Simpson Desert - Easiest way across with camper

Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 21:19
ThreadID: 95478 Views:4681 Replies:6 FollowUps:24
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Hi all, we are in the final stages of prep for a trip across the Simpson, there will be two groups both towing campers. Both groups are experienced in 4x4 but have not tackled the Simpson (I know I know, we have heard all the pros and cons!) what we are after, preferably from someone that has done the trip, is advice on which are the easier tracks (heading east to west) and the tracks to steer clear of?
Group 1 is a 2011 disco with a cub camper.
Group 2 is a 2009 Navara (chipped) with an Ultimate camper.
Both vehicles are fully modified.

Thanks
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Reply By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 21:54

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 21:54
Have you towed your camper on sand before travelling to the east is the easer way but with a camper dont expect other people to help you over the sand dune
Have you got a date when you are going
the track are all the same sand sand and more sand

Camper trailers damage the dunes

Terry
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Follow Up By: Member - Josh- Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:33

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:33
An inexpirienced driver in a fwd will do way more damage than an expirienced driver with a trailer.

Josh
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Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 08:03

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 08:03
Good call Josh

No more evident than in the Canning

Cheers
Bucky
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Follow Up By: redfive - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 09:28

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 09:28
Hi

Ive being across the simpson 3 times as for the comment "Camper trailers damage the dunes " correct me if im wrong but wouldnt a 3 ton 4wd do something to the dune mate if you want to cross with a trailer go for it last trip we drove the Rig road from the Lone Gum west to Punni Bore i could have drove a 2wd ute out that way it was so easy

so take your trailer and your family and have some fun you will love it

Glenn...

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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:17

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:17
What damage is everybody referring to?
Surely after a couple of windy days you would never know.
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Follow Up By: David16 - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:17

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:17
Sooooo true!
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Reply By: David16 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:09

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:09
Thanks Snailbait,
Have you been across the Simpson? What I was after is advice on the way to go? Such as K1 to RIG rd to WAA etc etc.
As far as campers damaging the dunes I am still to see the proven evidence!

Oh yeah 4x4s in 4wd do zero damage, I forgot that!

And yes if you read my post, we are experienced!! Just not familiar with the tracks across the Simpson.
AnswerID: 485488

Follow Up By: Member - Krakka - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 17:00

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 17:00
Well said David, doesn't sound like Terry has been across the Simpson Desert if he reckons all tracks are the same. West to East is definately easier though. Has been a few years since I crossed so I will leave advice regarding easiest tracks across to others that have crossed more recently.

As for not helping someone cos they are towing a camper.....................don't see what that has to do with helping someone who is in trouble.

Do your trip and enjoy it, many campers get towed across each year.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: David16 - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 20:13

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 20:13
Totally agree Peter, but I guess that is what makes the world interesting!
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Reply By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:37

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:37
David,

Latest Simpson Bulletin (May 2nd)

I will keep my opinion on trailers and the Simpson to myself.
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:37

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:37
The easiest way with campers will be QAA to Poeppels, then the French line directly west to Dalhousie.
The K1 line is ok, closed at the Warburton end by water, mostly 2wd but you will really struggle on the rig road heading west, some of the biggest dunes in the desert down that way.
WAA will also have lots of loose sand on dunes with big blowholes and loose crests which is why you would be better to stay on the more travelled route which hopefully will be flattened by other traffic.
If you don't want to go all the way on the French line then drop down on the Colson to the rig road and then follow it west, there will be some dunes but that section is usually pretty good, but it further distance wise.
Remember to drop tyre pressures on everything including the trailers, the lower the better although the disco probably has low profile tyres which won't bag much.
Peter
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Follow Up By: Ozhumvee - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:44

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 22:44
I forgot to add that SA NPWS or whatever they call themselves these days do ask travellers not to tow trailers across the desert. Yes I have done so on several occasions in several different directions over the years but it is much harder on the vehicles and you may need to be able to back quite a distance on soft sand.
As the desert has had several good seasons in a row I suspect that sand conditions at the moment are pretty much ideal with a high moisture content making travel much easier as the sand will be quite firm under the dry top layer.
Peter
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Follow Up By: David16 - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 23:03

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 23:03
Thanks Peter,

That is the type of "directional" info I was after and not a lecture, really appreciate your info.

