Exploring the Simpson Desert

Exploring the Simpson Desert

December 6, 2022 Club Magazine 0

August 2022

Attending in no particular order

Penny and Spence – Toyota LC 76

Ivo – Toyota LC 76

Lin – Toyota LC FJ

Shane and Emily -Toyota LC Triton

Dave – Toyota LC Prado

Peter and Malou – Toyota LC 76

Keith – Toyota LC Ranger

Alex – Toyota LC 79

The meeting point for this awesome trip was at The Lakes Roadhouse. Funny enough, the 2 non Toyota members had planned to meet up with us on the road, we had a guy in a Land Rover think we were a Landcruiser Club. Right, we are on the way.

The first nights stay was at the Widgie Tavern, great food but an interesting nights sleep. The camping area was near the road way. Throughout the night, as the trucks were driving past, it literally felt like we were sleeping on the road. The feeling that we may get run over at any time. lol

Leaving Widgie, and after another full day driving, the night’s stay was at the Madura Caravan Park. While some of us camped in the back corner, others “camped” in chalets. We suspect this is where Spence caught the “funny cough” and passed it on to Penny.

Day 3. The day we crossed the Nullabor and entered into South Australia.

The nights accommodation was at the Big 4 caravan park in Ceduna. The group had separated whilst on the way in, due to some needing fuel while others didn’t. This gave us a great little opportunity to check out the jetty and its amazing sunset.

Taking advantage of the facilities, a nice hot shower, clothes washing and a nice kitchen was a treat. Tomorrow was the the day we started the Googs track. We would be 3 days out before being in some type of civilization.

Googs Track and Googs Lake

Googs Track

A trip down Googs Track takes you from Ceduna to the Trans Australian Railway and the exit point is East to Kingoonya.  It is known as a “mini Simpson” due to the over 300 sand dunes.  For our group that made it good practice for the real Simpson, and after the Nullarbor we were keen to get off-road.

It’s a very pretty track, although the warnings on the entry gate don’t look to welcoming, and Keith managed to get Blue Ranger dirty in the 1st 5 minutes.

Before too long we were into the sand hills, but nothing gave the group any real problems once we had the right tyre pressures.

We took a break for lunch at Googs Lake – awesome little spot.  We stopped at the Denton memorial, grabbed some lunch, and then huddled on the little island for a photo shot – being careful not to get our feet wet.

More sand dunes took us through to Mt Finke and our camp for the night.

The next day, since we were next to Mt Finke, Ivo of course had to climb to the top, accompanied by Peter.  Some of us made it half way up then gave up, but even then the views were great.  For us, the next discovery was not so much fun – Spence tested positive for Covid in the middle of nowhere, and I (Penny) followed closely.  We spent the evening at a safe distance from the rest of the group.

The next morning we made our way out. The track closed in a little more but was still an awesome drive and well worth the trip.

Story by Penny.

Kingoonya, a 3 horse town, where we saw 3 horses roaming around freely, where ever they wanted. It’s also where Penny and Spence had separated from the group and headed for Port Augusta for a bit of R&R, for the rest of us, a fuel stop for the cars and our tum tums before heading to Coober Pedy.

We had great weather until now, as we were leaving, a nice BIG grey cloud appeared, aswell as the rain and the wind.

Sadly, we had to stop and air up before hitting the bitumen, at the same time, the grey clouds decided to lighten its load and drop some water bullets.

Coober Pedy

The weather driving into Coober Pedy was a little rough, with strong winds and rain. The plan was to stay at the Oasis Caravan Park, which we did, while most were staying in the chalets, Lin and Dave planned to tent. The weather certainly changed that, and the staff were very accommodating, finding inside accommodation for everyone. The yummy dinner was at the Bar and Grill, followed by checking out the underground churches.

The following day, had us exploring Tom’s Opal Mine, and stopping past one of the props used in a Mad Max movie.

Oodnadatta, here we come

Oodnadatta and the Pink Roadhouse

Oodnadatta, a tiny town with a Pink Roadhouse, something different, and you guessed it, everything is pink.

Its a nice and quite town, with loud music playing up until 3am, and the mornings sunrise was spectacular.

As soon as the shop was open, we coffee’d ourselves up for Mt Dare, then Dalhousie Springs.

Mt Dare and the Ruins

The drive into Mt Dare was a very corrugated one. One of the spotties on Shane’s Triton had snapped off, sheared at the lower part of the bracket. The track into Mt Dare had us drive past an old ruin, the Dalhousie Ruins, where there was a lone grave.

Continuing into Mt Dare for fuel, @ $3.05/L for diesel, followed by a lunch stop, we headed for tonights camp stop. Dalhousie Springs.

Dalhousie Springs

Wow, what an amazing place. The natural spring sits at around 38-42 degrees all year round. There are little fish swimming around, that are about 30mm long. If you’re still enough, the little fish will come and nibble on your skin. It’s a weird feeling.

As you know, Penny and Spence had to divert to Port Augusta, and as most know, Penny will always jump in for a swim, weather its the freezing water of Augusta or the boiling hot spa at her house, Penny would have been in this Spring without a doubt.

