cape york vs simpson desert

Submitted: Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 15:03
ThreadID: 139288 Views:987 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
I can't decide what trip to do next year 2020. I would like to do both and both have pros and cons, I may be travelling solo or very light possibly with only 1 child instead of wife plus 3 kids and camper trailer.

So which one should i do.

Travelling from Melbkurne.

Thoughts please people
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 15:46

Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 15:46
I suggest if you're travelling light with one kid and nothing behind you take the opportunity to do the Simpson without the trailer.

Keep the trailer for a Cape York trip.

I've done the Simpson's French Line (not towing) in a group of three with a guy who insisted on bringing his Tvan. He was an experienced outback tourer, knew about tyre pressures, had driving skills, but the combination of conditions and the trailer gave him and his vehicle a very hard time. And, as you'd expect, he dug up the track, which does no one any favours.

I haven't been to Cape York but my casual research to date suggests you'd have no problems with a trailer provided you mind all the caveats, take sensible options, drive to conditions, etc.
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Follow Up By: Member - Lyncol - Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 23:31

Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 23:31
Just curious what vehicle did your friend have to tow the tvan
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 08:30

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 08:30
A 2 week old 120 Series diesel Prado, manual. The track was already scalloped and he had to take substantial run-ups so there was a lot of bouncing around.

We recovered him over a dozen times - just a snatch near the top of a dune. He cracked an inner guard and though he got home, his clutch had overheated multiple times.

Mine was a similar vehicle, similar age but auto. It was heavy but for me it was a cake walk. Not one recovery needed.
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 17:56

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 17:56
I have just returned from a trip through the Simpson via the Madigan Line. Fabulous. I have a Tvan but decided not to drag it through the desert. Our tour leader suggested leaving it behind to ensure we had a more enjoyable crossing. He was right.
Save the Tvan for the Cape.
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Follow Up By: Member - Lyncol - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 23:03

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 23:03
So he brought a new vehicle ( last of the 120 series 2009) or new vehicle to him and in 2 weeks did the Simpson towing ! ?
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 16:40

Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 16:40
Hi Andrew

Both are great but there is an extreme difference in time frames for both.

Most people wound need around three to four days to drive across the Simpson.

For a first time drive, I would advise to do a combination of tracks, rather than do just one main track. Then on top of that say 3 days drive from Melbourne, so well over a week has gone before your return trip home, which could another great spot while in that area, Innamincka. Most times out in the Simpson, you will be by yourself, with other vehicles out there, but not usually seen that often.

If in the other hand you still want to leave out Innamincka, I can thoroughly recommend heading due north from Birdsville and head to Lawn Hill, which is totally unreal.

Now for the hard one....Cape York.

We have driven to FNQ 3 times in the past, so when we did The Cape last year, we took seven weeks to do so, and that is not doing any of the fantastic tourist things to do around Cairns. To them, you will need at least 3 weeks to take it all in.

Seven weeks sounds a long time to do it, but to be honest, it was far too short, and we could have doubled that time easy if you want to see all that the Cape has to offer.

Another thing with the Cape, it might look remote, but it is very far from it. The longest time without seeing another vehicle, or vehicles, would be around 10 minutes if you are lucky. To be honest, we found the Cape drivers to be the worst that we have ever come across in all our travels.

Why you might ask....then all give themselves a few weeks to do it and drive like there is no tomorrow, to the points where it is very dangerous, with vehicles passing you on the inside, vehicles passing another vehicle while they are both approaching you. etc.


Happy Planning




Stephen
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Reply By: cookie1 - Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 16:40

Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 16:40
Did this exact trip in 2009, as above I would recommend against towing a trailer as it can be a hinderance to yurself and fellow travellers if you get stuck.

I did the Rig Road, Birdsville to Mt Isa, Mt Isa to Karumba Point then up to the Cape via the back roads

was a great trip

cheers

Cookie
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Follow Up By: Member - nickb "boab" - Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 21:34

Wednesday, Nov 06, 2019 at 21:34
we did something similar birdsville track Isa Karumba & back rd to musgrave cape & returned via lakefield N P , cooktown etc..... great trip ...it won't matter if your on your own .. you won't be . good luck .
Cheers Nick b
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 06:31

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 06:31
If you do some research you will see the majority of people including me recommend against towing a trailer in the Simpson

That should make the decision on which location pretty easy
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Reply By: andrew t - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 08:04

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 08:04
Ok just to expand a little the cape york trip would be with the camper the simpson would be without the camper...
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 08:17

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 08:17
Ok Andrew.....what time frame?
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 10:39

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 10:39
The biggest question is 'Time' , how much time do you have -intend to have for the trip and at what Time of year ? The Simpson , Mt Dare to Birdsville is 3-4 nights camping [ freezing cold at night July -Aug ] plus time to the start and then from finish back home ......The Cape is a totally different scenario .. The OTL though not a long drive in distance takes TIME to appreciate fully ......5-6 nights from Bramwell to Seisa to allow for the inevitable 'photo op' and swimming at places likeTwin Falls ..........once again Time , but also the ages of 'the kids' comes into play , IMO , the Simpson can be rather 'boring' for little ones relegated to the back seat , the Cape has 'more' to keep them amused ......
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Reply By: CSeaJay - Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 17:01

Thursday, Nov 07, 2019 at 17:01
I personally (having done both) would base it solely on the time of year and the lentght of time you have available.

The time of year: a) AVOID the Big Red Bash if you want just a Simmo crossing. b) Simmo crossing OK during school hols, even though busier, you will still have plenty of camping spots where you will be out of range of any other camper. c) Traffic on the Simmo obviously more during school hols, but due to length of crossing and different routes, you should be spread out without roadrage.
Ad) Cape York especially the OTL is however quite crowded during school holidays and I would avoid that period altogether. If you can go in June that is a magic time. After the wet but before the crowds.

Duration. That is up to you. Depends on your route to destination and what you travel per day, Once at Birdsville you can do a week and half and easily double cross the Simmo, For Cape York you will need a couple of weeks minimum if you want to explore side routes and side destinations, indeed you can easily double that time.

CJ
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