Simpson Desert, Australia
Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:34
Track across the Simpson, French Line:
The main tracks through the desert run east – west with the dunes running north – south, so the typical “Simo” crossing entails crossing approximately 1000 dunes.
The Simpson Desert is over 170,000 square km and crosses the borders of Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australia.
Sunset on the dunes:-
The key starting and ending points in a crossing are Birdsville and the historic Birdsville Hotel and Dalhousie Springs. We crossed the desert from Birdsville to Dalhousie in a two vehicle convoy.
Artist's 4WD, Birdsville:-
You never know what you are going to see, we came across these guys on motorcycle's trying to cross the desert, no idea if they made it or not....
A typical crossing takes 4 or 5 days and you need to be totally self sufficient given there is no fuel, water or food available anywhere. What there is are wide open spaces, magnificent red dunes and millions of stars every night.
Dingo Tracks on the dunes:-
It is certainly a unique experience to drive for five days and to stop and talk to every oncoming vehicle in that time.
Dalhousie Springs is an outlet for the Great Artesian Basin and is a large billabong with a water temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit) an amazing place to wash the sand away after the desert crossing.
Steam rising off Dalhousie Springs:-
Posted 06 October 2012 - 14:02
Posted 10 October 2012 - 05:59
Posted 10 October 2012 - 13:09
D700, D300; D200; F2, Lumix FZ30; and a bunch of Nikon MF & AF glass (& a Rokinon 85mm f1.4)
Posted 10 October 2012 - 14:15
Again, sure looks like a great trip.
"No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen" Minor White
Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:08
Not totally sure on mileage, think we were getting around 17 mpg. I had around 120 litres (around 32 gallons) in tanks and another 20 litres in a jerry can, but this was unused. Longranger tanks are fantastic and I have certainly considered upgrading mine, but having recently re-done the suspension I am afraid the $ don't work at the moment.
We ran at about 18 to 20 psi most of the way across and we only got bogged a couple of times, a bit of digging and a snatch strap and off we went.
Trip was fantastic, the kids were 12 & 13 at the time and had a ball (as did we), cannot wait to get back there.
Posted 12 October 2012 - 07:01
Been meaning to do that trip for years, always something getting in the way.
Having to be content with Google Earth, I love the section at the placemark kmz file attached - zoom in a bit and you can clearly see the "road" line, the pairs of tyre tracks, and the hair-raising ride some brave dudes engaged on over the salt pan at left above the regular vehicle tracks - they've broken through the surface and kept going, presumably the dark blobs are where they got bogged & dug themselves out, and that the Google Earth pic was taken so soon after (Christmas Day, 2010) that the wet mud showed up dark where they'd been. Lesson there about sticking to the track, I think, even if it is nothing more than tyre tracks.
Zooming out one can clearly see the sand dunes and the track bisecting them, and following it confirms what an epic drive that is.
Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:45
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Posted 15 October 2012 - 03:32
There are better, more easily accessible places to go, particularly for a photographic expedition with a bit of variety, than tackling the Simpson. It is arduous, and most time would be spent driving if you were thinking 10-14 days overall (it takes a 2-3 day drive from just about anywhere just to get to the start, and as long or longer to get back to civilization). Whilst I haven't made the crossing myself, I had a big involvement in the 4WD club scene in the 1970's & '80s and heard first-hand stories from many who had had some very hair-raising experiences indeed on that crossing. I particularly remember a slideshow involving a furiously burning FJ40 shorty Land Cruiser which had been driving "tail-end Charlie" in the convoy, and from which the occupants had escaped by the slimmest of margins - they'd inadvertently trapped some saltbush or spinifex grass between the exhaust and the car body which then set alight, burning through the connector between the standard fuel tank under the driver's seat and the long-range tank in the rear, so the engine didn't die immediately and fuel fed the fire while they still drove on unsuspectingly. By the time they realized there was a problem the rear underside was fully involved, and a couple of minutes later the whole vehicle was completely alight, complete with a flame-throwing LPG cylinder on the roof rack which had blown its relief valve. Made for an extraordinary photograph, but not one you'd really want to be taking when you're days away from help and have just lost all your gear.
Edited by Fred Nirque, 15 October 2012 - 03:35 .
- Carolyn likes this
Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:31
Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:22
If you're after a photo trip here, you really need to decide what you want, particularly if you want to limit it to a week or two. In terms of climate you've got everything from Alpine mountains through deserts to tropical rain forests.
Posted 16 October 2012 - 18:24
Have done enough overland travel in 4x4 vehicles to prepare for this, a bonus would be to get a knowledgeable local along who knows some of the local geography and history to colour the picture as you go.....
Posted 16 October 2012 - 22:23
I reckon the best bet is to contact one of the major 4WD clubs in either Western Australia or NSW or Queensland - they're the ones who regularly travel these places.
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