Our Family's 1st Outback Tent Touring Trip


Well-Known Member
We had been planning our 1st Tenting Touring outback Trip with the Kids and is the "Proposed" and "Actual" map of where we ended up going.....

Here's a map of where we supposed to have gone....

Here's a Map of where we actually went.....

2012 Outback Desert Trip - Brief Trip Report

Pictures can be seen here: 2012 Outback Desert Trip Pics

or try this link: Triplog and Pics of Outback Desert Trip

Day-1: (22-Jun)
Departed Fri, 22nd June at 2am made our way to St George via Dalby & Moonie (Breakfast stop). The plan was to try & get to our pre-planned stopover on the Banks of the Paroo River at Eulo, but fell short and decided to camp at one of the FREE camps at Bollon along the river (Nice spot).
Refuelling: St George - 545kms // 63.65ltrs / $1.499/ltr / 11.7ltrs/100kms
Stopover: Town of Bollon - Free Camp along Wallam Creek
Distance: 654kms
Driving Time only: 7.52hrs

Day-2: (23-Jun)
Left early trying to make up some lost time and managed to get to the banks of Wilson's Waterhole near the Noccundra Hotel late in the evening. Beautiful spot to camp (BYO your own wood - nothing left there). Make sure u don't have to rely on refuelling here as quite a few people got caught and had to wait for the next Fuel Tanker some 3-4days later.
Refuelling: Cunnamulla - 298kms // 40.40ltrs / $1.649/ltr / 13.6ltrs/100kms
Stopover: Wilson's Waterhole near the Noccundra Hotel
Distance: 525kms
Driving Time only: 5.73hrs

Day-3: (24-Jun)
Target for the day was Innamincka, visiting the Dig Tree ($11 entry) along the way and reaching/camping at the Innamincka's "The Common", along the banks of the still flowing Cooper Creek.
Refuelling: Innamincka - 687kms // 50ltrs (PART-FILL only) / $2.097/ltr
Stopover: The Town Common at Innamincka
Distance: 296kms
Driving Time only: 4hrs

Day-4: (25-Jun)
Found a lot of the surrounding tracks to the historic sites around Innamincka still closed due to the floods, with the only sites open to visit being the Policeman’s Waterhole & Burke's Grave & Cullyamurra Waterhole. The plan was to stay 2 nights but with all the tracks closed it was decided to push on towards Birdsville via the Cordillo Downs Rd. Due to the possible poor (i.e. Muddy) road conditions twds Birdsville, I decided to add an extra 40ltrs of fuel at $2.097/ltr. Crossed the flooded causeway at Innamincka and headed north towards Birdsville encountering some muddy sections but all being negotiated w/o any problems. Camped at the turnoff to the Cordillo Downs Stn/Woolshed.
Stopover: Creek near T/O to Cordillo Dns at Montkeleary Creek
Distance: 191kms
Driving Time only: 3.78hrs

Day-5: (26-Jun)
Target for today was Birdsville, but with the unknown track conditions ahead, it was another early departure. Reached the historic Cordillo Dns Woolshed for the usual pics, etc. then pushed on coming across a few muddy/boggy sections but all having a bypass track around. Stopped at the old Cadelga H.S Ruins. Once we hit the Qld/SA border the roads vastly improved and passed Lake Moonda (which had water in it for a changed) reaching Birdsville easily for hopefully 2 nights stay.
Stopover: Birdsville - Caravan Park
Distance: 285kms
Driving Time only: 4.77hrs

