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The Central Simpson Desert, Australia

My portfolio has a number of rare images of the inner Simpson Desert, which according to notes I have read is 178,000 sq km’s.
A search on “Simpson Desert” will bring up most of my desert images. These images show areas of the Simpson only seen by a small number of adventurous travelers.

We have had great times combining photography and 4 wheel driving.. These trips have been described in 4×4 publications as “Hardcore Touring”

Our small group along with our specially prepared 4 wheel drives have made two crossings over 2 years of the wilderness areas of the Simpson Desert.

There is an established route that is easily followed that can be found at the south end of the desert. This east west route was blazed by early oil exploration companies. Known as the French Line after French Petroleum,and the QAA Line, we consider this the “popular tourist” route as you are likely to pass another oncoming traveler in the course of a week.

Our trips were “cross country” without any track to follow, however the Hay River route has now become more readily defined, but is still one of the most remote wilderness areas to travel in Australia
The first trip was the Hay River which took us through the North Simpson Desert,via Lake Caroline and up to Batton Hill.
The second was a west to east starting at Old Andado Station crossing the desert following the Madigan Line using GPS co ordinates. Cecil Madigan in 1939 crossed this section of the desert by camel undertaking a scientific exploration.

The Simpson Desert features parallel sand hills running roughly north south, that can be hundreds of km’s in length.
These sand hill are around 30mt high, with the top section being the “live” top that moves and shapes in the winds.
The rich red sand is very smooth and soft, very powder like and it’s rich colour varies in changing light from red, redy brown to iridescent orange.

These sandhill or dunes are roughly half a km apart, with a spinifex valley in between. The Simpson has 1,100 of these sandhills running across it north to south. Traveling west to east we have crossed every one of these.

The Hay River flows after seasonal rains and is a ribbon of green life from north to south through the middle of the desert.

These cross country trips were very arduous, some days only covering 50km. We had to be totally self sufficient, and as an example we carried 110lt of water and 420lt of fuel.
We also undertook the trip on the understanding that if any of our vehicles could not be kept operational due to major part failure, that the unit would be left behind and another special recovery trip made later with the required parts and team members. This meant each member had to budget for a $5,000 recovery operation should it be needed. Towing out a failed vehicle would only result in serious damage and to the tow vehicle and result in 2 vehicles being not operational.
Our group is known as LCOOL. LandCruiser Owners On Line and all our trips and meeting points are arranged on the internet.

Journal Comments

  • Wendy  Slee
  • ingo
  • Joe Mortelliti
  • margo
  • Kelly McGill
  • Darren Stones
  • robert murray
  • Neil