Hay River, Simpson Desert
& Outback Tag Along
Why do the
west east, east west, Simpson Desert crossing as everyone else
does. Do something different, something much better with us as we
head down the Hay River Track in the North Simpson Desert. No
prior 4wd driving experience needed,
This trip does about two hundred kilometers of the normal
west/east Simpson Desert crossing anyway, so you will be able to
tick that box as well, plus the other part of our trip is north
south through the remote North Simpson Desert as well as to, and
through, several outback towns and places along the way as we
travel through four states.
The north south route through the North Simpson desert is
extremely picturesque as we folow the old Hay River, with ever
changing vegetation and scenery and, the best part, there are less
tourists and their vehicles, in fact we may not see another
vehicle for some days unlike the normal crossing that can become
very busy vehicle wise.
Your tour leader, John Cantrell, is one of NSW leading,
recreational, 4wd driver trainers with decades of 4wd driving
experience in both Australia and overseas, some of which has
been in very remote areas, and will be happy to help you
along the way if needed, he has led many trips through this region
in the past, in fact more than most, knows the area very well and
what to expect along the way.
This is an amazing trip and it is your chance to experience one of
Australia's lesser known and travelled regions, the Hay River and
the North Simpson Desert, which is a relatively new 4wd
Interestingly enough it is possible to do the run through parts of
the Simpson and the North Simpson Deserts following the Hay River
without climbing many sand dunes at all, and those that you do
climb are fairly easy by traveling from the south to the north.
Most seem to do it this way, running from the south up to Batton
Hill Camp, but we believe you are not doing yourself justice in
doing so, you will miss out on so much of the desert experience.
The dunes are a very big part of the fun in doing a desert
crossing and the Simpson and North Simpson Deserts can never be
complete without their dunes.
Relatively few have traveled this route in the past and most will
never have the opportunity to see this part of Australia in it's
current and pristine state.
Along the way our route takes us through several iconic outback
towns in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and
New South Wales and through various deserts including the North
Simpson, Simpson, Sturt, Strzelecki and along the outskirts of the
This 12 day trip takes us to one of the more remote and lesser
travelled destinations in Australia, in some places there may not
even be a visable track if there has been a heavy wind.
The trip starts at Marree in Outback South Australia and ends up
at White Cliffs in Outback New South Wales. Our travels will
include visits to iconic towns and places including Oodnadatta,
Dalhousie, Mt Dare, Old Andado, Alice Springs, Batton Hill,
Birdsville, Tibooburra, Innamincka, Milparinka and Cameron Corner.
Other attractions include Lake Eyre South, Cooper Creek, Burke and
Wills Grave, The Dig Tree, Eyre Creek, Big Red and more. We may
even get to see the outstanding Coongie Lakes.
On leaving Alice Springs on our final leg before our desert
crossing we head north along the Stuart Highway before possibly
changing course towards the western end of the East McDonnell
Ranges. It is a personal opinion but some rate the East McDonnell
Ranges as better than its western counterpart, the West McDonnell
Ranges, a little less known and visited perhaps, dirt tracks
instead of tar roads so a little more rugged maybe, more remote,
less commercialised and lots more, I tend to agree.
The North Simson Desert and Hay River part of our adventure starts
when we turn off the Plenty Highway, north east of Alice Springs,
and travel towards the Batton Hill Camp. We will set up camp for
the night either at Jervois Station or at Batton Hill and within
the Batton Hill Camp and we may be able to take an early evening
drive out to the Goyder Pillar to see the spectacular sunset views
that it offers, depending on what time we arrive.
Next morning we are up and off on our journey south through the
North Simpson Desert whilst we follow the now extinct Hay River.
For the next few days we probably won't see too many other
vehicles or people, in fact it is not unusual to go the whole way
down to the junction with the QAA Line on the edge of Lake Poeppel
without seeing any.
Our route will take us down through the paralell dunes where,
in some places, the tracks may become barely visible if there has
been a high level of wind activity.
Between the Batton Hill Camp and Poeppels corner we pass through
some interesting landmarks including the Tropic of Capricorn,
identified only by GPS and a hand written, weather beaten, sign, a
must do photo opportunity for most. We will experience some of the
country explored by Cecil Madigan, a geologist first and explorer
second, who crossed the Simpson Desert from Andado in the west to
Birdsville in the east using camels for transport in 1939 during
the first major expedition across the Simpson Desert.
Whilst Madigan's route took him mostly from west to east he did
travel south for a short while between his Camps 15 and 16. Camp
16 is by far the more interesting of the two and where we will
almost certainly take a short break.
The Hay River Track comes to an end when we start heading west and
onto Shotline for a while. We will probably camp down this way,
either just before Shotline or else further south towards the
abandonded Beachcomber Oil Well.
We are now on the K1 Line and a relatively short drive to the
junction with the QAA Line which is one of the major, and much
more populated with vehicles, west, east tracks across the Simpson
and which will be our route for the next 200 km to Birdsville.
But first we will go a little further south and following the
shores of Lake Poeppel, not that it is likely to have water in it,
so that we can visit the iconic Poeppel Corner. It is here that
South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territoy join that
travellers seem to magnetically be attracted to.
So one more night camping in the desert before going through Eyre
Creek and then attempting the final challenge of the Simpson
Desert, Big Red sand dune. Big Red is famous for being the highest
and hardest sand dune in the Simpson Desert being approximately 60
metres high. It is also the most easterley before Birdsville.
Like Poeppel Corner, Big Red seems to magnetically attract 4wd
adventurers, even if they haven't been across the desert. I guess
for many it is so that they can claim bragging rights to having
conquered this iconic legend.
Track conditions in this part of the world can change very
quickly, particularly with adverse weather changes and rain, so
our route from Birdsville to White Cliffs will be determined
by what the weather has been doing.
Exiting Birdsville via the Old, or Inside, Birdsville Track and
heading for Walkers Crossing will be our preferred route, if
passable. We plan to spend the next night or two at Innamincka,
where you will have a day free to visit whichever or the many
attractions are in the area including the Cooper Creek, The Dig
Tree, Burke and Wills graves, Coongie Lakes and more.
Cameron Corner, the meeting point of New South Wales, South
Australia and Queensland, is our next destination. We will spend
our last night camping around here but maybe not at the store
itself. Next day visits to Tibooburra, Milparinka and, our
final destination, White Cliffs.
If you would like to do this trip please book early, there is a
limit to the number of vehicles we can take on each trip and once
fully booked we cannot add any more and, because this trip
offers such good value, it does book up fairly quickly.
This is a self catered camping trip on which camper trailers and
caravans will not be accepted. The trip will be led by the owner
of this business who has an interest in you getting the very best
value out of your trip.
Perhaps you should have a read of our testimonials page to see
what many have said about this trip, it is a great trip and you
won't be dissappointed.
Australian 4x4 Travel will supply a support vehicle fully equipped
with recovery equipment, long range communications, GPS tracking
equipment and Emergency Locator Beacon.
Australian 4x4 tag Along Tours Hay
River, Simpson Desert & Outback 4wd Tag Along
Australian 4x4 Driver Training & Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours