Written by | Trekking Downunder, Amy & Ryan Murphy
When most people head out into the Simpson Desert you prepare yourself for everything you can think of that could go wrong…. It would be pretty irresponsible if you didn’t.
So when packing for our solo two-way trip crossing with our family of 5, we were sure to take many things into consideration. We compiled our Top 10 essentials for crossing the Simpson Desert list to make sure nothing important was left behind.
We crossed from east to west first and left our van behind in Birdsville Common where our mates (who arrived the day after we left) babysat until we returned.
At the Little Red sign we aired down to 20-22 psi, hooked on our Bushranger sand flag, set the UHF to channel 10 and we were ready to go.
Being an already popular time of year for people to cross the Simpson, we found that with the delayed opening of the Simpson crossing and Hay River Tracks plus with the Eyre Creek being full, there was no shortage of cars from the very start of the QAA. Which was comforting leaving us nothing to worry about by travelling as a solo vehicle- because there were always going to be people behind and in front of us.
We took the French Line from Poepels Corner over to Dalhousie Springs, filling up in Mt Dare for our most expensive fuel to date at $2.45. After a divine dip in the hot springs and a warmer nights sleep, we headed back east taking the WAA Line, Rig Road and K1 from Purnie Bore back to the QAA Line.
All in all, we took four days/ 3 nights to cross over the west, spent one lovely night at Dalhousie Springs, and only took three days/ 2 nights to return home to Birdsville.
While the entire trip was extremely phenomenal, a standout moment in the trip was bottoming out on the peak of the 2nd last dune from the campsite (on the WAA Line) during our first day heading back east.
Now I take full credit for this little incident, and although Ryan was exhausted (suffering from a fresh head cold and having driven for 8 hrs) and understandably pissed- I found the whole situation quite the fun adventure. Despite the daggers piercing the air in my direction, I braved a few photos and videos to help retell how being prepared is the most important requirement of remote travel.
We had completely bottomed out, over the wheels and right across the entire back 3/4 of the car’s belly. How one may ask? It’s funny, I can’t even fabricate a decent story… I had seen the perfect photo op and excitedly yelled stop, without a following explanation as to why. So thinking we were about to hit someone, the car was stopped…. right on the peak of a dune. After a quick attempt to reverse, we were further under and up to the driver’s sidestep. So 50 minutes, 2 Bushranger X-Trax II sand recovery aids and many many arm shovelling movements later, we dug the car-free, drove forward and travelled the final 1 and a half dunes to our camp.
I dared not say it until we were on the final dune descent to our camp, but I really enjoyed the late afternoon self-recovery. It gave an exciting element to a seemingly perfect and flawless dual crossing.
My only advice for crossing the Simpson besides our essentials list – is being prepared, know your vehicle and have a few pre-planned call signs.
For us from that moment, these became…
- “Flag” for there is a car ahead.
- “Photo” for a potentially good photo opportunity if it were safe to stop… and
- “Stop” for your about to hit something; be it a car, mega hole, person or camel.
The Simpson Crossing has been the highlight of our entire 17 months on the road to date- and for anyone who loves adventure and a challenge… Definitely go cross the Simpson!
- Bushranger Safety Flag details click here>>
- Bushranger X-Trax II details click here>>
- Bushranger Diggar Shovel details click here>>
- Head over to Trekking Downunder’s Social pages to follow their adventures.
- Important Note: As of March 16 2014 sand flags are a requirement to drive in the Simpson Desert. Sand flags must be 300x290mm in size, made of fluorescent materials, and the flag must be 3.5m off the ground. For communications, scanning UHF CB channel 10 for approaching vehicles is another precautionary rule to abide by for safety going over dunes.