groups. Potentially the servo in Birdville would know in minutes. Good chance you would come across someone with a HF radio eventually anyway.

As mentioned a set of Maxtrak will save you 99% of the time anyway. Don't use the EPIRB for a mechanical breakdown (only for health/life reasons). A lot of resources kick in so they would be quite annoyed to arrive to find you have a weeks worth of food and water and you called them because you had a flat battery. Potentially you would get a big bill for the callout in a sitation like this. We always carry one also; great piece of technology.

I think your concerns are warranted but not enough to not go. A worse case scenario will just mean a tow bill around $2k back into Birdsville; you won't ruin anyone's trip if they can't help anyway.

Cheers and enjoy.
AnswerID: 481867

Reply By: TonyY - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 15:09

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 15:09
Thanks everyone, sounds like it will be a goer. We will have a satphone and no I won't be setting off the EPIRB willy nilly - my other half is a SAR cooordinator for AMSA so I know what the implications are, and she wouldn't be able to live it down at work if we did something like that! :)
AnswerID: 481869

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