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Australia Day Weekend 2020 (Little Desert, Ngarkat & Big Desert)

  • 25 Jan 2020
  • 9:00 AM
  • 27 Jan 2020
  • 4:00 PM
  • Little Desert, Ngarkat, Big Desert
  • 3


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Date and time:  Sat. 25th January 2020 9:00am   

Description:    This trip is designed for members who wish to escape from the fires in the High Country and is excellent practice for those intending to participate in some of the longer remote trips run by the Club later in the year. The trip will give you the opportunity to refine your vehicle setups and establish such important factors as ease of setting up camps, and your fuel consumption.

On the Saturday we will travel from east to west through The Little Desert and end up at Bucks Camp Campground in Ngarkat Conservation Park. On Sunday we will drive the tracks in Ngarkat and make our way up north before exiting the park at Pinnaroo and spend the night in the Big Desert State Forest Park. Monday will be spent driving around the Big Desert before heading off down south and finishing in Nhill.

Victoria’s deserts are located in the north east of the state on the border with South Australia some 375km north west of Melbourne. The drive to Kiata Camping Area in the Little Desert NP takes approximately 4 hours from Melbourne.

The camping grounds have drop toilets with no washing facilities, potable water, or showers – bring adequate water for drinking a cooking, and plan to cook on a fuel stove.

Please note there is no mobile phone reception once we have entered the park sections and that a fresh fruit and veg scam quarantine is in operation at Vic-SA border. AS WE WILL CROSS THE BORDER AT THE END OF DAY 1 AND 2 I SUGGEST THAT FRESH VEGETABLES AND FRUIT ARE PURCHASED IN KEITH AND PINNAROO.


  • 1.    Friday evening 24th January (optional): Kiata Campground (Little Desert NP) FREE, toilets, NO Water;


  • 2.    Saturday evening 25th January: Bucks Camp Campground #2 (Ngarkat Conservation Park) FEE PAYABLE


  • 3.    Sunday evening 26th January: The Big Desert SFP, FREE, NO water and toilet  

Equipment:  Bring recovery gear, snatch strap, shackles and a shovel [if you have MaxTrax (or the like) you can throw them in if you like] . Cars should be in good condition and all terrain tyres. Please carry a second spare if available.

UHF Channel 15.

Don’t forget to bring your morning tea and lunch.

Please leave pets and camper trailers at home.

Weather:  Desert environment, potentially hot (and cold at night) 

Equipment:  Vehicles need to have low range 4WD capability with good all-terrain tyres (minimum 60 profile), good ground clearance (minimum 200mm) and UHF radio equipped (or one borrowed from the club).  Usual recovery gear should be carried. 

Additional Equipment required:  Camping gear, food and water for the weekend.  Clothing for wet and cold conditions.  Morning tea will be in the bush each day – byo thermos, etc. 

Trip Standard:  Medium - Most of the main tracks will be easy-medium but there may be track sections that are more difficult depending upon weather and sand conditions. A chance to develop some skills! 

Fuel:  A full tank from Dimboola. We will have opportunity to refuel in Keith (end of day 1), Pinnaroo (end of day 2) and Nhill (end of day 3).

Distance:  Dimboola is approximately 400 km from Melbourne.  The trip distance Approximately 600km

Duration: 3 days 

Convoy limit: 8 vehicles 

Meeting arrangements:  We plan to meet on Saturday morning at the Dimboola Stores (86 Lloyd St, Dimboola) in Dimboola and aim to set off at 9.00am. We will aim to finish about 3.00pm in Nhill on Monday.  

Trip Leaders: Mark Bown 0437251645 (mark.bown@csiro.au); and Sherry Mayo 0439009663 (sherry.mayo@csiro.au).



Day 1. 5 vehicles. Left Kiata campground 0930. Travelled Pump Jack Tk, McCabes Tk, Mallee Tk, Dahlenbergs Tk,, Red Gum Tk, Crater Tk, Stans Camp Tk, McDonald Hwy Tk,  lunch at Broughtons Waterhole.Then East-West Tk, Mt Moffat Tk, Cooks Tk, Mt Moffat Serviceton, Border Town, Keith, Bucks Camp (accessed via Snoswell Rd and Bucks Camp Tk west) ,for overnight camp, finishing 6.30pm. 262 km. Ngarket CP- no fires November to Marcj

Day 2. 5 vehicles. Left campground 0930. Travelled Jimmy's Well Tk, Mt Rescue Tk, Mt Rescue, (requires low tyre pressure to reach summit) - great views.  At intersection with Dark Island Well Rd, continued east along un-named track to Burns Boundary Tk for lunch. Un-named tk appears to be an MVO track and very overgrown.  No intersecting tracks were evident. Bordertown Rd to Pertendi Tk, Centre Tk, Rosy Pine Rd (Border Tk closed November to March), Tillers Rd, South Chain Rd, Murrayville Tk, Big Billy Bore camp for overnight camp Great facilities., finishing 5.00pm.184km.

Day 3. 5 vehicles.  Left campground 0930. North along Murrayville Tk, Cactus Bore Tk, Coburns Tk, Fire Break Tk, Murrayville Tk to sand dune just to the  north and west  of Big Billy camp for lunch. 80km.  Then to Nhill and home. Return to Melbourne around 8.00pm.

On sand tracks, average speed 20km/hr.  Fuel consumption Prado 150 diesel 18-20 litres /100km.


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