Preparation for Big Red Bash

Now that all our group had arrived in Birdsville it was time to start our preparation for our travel out to Bashville. We all had 2 day Early Entry Passes which meant that we could travel out to Bashville on the Sunday. As long as we travel out in a group and arrive in that group we will be able to be camped together.

To gain entry to Bashville you need to exchange your e-tickets for wristbands and Early Entry car stickers. This is done at a stand set up at the Birdsville Information Centre. As expected there was a queue but it moved very quickly and efficiently. In no time at all we were processed. As our group met up after the ticket exchange we were approached by the official photographer for the Bash and she wanted to take a photo of our group in our colourful shirts. We were happy to oblige.

While we were having our photo taken I recognised Greg Donovan, the organiser and man responsible for the Big Red Bash. I approached him and had a brief chat and he is so relieved that the event is going ahead in spite of all the challenges Covid has thrown up.

No grey water can be emptied onto the ground at Bashville so everyone needed to empty their grey water tanks. There is also no water so water tanks needed to be topped up. Luckily there are lots of taps scattered around the Birdsville Common. There were queues at most of the taps on the Saturday as everyone was doing the same thing.

There are no dump points at Bashville either so everyone needed to empty their cassettes so we go out there with empty ones.

Once we’d done all that and our motorhome was ready to go we took Robert up on his offer to head out to the desert and check out Bashville and the incredible scenery of the Simpson Desert.

The road out to Big Red is mostly a tar road. Only the last few kilometres are gravel. The road travels over a few low sand dunes with large valleys in between. The sand hills go for miles in either direction. The Simpson Desert covers some 176,500 square kilometres and is the largest sand dune desert in the world. The sand dunes are the world’s longest parallel dunes and vary in height from 3 metres to around 30 metres. It is Australia’s fourth largest desert.

Munga-Thirri National Park includes the Queensland part of the Simpson Desert and goes all the way to Peoppel’s Corner where Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory intersect.

We knew as soon as we crossed over a large sand dune that the one in front of us was Nappanerica, or Big Red as it is popularly known. Apart from the sign telling us! Big Red is 40 metres high and is a very impressive sight when you see it for the first time. The closer we got the bigger it seemed.

At the bottom of Little Red Robert pulled over to lower the tyre pressure so we could make the crossing over the dune. It is most important to lower your tyre pressure as you won’t make it over with your tyres at highway pressure.

Once that was done it was time to tackle Little Red. I’m not kidding the road is not really a road just a sandy track that goes up over the dune. It is bumpy and you can hear the wheels digging in to the deep sand as you go up. Robert has done this before and he just kept the vehicle at a constant speed and we bumped our way to the top. We paused briefly at the top then headed back down, which is nearly as scary as going up!

There were a few vehicles at the bottom of Big Red waiting to have a turn at going to the top but we continued on and went further out into the desert. We crossed another couple of sand dunes before turning around and making our way back to Big Red.

Here we got in line to make out way to the top. So many vehicles don’t make it to the top however Robert didn’t hesitate when it was our turn and, again he just kept the car at a constant speed and up we went. The car seems to be on such a precarious angle as you go up and when you get to the top you feel like you are shooting into the sky but then the front wheels go over the rim and the car levels out. We’d made it to the top first go!

What a view from the top. Lots of spectators were on the top watching the vehicles make their attempts. There was lots of groaning when another attempt failed and loud cheers for those that make it. We didn’t see many make it first go though. It was great fun to watch and we stayed watching for an hour or so.

On the other side of the dune is Bashville. Wow it looked amazing from up there. The stage was already set up and some of the food vendors had already set up their trucks. The Admin and Merchandise marquees were up and the streets and campsites were all marked out with flags and signage. We could see lots of toilet blocks at various places around the camp area. It was amazing to think that in just a couple of days this place would be full of over 4,000 camps and roughly 10,000 people.

Bashville is situated on Adria Downs Station (8,700 square kilometres) and it borders Munda-Thirri NP. Bashville is set up on the dry lake bed of Lake Nappanerica. Adria Downs is an an accredited organic property and this is why no grey water can be let out on the ground at Bashville.

Seeing the sight from the top of Big Red we could appreciate the amount of work it takes to put on an event of this size in such a remote location. It truly is a unique event. My excitement was definitely building.

We made our way back to town and we all enjoyed a night around the campfire and we were all ready to get on the road at 8am.


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