Shane had a little tribute swim for Penny.

Click on the link below to see a short “Swim for Penny” vid

Simson Desert and Big Red

Finally, we are here. We had travelled a long way to take the Simpson Desert and Big Red, and we conquered it all. From seeing a wild camel, to a dingo, wild winds out of nowhere, salt lakes and of course a couple sand dunes ………(more like a thousand dunes)


After having our BBQ On Big Red we had a short drive into Birdsville. Thank goodness for the phone reception and civilisation after a long three days in the Simpson Desert. We checked into our camp for the next 2 nights and got set up, the facilities were really nice too! For dinner that night we all took a short walk and went to the Birdsville Hotel which had really good food and a great pub atmosphere. I’m sure Malou would agree that they served the best fish and chips! While waiting for dinner we witnessed a stunning sunset.

On our second day of Birdsville some of the group went off exploring everything there is to see around Birdsville while the others caught up on some much-needed rest, washing, and Facebook! We found out that the school in Birdsville which looked a decent size has only 3 students!  Dinner was so good on the first night that we all went back again for another meal, and once again the Birdsville hotel did not disappoint.

The next morning, we all met up at the Birdsville Bakery, which is well known for their Camel pies, they also have a wide range of sweet and savoury items as well as tasty coffee. After eating enough calories to last a week we headed off on our travels for the day.

Story by Emily.

Edeowie Station, Flinders Rangers

Edeowie station was our meeting place to catch up with Penny and Spence who had already found a perfect camping spot with an awesome view of the Flinders ranges. With plenty of room to ourselves we spread out and setup our camp for the next 2 days. We were fortunate enough to have a loo with a view not too far away, with a poem on the inside of the door.

From here, with Penny and Spence leading the way, we were able to go and explore the Flinders Rangers including Wilpena pound, which is known as the crowning jewel of the Flinders Rangers. We stopped at the Razor Back lookout to take in some stunning views.

Lunch time was a stop at Blinman bakery where they had beautiful pies and a flushing toilet. It was a good opportunity to have a quick look around the town.

The Flinders Ranges has a wide range of sites to see, from driving through beautiful gorges to walks visiting ancient Aboriginal rock art.

Edeowie Station Flinders Rangers – Shane

Skytrek Willow

Skyrek Station in Willow Springs, what can I say, its just an awesome station with its own 4wd track around it. The station has a big 4wd track around it exploring many things like Aboriginal Rock Art, to a little bit of history of the original staion owners, the flora and fauna. At best, I would rate this as a 3.

Then there is the 4wd track, easily rate this as a 4 and I would think maybe a 5 in the wet. You are warned before tackling this part of the track as its not for the faint hearted.

Smoky Bay 31st August 2022

After leaving Sky Trek Willow Springs, we made our way to Smoky Bay arriving at 4pm. We sorted out all of the cabins and rooms, with Dave and Lin deciding to tough it out camping once again. This was to be one of our fishing spots so Dave, Emily and myself made our way down to the jetty that seemed to stretch for miles.

It wasn’t long before Dave pulled up a squid, Emily caught a Herring, and I caught a crab of unknown breed. The wind was a bit chilly so we decided to join the others at the local clubrooms for dinner.

Pizza and drinks were the order of the night. For some of us the return journey to the caravan park was funny for many different reasons.

The next morning was a chance to take a short stroll from our cabin to the jetty to get some morning shots as the sun rose over Smoky Bay.  We then headed off to the whale center.

Story by Shane

Great Australian Bite

South Australian Whale Centre

1st September 2022 – Emily Curline

On the way across the Nullarbor we drove past the Whale centre and decided to explore it further on our way home. We left Smoky bay and headed for the Whale centre, stopping at some scenic lookouts along the way of course. We all purchased our admission tickets and began the stunning short walk towards the ocean.

It was a beautiful sunny day making it the perfect conditions to do some whale watching, at first we noticed some ‘rocks’ in the water which we later realised were a cow (female whale) and its calf. There were two different lookouts to walk to and they were all equally as stunning.

We then proceeded to the third lookout which had an amazing view of the crystal waters and cliff edge. It was from this lookout that we saw more whales including one calf in the distance flapping its tail in the waves. I was able to capture some stunning photos of the whales!

We headed off to another lookout where we were able to see the stunning coastline known as the Great Australian Bight. Then the convoy travelled through to Mundrabilla for the night.

Story by Emily

SIMPSON DESERT TRIP 13.8.22 – 3.9.2022

This was a long but very interesting trip –and good friends and nice people made the trip amazing

Western Australia and South Australia both have a beauty in there own rights

South Australia has a combination of sandy tracks and beautiful mountain ranges ie Flinders and very interesting vegetation and also the time difference

Rainy weather and cold nights but sunny days including a very windy sandy storm we had one night to our surprise this all makes South Australia different

I always had the Simpson Desert on my bucket list and really enjoyed the trip

Big thanks to Penny and Spence for such a well organized and creative trip – all well planned and which we all enjoyed


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