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Madigan Wonder
10-08-2019, 09:16 PM,
#1
Madigan Wonder
We have just completed one of the Iconic drives we can undertake in Australia.  East to West on the Madigan Line across the Simpson Desert.  We had to take some detours due to flooding of the Eyre Creek, meaning we had to move further North onto station land not normally able to be accessed but permission was provided in order to allow us to complete the trip.

While East to West is considered the more difficult direction, it is fair to say the Eastern slopes while steeper were generally less chopped up on the approaches allowing good run ups when required.  

Our group of eight vehicles in total was actually a tag-along trip (first time we have taken this option) run by Moon Tours (Trent Moon) and catered for by 4WDining (Michelle & Jules) which made for a very enjoyable trip with navigation and catering outsourced.   Originally 7 vehicles but we ran into Ron Moon (of 4x4 mag) in Birdsville and Trent was able to convince his old man to join us.  Ron proved to be a great asset to the trip with his passion for Australian outback history and a lifetime of remote travelling around the world.

It is fair to say we were treated to the Simpson at it's best. Over 1000 dunes but with the unusual treats of the occasional lush green valleys and even a water crossing..

The night before the trip commenced we took a quick trip out to Big Red for sunset and a couple of runs up the steep side just to mark it off my bucket list.  After watching from on top looking out toward the setting sun and noting one chap make two failed attempts I slipped down the dune for my turn.  It was a bit daunting when the chap I was watching told me he was down to 10 lbs all around.  Anyway I aired down to 16lbs and cruised up much to my satisfaction.  Following a second run it was time to head back into Birdsville. The other fellow gave it away after his fourth attempt in his overweight and seemingly underpowered Prado. 

A few stats from our trip.
Our LC79 has a 3780 GVM upgrade and weirdly enough the pre trip fully loaded weigh in at home found 3780 kg pop up on the scales with both front and rear axles just under their limits (pleased I upgraded to a Lithium battery saving me 20kg) Our fuel tanks hold 245 litres and with our undertray water tank we have a total of 140 litres.
Fuel consumption was just under 20 litres per 100 kl for the desert section between Birdsville and Mt Dare station.
Only one puncture across the whole group was a testament to modern tyres given some significant sections of gibber. Lots of laughter and fun. (the only petrol vehicle was a 100 series consuming a stunning 41 litres per 100kl).

Hi-lights have to include finding magnificent green valleys, the odd tricky dune, a water crossing in the middle of the desert.  Of course the remoteness has its own special magic.  We only came across two other parties of 4x4's travelling in the opposite direction and a couple of motorcycle groups.  The second of the 4x4 groups had two hired Trayon's in their number.

Bull Dust was at its best between Old Andado and Mt Dare with clouds of dust surging over the bonnet in some sections.  For people travelling West to East it would be a bit daunting if you thought your trip would consist of all bulldust. Speaking of the Old Andado station it is of concern that there is no longer  a caretaker in place which sadly may result in the homestead being lost as a living museum.

                   
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11-08-2019, 11:19 AM,
#2
RE: Madigan Wonder
Good to see you enjoyed your venture across the Madigan. We crossed the Simpson from Birdsville to Mt. Dare and then north to Old Andado and across the Madigan just before the BRB. 

Traffic was heavy on the Simpson section with people towing camper trailers on their way to the Bash. 

The Madigan was a much more enjoyable drive both with comfort and less travellers on the track.

This was my 10th. crossing of the Simpson and every crossing I have made, this was the worst.  It was still a great drive and a lot of fun, but over use, and abuse will eventually spoil it for everyone..

My weight is a bit less than yours and I used 107L. for the Simpson and 117L for the Madigan.  Same vehicle.

Ian.
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11-08-2019, 03:14 PM,
#3
RE: Madigan Wonder
Fair point on potential overuse.   We were keen to avoid the bash traffic which we were successful in doing.  It was pretty much why we chose the Madigan opportunity as less popular.   We will definitely do some more crossings
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13-08-2019, 12:27 PM,
#4
RE: Madigan Wonder
Terrific writeup and pics 933, sounds like you experienced some special views that don't happen that often. Per some of my recent posts I am jealous of the route you were able to take, thanks for sharing.
Even though you were part of a larger group, how did you go for navigation on the madigan? Is there a form of a track to follow now?
W've only crossed the Simpson once last year and thoroughly enjoyed touring south off the French line along the Rig Road and Knolls Track which were just a pleasure to drive on (you sort of forget you are days and days from supplies) until you return to the heavily used french line again.
And the big question... Where to next?
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16-08-2019, 11:36 AM,
#5
RE: Madigan Wonder
DNP#960.

The Madigan is a pleasure to drive.  After doing the Canning and Simpson many times the Madigan is on the top of my list . 

The track is now well defined and easy to follow.   Madigans camps are marked with a yellow steel dropper with the camp number marked on a plaque. At this stage the track and dunes are in relatively good condition but I rather suspect that will change when it becomes more popular. 

Some really nice places to camp amongst the Gidgey and Madigan grabbed a few of these as well although most of his camps were on bare ground in a swale.

Certainly not a hard track but not much traffic about which adds to the isolation and the remoteness..

Can only imagine how Madigan felt knowing he was out there alone.
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17-08-2019, 01:08 PM,
#6
RE: Madigan Wonder
Hi there. We are currently in the East Macdonnell Ranges, heading to Alice tomorrow. After 3 nights there, we are heading south to cross the Madigan Line ourselves. Thanks for your post. Unfortunately we are travelling solo and not fully catered ? ?? I’ll post a trip report on our return.
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19-08-2019, 06:42 AM,
#7
RE: Madigan Wonder
Just to reply to dp960 re navigation in general it is well defined but due to flooding we had to leave the track.  The trip leader had spoken to a station owner and had ok to push further into the station.  Ie follow further up eyre creek before a rocky crossing, Rough but only about 30 cm deep. As it turned out 5 vehicles had gone through 5 days earlier and a trail had developed it just shows how fragile the land is.  Given the deviation it was good having some expert navigators who also had the contacts to enquire as to conditions.
  
Where to next?   Good question we have the summer months to think about it
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