1100 sand dunes and still counting

I’ve just returned from one of our “escape from the madding crowd” holidays.

The Simpson Desert is in the north eastern corner of South Australia and into Queensland & the Northern Territory

This time we ticked off one of the wishes on my husband’s bucket list.

Over the years we have travelled the Birdsville & Oodnadatta tracks many times but we had never made the connection between the two by crossing the Simpson desert.

The iconic Australian 4WD track crosses the Simpson Desert from Birdsville to Dalhousie Springs

So this year we took a 17 day break from work to head “bush”  to drive across the Simpson Desert, one of the iconic Australian 4WD tracks.

The first of 10 nights sleeping on the ground in a tent

We drove from Melbourne to started our camping trip in Birdsville.

We camped alongside the Birdsville billabong where you are sometimes lucky to find plenty of water, and bird life.

As there isn’t a town, or petrol station, between Birdsville in the east and Mt Dare,  514 km to the west,  this trip required us to be self-sufficient with water, food and fuel for at least 5 days.

Not only the fridge & kitchen sink but 80 litres of water, 210 litres of petrol and enough food for 10+ days

I had been a little apprehensive about the isolation of the trip but, from past experience, I knew that if something went wrong there would always be another traveller coming by within a day.

One sand dune crossed, 1099 to go!

Little did I realise how true this would be! I think we passed, and spoke to, more people on the road in the four days, crossing the Simpson Desert, than we have met on any of our other bush camping, escape work trips.

Sand dunes as far as the eye can see

The difference on this trip was the knowledge that there isn’t any internet access in the area, and no telephone service for emergencies unless you had hired a satellite phone from Birdsville, or Mt Dare.

Fortunately we didn’t need to use our “Sat” phone, but we did meet a group who had had to use their’s to call for medical help when one of their party broke a leg 160 km, or more, out of Birdsville.

The poached egg daisies were prolific on top of all the dunes

Once I realised how “busy” the road was going to be I couldn’t resist counting cars and motor bikes (and bird life):

  • Day One:  18 vehicles
  • Day Two:  27 cars & 6 motor bikes
  • Day Three:  5 cars,  (plus 2 Black Shouldered Kites & 5 Wedgetail Eagle sightings)
  • Day Four:  24 cars  (plus 1 wedgetail eagle & 2 Australian Bustards, “bush turkeys” )
  • Day Five:  Stopped counting as we were back on maintained roads, driving between Dalhousie Springs and Mt Dare.

Every day we saw budgerigars,  zebra finches, willy wagtails, blue wrens and a variety of other small birds, and large raptors, in numbers too great to count.

The early explorers were wrong when they thought that they would find an inland sea but there are plenty of salt lakes that catch water briefly

Apologies for this post not being truly textile related.

I didn’t take any sewing with me as I knew how dusty, and rough, the roads would be, and that the light would not be bright enough to stitch at night, but I think I have a collection of photos for landscape quilts that will keep me occupied for a long time.

I loved the reflected colours after the sun had set

Although the actual Simpson Desert crossing was the reason for the trip, it was only 4 days out of the 17 day holiday.

So don’t forget to pop back regularly to see future posts about the inspiration from the colours of inland Australia and women’s life in the outback.

Did I mention that I took 705 photos in the 17 day trip?

5 Responses

  1. […] promised to write more about our outback great escape from work holiday and I’ve been keeping this story for Tuesday […]

  2. […] of course I couldn’t take a project with a white background fabric on our desert camping trip in August … all that red dust would not have been good for my embroidery … it was bad […]

  3. […] promised to write more about our outback holiday and thought that you would enjoy seeing a little about the textile treasures I saw at old Andado. […]

  4. The outback is a beautiful place, but a hard place if you are not prepared for it.

    • Hi Helen, I agree. Travelling through the outback requires careful preparation and people living there have to be very resourceful.

      Watch for my post about Molly Clark at “Old Andado”

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