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darvidanoar Profile
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Date Registered: 07-2013
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
TOTAL POSTS: 66
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Birdsville Trip


Hi All

I thought I’d share, while it’s still fairly fresh in my head.

I took holidays in the last two weeks of October with the plan of heading out to Birdsville and seeing outback Queensland. Spring warmed up a little early this year, but it was difficult enough to get leave from work, so I knew I'd just have to suck it up :-) As my wife wasn't interested in swealtering in the outback, I got to have a boys own adventure all on my own. Woohoo!

The setup I went with was fairly basic. An esky with no ice; the intention being a place to store food like bread etc so that it wouldn't sweat in the heat of the car. When I go camping, I usually take chunky tinned soups, noodles, muesli, and anything else that will keep unrefridgerated. I supplemented this with the occasional pub dinner. As I was on my own, I had the option to sleep in the back of the X-Trail if I felt so extraordinarily lazy that I couldn't even toss the popup tent on the ground (or if it rained :-).
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I had a few last minute things to do on the day I embarked, so after a late start my first stop was the free camp at the Chinchilla wier and the next day it was off to Charelville. I didn't stop much along the way as my wife and I had done the trip to Charleville a few years ago.


I headed off on the Diamantina Dev road to Quiplie the next morning, stopping along the way at the FoxTrap roadhouse for a ginger beer and a rest. While I was at Quilpie, I took a run out to Lake Houdraman and explored all the tracks around there (any excuse to stay in the aircon and avoid the 40+ temperature :-). The info centre told me Baldy Top was the place to be at sunset and they sure were right.
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The caravan park at Quilpie was a good place to stop at with great facilities and was a nice place to rest up. In the middle of the day, my cheapie home made awning came in very handy.
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Next stop was Windorah. I stayed at the caravan park, rather the\an the free camp site just outside town as it was just $5 per night for an unpowered site ($10 for powered) with a bran new facilities building (showers, toilet, laundry). On the east side of Windorah is a 12km ‘Nature Drive’ that starts just outside town and ends at Cooper’s Creek. You basically drive along a dirt track and there are signposts to tell you what you are looking at (spinifex, bloodwood tree, coolabah tree etc) and I found this useful later as I was able to identify what I was looking at. At one point I had to get out of the car and open a gate ... wow, the heat on that red sand was so intense, it felt like I was standing in front of a furnace and I could really understand how you could lose your life quickly without shade and water.

I popped by the Windorah info centre to check on the road condition and the girls told me the road was very stony and badly corrugated and that I could expect to be travelling at around 60-70km/h the whole way. Also, being the end of the tourist season, they said if I get stuck, it could be a couple of days before somebody finds me as there was almost no traffic moving out along there. They told me to take plenty of water, at least 30 litres, and I could certainly understand why as I has found myself drinking plenty on that very hot day. Now, being very green (and not ever having seen first-hand an outback dirt road), I chickened out and decided to stay on the Diamantina Development Road and travel to Birdsville via Bedourie, which was an extra couple of hundred kilometres. The unsealed Diamantina Development Road was in great condition and such a great run with plenty of scenery changes (clay pan, channel country, grassland, desert etc) and I stopped many times to take photos along the way.
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When I arrived at Birdsville, I discovered from a fellow traveller that the Birdsville Development Road was actually in quite good condition, so I needn't have worried (damn!). There were plenty of tracks on the outskirts of town to explore, as well as the Burke and Wills tree to see, and the Waddi trees to the north of town, but we all know the big drawcard :-). For the three nights I was there, the winds from the south were blowing furiously, bringing the daytime temperatures down to the mid 30s (thank goodness!). On my first attempt to see the Big Red, it was so very windy, and the dust in the air at times reduced visibility to almost nothing at times, so I turned back to try again later. The second attempt was a nice easy run and after reducing the tyre pressue to 18PSI, the X-Trail cruised up with the greatest of ease.

