First off-road campers across the Madigan Line
Celebrating the Australian outback and Aussie manufacturing
Encouraging Australian made off-road camper trailer owners to go safely where they were built to go
Ron & Trent Moon reckon the Madigan Line is one of the worlds great desert trips
Hosted by Trent Moon; your personal remote travel expert with two guide vehicles and mechanical support.
If you’ve got a camper like these we want to take you there. Track (Tvan), Trakmaster, Patriot Campers, Cub Campers, AOR (Australian Off Road campers), Pioneer Campers, Kimberley Kampers, Ultimate Campers
Join us on this very special one off journey to be the first across the Madigan Line in 2021. Crossing in March means it is going to be hotter, more inhospitable with a lot less people and potentially some water to deal with if we have similar rains to 2020. We will be following our recent tracks laid down from our E-w crossing where it was faint to non existent in parts. The spinifex grass maybe long and the dunes soft. It’ll be a rare treat and a great adventure.
Trent Moon has the experience you want to get you across the desert with a lifetime of experience in the bush. Trent has been fortunate to spend much of his life in outback Australia with well over a dozen crossings of the Simpson Desert. He is well travelled in the Victorian High Country, Cape York, the Canning Stock Route and the Kimberley in the foot steps of his parents Ron & Viv Moon.
Trent will be take you on the adventure of a lifetime across one of the most remote areas on earth with like minded people and the comforts of home in your off-road camper. The remote outback and the stars of the Southern hemisphere will remain with you forever.
Things really kick off at Mt Dare on the western fringe of the desert, passing Old Andado, the ancient Acacia forest and gibber plains before one thousand odd sand dunes finally ending at the famous Big Red Sand dune. Named by our friend Denis Bartell in 1980 after one of his many extraordinary desert crossings, check out his book Desert Walker.
Sitting a top a red sand dune in the middle of the largest sand dune desert in the world inside the traditionally owned land of the East Arrernte people.
The Madigan Line should not be taken lightly, the track can take it’s toll with vehicles fully loaded working hard to get over the dunes and suspension being pushed to the limit taking on the mogul sections of the track. Not your average weekend getaway so preparation is the key. See our VEHICLE CHECK LIST section for vehicle preparation, fuel usage and safety information.
Tackling the Madigan from West to East means the dune gradient on approach is a lot less acute and lot less punishing on your vehicle and trailer. For the most part you’ll be cruising and rolling over the dunes with your trailer in tow.
Trent Moon has the experience you need to get your vehicles with trailers across the desert with first hand experience knowing what good trailers can do on a good vehicle. He has been fortunate to spend much of his life in outback Australia with well over a dozen crossings of the desert and a passion for adventure with the experience you need to take you across this remote landscape.
The Madigan Line Trailer Expedition 2020
Across the Simpson Desert
Things kick off at Mt Dare before passing through Old Andado and finding the Madigan Start peg near Mac Clark Acacia reserve where a small group of Waddywood Acacias up to 700 years old are being protected. Later that night you will be camped on the edge of the largest parallel sand dune desert in the world before getting serious about crossing some dunes.
We end things after about 750km at the famous Big Red Sand dune named by our friend Denis Bartell in 1980 after one of his many extraordinary desert crossings, check out his book Desert Walker, before cruising into the iconic outback town of Birdsville.
Travelling through South Australia and Victoria.
From Port Augusta you’ll need to allow at least two days to get to Mount Dare heading out past the impressive Flinders Rangers on our right and past Leigh Creek before stopping at the iconic Farina Bakery then onto Marree before making the last stretch to William Creek and camping the night. Tackling the last stretch to Mt Dare then next day.
You may chose to to take your time and enjoy the scenery. Why not if you have the time.
Travelling from New South Whales and Queensland.
It is V-line east across the centre of Australia. We would recommend heading south via Innamincka and the Strzelecki track to Lyndhurst before heading north again to Marree, William Creek and Mt Dare. You could take your time to visit the Burke and Wills dig tree and pass through the Flinders Rangers.
See you in Birdsville.
Pre night group dinner at Mount Dare included.
