Simpson Desert via Geosurveys Hill

StartMount Dare Hotel
FinishBirdsville
DirectionOne way only
DifficultyDifficulty 5/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance773.73 km
Minimum Days4
Average Speed26.26 km/hr
Travel Time1 day 5 hrs 28 mins
Page Updated: 16 Feb 2022

Description

This Trek is far harder than the Madigan Line but is provided for the sake of interest and perhaps to assist with any future expedition planners desiring to venture into this region.

There are no wheel tracks for the majority of the route (over 400km is open desert cross-country where you will need to select the best path over the dunes). Not surprisingly, less than 1 expedition convoy makes this trip annually. This route is based on the documented and recorded journey made by Stephen Langman and his expedition group in 2006. They started from Mt Dare and this is the only direction that you should attempt the journey due to complexities of desert navigation and environmental conditions.

This route takes you into remote country that is rarely seen, north of Andado but south of the Madigan Line where you will make the trek to the east across the Hale River Flood plain to pick up the Colson Track to start the journey south before turning east again and travelling cross country over the dunes to Geosurvey's Hill and then using shot lines, star pickets, and old oil drums as navigational markers (and this trek route) to reach the Geographical Centre of the Simpson Desert. The route then follows even more extensive open desert country tracking further to the south east via a series of shot lines and oil exploration relics picking up the Thomas Track that traverses Mirranponga Pongunna Lake to eventually reach the French Line 26km west of Poeppel Corner.

Throughout the trip an experienced eye will observe aboriginal stone chippings and grinding stones left where they were abandoned hundreds of years ago.

Since this route was published in 2006, there have been more expeditions to Geosurveys Hill and the Geographical Centre of the Simpson Desert via other routes. The Madigan Line for example, is far more straightforward a journey than the route provided in this Trek and is not comparable.

Furthermore, things change - this exact route will be subject to change if permits and access conditions change as they do over time. Please check comments from other people and make your own first hand research by contacting the stations directly as relevant to your journey dates.

How to Use this Trek Note

If you'd like to download this Trek there are two options:
  • Purchase our app ExplorOz Traveller. This Australian-made GPS & Navigation app will allow you to download all the ExplorOz Treks to your GPS enabled smartphone/tablet/iPad or laptop and enable active route guidance along the route as per the Directions shown on this page. The app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. The app also allows you to edit/customise the route. Viewing the Trek in the Traveller app also includes all the words, images and POIs exactly as on the website (excludes Wildflowers). For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage.

  • Alternatively, if you already have another raster mapping software program you can Download this route in GPX format using the button shown below the map on this page .

TIP

To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase the EOTopo 2021 map licence. To install the maps you will need the ExplorOz Traveller app.

Environment

See dramatic changes in desert vegetation and dune shape and construction as you slowly crawl across the desert.

History

Reg Sprigg and his family were the first people to ever travel the Simpson Desert by motor vehicle, both from west to east and south to north. Reg was out there for one reason only, in the hope of locating possible sites that would yield oil for his company, Geosurveys Australia. Geosurveys Hill is a rare rock covered hill in the very remote northern Simpson Desert and was first discovered by Reg Sprigg in 1964. This route follows much the same journey.

TrekID: 126

Preparation

MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.

TIP

Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
This trip should only be undertaken by EXPERIENCED outback desert travellers ONLY! Over 90% of this route does not follow any wheel tracks and there is no signage. This is a pure offroad expedition and not suitable for the majority of travellers. Archaeologists and historians are main people who would be interested in this route as there are numerous sites of significance to investigate. The route provided was recorded by an ExplorOz Team expedition party. Your expedition group should all be highly experienced in previous Simpson Desert trips as you will need to navigate your own path across the dunes, taking care to identify a path that will not cause tyre punctures from vegetation lying just below live sand.

For well over 400km, you will travel over pure virgin desert terrain and you will need to rely on your GPS plotted course from one side of the desert to the other.

Because of the very remote nature of the area to be travelled, trip leaders must be very competent in map reading and should be using the best topographic maps (EOTopo 2021) together with the ExplorOz Traveller app. By using this provided Trek Note, your route is pre-planned and you will get prompted guidance. In addition, with the ExplorOz Traveller app you will see where you are on the map as you travel and have access to all the documented POIs around you at the time. However do not be complacent as you may encounter any number of hazards that restrict you from following the provided route.

All supplies of food, water and fuel, must be taken before the trip is started. Do not under-estimate your fuel and water usage, as there are no back up supplies to be obtained along the way between Birdsville and Mt Dare. Any sort of vehicle recovery would be very difficult and extremely expensive so carry your own spares and be prepared to carry out your own repairs.

Vehicles must be in first class condition, as well as tyres, and suspension. Make sure that you carry extra tyre plugs and tubes, as you will be guaranteed many punctures, mostly side wall type. It will be the first few vehicles in the group that take the lead that are going to be guaranteed punctures, clearing the track for the following vehicles. First and second gear low range is the usual gearing - progress will therefore be slow.

As well as vehicle preparation, participants’ health issues must also be catered for. Visit your local GP prior to the trip and take a selection of medications that may be needed for such a remote area.

Permits

When travelling through SA Desert Parks, a valid Desert Parks Pass is required. A Desert Park Pass can be purchased online directly from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources SA.

