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I have decided to visit Australia at very short notice. I am flying out to Perth on the 15th Feb, 06.
I am interested in hiring a 4wd Camper for 3 weeks. I would like to drive from Perth to Kalgoolie, then to Laverton. I would then hope to drive to Uluru, along The Great Central. I would love to cross The Simpson Desert, to Birdsville, then south to Maree, ending my journey in Sydney.
I welcome any advice. Is this being too Ambitious, for a 3 week journey? (Am in Oz for 7wks) Is GPS required for The Simpson, or are the tracks well established. Is GPS required for any of the other area's I will be driving? Is it possible to hire GPS and Sat phones?
Failing this, I may head up The Tanami track to Halls Creek. Having never visited Australia before, I really want to sample the solitude and remoteness of the outback, but do not want to die doing it, so will listen to any advice offered.
My experience of adventure travel includes England to India overland by bike in 24days, also England to West Africa, across the Sahara, by the Atlantic Route.
If anyone is interested in joining me and contributing towards the cost, then I may be interested.
I have done all these routes in a car (not Cape York) but I would say it's still on the warm side in mid-Feb if you are going alone/one car.
>>I welcome any advice. Is this being too Ambitious, for a 3 week journey?
About right I would guess, maybe 4. She's a big country, but!
>>(Am in Oz for 7wks) Is GPS required for The Simpson, or are the tracks well established.
No need for GPS there (well, on Rig or Direct route) or any of the dirt motorways you mentioned. Give yourself some time around the Rock and the West Macs - a great area, but it won't be cold.
>>>Is GPS required for any of the other area's I will be driving?
Where do you mean - not Simpson? Tracks in Au are all very well established - too well one might say. Hema maps are great. Good 4WD track website: http://www.exploroz.com/ It will be hotter but easier than you think.
>>>Is it possible to hire GPS and Sat phones?
Don't know about dead cheap GPSs but a sat phone is rentable out of Perth and will add confidence if solo. It may well include a built-in GPS.
>>>Failing this, I may head up The Tanami track to Halls Creek.
What, as an alt to Simpson? - probably best to avoid Simpson - but HC will be cooking or monsooning by now.
But I reckon from Perth doing the Central (moderately less boring than Tanami), then Rock & Centre and then coming down the Oodnadatta old rail route to Adelaide should be OK (never done the SA part of the Ood, tho).
>>>Having never visited Australia before, I really want to sample the solitude and remoteness of the outback, but do not want to die doing it, so will listen to any advice offered.
This time of year may not the best time to do that, nor is doing it in a car at anytime, IMO. Need to get on foot to do that.
PS. You might like my Au Rough Guide (7th) - I cover WA and NT and am right into 4WDing wherever I can - makes the donkey work less boring! Britz bushcampers are pricey and juicy but well up to it.
Good to hear from you. Remember me? "Bombay Express", in 24 days,AMH 3rd edition. I have done alot of crazy things since then. Hope you are keeping ok. I have a collection of your books BTW. Thanks for the advice.
I'd suggest if you have not been to OZ before then don't do the simson desert - do the flinders ranges instead. Much more to see and do.
From Ayres rock - down the Oodnadatta track to teh Flinders, then up the Strezleki Track to Innaminka then eastwards to Nockatundra and down to Broken Hill - sout eastwards to Pooncarie (Mungo Lakes National Park) then eastwards to Sydney. That will take you through a variety of country.
The temperatures in some of the areas you mention can reach 40c or more In February.Take plenty of water.
Crossed The Simpson at the end of September last year and the temperature then was close to 40c,warm when playing in the sand.
You need to carry extra fuel and plenty of water.A 4wd camper would need good clearance and not be to heavy for a Simpson crossing.
Agree with Frank's suggestions,still it may be a little warm on the tracks.Both tracks were in good order last September,but watch for bulldust after a dry summer.
Would be interesting if you could keep us informed what you decide.
Good luck Ben
Matt, Thanks for the advice. I have decided to hire a sat phone from Britz for the 22 day period i'm away. I'm aware that at $17per day, i'm probably paying above the odds, but as I said I only decided on this trip one week ago, so time is limited for me to shop around.