Day One – 85km Mt Dare onto Old Andado homestead
Day Two – 140km Old Andado to overnight Madigan Camp 5
Day Three – 75km Madigan Camp 5 to overnight at Camp 8
Day Four – 64km Madigan Camp 8 to overnight at Camp 12
Day Five – 70km Madigan Camp 12 to overnight at Camp 16
Day Six – 100km Madigan Camp 16 to overnight at Camp 19
Day Seven – 52km Madigan Camp 19 to overnight Camp 21 Annadale Waterhole
Day eight – 125km Annadale Waterhole to Birdsville via Big Red.
Last nights dinner included, say goodbye to the crew.
Birdsville Caravan Park on own arrangements.
*Please note this itinerary should be give or take a day depending on track conditions, group pace and or any mechanical issues that could arise.
ABOUT YOUR GUIDES.
Please also see ‘Our story’ tab on the main menu.
Trent Moon and his old man, Ron, along with his high school mate, Matt Gallace, are all the closest of friends and have been on many adventures together around Australia and Africa.
Trent grew up in the footsteps of his parents Ron & Viv Moon, 4WD legends and modern day explorers who made a life out of remote travel, publishing 4WD Guidebooks, mapping Australia and travel writing for the best part of 40 years. Ron was editor of 4×4 Australia Magazine for 15 years and is still editor at large today. There is nothing they enjoy more than travelling and being involved with Moon Tours together.
Matt is an experienced off roader, a farmer and very handy with mechanical, electrical and welding. He drives a 79 Series dual cab and will be the second back up vehicle.
Trent was lucky to spend most of his life in the outback, exploring Africa or in remote areas of our seas. He started driving at a very young age and before the age of 12 would often be found behind the wheel taking on Australia’s toughest tracks. Not something we can recommend these days. He has been fortunate to have crossed the Simpson many times and now enjoys sharing it with others.
In 2017 Ron & Trent crossed the Madigan Line with Denis Bartell, who then at 83 had notched up 40 odd Simpson Desert crossings naming the famous sand dune, Big Red, in the process. Denis was the first person to have walked solo West – East, North – South and the first to drive across the Northern part of the desert.
Trent and Stephanie have been sharing their travel experiences with groups for almost ten years; from Australia to Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, Maldives, Fiji and more.
Are you and your vehicle prepared?
Its a big journey we can guarantee a few tyre punctures at minimum, its vital you have your car prepped properly and adequately insured.
Vehicles and trailers wanting to tackle this itinerary need to be well set up. You don’t need every item from the accessories catalogue, even though each and every one makes life easier you would almost need a blank cheque. There are some essential minimum requirements. Reliability is key.
Vehicles – Pre trip service by a 4WD specialist and replacement of anything on the way out. Bull bar and winch, recovery kit, aftermarket suspension, off-road tyres, UHF radio, snorkel (inc snorkel sock) and dual battery. You can probably get by without some of the other things, even a fridge if you wanted to eat canned food and drink warm beer, but you must at least have the basics above before considering the trip.
Trailers – Well serviced and maintained. Checked over and anything worn to be replaced prior to the trip. Wheel bearings, electrics and structural integrity are key.
Imported campers – There are some really good Aussie designed, imported brands out there. If you own one you are most welcome to apply.
- Satellite phone
- Large first aid kit including broad spectrum antibiotics, painkillers, muscle relaxants and morphine whistles
- Welding equipment
- Tool kit
- Pre trip inspection carried out by a reputable 4WD work shop, not your local car mechanic. (We recommend Outback 4WD if you’re in Melbourne)
- Radio with external aerial
- GPS with appropriate maps (we recommend downloading the HEMA Australia app and maps)
- Bull bar
- Upgraded suspension
- Heavy Duty all terrain tyres
- Dual Battery system (we will be moving every day with other vehicles so you may get away without this, make sure you have a good battery and low current drawing fridges and lights)
- Camp lighting
- If your using a roof rack it needs to be HEAVY DUTY
- Two spare tyres on rims
- Basic tyre repair kit with plugs
- Basic recovery equipment. Snatch straps, shackles, shovel, axe, heavy duty jack or air jack
- Compressor and tyre gauge
- Basic tool kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Minimum 220 litres depending on your vehicle
- 40 to 50 liters per person, 80 – 100 liters per car
- Camper Trailer
- Camp chair
- Cutlery and dishwashing
- Head torch and camp light
- Axe, shovel
- Fan belts
- Radiator stop leak
- Radiator hose tape
- Two spares tyres on rims
- Trailer spares recommended by manufacturer. Most common faults will be electrical, welds, bearings (though they should be as new before the trip)
- Air Filter
- Fuel filter
- Brake Fluid
- Engine oil
History of the Madigan Line
The Simpson Desert was the last great blank on the map of Australia. Charles Sturt’s expedition in 1844 had skirted along the eastern edge before he and his men were turned back. In 1886 David Lindsay almost crossed the whole desert from west to east, but turned back before doing so. Then in 1936 Ted Colson, then owner of the Bloods Creek pastoral lease on the western edge of the desert, became the first white fella to cross the sands via a southern route to Birdsville …. and back.
