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Simpson Desert

The Simpson Desert is an erg which contains the world's longest parallel sand dunes, about 1200 of them running 800km long. These north-south oriented dunes are static, held in position by vegetation. They vary in height from 3 metres in the west to around 30 metres on the eastern side. The largest dune, Nappanerica, is 40 metres in height. We travelled East West from Birdsville, QAA line, Poepple corner, French Line, K1 Line, WAA line, Lone gum tree, Purni Bore, Dalhousie spring & Mt Dare.
FoxRoo travel route. Brisbane-Charlesville-Birdsville-Simpson Desert-Mt Dare
Simpson Desert route from Birdsville - QAA Line - Poeppel Corner - French Line - K1 Line - French Line - Knoll Track - WAA Line - Erabena Track - Lone Gum tree - WAA Line - Rig Road - French Line - Purni Bore - Dalhousie Springs - Mt Dare.
5th-18th May 2017

After leaving Brisbane stayed a night at Judd's Lagoon before Roma, then another night somewhere offroad after Charlesville. We spend 3rd night on the bank of Coopers Creek just before Windorah.

The road from Windorah to Birdsville is gravel but flat, corrugated at places.
It is open view, hardly any vegetation. And during wet season, it is muddy and can be closed for days.
The arrow dutiful tells you there is a hole in the Mt Henderson, which otherwise one would never notice.
Deon's Lookout. Few hundreds meter off the main road, this lookout gives a panoramic view all around.
At the moment convoy is made up of 3 Canters with Dan & Faye (FG637), Henny & Steve (FG637), Brij & Fedra (FG649 in FoxRoo). At Birdsville we will join Rob & Ann in Walkabout (Isuzu NPS300), Trevor & Geoff in 2 Prado.
View from Deon's Lookout. We spent sometime admiring the view.
Spent the night at free campground just before entering the Birdsville along the Diamantina river. Here Rob & Ann in their Isuzu (Walkabout III) joined our convoy
Sunset on the fringe of the desert was beautiful - more such views to come.
It is like canvas is the sky and nature has started painting.
Next day moved to Birdsville campground to top up fuel, water etc. And here Trevor and Geoff joined the convoy in their 2 Prados.
10th May - Customary photo at iconic Birdsville Hotel at the start or at end of the desert crossing. We are now 6 vehicles convoy, 3 Mitsubishi Canters FG637 & FG649 4x4, 1 Isuzu NPS 300 and 2 Prados.
Eagle looks small on the top of red dune but it was quite big.
After couple of tries and at right low tyre pressure & low range finally reached on the top. But still needed to lower the pressure down to 24 PSI.
Another tradition to take photo on the top of the dune.
View from red dune, it is just beautiful.
Looking west from the red dune - QAA line. This is the direction we would be heading.
Journey starts on QAA line. Another 1100+ dunes to go. How did they count it?
After crossing numerous dunes, settled for the night before QAA line left turn on to K1 line.
Incidently it was full moon in our first night in Simpson desert. It is difficult to capture the beautiful view with camera in moon light but with naked eyes it was just amazing. And it was pin drop silence all around.
A zoom gave the majestic view of the moon. Tonight Moon's South is facing upward and the North downwards,
Saw few Emu roaming around the campground but run away if go closer.
11th May
Next morning continued on QAA Line heading west.
When going up the dune we were maintaining some distance from the truck in the front, in case it has to reverse back. But didn't happen in our trip.
From QAA Line we turned left on K1 line and ran parralel a huge salt lake for several kilometers. We disengaged low range and sped across the hard salty stuff at 80km/hr.
And we could see many camel foot prints all along. These looked fresh but couldn't see camels anywhere as far as we could see.
There is well signed post at K1 & French Line turn.
We stopped on French line for some photos.
Poeppel Corner is few hundred meters off (north) the French Line. Spent few hours at Poepple Corner.
Back to French Line, turn right and there is Poeppel Salt Lake to cross.
Just drive on the well trodden track. Outside the track can be deceptively wet and boggy, very risky.
Found a spot on French Line for the night where all 6 vehicles could fit.
View around the camping spot from a small dune.
Sun seems to be going down quickly and shadows are getting longer at the same rate.
A dingo near our camp. Always on the move, and after sniffing around for a while it dissappeared in to the bush.
Next morning another dingo followed us for sometime with a begging look. It looked skinny and starving, sadly have to leave that to lady luck.
T junctions of French Line & Knoll Track - few sign boards here. We are now leaving French line and turning left on to Knoll Track.
Approdina Knoll is about 4km from here. The sandy Knoll track have lots of salt rocks spread across and couldn't pick up the speed. Going was bit slower (and annoying) than previous track.
Approdina Knoll car parking.