Both parties are experienced just not with the Simpson and and the easier way with a camper. We understand the pitfalls and are up for the challenge keeping in mind the environment, being self sufficient, and not being mobile chicanes!

I however don't think I would drive past someone that looked like they needed help as someone has suggested! I have helped many over the years and have learnt to have the correct gear, Iam happy to share this gear if someone has been caught out (I sigh though when it is through stupidit) but I guess that is me! I hope the other person never ever needs help!!!!
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Reply By: Member - Bucky - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 06:37

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 06:37
David16
We did the Canning with trailers, and took no notice of the knockers.
Bone dry, and hot, and was reasonably easy with low tyre pressure.
12 front vehicle, 15 rear vehicle, and 12 in the camper.

When I crossed the Simpson, along the French Line, from Birdsville to Dalhouosie in 05, there were 3 campers in our group, and they didn't struggle much at all. Some areas were wet, and other areas were dry as...
As a matter of fact I liked the way in which one of the campers handled the rough stuff so much, I brought it, and still have it today. ( cheers Pud & Barb)

The key to it is low tyre pressure, and a little momentum.
Safety dictates to me to keep your speed down.

Cheers
Bucky




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Follow Up By: David16 - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 07:15

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 07:15
Thanks Bucky,

Appreciate your post. Yes it is a shame at times when you post a genuine request for "experienced" info that the magazine reading experts have to have their two bobs worth and stste the obvious!

I did however like the bit about not expecting any help by a previuos poster, maybe he's been spending too much time on the black stuff!!

Once again thanks for the post.

David
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Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 08:01

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 08:01
Cheers David


Some interesting clips from trips, plus one commedy

Have a good one
Bucky
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Follow Up By: Member - Brenton H (SA) - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 09:06

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 09:06
Bucky,
I would be interested to know which camper you were so convinced to buy.

Brenton
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Follow Up By: David16 - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 19:07

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 19:07
Love the videos Bucky, especially the Bathurst one! Last time I went around there I was burning 5lt a lap!
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Follow Up By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 19:44

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 19:44
Hi Bucky
I dont think you have done all of the Canning wells with trailers as one property does not let trailers across hes property

Terry
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Follow Up By: Member - Bucky - Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 18:13

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 18:13
Brenton
We have a 2001 Australian built Trak Shak, and love it .

Been literally everywhere
Heading to 61 years old next week, and the bones are starting to tell me it may be time to get a Caravan.
MMMmmmmmm
I wonder if I can get an off road one ?

Cheres
Bucky
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 08:25

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 08:25
Hi David

Firstly I would if possible leave the campers behind, but if there is no way around it, this is the way that I would do, bearing in mind that there will be some dunes that you will not get over first try.

The easiest way without question is a west to east drive, purely the nature and shape of the dunes.

The way that has the least number of steep dunes to cross is from Wonga Junction, head south and follow the Rig Road. Once out at the KI Line, it is a very easy, no dunes to cross drive up the swales almost through to Poeppel Corner - I said almost.

If you want to head into the Corner, you will have to head west and cross a number of still smaller dunes before the final turn off to Poeppel Corner. Up until this point, the drive should have been no real dramas, but to get through from here, tyre pressures will be critical and to put it bluntly, wrong pressures and you will never get over the dunes.

Regardless of experience, tyre pressure is most important and I would not go any HIGHER than 14psi on the vehicles and 12 psi on the campers. The bigger dunes will come soon and once you start on the QAA, the dunes will instantly double in size, but the distance between the swales will increase greatly.

Your best friends out there will be a long handled shovel, and a couple of sets of MaxTraks. Allow around 4 days to cross and do not go any higher with tyre pressures and if possible even lower. You are only travelling slow, and the only way that you will roll a tyre from a rim, is going fast and making a very hard sharp turn.

We have travelled the Simpson countless times and driven correctly, it is a very easy and enjoyable drive.




Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Great Divide Tours - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 11:53

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 11:53
For what it is worth I agree with the post by Stephen, if going soon though be aware that the K1 line could be heavily overgrown still. When I crossed the Desert in March 2012 there was a lot of growth along the QAA and French Lines, no doubt being knocked down now but it will still leave some pinstriping. Jeff at Mt Dare might have some info that is current on the K1 line. SA Parks don't want trailers in the Desert, they ban tour operators from taking them because we have to be licensed and they can dictate to us whatever they wish. At this stage they don't ban the general public from towing trailers just suggest they not be taken. Be aware that this year there is no wood collection in Witjara NP and from next year no campfires permitted in Witjara NP, it will be a cold night for camping when that occurs.
Vic
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Follow Up By: David16 - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 20:23

Friday, May 11, 2012 at 20:23
Thanks for the info guys,

The Simpson crossing is part of a 3 week trip so not possible to leave and double back, we are still not locked in though to east/west or west/east hence the post and seeking of info. Your info has Been helpful, thanks.
David
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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 08:56

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 08:56
G'day Vic,

David, the west - east crossing is definitely the go for those towing trailers across the Simpson, & even then some get into strife! I had to sell my new Treg Hitch to someone who broke theirs towing a trailer across a couple of weeks ago!

The Rig road is the recommended way for trailers but it is deteriorating badly in places, so expect a bumpy ride, I haven't heard from anyone going down the K1 line yet but I would stay away from the eastern end of the rig road due to the big dunes out there & the Warburton crossing will be closed indefinitely anyway.

The WAA line is quite overgrown & difficult in places & the lake at the eastern end is an unknown factor tho it should be dry by now.

Solo vehicles or groups where both vehicles are towing trailers are the most prone to having difficulties, I usually recommend that at least one vehicle in any group doesn't tow a trailer, that way it can help if anyone does get into trouble.

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Follow Up By: snailbait (Blue mntns) - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 17:00

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 17:00
David
If you look and search the site you will find the answers and the recommendation from a lot of people

Then have a look at the Australian 4WD SITE recomdation

Also have a look the South Australian desert parks and there recommendation

Yes i have been across the simpson and i have done the Warburton crossing

I agree with Jeff from Mt Dare

Also if your vehicle breaks down and the people fromBirdsville have to rescue you it could a lot of $$$$$

Toyota 100 SERIES and 200 Series have busted there front and have had to be towed even with out a camper trailer the last time i went across there were two they were silly and went through the salt lakes and busted the front drive

Again i agree with Jeff

Terry
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Follow Up By: David16 - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:01

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:01
Terry what got up my nose initially was your comments! If you read my initial post I stated that I was after "helpful" info on the easiest way across the Simpson with a camper from someone that has been across, I also stated that we are experienced 4x4 ers and have extremely well set up vehicles, campers and all the recovery gear and knowhow on using it that one would wish for!
What I was wanting to avoid was the usual BS you get from some people on sites
that has nothing to do with the post apart from their opinion and
It is usually negative rubbish.

I have just joined this site for genuine info and not a lecture or tree hugging crap, also the comment on "don't expect help" was out of line in my book! I have helped many people (and will continue to do so) if they are in need, it could be as simple as a shackle or even extra fuel or a tow, you must have had a bad experience or maybe someone drove past you in need or maybe your simply miserable but you know what I would still stop to help you!

Now on the part of campers damaging the sand, well I reckon the vehicle in front of it does of good job of it as well, and the vehicle in front of that with no trailer as well!

I wish to thank all those that posted some very helpful info, it has helped start to decide our route, I also apologize to everyone that is offended by us taking campers especially if we are the only ones this season.

David
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Follow Up By: David16 - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:05

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:05
Thanks Jeff for your comments,

Whichever way we go I will be sure to drop in and say hi and make ourselves known.

David
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Follow Up By: David16 - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:18

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 18:18
I must clarify something before I get a negative reaction from someone.

I am extremely aware of how sensitive our environment is and I do respect and look after it when I am able too and realize how fortunate we are to be able to get out amongst it!

David
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Follow Up By: dean e - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:11

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:11
David, you have possibly gathered by now that sadly dribble is the order of the day on this site. The exception Jeff from Mt. Dare and a small handfull of people who have done this particular trip.
DE
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Follow Up By: David16 - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:20

Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 20:20
Hi Dean,

Yes so true, but I did get some great info after the smell dissipated!

David
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