Simpson Desert Trip Easter 2014 Trip Report


Well-Known Member
Great trip that just encourages a return visit in the near future (thinking east to west french line)

Day 1:
Meet up with Les PK Ranger (Les and Anne), Gunther and John, and Cavsarge (Bernie along with his Dad and cousin Luke) at Caltex at Bolivar at 9am, quick chat and a few photos and we hit the road.
Nice leisurely cruise up and we stop at the BP Pt Augusta for a fuel up and lunch for some.
Soon back on the road and headed towards Farina.
Quick stop off at the Parachilna pub for a look and a break.
Back on the road and we arrive at Farina at around 530, catch up at the ruins before heading for the camp grounds.
Here we meet up with blackmaz (Greg and Alan), mills63 (Steve and Trish) and barker (Bart and Kerry)
Dinner and we were all in bed by 930!

Day 2:
All packed up and on the road early.
First stop Maree for a look around and a few last minute supplies (fuel for Gunther, sleeping bag for Bernies cousin Luke who’s got left on the driveway).
We checked up on status of Level post bay track and as expected its closed due to the rain so we head on towards that nights camp at Coward Springs.
First stop was to check out Plane Henge and the surrounding works of art.
Then its onto Curdimurka siding for few photos and good lunch break.
Back on the road and we head into Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs CP for a look at the Bubbler and Blanche cup springs.
We arrive at Coward Springs at around 3pm and setup camp. Few head off for a swim in the spring and others off for showers.
Had a nice fire and off to bed around 10pm.

Day 3:
Early start as we have a big day with plans to make Eringa waterhole for camp.
Bernie leads us up the Oodnadatta with first stop planned at Beresford ruin.
He headed off the track towards the ruin and we get a call over the radio that its soft!
Followed shortly after that he’s stuck and needs help.
While a few assess another route i came to Bernies rescue with a slight snatch back.
After cleaning up we decide to head back to the Oodnadatta track and give the ruins a miss.
Too many kilometres to do, to me messing around with recoveries.
We head up to William Creek, on arrival Bernie gets a cryptic message that his mate Shane had passed through and would meet us at Oodnadatta. Quick stop at the pub only to find they can’t serve beers due to good friday so coffees it was instead.
Back on the road and we head for Oodnadatta.
Soon met Shane on the road and continued onto Algebuckina Bridge for a look and break.
Onto Oodnadatta for fuel and lunch with a number of Oodna burgers consumed.
After a good break were back on the road for the last push to Eringa waterhole.
Bit more moisture on the roads from here on with most creek crossings wet and patches of mud around.
Quick catch up at Hamilton Station and then onto Eringa.
We arrive just before dark, setup camp and get a fire going.
Good chat around the fire before off to bed around 10pm again

Day 4:
Casual start as we only have a short drive to Mt Dare but still all up ready to go early.
Some photos through the water crossing at the end of Eringa and then up to check out the Eringa ruins.
Track starts getting very wet in the last few kilometres into Mt Dare, plenty of mud but most had dry bypasses which were easier to take then check each puddle.
Get within a 1km of mt dare and the track disappears so bit of driving around to find a way in when Greg drives up an obvious bypass that we had all driven past.
Bit more mud and we are in the front gate at around 1pm.
All park up and head in to check out the hotel and pay camping fees.
We head out to setup camp, a few (Les, barker and blackmaz) plan a drive out to Old Andado Station (which turns out to be quite a wet and interesting drive)
At around 5pm Gareth arrives after having to recover multiple vehicles on the road in that had tried to make their own bypasses and promptly sunk to their axles.
Some head off to the pub for dinner and then off to bed for an early night.

Day 5:
Early start around 8am with a few needing to fuel up before heading off hoping to avoid multiple recoveries on the road out.
Luckily it had dried a fair amount overnight which made going a fair it easier.
Few KMs down the road and i get a nasty squeal coming from what appear to be my brakes. Quick look can’t see anything, bit of forward/backwards and playing around got it to go away so headed onwards.
Few more KM down the road (and a few more mud/water holes) its started again so decided to fix it properly this time.
Pull off the drivers front wheel, still nothing obvious so flush the pads with a bit of water, wheel back on and hope for the best.
Thankfully that fixed it and it didn’t return.
Head up to towards Dalhousie, Bernie and Shane decide to head straight to the spring while the rest headed up to the ruins on what turned out to be a horrible corrugated road.
Stopped off at the lookout on the way for a few photos then onto the ruins.
Few photos while trying to find any shade possible as its quite warm in the sun.
Just about to leave and we meet up with peterabbf (Peter).
Head up to the springs were a we had a quick swim in the not so refreshing water
and then lunch in the shade.
Then is off into the desert towards Purnie Bore.
Road is either rocky or very corrugated and not much fun to drive.
Arrive at Purnie bore, wait for everyone to catch up, few photos and then we are off to find camp.
Head up to the frenchline junction with rig road and turn right.
this turns out to be not great camping grounds so we keep going until the track turns again and we find a nice camp in the dunes.

Day 6:
Wake to Bart asking if he could borrow my keys as his BT50 had decided to lock itself overnight with both his sets of keys in the glovebox!
Bit of time spent trying to get the lock button with some wire but no luck so out comes the hammer to bust one of the rear windows - 11 strikes later success (but in a way that no one ever wants!)
We hit the road, continue down Rig road to WAA line where the dunes start getting quite interesting, clay capping disappears for nice smooth sand. Great driving especially breaking through the soft sand caps at the tops of the dunes.
Continue up to Erabena track and turn right to visit the Lone gum. Turns out to be another horrible dusty corrugated track.
Head back to Rig road and travel about half way to Knolls track and setup camp.

