Five months into a Bucket List quest through Australia’s Red Centre and beyond, well-known 4×4-Adventurer- Photographer-Osteopath Ant Collins @Black Knight and his fiancée Elle have been to some of Australia’s most remote and spectacular spots with all the experiences to match! Ant’s V8 Landcruiser (“Taupedo”), fitted with ultra-resilient Maxxis Trepadors are not only perfect for the job but he also admits they have also got him out of many “sticky situations”. Hop aboard and let’s join them on their ride as the Black Knight recounts some of their journey since setting off from the Sunny Coast in September last year! Here’s Part 1…
So far, we’ve done around 6000 kms, initially setting sail for Birdsville to begin my 4th crossing of the Simpson Desert and my 3rd of the notorious Madigan Line. I just love the remoteness of the Madigan and the fact that it requires one to be really attuned to navigation as some parts of the track are so seldom used that it’s impossible to follow tracks, so GPS coordinates are required. There are very few opportunities in the off-road touring world to feel like the original explorers did, like when Cecil Madigan traversed it back in 1939, but this track does to some degree give you those “feels”.
Big Sky Country and Milky Way gazing that feels so close you could reach out and touch it, it’s just epic! I’ve lost some important people in my life over the years, especially my Grandmother who raised me, and when I’m out there I feel closer to her spirit as well. I think many people can relate to that feeling. It’s quite spiritual and is something to look forward to every night that we’re in the Simpson.
Dalhousie Springs is a just reward for anyone brave enough to cross the Simpson from east to west. They’re incredible hot water springs that literally are the oasis that lives! The perfect tonic to wash away the days of accumulated desert sand! I believe it’s no coincidence that one has to earn the right to see these springs, by plonking them in the heart of the arid and extremely remote Australian continent — if you make it there, then you deserve to enjoy them.
My beautiful fiancée, Elle, experienced the desert for the first time on this trip and loved it, but perhaps not the billion or so super friendly flies that introduced themselves every day.
From there we headed to Alice Springs which we used as a launch pad to see the West MacDonnell Ranges. These ranges always felt so enigmatic to me as I recall seeing them the first time back in 2015 and wondered why I had never heard of them! Until this trip, I hadn’t had the chance to explore them and I can tell you that we were not disappointed, they are entirely amazing! Filled with breathtaking chasms, gorges and rock formations, one could easily spend a month in and around them and still not see it all.
Of course, any trip into the centre wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Uluru, Kata tjuta and Kings Canyon. They never fail to impress!
In terms of tyre selection, my philosophy is to choose a tyre that is fit for the worst conditions you will see on your adventure. Which is why I choose Maxxis Trepadors. They veritably eat up the worst conditions I see and have got me out of many sticky situations, excuse the pun. Sure, there are better wearing and handling on-road tyres, but like I said, no point being bogged up shit creek or having a slashed sidewall in the middle of nowhere in your ‘sensible choice’ tyres, when you could have breezed through the same terrain with your Treps.
Check in soon for Part 2 as Ant recounts the next stage of the trip.