SIMPSON DESERT DOUBLE CROSSING TRIP REPORT AUGUST 2008

Thursday, Aug 21, 2008 at 20:28

Member - Scrubby (VIC)

On Sunday 3rd August, Myself and fellow member Jeff O departed here, central Vic., at 10.30 am for my first, and Jeff’s second, trip across the Simpson Desert.

Travelling in Jeff`s Hilux TD Auto TwinCab loaded up with 55ltrs of water,160 ltrs of diesel, tent, etc. etc. On the Roof Rack we had the tent ,extra spare wheel and my swag. We travelled the Calder Highway, the Sunraysia Highway, the Mallee Highway to Pinnaroo SA then north to Moorook and camped beside the Murray for the first night arriving about 5.30 pm having travelled about 565 klm.

Mon. 4th , up and on our way by 8.15 am we crossed the Murray by Ferry at Cadell then on to Peterborough where we called to see members Willem and Judith, enjoyed a cuppa then inspected (and passed) the renovations and modifications to the Patrol. We would have liked to have spent more time enjoying their hospitality but needed to push on. Thanks again Willem and Judith.

North to Hawker where we took the road through the center of the South Flinders Rangers. We camped in the National Park at Dingley Dell camping area after travelling 470 klm for the day.

Tuesday morning the 5th, on to Blinman which is a lovely old mining town. It was interesting to learn that a relative of Jeff’s of four generations ago is buried in the Blinman cemetery.

On to the Birdsville Track via Leigh Creek and Marree.We had a look around the old “Ghost Town” of Farina and then after having inspected and tested the ablutions facilities at the Marree cattle yards we drove on until reaching the camping area where the Cooper Creek floodway crosses the Birdsville track. We saw some different birds near this camp including some Blue Bonnet Parrots . We travelled 397 klms for the day.

Wednesday 6th , on to Birdsville where we fuelled up and showered before heading out to cross the desert. With the tyres aired down to 18 psi we got up Big Red first attempt then on to camp at Eyre Creek where we met a nice couple, Wen and Julie from Tasmania. Did 440 klms for the day.

Thursday 7th , up at daylight and on west along the QAA Line until meeting the

K1 Line then South to Poeppel Corner, west again on the French Line, average speed 23 klm/hr , slow going but the scenery and the track was just amazing. We found a camping spot about 20 klm west of the Erabena Track junction about 5.30pm.

206klm in approximately 9hrs travelling.

Friday 8th , on to Mount Dare, stopping at Purni Bore then Dalhousie Springs for an enjoyable swim in the Billabong the water temperature at 38 - 36oc , VERY refreshing indeed.

The road from Dalhousie Springs to Mount Dare has some very rough Gibber sections with larger than normal loose Gibber and severe corrugations making it difficult to avoid damage to the vehicle and unpleasant to travel.

After reaching Mount Dare Hotel, refuelling and making the obligatory phone call home we enjoyed the meal, and I a beer or two, watched the television before retiring to camp in the camping area behind the pub. 242 klm for the day.

505 klm from Birdsville. 17 ltrs/100 klm for the crossing east to west.

Saturday 9th. Being advised by the pub people to return to Dalhousie Springs via Bloods Creek to avoid the bad road, we found this road to be about 14 klm longer but much easier and more scenic. Another visit to the “pool” at Dalhousie then on to Purni Bore for lunch.

At Wonga Junction, 29k east of Purni Bore, we took the Rig road then the WAA Line camping about 14 klm east of Linnies Corner. 242 klms from Mount Dare.

Sunday 10th, Early start, on the track about 7.40 am paid off, seeing 3 camels near the track just after starting off. East on the WAA Line to WAA Junction then turned S.E. to the “Lone Gum Tree” where we met members Pink O and his wife.

Moving on eastward we joined the Rig Road again for about 102klm to the junction with the Warburton Track.

This section of the Rig road, particularly the Eastern end, was difficult and very slow going because of the heavy “Sand Drifts” over the track on the top of the dunes, some drifts had a drop at the top of six to ten feet.

On one occasion , the driver, ME, having a poor sense of direction when I can’t see where I’m going while driving up the dune looking at the sky, dropped the front of the Hilux over the top into a scalloped out hole about six foot deep and stood it on it’s nose, (Bullbar).

Out with the shovel, about two tonne of sand and an hour later we had dug “The Unbreakable Hilux” out, ( It’s a TOYOTA by the way ).

From this stuff up we learned that it was safer to stop and walk over every the dune and pick the best option to cross it before attempting it. I reckon we were the only vehicle along this section of the Rig Road for the last few days as there was no sign of any traffic having been along in either direction.( probably had heard what it was like ).

We eventually met the Warburton Track and turned S.E., camping 26 klm along it from the Rig Road junction. We managed to travel 230 klm for the day but it was a long and tiring day.

Monday 11th . Very different type of country along the Warburton Track with mostly long flat stretches and relatively uninteresting scenery we made good time travelling the 77 klm to the intersection with the Birdsville Track in under 2 hours.

While having “Smoko” at this spot a lone Dingo wandered past within 20 meters of us with little or no concern of us being there. It was in very poor condition and I suppose it was searching for a “Road Kill” meal. We had been looking for Dingos while on the Simpson for 6 days and here this one came trotting slowly past us while we were stopped, ah well at last we seen one .

On down the Birdsville Track to the Mungerannie Pub, fuelled up, a giant Hamburger for lunch, also stuck an ExplorOz sticker amongst the many others on the wall in the bar .

From Mount Dare Eastward across the Simpson and down to Mungerannie Pub was

656 klm , 16.5 ltrs/100 klm for the West to East crossing.

Continued down the track to Lyndhurst, topped up with fuel then turned east up the Strzelecki track for about 10 klm where we camped beside a creek. 461 klm for the day.





From Mungerannie to Lyndhurst on the Birdsville Track, 287 klm used 41.5 ltrs = 9.002 ltrs/100 klm. = 11.1 klm/ltr = ( Ter-bloody- rifik Toyota )



Tuesday 12th , 70 klm further up the Strzelecki Track we turned off along the Moolawatana Road/Track travelling West to East through the Northern end of the

Gammon Ranges, the section through the rangers was very rough in places and slow going, then at Moolawatana turning South down to Balcanoona .

Here we had lunch and a much needed shower then on to Yunta, fuelled up and continued southward towards the Renmark to Wentworth road. We camped 140 klm south ofYunta having travelled 667 klm for the day.

Wednesday 13th , Up early and heading for Home, Travelling through the Danggali Conservation Park and the Chowilla Regional Reserve we joined the Renmark to Wentworth Road. On through Wentworth to Mildura to fuel up and travelling home via Ouyen , Charlton and Bendigo. Arriving home 3.10 pm. 647 klm for the day.



From my home and return was 4567 klm for the trip. For this report, however for the calculation of fuel used and economy obtained it is necessary to add 278 klms to the total as this is the combined distance Jeff travelled from his home to pick me up.

Jeff having started off from his home with a full tank and then filling it again on return.



So the total for fuel calculation is 4845 klm

Total fuel used 660 ltrs



= 13.6 ltrs/ 100 klm .

We are happy with this result considering we were loaded reasonably heavy and the difficulty of travelling some of the tracks.



Scrubby.




I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.
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