Note: if you deviate from this route or stop to camp on the Queensland side of the QAA Line, a permit is required from the Queensland National Park and Wildlife. Contact Don Rowlands, National Parks Ranger, Birdsville.

Fuel Usage

For diesel vehicles a minimum of 300L should be taken for this trip.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 109 litres4cyl 125 litres4cyl 155 litres
6cyl 119 litres6cyl 140 litres6cyl 136 litres
8cyl 119 litres8cyl 128 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

May to October

Closest Climatic Station

Birdsville Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 204.67km E
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C40.238.135.231.825.621.121.824.729.932.936.038.5
Mean Min. °C26.424.721.717.111.27.37.08.713.617.021.223.8
Mean Rain mm20.933.040.51.36.411.85.44.17.211.418.28.4
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Map

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Directions

Mount Dare Hotel to Sa-Nt Border Marker
Driving: 13.98 km
Heading: 47°
Avg Speed: 50.18 km/hr
EST Time: 16:42
Sa-Nt Border Marker to Andado
Driving: 73.09 km
Heading: 356°
Avg Speed: 43.87 km/hr
EST Time: 01:39:57
Andado to Old Andado
Driving: 17.2 km
Heading: 78°
Avg Speed: 52.85 km/hr
EST Time: 19:31
Old Andado to Mac Clarke Conservation Reserve
Driving: 47.14 km
Heading: 13°
Avg Speed: 61.86 km/hr
EST Time: 45:43
Mac Clarke Conservation Reserve to Madigan Camp 1A
Driving: 32.67 km
Heading: 55°
Avg Speed: 34.54 km/hr
EST Time: 56:45
Madigan Camp 1A to The Twins
Driving: 26.02 km
Heading: 17°
Avg Speed: 31.37 km/hr
EST Time: 49:46
The Twins to Hale River Flood Plain
Driving: 25.34 km
Heading: 115°
Avg Speed: 12 km/hr
EST Time: 02:06:42
Hale River Flood Plain to Old Fuel Dump
Driving: 75.1 km
Heading: 110°
Avg Speed: 15.71 km/hr
EST Time: 04:46:49
Old Fuel Dump to Geosurveys Hill
Driving: 42.24 km
Heading: 85°
Avg Speed: 7.63 km/hr
EST Time: 05:32:09
Geosurveys Hill to Old Fuel Dump
Driving: 51.2 km
Heading: 119°
Avg Speed: 7.92 km/hr
EST Time: 06:27:52
Old Fuel Dump to Geographical Centre of Simpson Desert
Driving: 27.52 km
Heading: 169°
Avg Speed: 11.64 km/hr
EST Time: 02:21:51
Geographical Centre of Simpson Desert to Grove of Gidgee Trees
Driving: 55.51 km
Heading: 134°
Avg Speed: 11.18 km/hr
EST Time: 04:57:54
Grove of Gidgee Trees to Large Open Cut Pit
Driving: 18.11 km
Heading: 105°
Avg Speed: 7.38 km/hr
EST Time: 02:27:14
Large Open Cut Pit to Thomas No 1 Oil Well
Driving: 40.36 km
Heading: 157°
Avg Speed: 10.26 km/hr
EST Time: 03:56:01
Thomas No 1 Oil Well to French Line & Thomas Track
Driving: 27.63 km
Heading: 151°
Avg Speed: 22.72 km/hr
EST Time: 01:12:57
French Line & Thomas Track to Poeppel Corner
Driving: 26.02 km
Heading: 83°
Avg Speed: 22.05 km/hr
EST Time: 01:10:48
Poeppel Corner to Narrow-Leafed Hop Bush
Driving: 31.16 km
Heading: 23°
Avg Speed: 29.21 km/hr
EST Time: 01:04:00
Narrow-Leafed Hop Bush to Salt Bush Flats
Driving: 23.41 km
Heading: 96°
Avg Speed: 28.88 km/hr
EST Time: 48:38
Salt Bush Flats to Georgina Gidgee Interdunes
Driving: 21.54 km
Heading: 95°
Avg Speed: 25 km/hr
EST Time: 51:41
  • Drive east on QAA Line. for: 21.54 km time: 51:42
Georgina Gidgee Interdunes to Spinifex Dune
Driving: 17.55 km
Heading: 94°
Avg Speed: 25 km/hr
EST Time: 42:07
  • Drive east on QAA Line. for: 17.55 km time: 42:07
Spinifex Dune to Eyre Creek, QAA Line
Driving: 17.04 km
Heading: 86°
Avg Speed: 25 km/hr
EST Time: 40:53
  • Drive east on QAA Line. for: 17.04 km time: 40:54
Eyre Creek, QAA Line to Big Red
Driving: 20.39 km
Heading: 84°
Avg Speed: 25 km/hr
EST Time: 48:56
  • Drive east on QAA Line. for: 20.39 km time: 48:56
Big Red to Birdsville
Driving: 43.51 km
Heading: 94°
Avg Speed: 42.66 km/hr
EST Time: 01:01:11
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

Facilities

Where to Stay

Remote desert bush camps can be made as needed throughout your trip in addition to the main locations used in the general area of the Simpson that you will join at the start/end of your journey.

Services & Supplies

Basic supplies are available from Mount Dare and Birdsville only - for most people this trip will take 2 weeks between the 2 end points, which in themselves are remote towns. Be well prepared.

Wildflowers

Related Travel Journals

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