Simpson Desert crossing – Adventurous, Isolated, Eerie

Simpson Desert crossing

Our Troopy is ready for the adventure of the Simpson Desert crossing.

I’m sitting on a sand dune in the middle of the Simpson Desert with a note pad on my lap, the fly net over my head and a tickle in my stomach. We are doing the Simpson Desert crossing.

Yes, we are in the desert. We survived the first day of driving over several sand dunes and there are many more to come the next days. 230 more kilometres are still ahead of us. You may think that’s not a big distance. Well, it’s not but considering that our average speed is 20 km/h many more hours driving have to be done on the Simpson Desert crossing.


During the day it is impossible to sit outside without a fly net over the head. These annoying flies are sitting in the eyes, ears and nostrils.

While I sit here, as is said on this sand dune, I’m looking around and enjoy this peaceful moment. The sun sets and it is a marvellous atmosphere. A precious moment.


Beautiful sunset in the desert. Amazing how intense the colours are.

My thoughts are wandering and I ask myself, why do we cross the desert? Is it because of the beauty of the landscape? Yes. Is it because the Simpson Desert crossing sounds like a must-do adventure? Sure. And because the track is difficult to drive? Exactely.

Troopy sand dune

There are more than 1100 dunes to cross on a distance of 500 km. Hard work for our Troopy and driver Marcel.

But is a desert crossing what we both want? Not really. To cross the Simpson Desert is for Marcel a fantastic 4WD experience and for me it is an eerie project. OK, I admit, I am not doing it voluntary. If I would travel alone, I would not be here on the Simpson Desert crossing. Why not? Because I’m scared of crossing so many sand dunes and the isolated country.

So, I ask myself what am I scared of? And why does Marcel love such adventures? While driving I have a lot of time to think and to ask questions.

Marcel, why do we do the Simpson Desert crossing?

Just for fun! The landscape is breathtaking, we do not have any sand dunes in Switzerland and because I love the adventure and the challenge of crossing the desert.

What do you like most in the desert?

The variety of colours and the formations of the sand.

French Line

Some dunes are very difficult to cross because of the soft sand.

Do you like 4WD driving in the sand?

Yes, I love it. To do off-road driving is the main reason why we bought a Toyota Landcruiser, a robust and reliable car. And I like off-road driving a lot because it’s a challenge. On difficult tracks I need to be fully concentrated and I have to adapt to the constant change of road conditions. That’s fun.

Are you not afraid of getting bogged in the desert, so far away from civilisation?

No. Our vehicle is in perfect condition, we have enough fuel, drinking water and supplies with us. We are fully self-contained and we can survive for many days in an emergency. Additionally, I’m checking the car every day and if we should have a break-down, I’ll try to fix the problem. That’s why we have spare parts and tools with us. If we face a problem I should be able to solve it myself, even if I have to improvise. In case I can’t fix the problem, we wait for help. There is at least one car passing by per day, even in the Simpson Desert.

Troopy sand dune

There is no shortage on sand dunes in the Simpson Desert.

Don’t you have problems with isolation?

No, we are very well prepared for this trip.

Which 4WD track is on Top of your list?

Canning Stock Route 🙂

Reni: Uuuuups, I expected that answer. Let’s see if we find a volunteer to join you on that trip.

Marcel: So, enough questions from your side. Now I want to know more about your opinion.

Reni, you always fear that something goes wrong. What is you biggest fear?

I’m afraid that you have a health problem and are unable to drive. I doubt that I would manage to cross hundreds of sand dunes. But who knows, in an emergency I possibly would manage more than I can imagine.

Track Simpson Desert

Desert, desert and more desert.

Why did you agree to come along to cross the Simpson Desert?

Because I thought despite fears that I should do it and see myself how it is. The thing is that I can’t criticise and build an opinion before I haven’t experienced it myself.

You said before that you are not voluntary here. Do you like this trip at least a bit?

Yes, sure. I like it a lot. The landscape is fantastic. It’s hard to believe that the desert is so diverse. The colours and the vegetations are changing constantly and there are so many animals living in this harsh country.

My experience

Crossing the Simpson Desert was a unique experience and I am happy that we did it despite my doubts. The landscape is breathtaking, the isolation not as scary as I thought and there are many others who are crossing the Simpson Desert as well.

Jumping Reni

Yippie-yeah! We did it. Happy and relieved that we crossed the Simpson Desert without a problem.

Realisation about the Simpson Desert crossing

We did it and I am proud!

I confess, all my fears were for nothing. The Simpson Desert is well signposted and it’s almost impossible to get lost. Our Troopy was very reliable and we didn’t have the slightest problem. It was neither the sand dunes nor the isolation that was the worst. The worst in the Simpson Desert was the huge amount of flies that followed us from dawn till dusk.

Jumping Marcel

What an adventure. To cross the Simpson Desert was awesome.

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