VIDEO: Trekking out to the edge of the Simpson Desert
VIDEO: Climbing the red dune

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When I left Birdsville to head for Bedourie and Boulia, I took the Lake Machatte detour. It was a little rough in places, but not too bad, and there were some great spinifex covered dunes to see, making it interesting and worthwhile. This road takes you within a couple of km of the lake and apparently you can see it from the road, but sadly I saw no sign to tell me when and where to look for it :-P


I travelled back home via Boulia, Winton, Longreach, Blackall, Tambo etc and on reflection, I think I would have been better off going back along the Birdsville Dev Road and maybe up through Jundah to Longreach ... maybe next time.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the read,

Last edited by darvidanoar, 6/Nov/2013, 3:37 pm


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David

Member No: X-3186
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6/Nov/2013, 1:08 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 08-2011
Location: Lalor Park, NSW
TOTAL POSTS: 1663
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Re: Birdsville Trip


Looks like a great trip David. It's really awesome out there isn't it. Nice videos too.
Don't mean to rain on your parade but you know the dune you climbed was Little Red not Big Red yeah? When you turned right at the top you would have been looking at Big Red around 300m to the north. Did you make it for a look there?
Climbing Little Red is still an achievement. It's only 'little' compared to the 40m high monster that is Big Red. So well done there emoticon

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Toddyh X-2048 (c)
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darvidanoar Profile
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Date Registered: 07-2013
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
TOTAL POSTS: 66
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Re: Birdsville Trip


Thanks Todd, yeah it was a really great trip and the countryside out there was absolutely stunning.

quote:

Don't mean to rain on your parade but you know the dune you climbed was Little Red not Big Red yeah?


Well, I figured that out after I returned home and re-read your trip report (doh!). I saw that track heading north and figured it was one of the tracks marked 'Private Track' on the hema map, so didn't venture up there out of respect to the landowner. It did make me wonder what the big deal was haha. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back out again ;-)

quote:

Climbing Little Red is still an achievement.


Thanks. I was pretty happy with that considering I'm so n00b and have almost zero 4WD experience; but I'm learning fast, step by step, thanks to the info being shared on this site.

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David

Member No: X-3186
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Date Registered: 08-2011
Location: Lalor Park, NSW
TOTAL POSTS: 1663
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Re: Birdsville Trip


quote:

darvidanoar wrote:

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back out again ;-)



That's the go. I'm still looking for excuses to go out again. emoticon

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Toddyh X-2048 (c)
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jalalski Profile
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Date Registered: 02-2004
Location: SUTHERLAND, SYDNEY
TOTAL POSTS: 29094
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Re:


We'll done Dave, good trip report and awesome pics!

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darvidanoar Profile
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Date Registered: 07-2013
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
TOTAL POSTS: 66
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Re: Birdsville Trip


Thanks Jalal.

Shame about the dodgy el-cheapo crashcam video footage. Maybe one day a go-pro will end up closer to the top of my 'must have' list :-)

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David

Member No: X-3186
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senior12 Profile
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Date Registered: 06-2013
TOTAL POSTS: 59
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Re: Birdsville Trip


Great report David. You did well to be out there on your own. Beautiful photos.

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21/Dec/2013, 1:19 pm Link to this post Send Email PM   Send Private Message Blog
 
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Date Registered: 07-2013
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
TOTAL POSTS: 66
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Re: Birdsville Trip


Well, Todd. It looks like I might be heading out there again this year. So, I'm looking forward to the chance to have a crack at the Big end of 'Red' :-)



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David

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Date Registered: 08-2011
Location: Lalor Park, NSW
TOTAL POSTS: 1663
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Re: Birdsville Trip


Good stuff David. Tyres down and you will make it easy.

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Toddyh X-2048 (c)
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Tasgandy Profile
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Date Registered: 02-2011
Location: The Grampians Victoria
TOTAL POSTS: 13
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Re: Birdsville Trip on your own


Hey Darvid I was very pleased to see / read your Birdsville Trip details, sounds like you had a very good time, good drive and as they say "if you don't go you'll never know". Great pics and video by the way Cobber. emoticon
Having moved from Tasmania to Country Victoria (Grampians area) I am planning a trip from Marree to Birdsville, then on to Charleville, Bourke and back down the map to Vic with a Mate of mine this coming June. However there is a chance that he may not make it, so having read your "Solo Trip" I've decided to do the same as you did last year.......go it alone.
Did you take a Sat. phone with you? did you take additional spare tires? where did you stay in Birdsville? Pub or Caravan Park/Cabin/Tent?

Has anyone traveled from Marree to Birdsville via the recently opened "inside track"?
I'm driving a 2005 X-Trail 5 sp manual Ti

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