Day-6: (27-Jun)
Our 1st sleep in for the trip, giving us time to restock; do some washing, have a look around the town, etc. Was disappointed to find out that the old Museum that we 1st visited some 18yrs b4 had finally closed its doors to the public only last year. Without much else to show the kids and after talking to my co-traveller, we decided to make a BIG change to our proposed route.... Seeing all the vehicles (& their trailers) coming into town and heading out across the desert, it was mutually decided to head across the Simpson Desert as this we believed would be a little more interesting to the family than simply heading down the Birdsville Track. We decided to forfeit our 2nd night camp fee and start our Desert adventure early, so we packed up and refuelled our tanks; top up with water & left late in the arvo deciding to find a spot on the edge of the desert to camp for the night. This crossing would be my 4th crossing for myself, but I knew it would be different as always. 1st fantastic surprise was being able to see a Lake of water on the eastern side of BIG RED Sand dune, something I've never seen b4 on my previous crossings. This made for some GREAT pics. We stopped for the usual play on what we thought was Big Red and made it to the top w/o too much problem and took the normal pics and headed off but noticed that the track wasn't heading in a westerly direction but more north. It wasn't until after travelling along this track for a little while that we saw this BIG sand dune in the distance on our RHS. We then realised that this was Big Red and from talking with others, that the previous Sand dune was what they call Little Red. With the sun failing quickly we tried our luck on the real Big Red and eventually made it to the top with just enough time to take some family pics and also some great Sunset photos as well. We quickly packed the kids back in the car and headed off into the Desert for our 1st night's camp some 2kms west of Big Red itself. After we just had dinner, we were surprised to see another group of travellers passing our camp and heading west at this late hour...
Refuelling: 428kms // 85.93ltrs / $1.740/ltr / 12.2ltrs/100kms (economy figure also incl's fuel at Innamincka)
Stopover: Simpson Desert - 2kms west of BIG RED
Distance: 62kms
Driving Time only: 1.21hrs

Day-7: (28-Jun)
Another early rise while it was still dark to have breaky and pack up and hit the track... The track was as I remembered, but found the Sandunes a little more copped up (from people with trailers?) The scenery was great as one would expect and plenty of photo opportunities. Took the K1 Line sth and also noticed the T/O for the Hay River Track... will have to keep that one for another future trip. Reached the Poeppel's Corner to find that we were the only ones there..... would have expected a few groups to be there from listening to the radio chatter. After the usual pics, kept on heading west for a few kms until we found a suitable camping spot early enough to prepare a Birthday Party and the req'd B'day Cake for my youngest....
Stopover: French Line - 7kms West of Poeppells Corner
Distance: 139kms
Driving Time only: 5.23hrs

Day-8: (29-Jun)
Left camp in a more laid back mode leaving mid-morning and followed a single traveller in his petrol V8 100's. Followed for quite a while until he called us up on the radio enquiring if we had any mechanical background.... Well, gave him a honest reply but asked what his problem was..... he stopped and we chatted for a while and had a good look over his vehicle w/o finding any problems with our limited experience. Asked him to describe he's problem and asked him what accessories he had installed and how he was driving. The Fella indicated he's been using his F&R DIfflocks in order not to cut up the track. I asked him whether he was using his centre difflock button on the dash. He looked and little bit surprised and checked to find that it was not on. I sort of made the suggestion that, that could be the problem as by not locking the centre diff in but still using his Air lockers that this could be creating the noise/knocks that he was experiencing as the load transfers between the front and rear diffs.... He said he would try this for a few kms and see how he goes.... well by a couple of kms he was stopped at the T/O to the Knolls Trk, handing me a bottle of wine, saying that the noise had virtually gone. After a bit more of a chat, it was here that we decided to change our route again and head down the Knolls Track to visit the Approdinna Attora Knolls, and then continued to the WAA Line. We said our goodbyes and headed off, passing The Knolls, then onto the WAA Line only to find that option was definitely off the cards. We walked out across the Salt Lake that still had some water in it, and it was clear that there was no way anyone would successfully cross this Lake for quite a while. We turned around and headed for the Rig Rd camping not too far from the turnoff to The Rig Rd.
Stopover: Knolls Track - 34kms sth of Approdinna Attora Knolls
Distance: 80kms
Driving Time only: 3.60hrs

Day-9: (30-Jun)
Early start again as we headed along the Rig Rd twds the Lone Gum Tree, passing our 1st Wild Camel for the Trip...... but unfortunately he didn't move too fast as he was already dead!! But at least the kids got see a wild camel, even if he was dead :) During the day we past another dead camel; saw some Emus and a Black Dingo. We pushed along the Rig Rd past the Monkira Airstrip and to where the Rig Rd meets the French Line again and finding a campsite not far past the T/O....
Stopover: French Line - 1.6kms West of The T/O to the Rig Road
Distance: 188kms
Driving Time only: 5.73hrs

