Jul 24 2017

The Simpson Desert Part 3

Day 3.  215k into the Simpson Desert

Simpson second camp_01My how things change, and in a short space of time.

From being cruisy and not in a hurry to get anywhere, I was up before dawn this morning, and straight into packing up. I wanted to get onto the dunes while they were still cool, because that’s the easiest time to drive them.

Though I wasn’t in that much of a hurry that I couldn’t relight last night’s campfire and make myself a coffee. Which I enjoyed while watching the first pink rays of the sun appear over the dunes.

I was on the road at 7.23 this morning. Still not really early, but that was just as the sun was appearing over the dunes. Sunrise isn’t too early either.

I’ve changed my course at the last moment twice today. And both times I paid for it.

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Jul 23 2017

Travelling the Simpson Desert. Part 2

Day 2. 155k into the Simpson Desert.

Simpson landscape_03Not being in any hurry, I lay in my swag and watched the sunrise. If only somebody was here to make me coffee! That’s the trouble with travelling on your own, you have to do everything yourself. Eventually I had to get up and make my own coffee, after relighting the fire from the night before.

After taking my time and having a look around I thought I’d better pack up and get on the road. As per usual with my travels, it was 9am before I got away. No sense in hurrying anything!

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/travelling-the-simpson-desert-part-2/

Jul 22 2017

What is it really like to drive across the Simpson Desert (part 1)

Day 1. 89k into the Simpson Desert

Simpson corrugationsI don’t like to admit it at the beginning of a trip, but I was a bit worried. I decided to come into Dalhousie from Oodnadatta rather than go through to Mount Dare. That meant an additional 130k worth of fuel usage before I started in the desert. I’d calculated that from Oodnadatta, based on all information I had, I would make it through the Simpson and have around 10 litres of petrol left when I got to Birdsville. Not a lot, and no room for error, but I was fairly confident. Sort of. The car had been using a lot of fuel before I got the head gasket fixed, but it was ok now. Wasn’t it? Problem is, if I ran out of fuel most other people passing would have diesel, so it might take a while before I could get any help.

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/what-is-it-really-like-to-drive-across-the-simpson-desert-part-1/

Jul 21 2017

Dalhousie Springs, an oasis in the desert

Kingfisher sprin Dalhousie_01Right on the western edge of the Simpson Desert Dalhousie Springs is either the first or the last point in a Simpson Crossing. And it  was where I was heading from Adelaide to start my desert adventure properly. Straight up the Ooodnadatta Track, past Lake Eyre, and on to the desert. Because of my enforced layover in Adelaide I had no time to stop anywhere. The Ooodnadatta Track would have to wait for another trip.

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Jul 04 2017

Adelaide – the world’s best wine regions (and not a bad place to be stranded)

20160726_080212So much for my triumphant setting off to go to the desert.

I got as far as Adelaide where I finally conceded. The car is at the mechanic’s getting a new head gasket.

Despite (or perhaps because of) driving 1700k in 2 days OK, the problem is getting worse. Water is being pushed out of the radiator and the engine is overheating (in that order). It is also guzzling petrol, and that is getting worse too. I was considering driving home to get it looked at, but I’m not sure I would make it that far. I also don’t think I can afford the petrol at this rate!! My fuel consumption has increased by about 60%.

So I’m still in Adelaide. There are worse places to be.

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/adelaide-the-worlds-best-wine-regions-and-not-a-bad-place-to-be-stranded/

Jun 28 2017

Getting your car ready for a big trip

I’m starting to think my little Suzuki doesn’t actually like adventures.

My suzuki VitaraI was supposed to leave last week for outback South Australia and the Simpson Desert. That is, until something went wrong with my cooling system – the day before I was due to leave.

Doc is a mechanic, so he not only gives the car a full service, he checks everything over very carefully to make sure it’s all ok for an outback trip.

Yet, last time I started having car trouble almost as soon as I left home.

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May 14 2017

Top five places to (re)visit in Australia

Find-yourself-in-an-ancient-landOne of the best things about going on holidays is thinking about where to go. And while doing that, looking back on where you have been.

Should I go somewhere completely new? Or go back to somewhere I really enjoyed before?

Parachilna or Woomera? Uluru via Oodnadatta, or the Simpson?

Australia is such a vast country that you can travel for years and not see it all. Or you can go back to familiar places via a new route. Some places just keep drawing you back.

Here are my top five places to visit again, all of which, except Uluru, are not on the main tourist lists: Continue reading

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May 07 2017

Beach driving – more preparation for the Simpson Desert

tracks“Driving on the beach is different to driving in the desert” said Doc “See if you can stay in the other tracks.”

Great advice, if I could identify which set of tracks he meant.

We were on the beach at Stockton. Around 17km of driving over mainly soft sand, with dunes stretched tantalisingly alongside you as you drive along the beach. Tantalisingly, because that’s what I wanted to practice – dunes – and that’s where you aren’t allowed to go.

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/beach-driving-more-preparation-for-the-simpson-desert/

Apr 16 2017

Big Red here I come. Driving through the Simpson Desert

Sand driving .. well, parking overlooking the oceanI had my first lesson driving on sand today, so now I’m ready to tackle the Simpson Desert!

The Simpson was my original choice for this year’s trip, but I decided against it because I didn’t feel confident that I had enough experience diving on sand.

But now, after an hour driving around in sand with Doc in the passenger seat telling me what to do, I am fine!

What could possibly go wrong?

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Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/big-red-here-i-come-driving-through-the-simpson-desert/

Mar 23 2017

Mistakes people make when travelling around Australia

Two city girls in the bushWhat are the biggest mistakes made when travelling around Australia?

I’ve just been reading somebody else’s story about the problems they had when travelling around Australia for a year. The tears were rolling down my cheeks while I was reading. Not at their misfortunes, but because they chose to use Optus as their telecommunications provider! In the outback!!!

I really shouldn’t laugh at anybody else’s mistakes. God knows I’ve made enough of my own, stupid ones at that (yes that’s my tent). Looking around, other people have made some pretty laughable mistakes as well. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://kathswinbourne.com.au/mistakes-people-make-when-travelling-around-australia/