2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Brades
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2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by Brades » June 3rd, 2013, 5:31 pm

My 2013 Simpson Desert Adventure

One of the most iconic and picturesque 4wd trips the Australian Outback has to offer.

As most big trips are sparked from the idea of a destination, from reading trip reports or looking through photo albums and thinking to yourself, ‘this sounds amazing, I’d love to go there one day;’ well, so did this one… After umm-ing and arr-ing over a few beers about weather or not to lock in plans to head up to Birdsville for the 200th Issue Bash, I bit the bullet, flipped a coin and made the decision to head North for Easter!

I didn’t really have any set plans as such, but figured that if I was going to be travelling all the way up to Birdsville (from Adelaide), although iconic in itself, I want to do as much 4wding as possible and include a trip across the Simpson Desert too. Knowing I was going to be travelling into a part of Australia that I’d never been before was both exciting and daunting at the same time. Exciting in the fact that I was about to embark on the trip of a lifetime into some of the places I’d only ever read about and had always wanted to visit; but daunting in the fact that I was heading into some of the most remote and harsh areas this country of ours has to offer. Needless to say I was ready for the adventure.

After making a few smaller weekend trips, including a touring trip to Tassie earlier in the year, the Simmo trip would be the first real 4wd orientated trip for my trusty 76 Series wagon. It’s been pretty well decked out with all touring fruit since I picked her up in September 2012, like suspension lift, 33” muddies, drawers in the back, driving lights, roof-rack and other assorted comms & tracking gadgets and useful additions. But there were a few things that needed attention and picking up before I headed bush for this sort of trip.
First on the list were some spares parts, including a second spare wheel, fuel-filter, top and bottom radiator hoses, fan belt and an air filter. I also grabbed some essentials including 5L of engine oil, some radiator fluid and some grease. I always travel with a fairly comprehensive tool, recovery & first aid kit so figured I was pretty right with the rest!

I asked around my group of 4wd mates in Adelaide to see who was keen to come along, but although everyone jumped at the opportunity, no one could either take the time off work or didn’t think their trucks would be ready for that sort of trip in time, so it looked like I was going solo. I immediately took to the 4wd Action Forums and posted up my travel plans and as it worked out, I was able to meet up with and convoy the entire trip with Peter Aawen and family in their tour-ready GQ Patrol!


After a lovely meet and greet, we set off from town and planned on covering as much ground as possible between Adelaide & Birdsville in the two of days we allowed ourselves to travel up there. We definitely found it hard to stick to an itinerary because we were so busy taking in the beautiful scenery through the Barossa Valley wine country & the Flinders Ranges, especially around sunset, the views were stunning. After a quick country pub stop off for a counter meal and a let stretch, we drove well into the night with our first destination set on Lyndhurst, where the blacktop turns to dirt and the road splits between the Strzelecki Track and the beginning of the Oodnadatta Track.
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After a good nights shuteye in the swag and a hearty bacon & egg roll at the servo, it was time to drop the tire pressures for the dirt tracks ahead, top up with fuel and push on towards the beginning of the Birdsville track. About 50kms shy of the turnoff, we made a quick touristy stop-off in the historic township of Farina, which offers some fantastic camping grounds and heaps to explore in and around ruins of the old buildings (we ended up staying there on the way home too).
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After taking the standard vehicle photo under the Birdsville Track sign, we were off on our second day of driving. One of the first things I noticed was how good the track condition was, and how often the terrain changed! The track went from rich brown earth to white sand in a matter of kms then quickly changed to gibber rocks and back again.. It sure kept the drive very interesting! Most of the track looked as through it had been recently graded after the previous weeks rain, despite a few sections of mud-ruts and bog holes, some still holding a significant amount of water. It’s amazing to see what a little bit of rain can do to change the track and surrounding vegetation so quickly and vastly.
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One of the key stops before reaching Birdsville is the Mungerannie Pub, your typical outback bar with a natural timber bar top, old Akubras and stubby holders nailed to the wall, all with a detailed story and photos from generations of travellers posted on the pin-up boards. The Mungerannie Pub is also a fuel stop and has camping and tire facilities available, but otherwise just a perfect spot to try the infamous Mungerannie Burger and a cold drink before finishing off the remaining 300kms into Birdy.