Day-10: (1-Jul)
Hit the road again early, still trying to make up some time. Stopped at Purni Bore and then onto Dalhousie Springs for a look/swim. I couldn't believe the changes that have happened at Dalhousie Springs since the 1st visited the place back in '91, there was nothing there, no camping, no facilities, etc...... but now, there's all the mod-cons, camping grounds, air strip etc. Had a fantastic swim then a very late lunch and then pushed on twds Oodnadatta, stopping along the way at the Dalhousie HS Ruins for pics, etc. We ran out of daylight b4 we could get to Oodnadatta and found a campsite some 20kms nth of the town.
Stopover: Oodnadatta Track - 49kms North of Oodnadatta Township
Distance: 235kms
Driving Time only: 4.47hrs

Day-11: (2-Jul)
Reached the Oodnadatta township close on opening and again this is where our route changed again. After talking with fellow travellers, we decided to take a slight detour to the Painted Desert. Upon a little calculation I didn't think I'd have enough fuel to get me to Coober Pedy, so regrettably I took on 40ltrs at $2.30/ltr just to ensure that we would get to Coober Pedy and just in case we decided to take anymore detours b4 we got to Coober Pedy. The Painted Desert was well worth the detour but the roads were heavily rocky to the point that I lost 3 of the 4 bolts that were holding my Bashplates on. After a few repairs using the spare bolts I packed it was off again, reaching Coober Pedy and we decided to experience the underground living by booking into a Motel Room for the night and a good feed of food.
Refuelling: Oodnadatta Township - 752kms // 40ltrs (PART-FILL only) / $2.21/ltr
Stopover: Coober Pedy - Radeka's Downunder Motel
Distance: 289kms
Driving Time only: 3.90hrs

Day-12: (3-Jul)
Early rise again to try and see as much as we could b4 heading off once again. Refuelling was the 1st while the missus did the food shopping. It always pays to research where to fill-up. I just filled up at the local roadhouse like everyone else, but paid a 7cent premium when I could have gone to the Shell Servo in the back streets or the BP and saved some 7cents a litre :(. While the wives were out shopping, my mate & I gave our cars the once over. He found he had lost his bottom shocky rubber and bolt/washer & also a small weep in a small plug on his radiator. After this running around doing & refilling our water tanks left us with limited time, so it was off to visit the Old Timers Mine and little bit of Noodling out the front, then it was off to William Creek and Halligans Bay for the night. The drive to William Ck resulted in some Idiot in a Hilux NOT SLOWING DOWN when he passed us resulting in 3 large stones flying up and smashing our windscreen. Reaching William Ck and talking to others it was decided to give Halligan's Bay a miss and keep heading down twds Marree. We aimed for Coward Springs but again luck was against us with it being fully booked out. It was then a mad rush b4 loosing light to find another roadside camp, which we found a great spot just sth of the T/O to Mound Springs.
Refuelling: Coober Pedy - 241kms // 113.96ltrs / $1.679/ltr / 15.52ltrs/100kms economy figure also incl's fuel at Oodnadatta)
Stopover: Oodnadatta Track - 10kms South of T/O to Mound Springs (good spot)
Distance: 277kms
Driving Time only: 3.83hrs

Day-13: (4-Jul)
The Day started of normally like all previous days but soon went to poo. We headed b4 my mate so they weren't driving in our dust. His radio had been playing up in the cold mornings and never really worked properly until it warmed up and that is where the trouble started... We pulled off the road to visit 1 of the many historical rail sidings for a look and a few minutes later I noticed my mate drove straight past w/o see us. I tried calling him on the radio but w/o luck. We finished looking around and headed twds the Lake Eyre Sth L/Out thinking we would catch them there..... Got there, no sign of them. Then the mad rush set in to try and catch up to them. We eventually caught up with them at Marree but everyone was disappointed in not being able to take the necessary family pics at the Lookout. From here we thought we would have the opportunity at the Lake Eyre Nth lookout but upon arriving and seeing that there was NO WATER to be seen, it was decided to back track some 180kms to Lake Eyre Sth L/O. Got there with little sunlight left for the walk down to the water's edge and pics. By the time we left and found a campsite, it was 8pm.....
Stopover: Oodnadatta Track - 15kms NW of Marree (good spot)
Distance: 476kms
Driving Time only: 6.42hrs

