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After talking to family and discovering they too regretted not making an appearance at the 2014 Big Red Bash concert, we made plans to be at the next 2015 Big Red Bash Concert. We would enjoy some time in the Simpson Desert and experience John Williamson live in a unique performance , amongst many other great artists. The trip quickly gathered momentum and we found many friends and family planned to come along for the ride too.
Upon the release of the line up and prices we were quite disappointed to discover that the genre had changed from country to rock 'n' roll and that Jimmy Barnes would be replacing John in the headlining act. At a price of over $300 a ticket for this charity event, although it is all in good deed, we could not justify spending that money on something that was not particularly up our alley.
Conversations were had and plans were adjusted slightly to hopefully avoid the desert rush to the Big Red sand dune, by moving the trip back a week.
Although this is primarily about the Simpson Desert crossing, we are taking four weeks off. In that four weeks, roughly two will be dedicated to the Simpson and two will be to see Darwin, Kakadu and get home again, so I have also included plans on our trip beyond the Simpson Desert. Just quietly, this Simpson crossing was meant to be the start of a three month travelling journey for this... but those plans have been altered a little after exciting news of another pregnancy (I know for sure that, this pregnancy - that we had been trying for, only stuck as we had this exciting adventure planned... thanks Murphy). Alas, our trade off is another bundle of joy and terror :) . As we would be requiring further time off when the baby was born in October, we decided it was best that we have a four week break instead, get back to work build up the bank account again before heading back to Newcastle to have the baby. An extended adventure has just been put on hold...
As promised, here are our plans (now it is going to get quite loose as desert travel can be quite unpredictable... and we are prepared for that):
Day 1 - Meet the group at Dalhousie. We have people coming from Canberra, Newcastle, Yuendumu, and Docker River (of course... that's us).
Day 2 - Dalhousie to French Line camp 1 (we will have a quick visit to Purni Bore this day, I expect)
Day 3 - French Line camp 1 to French Line camp 2 (don't you love the detail).
Day 4 - French Line camp 2 to QAA Line camp 1 (I would expect to see Poeppel's Corner today or tomorrow) Technically after Poeppel's Corner we will be travelling on the QAA Line
Day 5 - QAA Line camp 1 to Birdsville.
Day 6 - Birdsville. Some of the group will leave us here and head back to the reality of the real world. Luckily we stay on!
Day 7 - Birdsville to QAA Line camp.
Day 8 - QAA Line camp to Hay River Track (HRT) camp 1.
Day 9 - HRT camp 1 to HRT camp 2.
Day 10 - HRT camp 2 to HRT camp 3.
Day 11 - HRT camp 3 via Plenty Hwy to Native Gap Conservation Reserve, Stuart Hwy (north of Alice). The rest of the group will disperse from the end of the HRT, while we take the remainder 16 days to do a quick trip to Darwin and Kakadu.
Top End Segment
Day 12 - Native Gap Conservation Reserve to Longreach Waterhole Protected Area (near Elliot). Today we will do a brief restock in Tennant and visit the Devil's Marbles. We may not get this far and if not will stop at a roadside stop.
Day 13 - Longreach Waterhole Protected Area to Litchfield National Park (hopefully).
Day 14 - Litchfield National Park to Darwin.
Day 15 - Darwin.
Day 16 - Darwin.
Day 17 - Darwin.
Day 18 - Darwin to Kakadu. (In Kakadu we will be moving around and exploring the National Park, slowly making southward progress. Deciding as we go if we stay or move on and where we go.)
Day 19 - Kakadu.
Day 20 - Kakadu.
Day 21 - Kakadu.
Day 22 - Kakadu.
Day 23 - Kakadu.
Day 24 - Kakadu
Day 25 - Kakadu to roadside stop.
Day 26 - Roadside stop to Alice Springs.
Day 27 - Alice Springs to Docker River - home.
Day 28 - Back to work and grieving the end of a great trip :) (we may cut a day from Darwin or Kakadu to get home a day earlier to help with unpacking and settling back into home before work... but we will see).