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Simpson Desert – French Line

Apr 6 2023 @ 8:00 am Apr 23 2023 @ 5:00 pm

Departing Thursday, 6 April, middle of the school holidays with Easter public holidays, for a 2.5 week trip returning to Brisbane Sunday 23 April (take a day off Monday 24, plus ANZAC day Tuesday 25 to recover from the trip or contingency, before getting back to normal life).
Before I first visited the Simpson Desert, I’d heard that everyone who has been can’t wait to go back. And now this is me.
IMPORTANT: Before booking this trip please take the time to read through the materials listed below, and think through the personal and vehicle preparation required to undertake this very remote trip. Please do contact me with any questions or concerns.
There are several ways to cross the Simpson Desert:
  • French Line – East or West – the most common, direct route across
  • WAA Line – East or West – a beautiful diversion down the Knolls track, to get away from the busier French line, dunes not as steep.
  • Rig Road – East or West a beautiful diversion down the Knolls track, to get away from the busier French line, dunes not as steep.
  • Madigan line – West to East only – more remote, longer trip to look forward to.
I’ve driven WAA line West to East, and hope to drive all the tracks at some stage on future trips. This trip will cross via the French line East to West, known for steeper climbs.
This trip is a 5 day / 4 night desert crossing from Birdsville to Mt Dare. We’ll take the scenic route to Birdsville, and from Mt Dare, seeing a good portion of outback QLD and SA.
From Birdsville to Mt Dare we may run 2 separate convoys 30-60minutes apart to help minimise traffic congestion. The 2 convoys would meet up to camp each night.
After completing the desert crossing some may wish to leave the convoy on their own trip if they are able to take the extra time to travel further west to Uluru, or further south to Coober Pedy.
Trip start location options – meet up:
  1. by 12pm Thu 6 April, Nindigully Pub
  2. by 6pm Sat 8 April at Charlotte Plains
  3. by 6pm Sun 9 April at Windorah
  4. by 6pm Mon 10 April at Birdsville
Outback Pub Crawl – on this trip you’ll get to enjoy lunch, dinner or a quick drink at some iconic outback pubs, including the Nindigully Pub, Betoota Hotel, the Birdsville Hotel, Mt Dare Hotel, William Creek Hotel, Innamincka Hotel, Noccundra Hotel, and the Eromanga Hotel.
Draft Itinerary:
  1. Thu 6 – Nindigully lunch, arrive Charlotte Plains
  2. Fri 7 – Charlotte plains (Good Friday)
  3. Sat 8 – Charlotte plains
  4. Sun 9 – head for Windorah via Quilpie
  5. Mon 10 – head for Birdsville via Betoota pub lunch
  6. Tue 11 – Simpson camp 1 – QAA line – need to book camping permit
  7. Wed 12 – Simpson camp 2 – French line
  8. Thu 13 – Simpson camp 3 – French line
  9. Fri  14 – Dalhousie Springs camp – need to book camping permit
  10. Sat 15 – relaxed start, depart lunchtime for Mt Dare hotel, fuel & pub dinner
  11. Sun 16 – head to Lamberts Geographic centre, then head towards Marla to camp
  12. Mon 17 – Painted Desert Road, Oodnadatta, William Creek Hotel, then Halligan Bay Lake Eyre – need to book camping permit
  13. Tue 18 – relaxed start, short drive to Farina Ruins
  14. Wed 19 – Strzelecki track, via Leigh Creek super market and Flinders Ranges
  15. Thu 20 – Innamincka, Dig Tree and then Noccundra Hotel pub dinner.
  16. Fri 21 – Eromanga dinosaurs and pub lunch, then on to Hell Hole Gorge NP and/or Mariala NP
  17. Sat 22 – Mariala Rockpools, Charleville, then overnight at Morven
  18. Sun 23 – arrive home
  19. Mon 24 – take a day off
  20. Tue 25 – ANZAC day
Before booking this trip please review the following.
  • SA Desert Parks Pass required – 12 month pass, $182 (or $117 renewal of previous pass)
  • High Clearance Vehicles
  • No trailers or caravans
  • No Pets – we will be traversing National Parks
  • Driving in the outback
  • Insurance / Recovery costs – Club 4×4 insurance / remote recovery highly recommended in the case of mechanical breakdown. If insured elsewhere, double check your coverage, and have a recovery plan & funds.
  • Fuel and Water – ability for you to carry enough for your vehicle and the number of people, with enough spare for contingency.
  • Food – there are not many supermarkets where we’re going (unless you plan to divert to Coober Pedy). There will be opportunity for some pub meals and roadhouse supplies – so plan to bring enough food supplies to last the whole trip.
  • Spares
  • Other advice:
    • Minimise the weight your vehicle will carry whereever possible, this will lower the risk of damage, improve fuel consumption, etc
    • Minimise how much is on your roof racks, to minimise potential damage
    • Tell your mechanic where you’re going and when and have your vehicle fully inspected for a desert trip with enough time to spare to resolve any issues found.


Apr 6 2023 @ 8:00 am
Apr 23 2023 @ 5:00 pm
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