Our arrival into Birdsville near sunset we saw the congregation of hundreds of 4wders spread out all over the large caravan park, huge groups of travellers all setting up their kits from swags and a camp chair to fully accessorized campers with lights and hot water; it really was awesome to finally be amongst it. The next three days over the long weekend saw the coming together of families, friends both new and old and travellers from all over Australia as we helped 4wd Action celebrate the milestone of their 200th Issue. The caravan park, the Birdsville Pub and the show grounds were all buzzing with activity and were the perfect spots to spark up a conversation with anyone and talk 4wding. There were so many amazing 4wds, demonstrations and events for everyone it was the perfect destination for most and a truly memorable weekend away! I think everyone would agree with me that the 4wd Action guys deserve a huge thanks for their efforts and the awesome job they did putting on such a great show, I know I will never forget this trip!
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People spent the weekend relaxing in the caravan park, between the bakery and the 4wd Action stalls or trying to conquer Big Red, Australia’s longest sand dune. Each night at the pub there were stories full of excitement from the days or extended holidays travels and it was great to see all these enthusiasts from around Australia coming together in one place (Birdsville in general, not the pub ;) ).

As the long-weekend came to an end, people started to say their goodbyes, some people awoke and began to pack up slowly, others were on the road early, homeward bound trying to make it back with a spare 5mins to wash the car down before having to return to work. Our convoy on the other hand, which had grown in numbers to six vehicles, set off across the Simpson Desert. We left Birdsville around lunchtime on Easter Monday for a leisurely play on top of Big Red, it really was a magnificent site to see with a vast expanse of water at the base of the Eastern side and continuous lines of sand dunes and never ending swales on the other.

We drove through endless red crests of sand, followed by short and often severely corrugated flats with a few lower-lying creek beds in the mix, but ended up finding a beautiful place to camp just before sunset. If planning a crossing from East to West as we did, it would be ideal to start the driving day early and finish just as the sun comes into sight, as the glare in the afternoon often shades some deeper articulations, which can catch you by surprise. As campfires are no longer permitted in the Simpson Desert national Park for some clear oversight of a reason.. you have to make do with a warm jacket and some camp lights to keep you company at night but after such a weekend, everyone was pretty keen to head to bed fairly early.

We got up fairly early for a full day of driving and continued our trek, the terrain consists of mainly sandy crests and increasingly long swales with a few very large salt-pans thrown into the mix. For a change of scenery, we decided to turn South off the QAA and follow the K1 at the T-junction, which was brilliant as we got to drive along a series of hardly used tracks, sometimes finding it hard to see where the track actually followed through the thicker vegetation. Each vehicle took turns in leading the convoy and found it quite a highlight being the first to leave wheel tracks in the virgin sand dunes for the rest of us to follow.

Along the K1 Line we made the stop off at Poppell Corner for lunch, where the Queensland, South Australian and the Northern Territory borders meet, where it is very interesting to read about the history of the men who originally surveyed the Desert areas all those years ago. We were getting close to the end of the K1 by early afternoon where we were forced to turn right onto the Rig Road, (continuing straight along the K1 would lead you to the Warburton Crossing, nut is still closed due to the high level of water in the Warburton Creek and rain damage over the past 4 years, which is still yet to dry out).

Back in the days when the oil wells were functioning in the Simpson Desert, the Rig Road was originally crested with clay and gypsum to help the trucks overcome the dunes, but today, large washouts of erosion are all that seems to be left as you climb the dunes, which makes for some very fun and articulated driving along this route and what a great drive it was!

Day three was the fastest day of the desert crossing as we traversed along large salt-pans before joining the tail end of the French Line and leaving the desert. We made it into Dalhousie Springs late at night and everyone pretty much fell asleep straight away. Waking up to the feeling that you get to swim in the hot 38*C natural springs after 3 long days of desert driving was unfathomable. It was the most beautiful/relaxing/ amazing way to finish off a desert trip!

At this point we said our goodbyes as the rest of the group were on a deadline to be back in Sydney. Peter + family and I, took the rest of the day to relax, casually cruise up to Mt Dare, re-fuel before turning onto the home-stretch along the Oodnadatta Track. A very cruisey and very well maintained dirt highway! We stopped at all the iconic townships along the way, allowing time to explore each place including Mt Dare, Oodnadatta, the Bubbling Springs, The Pink Roadhouse and Farina (where we camped).

All up an amazing trip! I covered about 3600kms in 11 days and averaged 17L/100kms with the fully loaded 76. Specifically for the desert crossing I used 119L of diesel in the V8 and did it without a worry. We ran our tire pressures around 30-33 on the dirt roads (staying below 95km/h) and between 14-18psi through the desert and had no dramas tackling any hill. I would recommend this trip to everyone and the only thing I would do differently next time is take 5 or 6 days instead of 3 to do the actual dessert crossing, it ended up being quite rushed for reasons we couldn’t control, but it was the trip of a lifetime and now something I have fond memories of! Can’t wait till Issue 200 comes out and you can see how much fun we had.

