North Simpson – Hay river 4×4 trip 

We arrived in Adelaide early April to our friends the Kennedy’s who look after Henrietta in our absence. We spent a couple of days prepping her for another foray into the interior , the Red centre of Australia. Had her on the hoist checking over the new suspension parts — a ” spanner check ” before we hit the dunes – sand that is.
. Spent a few nights camped at Melrose ( Flinders Range ) with a great walk and some cycling on e- bikes . A novelty for us.

flocks of these incredibly rowdy teenagers ” Correllas ” would swoop in and make this almost deafening din round dawn and dusk . Thankfully they would all depart again after a few minutes to annoy some other spot.

Henrietta was loaded with enough fresh fruit and veg to start up an outback organic food shop , and as usual the standard of cuisine was excellent . This high standard , we maintained even thru the outback , Barb is a great chef. At times we had to resist peer pressure to join the group at some of the roadhouse eateries , but outback pub grub seemed particularly ordinary compared to what Barb creates 😘

We joined a taggalong trip organised by John Cantrell .The group , a convoy of 11 4×4 ‘s and our mission was to cross the Simpson desert via the Hay river . This section of the route was  4 days of travel , the crux section, as you are right out there on your own and help is not readily available . You need to have the ability to sort out all mechanical issues . Our group was lucky , no disasters. The definition of ” a disaster ” in this context is having to use the sat phone to call in the cavalery for a desert recovery . It remains illegal to abandon a vehicle in the desert so a recovery involves a special 4×4 truck coming out . This may take some days and the cost can run from $5000 to $30,000 depending on where you are when you make the final emergency call.  Our group was lucky – Henrietta came thru unscathed .  A ford ranger had a front shock problem that required an improvised temp. Repair , a couple of roof racks detached requiring Jerry repairs but nothing that stopped us for long.

John Cantrell runs a great trip , a capable resourceful old dude who has probably faced just about every mechanical issue that could happen , and he is well versed in the solutions. He had a lot of repeat clients , which says a lot about his style of management. The responsibility that the ” good shepherd ” has for his motley little flock may at time weigh heavy on him , but by day’s end when he radios the convoy that he has found a campsite he would fairly quickly unwind into his favourite tipple of a glass or 2 of Chardonnay. Ever heard that joke ” what’s the difference between an Australian wedding and an Australian funeral ??

Well — at the funeral there is one less drunk ! 

Only kidding John Cantrell , 

Trip leader ,  Recontour , the guy who will get you thru the desert 

I have put together a 6 minute vid about the trip here under. Pic above is George and Loretta. George set the speed record on big RED – clip in vid


  1. Good going guys….reads and looks like this was a new way for you to adventure – with the tag a long types. Would love to do this one day, but like Barb…I wouldn’t be able to compromise on anything less then fresh and healthy food.

    • Great to hear from you Roz😘
      We plan to do canning stock route then on to Arnhem Land next year — solo if we can’t find anyone else ( food for thought )
      Cheers B&B

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