Our First Simpson Desert crossing in 1992

Memories from old home movies

What do you do when you are stuck at home in lockdown? We started with decluttering the garage, the ceiling and under the house. Visit our other site at Lifestyle Video Productions to see the fun we had there!

And we found some old VHS tapes from back last century. One of them was of our first Simpson Desert crossing in 1992.

Some video from our very first crossing of the Simpson Desert

There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then as you can see – trimmer bodies, more hair on the heads, and children all grown up!

Our first Simpson Desert adventure

The Simpson Desert was a great adventure, and not just because it was our first attempt. That year, 1992, was an unusual season with rain closing the access through the delta area on the western side.

The delta is a large section of what was once floodplain or lake. It is now vegetated with low growing grasses and salt tolerant plants. When it rains, this area soaks up the moisture and holds it like a sponge. At these times, the track through it becomes impassable.

As this route is the only way in from the west side, special permission was granted to travel through aboriginal land via the Finke River floodplain. This track is further north and clear of the swampy route through the delta.

So we began at Dalhousie Springs before heading to Mt Dare. We rejoined the desert track just before Purnie Bore where we were now into the sand dune country. I don’t believe this special permission has been granted again so travellers across the Simpson Desert in ’92 can consider themselves to be quite lucky.

We chose the French Line, up and over the sand dunes and across the salt lakes for our trip. More highlights came with the many wildflowers carpeting the swales, with the yellow and white of poached egg daisies standing out.

yellow daisy desert wildflower
Another desert wildflower
a pom-pom flowering desert wildflower
A pom-pom type wildflower

Our trip continued without a hitch – there was fun at Poeppel Corner with 5 young lads; Eyre Creek had only an inch of water at the crossing and even Big Red was conquered with a minimum of fuss.

young boys at Poeppel Corner, Simpson Desert
Boys having fun at Poeppel Corner

Then we headed triumphantly to Birdsville with some great memories to remember our first ever Simpson Desert crossing. And also some video footage to play with. Cameras, recording mediums, computers and editing software have all improved since then, but you can see in the video above that many of John’s ideas were already starting to form about that time.

We have crossed the Simpson Desert many times since that first time. We have travelled the French Line and the WAA Line. We were lucky another year to be able to cross Warburton Creek to exit the desert.

On another trip, Eyre Creek was in flood at the usual crossing. We used the detour, travelling 30 kilometres north to cross at a safe spot. And we travelled 30 kilometres south to return to the QAA Line.

We have enjoyed several adventures across the Simpson Desert but we will never forget our first crossing.

And if you would like to see just how spongy the delta area can be after rain check out our Simpson Desert: 50 Years On DVD. Once again, heavy rain nearly made this trip impossible.