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Simpson Desert, Hay River Track, East Macdonnell Ranges

May 27 @ 8:00 am Jun 14 @ 5:00 pm

The last 2 years in a row Jack has traversed the Simpson in search of a wild camel sighting but is yet to see a wild camel. This trip will traverse and criss cross the desert and explore an area in the North West of the desert so we can finally see the elusive wild camel.

  • Departing Sunday 26 May, for a,  19 – 20 day trip returning to Brisbane 14 or 15 June


Brisbane to Birdsville via the Adventure Way, Innamincka and through Cordillo Downs a 16000 square kilometre station which is home to Australia’s largest shearing shed. Birdsville to Popell Corner then North on the Hay River Track to the Plenty Highway and Jervois Station, on to Alice Springs, ( hopefully out to Ruby Gorge and the Ross River ? ) then from Alice Springs following the old Ghan railway stopping at Chambers Pillar and on to Finke a quick detour to Lamberts Geographical Centre and then to Mt Dare for a beer. From Mt Dare a 3 or 4 day crossing West to East involving the French Line, QAA & where ever we want really eventually getting back to Birdsville  and then onto the black top and head for home with a couple of pubs and camps on the way to finish up.

  • Trip Distance is 5500 Kilometres and a trip spread sheet is available if you email me at [email protected]. I will try to display the spread sheet in the coming weeks


  • We will traverse the Hay River Track South to North which has only been accessible for a few years and is rumored that it will be closed off again
  • This trip will also take in two nights in the East McDonnell Ranges staying at Ruby Gorge & Trephina Gorge & exploring the many gorges & rock art from here.
  • A camp at Chambers Pillar to see sunset on the 40 metre tall sandstone formation that is rumored to glow Red with the suns setting light
  • A West to East desert crossing from Mt Dare to Birdsville

Outback Pub Crawl – on this trip you’ll also 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, Innamincka Hotel, Noccundra Hotel, Eromanga Hotel and the Foxtrap Roadhouse

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.

Draft Itinerary: 

  1. Mon 27 – Nindigully
  2. Tue 28 – Thargominda
  3. Wed 29 – Innamincka – Dig Tree Burke & Wills
  4. Thur 30 – Head for Birdsville via Cordillo Downs
  5. Fri 31 –Simpson camp 1 – Popell Corner
  6. Sat 1 – Simpson camp 2 – Hay River Track, Madigan Camp 15
  7. Sun 2 – Simpson camp 3 – Hay River Track – Dingo Well
  8. Mon 3 – Jervois Station – Batton Hill Campground
  9. Tue 4 – East MacDonnell Ranges, Ruby Gorge
  10. Wed 5 – Trephina Gorge
  11. Thur 6 – Titjukula – Chambers Pillar
  12. Fri 7 – Lambert Centre, Finke, Mt Dare
  13. Sat 8 – Dalhousie Springs swim– Simpson camp 1
  14. Sun 9 –Simpson camp 2
  15. Mon 10 -Simpson camp 3
  16. Tue 11 – Birdsville
  17. Wed 12 – Beetoota, Windorah, Eromanga
  18. Thu 13 – Cooladi, Charleville, Morven
  19. Fri 14 – Brisbane
  20. Sat 15 –
  21. Sun 16 –

Before booking this trip please review the following.

  • SA Desert Parks Pass required 12 month pass, $191 (or $123 renewal of previous pass)
  • Central Land Council Permit for the Hay River Track $240.00 
  • NT Parks access permit $30.00 per person
  • NT Parks camping permits $10.00 per night x 3
  • 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 . There will be opportunity for some pub meals and roadhouse supplies, smaller shops along the way– so plan to bring enough food supplies to last until Alice Springs as a shop can be done when there, or for 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.


May 27 @ 8:00 am
Jun 14 @ 5:00 pm
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Who's coming?

12 people are attending Simpson Desert, Hay River Track, East Macdonnell Ranges

Jack Bosgraaf

Darryl Drake

Chris Sanson

David O'Connell

Andrew Keegan

Craig Barron

Gary Elwood

Nick Miller

Niel van der Merwe

Mark Hastings

Reuben Bradley