Simpson Desert - Hay River 2009

Recommendations for our Next Trip


From the outset, this was an ambitious trip - we were moving most days (rest days were one in seven), leaving camp at 8am, and most days on the road until 4pm.  Pre trip meetings ensured that this was understood, and a 'practice' trip at Easter to the High Country was held.  Any touring holiday is a compromise between getting to camp early or achieving new destinations - and this trip was packed with destinations (and not forgetting that the journey in between them being just as important!)

If you are looking at our trip and wondering whether to do it (and in the same time frames), if you are ambitious, go for it - it can be done quite easily (we were lucky and all breakdowns seemed to be on rest days so the convoy was rarely affected).   If you want less time on the road each day, or more rest days, you will need to take more time.

Things we would definitely do the same include:

  • Hay River - absolutely beautiful, and changing scenery the whole way.   We took three days out of Birdsville and it was quite do-able, though we didn't take the turn to Lake Caroline (extra 20km).    You could easily spend another day.
  • Batton Hill Bush Tucker Camp - a great destination at the end of the Hay River - the tour was a little low on bush tucker (wrong season), but very high on cultural discussion
  • Iga Warta - excellent camp fire - aboriginal stories in native tongue and then again in English - would love to do the full bush dinner.  Rest day required
  • synchronising times on cameras - when sorting 7,300 photo's from five cameras, it was a whole lot easier if you could sort by date and time - and then delete/keep as required.
  • Take at least one spare shock front and rear - we only needed one, but it's small insurance for what could be a quite reasonable problem
  • Pub at Eulo is highly recommended - but if you camp, there are three roosters to contend with!
  • Boggy Hole was first class.   Lovely camp site about a km before the one marked on the map - on the left as you travel south, on the high ground - see photo's - you won't miss it

Things we would look at doing differently include:

  • An extra day at Uluru if you want to fully do both Uluru and the Olgas.   We had time for:
    • climbing Uluru
    • Sunset Viewing
    • Sunrise Viewing
    • Gorge walk at the Olgas
    • 10am tour of Uluru
    • Cultural Centre
We didn't have time for the Valley of the Winds walk at the Olgas, or the full walk around Uluru.   Above is just what our family did - other families did different activities - if you want to do more, you'll need two full days (we had less than 24 hours), but then again, as a good friend says "Always leave something for next time..."
  • An extra day at Alice Springs - much to see and do around the general area
  • We took some advice from Lindsay Bookie on a different route from Batton Hill to Ruby Gap.   Having confirmed the route on the map, we took it - to find that half way down the track, there was a gate with 'no through rd' on it - we had to turn back and go the original route (Cattlewater Pass), which was very nice - but the delay meant that we didn't make Ruby Gap - next time, either go through the gate (we were told afterwards that we should have ignored the sign), or just use Cattlewater Pass in which case we would have made Ruby Gap easily.

Things we might not do next time:
  • Come home so soon!