Hay River Track - North
Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours run probably what is the best value
around, 4wd Hay River Tag Along Tour. It runs for 12 days and apart
from crossing the North Simpson and Simpson Deserts also visits many
iconic towns and places along the way. Visit the Tag Along Tours page
on this web site for more details. You will be in the hands of an
experienced tour leader, John Cantrell, who has traveled through this
area many, many times
The area around the Hay River is a truely remote region that should not
be travelled on your own and is situated in the North Simpson Desert.
The trip can only be undertaken between mid March and end November as
the desert is closed during the summer months.
Until relatively recently the Hay River was closed to the general
public and has only been a destination for the last few years having
been opened to 4wd travellers by its traditional owners.
The trip follows the Hay River river bed south from the Plenty Highway,
near Jervois Homestead and the Tarlton Range to Beachcomber Oil Well
where it then joins the K1 Track.
There are no provisions or fuel available along the way so you will
need to be self sufficient. Allow for at least 660 km if you
plan to head for Birdsville and more
Permits are required and are available from Jol Fleming on (08) 8952
3359 or email him at jol (at) direct4wd . com . au.
You will also need a Deserts Parks Pass from the South Australian NPWS.
From Jervois Station there is an easy run to Batton Hill of about 70 km
where you will need to camp for the night. Camp fees are payable at the
time of purchasing your
permits. Hot showers are available as well as a camp kitchen, you may
need to light the fire though in the boiler to heat the water.
There is an optional My Country and Bush Tucker Tour run from batton
Hill by the Traditional Land Owners for which you will need to
allow an extra day. In the evening you will be able to take a drive out
to Goyder Pillar to view the spectacular sunset that it offers. There
is a charge to participate in both these trips.
Anyone that has been here before would have almost certainly met
Lindsay Bookie, a true character and friend and one of the resident
land owners. Sadly Lindsay passed away on August 2nd 2014 following a
heart attack and was later laid to rest at Batton Hill following a
memorial service in Alice Springs. Thanks for everything Lindsay, you
will be missed by many.
Your route will take you in a southerly direction on the Hay River
Track, plan at least three days from Batton Hill to Poeppel Corner.
From Batton Hill the fun begins and a couple of hours south you will
meet up with the junction and turn off to Lake Caroline. It is a detour
of about 10 km but be careful, you will cross the Hay River to get
there and the sand can be very soft. You almost certainly won't find
water in the lake but it is interesting all the same.
As you move further south you will pass through Madigans camp 15, not
much to see here, and a little further Madigans Camp 16 where a stop is
Madigans Camp 15 is where the Madigan Line joins the Hay River for a
while before again heading east and eventually to Birdsville. The
Madigan Line is a serious off road track with it's start near Old
After the rainy season, if there is rain up here, there is nearly
always a colourful array of wild flowers to be seen and native fauna
are plentiful. However there is also then a colourful array of native
flora to be navigated through and around which can make progress slow.
Some parts of the track become less obvious, depending on the time of
year that you travel, due to sand being shifted by the winds so it is a
must that you take adequate GPS equipment, mapping and other
instructions with you on your trip down the Hay River.
Eventually you will join the French and QAA Lines at Poeppel Corner
which are the normal west to east tracks through the Simpson Desert
that most people take. You are now about 200 kilometres west of
Birdsville. The temptation to stray off the track may be present
itself, don't be tempted.
Besides needing permits from private property owners, Aboriginal land
owners and the police, which are unlikely to be granted, much of the
area has no tracks and presents a real danger to your survival if you
If you would like to do one of the remotest desert crossings available
in Australia join Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours on their Never Never,
Hay Rive 4wd Tag Along Tour.
This is a re-run of a trip we did in July 2014 out to Mt Knuckey, some
180 or so kilometres with no visible tracks at all, in fact for much of
the way no vehicle had ever been.
Please don't be tempted to do this part of the trip on your own, or
even with a couple of mates, it is seriously remote country where you
could easily get lost.
Yes we will do most of the Hay River Track as well plus the Simpson,
Eyre Creek, Big Red and all in between as well as iconic places such as
Marree, Lake Eyre South, Oodnadatta, Dalhousie, Mt Dare, Cameron
Corner, Innamincka plus plus plus.
Always let your common sense kick in before you venture into the
unknown. This can be a very pleasant trip, with planning and
preparation, and one that can take you through areas that have seen
relatively few venture into.
Do not plan to go there alone and be prepared to have to navigate your
way through the areas where the tracks may not be that visible
depending on the time of year that you are traveling and what the wind
has been doing.
The information provided on this web page is for use as a guide only.
If you are planning to undertake this trip you must seek out other
authorative advice and information. Desert and Outback travel
can be very hazardous and should only be undertaken after lengthy and
careful planning. The owners of this website shall not be held
responsible for any damage or injury that you may experience during any
conventional vehicle or four wheel drive trip, desert or otherwise.
Distances between places mentioned on this page are as a guide only.
You must verify these details yourself using professional maps and/or
mapping equipment before you set out on a the trip. Do not attempt to
access desert or other remote regions in an ill-prepared vehicle and
without adequate communications equipment. Do not under estimate the
limited supply of fuel, water and provisions in these areas as well as
the possibility of encountering extremely harsh elements and conditions.