Simpson Desert 2010

Monday, Mar 22, 2010 at 15:17

Member - Prickle (SA)

"A Work In Progress". (Update 20 August 2010)

I am planning a trip to the Outback which will include crossing the Simpson Desert departing Adelaide on 23 July 2010. Four vehicles in total, three from Adelaide and one from Quorn.

The vehicles:

2004 100 s 4.2TD Land Cruiser
2001 4.2D Nissan Patrol
2009 Holden Rodeo
200? Suzuki Vitara

Interests of those involved: bird watching, photography, camping, driving.

After about 18 months planning we are finally ready to head off. The trip came about as friends had heard us talk about our Simpson crossing in 2004. The last trip was a quick one, moving on each day, but this one was planned so that we would have 2 to 4 days in different spots so that we could enjoy the surrounds and do some bird watching as well.
We departed Adelaide at about 0900 hrs and arriving at Quorn later in the day after a leisurely drive. Quorn was to be the meeting point for the group as one of us lives there.

Day 2
We left Quorn at 0750 hrs on 24th July 2010, refuelled at Pt Augusta ($1.28.9 – diesel), cheaper that we refuelled in Adelaide. Refuelled again at Roxby ($149.9), arriving here at about 1230 hours.
Pulled off the road just out or Roxby and got our first treat of wild flowers.

I chose to go this direction and along the Borefield Road as when we did it in 2004 it provided a huge display of flowers. Very disappointed this time, very few to be seen, although lots of water around. Track was pretty good as was the bird life.
Arrived at Coward Springs at about 1600 hours with plenty of camp spots to choose from and settle into for the next couple of days. ($10/person/night).
Day 3
Slept in until 0730 hours and after a bacon and egg breakfast, headed to the mound springs for the day, before settling down around a nice fire for the night. The “donkey” powered showers were great.
A great and comfortable camp site. Bird watching good again.

Bird list for Coward Springs – Singing Honey Eater, Galahs, Australian Raven, Zebra Finches, Crested Pigeon, Black Tailed Native Hen, and Welcome Swallows.

Day 4 Monday 26th July 2010.
We left Coward Springs at 0915 hrs, heading for William Creek only 73 km away. Plenty of time to plod along and enjoy.

First stop was Beresford Rail Siding.

Obviously there had been considerable rain here. The tracks to the boiler were covered with water and obviously a temptation to at least two sight seers in 4x4 vehicles towing caravans, no doubt others as well.

The dam was chock a block full providing a haven for numerous birds. Sighted – Murray Magpies, white plumed honey eaters, fairy martins, wood swallows, diamond doves, black tailed native hen and black winged stilts. We spent an hour here taking it all in.

Then off to Strangways Railway Siding – nothing to see. Crossed the road to the Repeater Station ruins and spent another hour or so. Well worth seeing the ruins, mound springs and small cemetery.

We left here about 1215 hrs and found a nice spot on the side of the road near the old Ghan RW and a creek. Sighted black winged stilts here.

Arrived at William Creek at 1515 hrs and greeted by strong easterly winds making it difficult to put up the tents. $10/head for unpowered site. Facilities here were pretty good, nice to be able to have a shower.

This was a casual day, covered the 73km from Coward Springs to William creek between 0915 hrs and 1515 hrs, but the time was needed to sight see in our time.
Had dinner at the pub and not a bad meal.
Day 5. Tuesday 27th July 2010
We left William Creek at about 0915 hours, after refuelling - $1.89.9/l for diesel.
Today’s destination is Algebuckina Bridge 134 km away.

We visited the Peake Repeater Station which is about a36km round trip, about a 2 hour drive (due to conditions) plus the time spent there. This is well worth seeing if you have not been there before.

Arrived at Algebuckina Bridge at about 1515 hours, set up camp and then spent some time around the bridge doing some bird watching and visited the three historical graves at the northern end of the bridge of workers who died during the construction of the bridge.
Returned to the camp at about 1700 hours and had a good fire to sit around for the night.
The day was warm (probably low 20s) and pleasant.

Day 6 Wednesday 28th July
We woke to spots of rain on the tents at about 0530 hours, not liking the sound of this at all.
Up about 50 minutes later had breakfast, packed and ready to go.
During this time the sky was overcast and nice red sky, “red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning”. I do not like this at all.

Destination today is Eringa Water hole 382km. Oodnadatta about 200km, place to refuel and stock up on anything that we may need.
We left our camp at about 0850 hours and had a couple of periods of heavy rain, “just a passing shower”, I tried to convince everyone.
Arrived at Oodndatta at 1000hours, refuelled $1.86.9 and into the Roadhouse to have a coffee. THEN the heavens opened, it rained and rained. Info received that the road to Coober Pedy was now closed and the track north to Eringa would probably be closed soon.

With this we promptly booked three cabins, Woomera and Gibber $110/night (sleeps 2 with facilities and comfortable) and another, I think it was “Rainbow”, slept the other 4 $150/night.
Had a wonder around the town, went to the museum and had a few drinks a the pub at the end of the day. Stubby of Coopers Stout - $6.50.
Day 7 Thursday 29th July
Roads still closed so here for another night.
Day was sunny with breeze which, by the end of the day had dried things out a bit and giving some hope for departure the next day.
Did some bird watching, bit of a drive around the area and took advantage of a mild day and evening with a happy hour on the decking outside of our cabin.

Unfortunately, due to being rained in at Oodnadatta for three days, we changed our plan and headed for Alice Springs, where we spent about 5 days in different areas.

The first day driving will be from Adelaide to Quorn, a stay here overnight then off to Coward Springs.

My wife and I did a crossing in 2004 in our hilux and were lucky to have a display of flowers from the time we left Roxby Downs.

We are all watching the weather closely and hoping for a repeat of the flower display.

Last time we criss crossed and covered pretty well all the tracks, this trip we will head along the French Line about 436km. Just want to cross all the sand hills on this track. Before heading off we will spend three nights at Dalhousie, looking forward to this. Some bird watching and looking around, trip Purnie Bore (bird watching again) then on to Mt Dare to check out the pub and refuel before heading off.

The intention is to have three nights out, one some where near the Erabena Junction and then two nights at Eyre Creek.

Of course we will allow some time to play at Big Red.

Recently purchased this 85L water tank on ebay, under $200 and fits where I want it pretty well. Walls about 6mm thick, 1200x400x200. Still need to think about a bit of hose on the tap.
Will also use some 3L milk containers and 2 x 10L water containers to increase our water carring capacity to about 120l (Too much? not sure).


Currently looking for a two zone fitting for my 39L Engle. This will add 21 L to the fridge and help out with keep friut and vege for a while. Would like to hear from you if you can help out.

Next project will be working out how much liquid Sustenance that I will need, but will it fit it in?

Well, have been watching all the "threads" on the Coopers/Birdsville Track crossing/ferry (thanks to Steve of Clare & others), plus checking other sites including Mt Dare. All looking good at this stage.

Hearing of reports of those who I know and their trips, looking very promising and we are getting excited.

Re the Twozone, having second thoughts now, will probably just stick to a cooler which will get packed with some frozen meals/techice packs and see how we go.

REPORT on the Twozone - we were kindly offerred the use of one of these and it was fantastic. Will get one of these if I can.


Life-often hell but never boring.
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