The Madigan Line is named after explorer and geologist Cecil Thomas Madigan who, leading a party of nine men made an epic crossing of the North Simpson Desert, by camels, in 1939. You can read about his story in Madigan’s book: “Crossing the Dead Heart”. Cecil Madigan became the first European to cross the northern Simpson Desert in 1939. He named the desert after the then President of the SA Branch of the Royal Geographical Society of Australasia. In 1994 Madigan’s camps were marked with star pickets and plaques. Those small signs were first erected in 1994 by David Owen and Robert Correa, then operators of Owen Correa Outback Adventurers.
In 1939, when Cecil Madigan and his team first crossed the desert, they filled in one of the last great blanks on the map of Australia. The desert had been penetrated by early explorers from the time of Charles Sturt’s expedition in 1844, but not very far. From Bore No1, north of the Old Andado Homestead, Madigan’s group of nine men loaded their string of 19 camels and headed north towards the junction of the Hale and Todd rivers before striking east across the desert. This journey across the Simpson was without any drama and was wet for much of the time, meaning the camels had plenty of food and ended the trip in better state than when they left. It took nearly four weeks to cross the desert and, from Birdsville, they continued their walk south to Marree.
In 1979, Denis Bartell became the first to travel the Madigan Line by 4WD, a route since followed by many adventurous travellers. In 1990 Ron and Trent drove the Madigan Line. In 1994, Owen Correa Outback Expeditions accurately marked the positions of all of Madigan’s camps. It was one of the very early crossings, there was no track or GPS back then. A compass and paper map led the way. It was a tough crossing with 54 punches in 8 days with the desert taking it’s toll on all the vehicles.
IMPORTANT CONTACT INOFRMATION
RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service)
SA, Port Augusta 1800 RFDS SA 1800 733 772
NT, 1800 RFDS NT 1800 733 768
Satellite Telephone: 08 8648 9555
RACV Roadside Assist – TOTAL CARE: 13 11 11
SA National Parks:
Natural Resources Centre SA Arid Lands. Port Augusta SA 5700
Ph: (08) 8648 5300
Natural Resource Centre – Port Augusta – Simpson Desert
Phone: (+61 8) 8648 5300
Desert Parks Information:
Phone: (+61 8) 8648 5328
Outback Road Report (24-hour automated service)
1300 361 033
Birdsville Police Station 07 4656 5677
Police Link 131 444
Birdsville Roadhouse – Simpson Desert Vehicle Recovery RACQ Contractor
Peter & Bronwynne Barnes
Ph: 07 4656 3226
Aboriginal Lands Council
Alice Springs, NT 0870
Tel 08 8951 6211 or 1800 003 640
Fax 08 8953 4343
FOR PERMITS : email@example.com
Mt Dare – western edge of the Simpson Desert. Camping, cabins, meals, fuel, repairs.
Ph: (08) 8670 7835
RATES IN DETAIL
- AUD$4400 inc GST per vehicle with trailer and two persons.
- Additional third adult passenger $550 inc GST
- Teenage passenger $350 inc GST
- Children under 12 years travel free
Includes – Welcome dinner at Mount Dare Pub, Last nights dinner at Birdsville Pub, Fully Guided and support vehicles, recovery, mechanical, electrical, welding repair support. Private land access, Aboriginal Land Council permission.
- 4×4 Hire available upon request
- Off road camper trailers available upon request
*Note: We do not include a Desert Parks pass for the Madigan Line. You will cross one small section of the park on route to Adria Downs private property and Eyre Creek. If you plan to visit Dalhousie Springs or Poeppels Corner and the likes either before or after you will need to purchase one.
Campsite bookings at Mount Dare and Birdsville are not included and need to be booked in advance.
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