The small hill is about 15min walk from the car park to the top.
From the hill top, looking back to car park.
View is 360 degree and can see far away. Trevor glancing over the horizon. He was our scout, always driving in the front of the convoy announcing our arrival on UHF when going up the dunes or warning us to look out for hole on the track.
It was good break roaming around the hill top.
Down this track, we came to T Junction of Knoll Track & WAA Line, and then later we reached crossing of Erabena & WAA Lines. We turned left on to Erabena Track towards Lone Gum Tree.
After traveling about 4-5km we decided to stop for the night. We found a good clear spot for our 6 vehicle convoy. And Dan started the camp fire.
Moon still looked full from 2 nights ago. Fedra liked to hold it on her palm.
Nothing like campfire and chat over hot meal and drinks.
Next day reached Lone Gum tree and spent sometime there.
Actually the tree is not alone anymore, it has few companions now. Branches are planted around from the same tree. Looks like they get enough water, survived and growing.
From Lone gum tree we back tracked on Erabena Track and from WAA crossing turned left on WAA Line.
Passed another skinny looking dingo. They are always on the move, glancing at us occasionally.
WAA Line is not well travelled espcially early in the season. Sand is very soft and have hidden holes near the dune top. One of the truck got stuck going up the dune and showels came out.
A lunch break on WAA line.
On western side WAA line meets Rig Road coming from south and then continue as Rig Road now. We found a good spot for the night.
Time for camp fire.
And then the sunset.
Sunset is generating some good colors.
And sunrise over the Rig Road camping spot. It was freezing cold.
Continuing on Rig Road, which then turns sharp north and meet the French Line. We stopped at T Junction of Rig Road and French Line for some photo ops on a dune on French Line.
This is French Line track running East, doesn't look like much traffic has passed yet.
Great view all around from the dune.
Reached Purni Bore early evening and setup the camp. There is warm shower stall as well, bore pressure fills the tank above and then to shower stall.
It was not that cold here like in the desert but camp fire was a must.
The artificial Purni Bore has created a wetland busy with birdlife. Heard sometime camels also come here but we still didn't see them.
Up to now we had crossed most of the 1100 dunes (no, we didn't count them). Time for some play on a small dune.
Photo ops for big trucks on small dune.
French Line passess through a very salty creek. Salt is heavely crystallizes almost everywhere.
And strangely fishes can be found, though dead.
Spent sometime there exploring around. Lots of birdlife here.
We had 15km detour from French Line to see a lookout. Not very spectacular.
Reached Dalhousie Springs sometime after midday. It was quite dusty and wind was making it worse. Lots of flies but as usual dissapeared after sunset. We spent 2 nights here.
And that's what it is famous for - this warm spring is an oasis in the outback. It is not very deep, most of the places can just walk through.
And sunset with amazing colors.
There is good walk near and around the campground. And a small hill top to have view over the flat span of desert.
After 2 nights stay at Dalhousie Springs, we moved towards Mt Dare and passed through Dalhousie Homestead Ruins.
The Dalhousie homestead buildings were constructed from springs limestone. The buildings were built sometime between 1872 and 1885.
This small settlement consisted of the homestead, a shed, workmen's quarters, blacksmith's shop and the stockyards.
The homestead is thought to be the earliest structure. The fence was erected to protect the building from being undermined by rabbits.
After Dalhousie ruins we passed through 3 O'Clock campsite. As soon as we stopped the place was buzzing with flies. All those fly cream doesn't work much. Fly nets are much better.
We settled here for the night. Flies were dissappearing slowly into the darkness.
Sunset brought beautiful colors in the sky and clouds.
Simply beautiful.
Becoming more beautiful
That dark spot is nothing but just a fly passed in front of mobile phone camera. Well timed - lol. Ok, just a fluke shot.
Next morning passed through Federal Ruins. At one time it was amalgated with Dalhousie Station under the same management along with Blood Creek.
And then the Blood Creek Station ruins.
Few remains from farm equipment.
The track near the Mt. Dare Hotel is very stony and corrugated.
18th May 2017
And finally 660km later from Birdsville, reached Mt Dare Hotel. FoxRoo burned 120L of diesel (or 18.20L/100km) on mostly low range. We stayed here one night and then 3 vehicles (FoxRoo, Walkabout III & Prado) drove towards Finke, Lambert Center, Chambers Valley, Rainbow Valley and beyond. Other 3 vehicles viz 2x Canters and Prado went back to Birdsville via Madigan Line.

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