brendale manager darren's parents took on the simpson
Well we finally did our desert trip and loved it...
Stored our caravan in Alice Springs at Temple Bar Caravan Park about 14km from town, loaded the Nissan Patrol and headed off to Chambers Pillar where we spent our first night camped under the stars. It was a cold clear night so the sky was just awash with stars, such a site to behold when you are in the outback. Headed down the Old Ghan Track which was fun for Terry dodging the rail spikes which were left behind when they pulled the Ghan railway up (estimated 2.5 million of them along a 110km strip), and into the town of Finke.
Then out to Old Andado Station (Homestead), this was just amazing, Molly Clarke lived here since the fifties and after her husband died in a plane crash in 1978 she ran the cattle property by herself, then one day she just up and drove into Alice Springs and is now in a nursing home, I can't seem to find out just when this happened, think it might be in the last 5 years or so. She is in her eighties we believe and everything is still in the house although there is a lot of dust and cobwebs the vegemite jar and weet-bix are still in the kitchen cupboard. The best thing in the house was a lovely quilted bedspread on her bed. How she survived in this part of the desert with no mod cons is amazing, she must have been one tough old lady. There was about 8-10 people camped on the property here and employed by Tri Star Explorations who were drilling for brown coal within an hour from the property, this is a US company so we were told. Camped the night here in a dusty donga...
Next day down the Binns Track which was a pretty good road until we got to the S.A. border then it turned into a track and into Mt. Dare Hotel. As this was Mothers Day, Terry was going to buy me lunch, however we only had a choice of pies, mini pizza or sandwiches, so I opted for a toasted ham, cheese, and tomato with a glass of Sav Blanc which was very nice. After lunch we headed down to Dalhousie Springs, this road was terrible along the gibber plains (small rocks) had a great swim here in the enormous natural spring fed billabong (water temperature was 38 degrees), such a lovely spot. We met a couple of guys (Mike and Darren) here from SA who were travelling across to Birdsville and asked if they could tag along with us to cross the Simpson.
After a cold night we headed off along the French Line to Poeppel Corner, then the K1 Line and QAA Line into Birdsville, which completed our crossing of the Simpson Desert (450km). This took us 3 nights and 4 days to complete. One morning was down to 0.5 degrees,so we were glad to be in our tent, we had lovely sunny days and clear skies, saw some dingos, a camel, rabbit, and a fox walked into camp one night. The desert was lovely and green with lots of wildflowers, some of the foliage was so close to the track that our vehicle had lots of bush pin stripping on it. The hundreds of sand dunes were no problem for our TJM Equipped Patrol and Terry's great driving, in fact he thought it was going to be much more challenging. I did get behind the wheel for a few of the sand dunes just to see what it was like (only a couple of kms). Terry made it up Big Red (highest sand dune) and there is still water on the other side left over from the flooding from last year. We have now done the three corners of Oz, Camerons, Haddons and Poeppels. Also enjoyed the company of our new friends Mike and Darren.
Stayed the night in Birdsville then onto Bedourie, Boulia and along the Donohue Hwy to NT and along the Plenty Hwy which was mostly a good graded road with a few patches of corrugations, camped under the stars once again along here before returning to Alice Springs to our cosy little caravan. Terry has now cleaned and polished the vehicle, so is happy again.
It was a great trip and so glad we have now done it. Once we leave Alice next week will head up to Darwin.
Lyn & Terry