Day-14: (5-Jul)
After our stuff up from the previous day, we headed off early again; having a quick look around Marree and then stopping for a look around the abandon town of Farina (would be a great spot to camp). Pushed onto Lyndhurst to refuel and make our way up the Strzelecki Track twds Cameron Cnr. The road was greatly improved from years gone past but still very rocky & corrugated in parts. Stopped at the old Yellow Bus and was disappointed to see how vandals have ruined this site. Reached Cameron's Cnr around 5pm for a quick look around the then headed down the Border Fence service road a bit to camp for the night.
Refuelling: Lyndhurst - 858kms // 111.98ltrs / $1.669/ltr / 13.1ltrs/100kms
Stopover: Cameron Corner - Sth along the Dog Fence Service Road on the SA side
Distance: 550kms
Driving Time only: 7.15hrs

Day-15: (6-Jul)
After achieving all & a fair bit more of the things that we had originally planned to do/see, the smell of home started to press on us and we headed off early twds Tibooburra (for Lunch) then onwards twds Bourke, reaching there & refuelling b4 deciding to stay at the local caravan park for a nice HOT shower for once.
Refuelling: Bourke - 1015kms // 1128.9ltrs / $1.61/ltr / 12.7ltrs/100kms
Stopover: Mitchell St Caravan Park - Bourke
Distance: 572kms
Driving Time only: 7hrs

Day-16: (7-Jul)
This day was always going to be a BIG day, but we all decided (not the kids, they didn't really want the holiday to end) to try and reach home some 900+ks away. Headed off homeward bound, making good time. Reached Goondiwindi for Dinner (macca's) then the final leg home, reaching home at 10.30pm..... The END..... then the clean-up and repairs start :(
Refuelling: Brisbane - 939kms // 105.08ltrs / $1.449/ltr / 11.2ltrs/100kms
Stopover: HOME
Distance: 946kms
Driving Time only: 10.67hrs


4x4 Earth Contributer
Great report Rob.Some really nice pics too.
Like the way you have listed the daily distance and driving times, really helps to put it in perspective.


Well-Known Member
Yeah... Knowing what distance can be covered for certain road conditions makes it a little bit easier when planning future trips that might have similar travelling conditions / roads, etc.

I should have also recorded what the scangauge was showing each day while travelling through the desert.... I do remember it getting up to 17.5ltrs/100kms while going over some of the dunes, etc. I think that also incl'd the A/C on one day too as the kids were getting a bit hot while travelling in the car.... It then settled down a bit to be in the 16ltrs/100k bracket. The average between filling up in Birdsville and then refuelling at Coober Pedy was 15.5ltrs/100kms



Nice report :) that choc mudcake looks yum as well gotta say :D (I always get choc cravings when camping lol)

I see you made a nice little table showing the distances and things too as well - Im sure theres a few others that will find your information handy thats for sure :)

What kind of mods are you considering for your next adventure?



Well-Known Member
1. 1st, I got to fix the suspension, it's lost its height and it's back to it's pre-lift height.
2. Remove 3rd of seats and make a proper storage system.
3. Better quality Side steps
4. Figure out a way to carry a 2nd spare for those more remote trips (hopefully w/o spending $4k+ on a aftermarket rear bar)
5. Replace the UHF Aerial with a spring Base one.... I didn't time b4 hand and the aerial snapped off going over all the corrugated roads
6. Install an Electric Winch.... hopefully

I think that's about it..... Oh.... 1 more IMPORTANT THING....... LIMIT the CRAP the KIDS BRING..... they bought too much stuff that they never used or played with.... became a PITA when wanting to access the stuff I had stored under the seats


New Member
Your trip looks great. Was wondering were I can plot on a map like u have to help organise our first trip.
Think I my have to put this one the list of mjust do's. Would u recommend going single vehicle?


Well-Known Member
Your trip looks great. Was wondering were I can plot on a map like u have to help organise our first trip.
Think I my have to put this one the list of mjust do's. Would u recommend going single vehicle?

The maps shown on this post is one that u see on Google Earth and the other one is off my Garmin Mapsource program.... There's heaps of options when it comes to maps....

Re: Single Car

It depends on your experience and time of year that u go..... If u go during the peak tourist season and you have a well setup & reliable vehicle and have experience then yes..... but its always nicer to go with others if u can, not only for company but also for safety