Frank, have read quite a few of your threads, its obvious you are very knowledgable and experienced will consider your points. Thanks anyway.
Ben, were you on a bike or on 4 wheels? Which route did you take? how difficult is the french line? I have hired a 4wd Britz bushcamper. I believe it is a Toyota Land Cruiser. The vehicle has 180 litre fuel capacity and 60 litre water storage. I'm told I do not need a GPS. How easy is the track to follow? Would of been nice to of done the route on a bike but figured it would be safer and less logistics involved, doing trip by 4wd. Cheers for the advice.
The route is well marked for both crossings. You will need a dessert parks pass - About $100. www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/pass.html That contains a pack of information - including maps. You can buy it at either end, if caught on the Simpson with out it the fine is considerable .. and many are caught! Buy it. The money goes to the maps, and facilities - not much in the Simpson but good stuff being done with it elsewhere (yes I’ve seen it).
The rig road is much easier than the french line - both consume the same amount of fuel but the rig road is much longer (200km? longer). The britz vehicle has a higher centre of gravity - you'll need to watch side slopes to avoid tip over. I've seen a britz camper heading back off the french line - they were not happy that they could not do the french line and were too pissed off to attempt the rig road. The rig road is not all pane sailing - watch for washer ways just over crests!
Yep, the 4WD is much easier to organise than the motorcycling. Also safer.
(edit - fixed speeling added link for pass)
[This message has been edited by Frank Warner (edited 01 February 2006).]
There were two of us on bikes,me on a Dominator and a nephew on a KLR650,accompanied by a short wheel base Landcruiser.Both bikes were well loaded,plus I carried 43litres of fuel,because by the time the girls in the Cruiser loaded everything in, there was very little room left.
We took the French Line.I did a fair bit of paddling up some of the dunes.My nephew thought it was a game.The Cruiser did it okay,but we did a lot of waiting for it to catch up.
Difficulty of the French Line varies,we were lucky enough to have some moisture about 6 to 8 inches under the sand.When the sand is really dry we were told by frequent crossers,that it really churns up
We carried Hema maps(good) and I also had a GPS on board but did not bother to turn it on.May have been useful several times to warn oncoming traffic of our position.We all had UHF communication Cheap hand held ones worked well on the bikes.All 4WD had a flag at the front of the vehicle,about 8 feet high(from the ground)
180 litres of fuel would be sufficient for the crossing.60 litres of water should be more than enough,but you can never have to much.
No trouble following the track.
Hi Mike, AMH's got a lot better since then, a? 17AU$ for a phone is pretty good I reckon. Bushcamper is a tough machine but will devour fuel and I find is too stuffy to sleep inside - expect to sleep out in an inner tent. Don't forget the hubs!
Agree there are better things to do and see than the Simpson, which is a whole lot of up and down, up and down - but people like to say they've done it.
Frank mentions the possibility of roll over.I would be concerned with a vehicle of this design.We saw one roll over on our crossing.It was a Nissan Patrol wagon and had rolled just over the crest of a dune. Trouble is you need a fair bit of momentum to top the dune,then just over the crest a right angle turn can confront you.Cost the Nissan owner $2500 to have the vehicle retreived and that was only 66Ks from Birdsville.
Don't like to spoil the party.
They aren't to bad, they might be taller but the weight is down at the same level as other large 4x4s. Any larger 4x4 is going to be at risk if you crest at speed and then have a right angle. The technique is not to crest at speed but have reasonable speed coming up which has pretty much all gone as you crest so that you come over in a controlled manner. Just something to get used to, all part of the challenge.
Still hot in the region you expect to go though the Simpson isnt as hard as it once was - depends on the frequency of traffic.
Id maybe suggest you head north from Alice to either the Plenty Highway or even further up to the 3 ways - head east from here and you can get to Normanton and Kurumba - from there you can 4wd across to cairns or north to Weipa and hit the track to Cape York or head east to wards Cairns and teh Daintree via Georgetown - Just my 2cents worth
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