our beautiful sunset on the previous day we also had a fabulous sunrise
for our last day crossing the desert. We started early so we would have
an easier time crossing the last day's dunes as they are higher on the
Birdsville side of the Simpson, and the sand is firmer if you start
before the day warms up when the sand becomes much softer.
. We reached Poeppel's Corner where the 3 States of Northern territory, South Australia and Queensland meet and I took a photo of the original marker as i had taken photos of the modern version on previous trip.
As we crossed one large sand dune we met a car which was traveling West (opposite to us), and they were stuck on a sand dune.
The men got the recovery gear out to tow them off where they were stuck.
Finally we reached Big Red, the largest sand dune in the Simpson Desert and the last one the scale before we reach Birdsville. If you are unable to drive up it, there are alternate routes but all the men love to have a play tackling the steepest slopes of Big Red. DSIL took the trailer off and had a ball tackling the slopes, after taking his pregnant DW up a more sedate version first. DD2 and I had fun filming and cheering them on.
Even the kids love the have a play rolling down the dunes while watching the cars attempt to make it to the top.
It's one of our favourite places and we're thinking we might do it again next year.
Hugs Jan Mac
Most people have a misconceived idea about the Simpson Desert and its landscape and expect all large sand dunes, like the Sahara. It varies a lot though with lots of sand dunes but also scrubby trees growing in between them and some areas of long grass. There are plenty of places to free camp and avoid other groups, despite being there at a busy time. This is a small hill which you can climb to overlook the surrounding area and salt lakes.
There are quite a few salt lakes on the eastern side and they need to be crossed carefully as they can have an apparently hard layer but it soon sinks to mud.
Our beautiful DD2 at 32 weeks pregnant. She handled the conditions well, although the track was much rougher than last year and on the rougher parts she rode in our car for a smoother ride. I'm a midwife and as she's had a very uneventful first pregnancy, and we had made the crossing 3 times, I was sure she would be fine. We were happy to have made the crossing though without any mishaps.
A lot of the sand dunes are like this, bare on top but grass on the slopes and between the dunes.
We brought our camper trailer so the expectant mother would have a comfortable bed.
It did mean that we had to help them over 4 or 5 dunes, which was a lot less than we expected. LOL
We saw some fabulous sunsets out in the desert.
We enjoyed it so much we are thinking of taking the trip again next year.
Hugs, Jan Mac
It took us 4 days to reach the Simpson Desert which is at the top of South Australia and runs across just under the Northern Territory border.
We swam in natural hot springs at Dalhousie Springs. It's a very large waterhole with plenty of room for tourists and we loved our time there.
We needed sand flags on our vehicles as the sand dunes are so high that you could be arriving at the top of a dune and not be able to see anyone coming from the other side. Radios are used to let oncoming traffic know that you are cresting a dune and we all keep a good look out for w=vehicles coming from the opposite direction.
We camped out in the desert for 4 nights and really enjoyed the solitude.
It was school holidays when we were there and the tracks were more difficult and there were more people there than usual but as DD2 is a teacher we didn't have much choice on when we could travel and the area is so large out there that there is plenty of room for everyone.
A major part of crossing the Simpson Desert is crossing over a thousand sand dunes and we took the French line again as it's the hardest and most enjoyable for the challenge of crossing dunes. We wanted to give DD2 and her DH a chance to see what the challenge was all about and their car performed magnificently. Normally we wouldn't recommend towing a camping trailer but as DD2 was 32 weeks pregnant we thought it was worth it so she could have a good night's rest. If the dunes were too hard on the French Line we had the option of crossing down to one of the easier tracks, but they managed well and I swapped cars with her when the dunes became a bit too challenging as our car handled the dunes better without towing a trailer. As you can see we had lovely daytime weather.
Hugs, Jan Mac
We're home again after a great trip across the Simpson Desert and we managed to fit in a lot of sights and experiences in less than two weeks. We found a painter was working on painting portraits of local farmers on small town wheat silos. They have been very popular and increased the number of tourists to these small outback towns.
We stayed the first night at Pink Lakes which is in the Sunset National Park in the northwest part of Victoria. Then we moved on to Farina where we enjoyed seeing all the old buildings, some of which are being restored.
The bakery of Farina is manned by volunteers for 8 weeks of the year and the money raised goes towards restoring the town buildings. They restored the bakery and use that to make bread, pies, pasties and cakes.
I love the old stone buildings in South Australia, which feature the lovely golden local stone.
We had a great trip but it's always good to be home again. Now I'll be busy catching up with the washing etc. More to share tomorrow.
Hugs, Jan Mac