I also made a short video of the trip here if you want to check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNWjLMgqMvg

Pics to come as well

Cheers

Brades
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Last edited by Brades on June 4th, 2013, 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Brades
--------------------------------------------------------------
2010 76 LandCruiser GXL Build-Up:
http://www.4wdaction.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=187&t=136912
YouTube - 76 Series Videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/BradesR31
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SaltHorse
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by SaltHorse » June 3rd, 2013, 7:54 pm

Great write up and a good video to go with it.
I'll get out there one day when the tin lids are a little older.

Bring on issue 200!

Cheers,

Salty
1990 Suzuki Vitara 1.6
2000 Holden Jackaroo 3.0 TD viewtopic.php?f=22&t=135354
2002 Nissan Patrol ZD30 viewtopic.php?f=187&t=145261

80Butts
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by 80Butts » June 3rd, 2013, 9:52 pm

Well done Brades, great write up.
I hope to do that trip again soon. talking about it lately and now reading this the itch is getting stronger.
I crossed west to east in 2007 so I'd like to try it around the other way next time.
Just need to work out the best way to carry enough fuel in the 80 to do it without worrying all the time.

Peter Aawen
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by Peter Aawen » June 3rd, 2013, 10:32 pm

Lookin good Brades! Great write up, good vid too, I like that GoPro & you made it work well! :D

Now, where we gonna go for the next 4WD Action Mag Meet up?? :frog:
An Ex-Service person is someone who thought enough about their country & how great it is, how lucky we are to live here, to write a blank cheque made out to 'The People and Commonwealth of Australia' for the value of 'Up to & including my Life!'

Brades
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by Brades » June 4th, 2013, 1:19 pm

The forum is still only allowing me to add 5 photos per post :crazy:
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Brades
--------------------------------------------------------------
2010 76 LandCruiser GXL Build-Up:
http://www.4wdaction.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=187&t=136912
YouTube - 76 Series Videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/BradesR31
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Brades
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by Brades » June 4th, 2013, 3:53 pm

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Brades
--------------------------------------------------------------
2010 76 LandCruiser GXL Build-Up:
http://www.4wdaction.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=187&t=136912
YouTube - 76 Series Videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/BradesR31
--------------------------------------------------------------

Brades
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by Brades » June 4th, 2013, 4:01 pm

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Cheers guys!
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Brades
--------------------------------------------------------------
2010 76 LandCruiser GXL Build-Up:
http://www.4wdaction.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=187&t=136912
YouTube - 76 Series Videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/BradesR31
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On a Rdo
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by On a Rdo » June 4th, 2013, 4:58 pm

Nice brades.

Great write up and pics!
2013 GXL 76 Series

2stroke
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by 2stroke » June 11th, 2013, 5:51 pm

Great write up Brades. I agree about the time taken, 5 or 6 nights would be great. We went Mt Dare to Birdsville in '09 and only had 4 nights (French Line) and although we enjoyed it it was almost a disapointment to reach Birdsville. In 2010 we went along the Hay River track, which goes from Batton Hill, near Jervois (middle of the Plenty) and comes out at Poeppel corner, then the QAA to Birdsville in 5 nights and even then an extra night or 2 would have been nice. Just can't beat a night in the Desert. On the way home from our Canning Stock Route trip in September we'll cross again but will try the WAA line this time, bummer about the camp fire thing though, how's a bloke supposed to do a roast? :rolleyes:

Brades
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by Brades » July 2nd, 2013, 12:29 pm

Yea tell me about it! It wasn't really a cold night, without the fire but it definitely creates that good camping atmosphere, everyone sitting around the fire having a chat! Guess you just have to cook on gas and sit in the dark!

Issue #201 of the mag has the full write up from the 4wd Action boys and has some great shots of the 76! Think I counted my car on 7 different pages! Gotta be happy with that!
Brades
--------------------------------------------------------------
2010 76 LandCruiser GXL Build-Up:
http://www.4wdaction.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=187&t=136912
YouTube - 76 Series Videos
http://www.youtube.com/user/BradesR31
--------------------------------------------------------------

BarKer
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Re: 2013 Birdsville Bash (Simpson Desert Trip) from Adelaide

Unread post by BarKer » January 26th, 2014, 6:50 am

Good stuff..

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