Simmo Geo Centre May 3rd - 10th 2015 (epic . . . tiring, but epic)

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
..
Home today after a 6055km round trip over 17 days.
I'm dog tired, but need to get this down before it becomes lost in the grey matter.

3 vehicles . . . 2 ex Adelaide, 1 ex Gold Coast.
After 2 days driving to Brissy to pick up my brother (who will have his first desert trip with me), we met up a few days beforehand with mauriceb (Joe) for some pre departure hellos, and we departed Brisbane 29th April for a 2-1/2 day drive over via Haddon Corner.

Joe left a day earlier, and we met him at the Rock Pool just before Charleville, and while it was certainly fine for a camp there, it was decided to push on to Ward River camping, a little further on the other side of town.
Great spot.
Next day was an easy one to Haddon, and fueling up along the way to ensure tanks were full as the cost progressively rose along the way into the outback.
Great camping at Haddon Cnr, although we didn't find any direct routes out to the NW to do a bit of off roading to near Betoota (all fenced), we did then retrace to the Birdsville Development Road and we were able to stop at some nice spots like Deons Lookout, a beautiful spot very fitting as a memorial to a young man that died piloting his helicopter on Anzac Day 1996.

Next stop Betoota, and the abandoned township with hotel remnants and famous racetrack that sees an influx of people once a year for the Betoota part of the outback trifecta of races (Betoota, Birdsville, Bedourie).
Spent hours here exploring the place, the hotel is fascinating, and a look through the race track facilities.

Hit Birdsville (pre main trip km from Brissy over 2 days - 1696.5km) for lunch at the bakery, and a few beers at the hotel before heading to check into the cara park for the night.
Met up with Gunther (Mr Pajeroo), his brother John, and mate Dennis, who had the three of them in his near new Hilux crew cab.
Dinner at the pub.
We planned 2 nights here, but next day we spent looking around until lunchtime, and decided to hit the desert a half day earlier.
Fueled up, Joe had a couple of tanks and total 280lt, Dennis had 200lt, me 205lt.

We drove out on a reasonable road, aired down and crossed Little Red, and drove up to Big Red to take it from the west . . . with full loads we were taking it easy.
Dennis, hmmm poor Dennis . . . did I mention it was his maiden 4WD trip in the 'lux ?
Actually his first EVER 4WD trip too !!!
What a one we got him involved in !!! Lol.
He decided to skip BR, and watched me and Joe take it no problems in the Ranger and 105 to the top for a few pics and heading down again.
We made it to camp late into the QAA Line near the NT.
Day one 98.7km.

Next day, we went down the Hay River Track to K1 junction, and into Poeppel Corner from the east, customary visit, hung the hat on the peg for a mintue, had some early lunch and headed west on French Line to Mirranponga Pongunna Lake junction, and north.
We were following a 'route' from ExploreOz tracks section, which featured maps and timings to the Geo Centre via old shot lines.
These were also shown on OSM (Open Street Maps) on Mapout and Garmin nav programmes.

The route was pretty basic via the lakes, but we had to hug the shore in some places instead of cutting across, we had some tense moments when in the lead my wheels would hit soft stuff and we'd head then towards more stable ground at the drier edges.
Some of these were pretty worrying too, but we finally got the the upper section and went off to find the first shot line.

No such animal.
Almost all the shot lines on the entire route were totally reclaimed by nature, and no other tracks on OSM were showing any signs of ever existing . . . very slow going, with much mongulated terrain (thanks Joe for the term mongulated).
Mongulated = clumps of grasses etc holding together and everything around it eroded away.
Coupled with very large dunes and steep eastern sides to cross, it is very slow driving with much driving up and down to find a path over.
We made the Geo Centre 5th May after managing 54.4km (9hrs45), 63.5km (8hrs30) over 2 days.
The next day we headed up towards a route to take us across to Geosurveys Hill, managed 62.8km (9hrs20) getting to within a frustrating 6 or 7km or so of the hill, but it was perhaps a dozen dunes too far.
Economy was shot doing such slow and fuel draining driving.
The two 3lt TDis were using up around 30 to 35lt / 100km, but it was hard to really know what we and the 105 was really chewing through.

We didn't know what we'd face after reaching the 'hill', more of the same ? Or might there be a track we could follow to the planned western route out ? (Across Colson, Andado tracks, Madigan 2, 1a, Old Andado, Mt Dare).
It was decided to bail and live to tell the tale, have another crack one day from the west, and not have to be rescued !!
Dennis was down to 60lt out of 200lt he started with, me around 75lt out of 205lt.
Joe had used far more than he had anticipated too, but had a pretty good supply still (unsure what it was now ?).

The next 2 days we headed back past the Geo Centre, following corridors southwards, 69.7km (8hrs30), and 80.4km (8hrs) to bring us to just a few kms from French Line.
From there it was a cake walk out, 140km for the last few km to FL, then from just east of Eranbana junction to Purnie Bore on very good tracks, then next day 275km from Purnie to Mt Dare, and back to Hamilton Station for a camp.
Purnie out to Mt Dare junction tracks are a mess, corrugations, washouts, big rocks (bowling ball size) on various sections, but the road Mt Dare out to Bloods / Eringa and beyond is very good.
Perdika Tk closed, so too the part of Bloods Ck track from the bore east to Dalhousie / Mt Dare Tk.
We had to go to Mt Dare for fuel anyway, I got there with around 10lt of fuel left in the tank !!

We headed down to Coward Springs, 418km total.
Fueled up more in Oodnadatta, then down the track checking out Algebuckina Bridge, a 32km detour into Peake Old Telegraph ruins (also ex pastoral, and a mine site, very interesting place), William Ck pub (where we saw the 4x4 Earth SA crew trip wall note from August '14, and added our own), and a couple of old Ghan sidings (ruins).
Coward Springs was a welcome place again, the spa used to refresh and clear the red dust away.

Next day we visited the Mound Springs, Lake Eyre viewing point, Curdimurka siding, Plane Henge sculptures, and Marree pub lunch.
Joe split to head off, down to Lyndhurst, up the Strz Tk to Cameron Cnr, then east to home (tonight he's in St George and likely home tomorrow).
The other boys were heading to Pt Pirie to stay with Dennis's wife (where she works) the night in a supplied home.
Me and Tom decided to camp Parachilna Gorge, found a beaut spot in the main creek, and saw no one else camped anywhere in there !
Was a fitting end to his first trip outback (at least that far) and this whole adventure was actually our first ever camping trip like this together too.

I have more than 7gb of pics and vids, and yet to resize them etc.
So I'll post some up in the next few days in the various stages of the trip.

Joe, thanks for your participation in the trip, your companionship, and great ethics / sense on the tracks and at camp etc mate.
A pleasure to travel with you.
Gunther, John, Dennis, mates for a couple of decades bushwalking, always great to adventure with you blokes.
My older brother Tom, who likely won't read this as he's not a member etc, great doing a trip with you brother.
We grew up in different worlds really, and never got a chance to do this sort of thing before now, but who knows, maybe we'll do this again on another trip down the track.

Bye for now.

Edit - Fuel prices / lt
17/4 Marsden Q (metro) - $1.295
29/4 Roma Q - $1.259
29/4 Charleville Q - $1.277
30/4 Windorah Q - $1.58
1/5 Birdsville Q - $1.71
10/5 Mt Dare SA - $2.20
11/5 Oodnadatta SA - $1.89
12/5 Leigh Creek SA - $1.599
(13/5 ADL metro ~ $1.289 on return, yet to fill)
 
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smitty_r51

Well-Known Member
Sounds an epic trip

And good on you for taking the sensible precaution and baling out rather than pushing on

Just an excuse to go back and have another crack now

Cheers
Smitty
 

80lover96gxl

Moderator
Excellent read Les, sounds like a fantastic way to have a great adventure with your bro, Good to hear you signed the pub wall at William Creek too;) ,did you have a game of 3 ball ? The pool table only had 3 balls when we were there, lol.
Really looking forward to the pics.
 

mac_man_luke

Well-Known Member
Sounds like an epic trip, i wish i could have joined as planned.

West to east would have to be easier and maybe more sensible - Madigan and geo surveyors hill maybe?
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Fantastic stuff and can't wait to see the photo's.

Cheers mm, see some below . . .

Sounds an epic trip

And good on you for taking the sensible precaution and baling out rather than pushing on

Just an excuse to go back and have another crack now

Cheers
Smitty

For sure Smitty . . . we worked out how to do it safely, just got to plan another trip for sometime.

Excellent read Les, sounds like a fantastic way to have a great adventure with your bro, Good to hear you signed the pub wall at William Creek too;) ,did you have a game of 3 ball ? The pool table only had 3 balls when we were there, lol.
Really looking forward to the pics.

Yep, enjoyed the time up there immensely, didn't play pool, but see pics of the walls.

Sounds like an epic trip, i wish i could have joined as planned.

West to east would have to be easier and maybe more sensible - Madigan and geo surveyors hill maybe?

One way for sure Luke, we saw tracks from Madigan 8a (they must have turned off between 8 & 9 and come down that corridor), that group was Anzac Day a couple of weeks before us.
You would have loved it, but next time for sure hey ?
Ta for loan of the phone, didn't need to use it, just turned in on a few times to check for nay urgent home messages.
Will drop off as soon as possible.
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Rockpool Charleville . . .
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Ward River . . .
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Cooper Ck . . .
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Haddon Corner . . .
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Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Poeppels peg . . .
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Mirraponga Pongunna Lake . . .
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Shot lines (sorry Dennis !!), Geo Centre, and general desert pics . . .
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(Willem & Judith Kempers' alt 1987 Geo Centre plaque.)

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Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Out onto French Line . . .
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Purnie waterhole . . .
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Road to Dalhousie and the swimmin' hole . . .
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Mt Dare customary pic . . .
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Bloods Well shadow . . .
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Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Down the Ood . . .
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(Ood outdoor cinema.)

Algebuckina . . .
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Peake old telegraph station / mine . . .
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William Ck . . .
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Neddysmith

Well-Known Member
Wow looks like a fantastic trip, looking forward to when i'll be able to take the family and have time to be able to do trips like these.

Thanks for sharing.
 

Chard

4x4 Earth Contributer
Looks very remote Les. That would have given you a very good feeling of accomplishment on arrival of the mast.
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
No probs, ill grab it off you at the pre trip meet unless your going past - don't need it till then.

Good idea for trip meet hand over, have certainly got some catching up to do around work / home, plus a few issues to sort for July Simmo, and gear / truck to sort through and get away.

Looks very remote Les. That would have given you a very good feeling of accomplishment on arrival of the mast.

Remote it is Rick . . . was great to bag the geo centre, and a little disappointment at missing Geosurveys Hill (so close, yet so far) and the planned route out, but we adapted and got out under our own steam which was vital for us.

If doing the same thing again (or rather, by access up the corridors rather than the lake / shot lines), I'd go another 40lt fuel (total 245lt) and go very lightweight with all else, feel it would be safe then to achieve that route, albeit tough with those dunes heading west.
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Wow looks like a fantastic trip, looking forward to when i'll be able to take the family and have time to be able to do trips like these.
Thanks for sharing.

No probs Neddy, was a trip I wouldn't recommend in general, just so hard and slow.
Will be making some comments on the ExploreOz forum page for that crossing, advising not a good option with shot lines non existent, and do wither via Madigans / corridors with fuel estimates at least doubled normal off road use.
Would hesitate to recommend anyone go out there unless very sure of vehicle, setup very well for remote access, great nav systems and understandings, and comms.
 
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