Day 7:
Another nice morning and early departure again.
Continue up Rig road towards Knolls track and turn left.
Made quite quick time along here, fairly flat and decent track until the gypsum lumps started towards the end.
Stop at the knolls for a few photos and a break. Really good views from the top.
Continued along Knolls to the French line intersection and turned right towards Poeppel corner. Dunes really started to get big with some being quite soft. Few terrain changes in the matter of a few dunes which was quite interesting.
turned left towards poeppel.
Stop at Poeppels corner for obligatory photos, allow the group to catch up and have some lunch. Everyone was searching for the small amount of shade as it was quite a warm day in the sun.
Continued on, crossing a few salt lakes and then turning right along QAA.
Dunes really getting big and further apart at this stage.
Few of us up the front find camp around 4pm and setup.
About an hour passes and we are still missing 3 cars.
Manage to get them on the radio where we find they camped a few km back as they had enough. Turns out in the morning they were only 3 dunes back!

Day 8:
Up early and moving by 8am to hopefully get to big red before lunch.
All grouped up ready to go when Peter calls out that he needs a jump as his truck won't start. Some go back and attempt a jump - no luck. Out comes a snatch strap and a pull start does the trick - luckily its a manual!
We make good time, pass through bone dry Eyre creek and onto the base of big red.
Bernie makes the first run up the easier track and makes it first go, i follow shortly after and get to the top with ease.
We stand on the top and watch Shane in his 100 series have a crack at the hardest track with few moments airborne.
Others start filtering across the salt pan and most make it to the top on the easier track.
I decided to give the hard track a go, few cracks going harder that i probably should have i give up making it within a few meters of the top (hopefully someone has videos)
Give the middle track a go and get up no problems - it has no momentum robbing bounces of the harder track.
We stop over the other side of big red and air up.
Quick drive into Birdsville and we split up between the pub and bakery.
Headed into the caravan park and checked in.
Bernie, Shane and co had showers and then took off home with plans to camp along the Birdsville track that night.
Rest of us had much needed showers and a good rest before heading to the pub for tea.
Off to bed around 10:30

Day 9:
Myself, Peter and Garth head home at 6am
get to Maree around 12pm after a few stops along the way.
Decide its early enough to make it home in one day.
Home by 6:30pm. 1200km in one big drive.

Overall an excellent trip, can't wait to do it again.
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Wow some awesome looking pic's there Luke, makes me most envious of you guys.

Glad you all got thru unscathed on what looks like a trip you'll all remember for a lifetime.

Can't wait for the full TR.

shane 45

Active Member
Great photos Luke it looks like it was an awesome trip looking forward to more pictures and a full write up on the trip.


Active Member
Hi there guys well what could you say about our Simpson Trip, it was EPIC..:D

most of the group left on Wednesday I do believe, my departure was delayed till Saturday as planned, drove to Coober Pedy arriving at 6.00 pm, Beer and Pizza for tea, meet up with some friends at the Big 4 and crashed into the cot at 10.30, set the alarm for 5.30am, but I was awake at 5.00am, so I hit the road and cleared Coober Pedy by 5.30am.

I arrived at the pink road house at 8.00am, the sign said they did open till 9, bummer, but they opened the doors at 8.30 and I fuelled up and made my to Hamilton Station, turned right and headed for Dalhousie Springs, met the main group at the old Dalhousie homestead right on 12 midday, then the real adventure started, of for a swim in the spring, lunched and left for the Simpson Desert.

the rest to follow.... but it was fantastic..


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Fantastic pics guys, looks like you had great weather and there must have been some rain with all the green.

Makes me keen as to do it myself :)

How was Big Red, did it live up to the expectations?


4x4 Earth Contributer
I can't believe how dry it is. Not even a lake east side of big red and Eyre Creek dry as a duck's back. Can't wait for a write up.


Well-Known Member
Fantastic pics guys, looks like you had great weather and there must have been some rain with all the green.

Makes me keen as to do it myself :)

How was Big Red, did it live up to the expectations?

Yea weather was good, mid 30s during the day and mid teens at night.

Big red was good fun, 2 tracks were very do-able - got up them first go but the third and hardest track was hard. I got within a few meters of the top but that was going hard (probably too hard) and no chance of making it without more power and bigger tyres.

I can't believe how dry it is. Not even a lake east side of big red and Eyre Creek dry as a duck's back. Can't wait for a write up.

Mt dare side was very wet, plenty of mud and the road in and out up to purnie were like rivers but the eastern side was pretty bone dry.

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
3 fantastic adventures in the one trip !

Yes, 3 epic stages on this trip . . .

The trip up, across, and back !!

Trust every one got home fine by their chosen routes / timings.

We got home 1930hrs, long day from near Mt Fitton Mine track between Moolawatana Station and the Strz Tk, with Greg & Alan, Steve & Trish, Gunther and John, 4 of the original 10 that did the crossing.

Bart, are you home now all ok ?

Pics, some personal trip memoirs, to come (once I recover in the next 24 - 48 hrs).


Well-Known Member
Good fun out there hey, I can't wait for the day I return. Eager to see some more photos. Sure Bart took plenty.

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Downloaded pics, took 694 (and 4 vids at Big Red).
Gotta resize for the forum tomorrow, and will post some up.
All will go on Google+ page and will post link.


4x4 Earth Contributer
Damn, sounds great!
(I'm most envious)

Did anyone log a GPS trace?
I'd be ken to see a plot on Google Earth is anyone has one.


Well-Known Member
Morning all, we got back OK although we ended up doing a tad under 1300 K's on the last day, not part of the plan but it was raining the whole way from Tibuboora to Newcastle so was not keen on getting the swags out..

I got about 800 pics all up and I am writing something up, I'll put a copy on here..

Kerri and I had a ball...