Simpson Desert and Outback 4wd Tag Along Tour
In July 2020 we are running our popular 4wd tag along tour along the
remote Simpson Desert Madigan Line.
John Cantrell, your tour leader, is no stranger to organising and
leading 4wd tag along trips to very remote regions, including
several trips, each of several days, into extended sections of the
North Simpson Desert where no vehicle had ever been before, an
amazing, and certainly unique, opportunity.
So you have probably arrived on this web page because you are
interested in doing a 4wd tag along tour through the Simpson
Desert. You have choices - you can join a Simpson 4wd tag
Along that does what everyone else does and goes to where everyone
else goes, and have been doing for decades, the same old, same old.
Or you can be different, see a part of the Simpson Desert that none
of your friends are likely to have ever been to, most wouldn't even
have heard of it. This trip is also through the Simpson, so you can
still tick the box, but the very remote northern section of it,
relatively very, very few will ever have the opportunity of seeing
this amazing part of the country.
The Madigan Line runs north of, and parrallel to, the conventional,
mostly taken and sometimes traffic congested route along the French
Line and the QAA Line. We will follow the route taken by Cecil
Madigan in 1939 as he crossed the northern section of the Simpson
Desert from west to east, using camels as transport, and from Old
Andado to Birdsville.
There are very few organised 4wd tours through this area and July
2017 and 2018 will see us run the best value of the lot by far, as
was our 2016 trip. Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours are low on
rules and regulations and high on being relaxed, having a
holiday, meeting other great people, seeing special parts of
Australia, doing great 4wd driving and enjoying yourselves and
having a memorable time.
All of our 4x4 tag along trips, tours and training are run by the
owner of this business, John Cantrell, who has a lifetime of 4wd
experience, both in Australia and overseas over many decades, runs
one of the leading, nationally accredited, 4wd driver training
businesses in NSW and is committed to ensuring that you get the best
possible experience from your trip, and the best value for your
John is also one of New South Wales leading 4wd driver trainers and
is a Registered Training Organisation delivering Nationally
Accredited training. So if you haven't done much 4wd driving in the
past you will be in good hands.
Australian 4x4 Travel is an Australian Tourism Accredited Business
and Licenced Tour Operator.
Starting in the morning on day one from the Marree Hotel in Outback
South Australia we travel west for a while through to Oodnadatta,
visiting Lake Eyre South and William Creek along the way, before
heading north towards Dalhousie Ruins and Dalhousie Springs, where
we will have a chance of taking a dip in the ever warm mound spring
if you would like to.
Dalhousie Springs are the start of the conventional west east
crossing of the Simpson Desert when heading for Birdsville via Purni
Bore. Instead of heading east into the Simmo from here, as the
majority doing a desert crossing would be doing, we will continue
north for a couple of hours.
Our destination for the day - the iconic Mt Dare Hotel, hot showers,
a camp for the night and a meal and beverage in the hotel if you
would like to, or cook your own, your choice. We are always looked
after very well at Mt Dare Hotel.
On several of the nights during the trip there will be the
opportunity to eat out at the local hotel, all of which are
iconic in one way or another, but this is entirely your choice and
you are welcome to cook for yourself if that is what you prefer.
On leaving Mt Dare Hotel we will be heading almost north for a bit
longer to Old Andado. Here we will have a chance of visiting Molly
Clark's old homestead before heading east and embarking on the
remotest part of our trip, the Madigan Line.
Molly Clark, owner of the only freehold property in the area, Old
Andado, was a legend in these parts and when she passed away a few
years ago she left her property in trust for future
generations to visit, an amazing gesture from an amazing lady who
must have done it very tough for much of the time.
So for some days we will head east along some tracks that at some
times may not be that well defined, if defined at all, we will be on
the leg of the trip with the longest distance between fuel
bowsers, a little short of 800 km. We will be following the route
taken by Cecil Madigan in 1939 as he surveyed this region of the
Simpson Desert from west to east using camels as transport and
establishing camps along the way on his journey to Birdsville.
At camp 15 we intercept the north south running Hay River Track, one
that Australian 4x4 Travel has done many times before.
We head south for a short distance along the Hay River Track, as it
heads for its end at the now abandoned Beachcomber Oil Well north of
Poeppel Corner, as we head of east again at Madigan Camp 16 and the
Blaze Tree towards the ultimate detination for our desert crossing
In the event that there is no access through Adria Downs Sation the
trip will continue down to Poeppel Corner from Camp 16 and then
along the QAA Line into Birdsville rather than through Adria Downs.
Yes after several days you will enjoy a hot, endless, shower and
cooked food if you would like to at the so well talked about
Birdsville Pub or Birdsville Bakery, both of which, also, look after
us very well.
You must try a Birdsville Bakery breakfast, I'll say no more except
to say they are fantastic.
Along the way from the Hay River Track to Birdsville we will have
fun, our route towards the eastern end of the Madigan Line takes us
from the northern end of Eyre Creek south and through private
property to the junction with the QAA Line and a direct route, and
stones throw drive, into Birdsville.
We have Big Red, officially called Nappanerica Sand Dune, on the
way, which, once crossed, will see us less than an hour from
Birdsville. Big Red, the last sand dune at the eastern fringe of the
Simpson Desert before Birdsville and one that most battle with, the
one that many come here to conquer from all parts of Australia, and
quite a few don't. You will almost certainly give it a go, maybe
even a few goes, but there are easier ways up if you decide that
that is the option for you.
Our Australian 4x4 Travel 4wd Madigan Line, Simpson Desert Tag Along
has reached the end of the remote desert crossing, we will now start
seeing more people and vehicles as we continue east and into New
Now our Simpson Desert Madigan Line 4wd Tag Along now travels from
Birdsville to Innamincka. Innamincka is situated on the amazing
Perhaps I have it wrong, although I have never met anyone who has
disagreed with me, but this place is an amazing oasis in the middle
of one of the harsher desert regions around.
North of Innamincka are the magnificent Coongie Lakes, a group of 25
or so lakes centered around the main lake, Coongie Lake. Innamincka
is not only the gateway to Coongie Lakes, about 100 km north, and a
days drive return, but is also host to a raft of history involving
the Burke and Wills ill fated expedition from Melbourne to the Gulf
Without giving too much away before the trip Burke and Wills lost
their lives in this area on the return leg of the expedition. It
seems almost unbelievable that someone could virtually starve to
death in an area with water, fish and an abundance of wildlife but
Burke was a stubborn and arrogant man who refused to have anything
to do with the local Aboriginals who had offered them help.
Burke died first then Wills, who obeyed Burke's dying command that
help must not be accepted from the locals, leaving the sole survivor
of the expedition of four, John King, who did accept local
help and was rescued by a search party from Melbourne some six
A trip into this region wouldn't be complete without a stop at
Cameron Corner, stand in three states at the same time, New South
Wales, Queensland and South Australia, in fact you can drive through
the three states in literally a few minutes.
We will almost certainly camp at Cameron Corner. Their meals
are good, the camp site is good and you may even decide to play a
game of golf that spans three states in the one game.
By now we are on our last day as we head through the Sturt National
Park towards Tibooburra and Milparinka before our journey ends at
White Cliffs and the chance to experience sleeping underground, this
is probably one of those things you should do at least once but if
you would rather not there are other alternatives such as camping in
town or maybe even pressing on a bit further towards home.
Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours supplies a support vehicle fully
equipped with recovery equipment, up to date satellite phone, GPS
tracking equipment, Emergency Locator Beacon and first aid