Hay River Tour

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Birdsville to Alice Springs

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12 Days/Nights

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From $3000 per vehicle

Tour Description

This Journey begins in the iconic outback town of Birdsville, which lies on the eastern side of the majestic Simpson Desert. As we head west across the Simpson Desert, we will experience sand dune driving, including Little Red and Big Red, and the usually dry Eyre Creek, before setting up our first camp under the stars on the QAA Line.

Over the next 3 days we will follow the course of the Hay River and each night we will enjoy communal campfires and clear desert skies. Turning west at the Plenty Highway Junction, we will have the luxury of hot showers at Jervois Station. Travelling towards Alice Springs, we will explore highlights of the East McDonnell Ranges, including Artlunga Historical Reserve and Ruby Gap Nature Reserve. After a rest day in Alice Springs, we have allowed four days to tackle several 4WD tracks in the West Mc Donnell Ranges. These include Owen Springs, Rainbow Valley, Finke Gorge, Palm Valley & Gosse Bluff. The tour will then provide opportunities to take in the usual tourist highlights of Scenic Namatjira Drive on route to Alice Springs.


  1. Amazing Outback Landscapes
  2. Central Australian Historical Sites
  3. Awe-inspiring gorges
  4. Palm Valley
  5. Sunsets at Chambers Pillar & Rainbow Valley

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  • $3000 per vehicle per couple
  • $1,200 per extra person
  • Guide’s passenger (catered) $2,600 (limited availability)
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Tour Dates

  • TBA


12 Days/Nights

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Cape York

Thank you Ross for helping us to achieve reaching the tip of Australia, the helicopter ride over the tip. With out your help we would not had the best holiday. We will talk about this trip and what we achieved for years to come. Looking forward to our next adventure with you Peter & Sandra 10 out 10 from us

Peter & Sandra

Madigan Line

This was a magical tour, with two competent guides, who always made us feel safe in their hands. We didn't just have a holiday or an adventure in the desert but we also learned how to be better drivers. This was such a different experience than any other, I recommend it and I would totally do it again. The landscape was breathtaking, the sunsets astonishing, the wildlife magistic , the wildflowers stunning, but it was the friendships we made that will make the lasting memories. The tour guides made everyone feel like part of their family, welcoming and relaxed and genuine. Ross now knows how to make damper in the camp oven, so be sure to ask him for his world famous desert damper.

Mary-Ellen & andy

Simpson & Beyond

Review written as a passenger on the July/August 2023 Simpson and Beyond 16-day tour. Firstly, thanks Ross and Kenny for running this tour as 4 vehicles had to pull out and it left a group of 6 people to attempt the Simpson. Hopefully the small number travelling and faster drive times with less tows made up for the jinx amongst us who caused 3 tyre issues. There were other issues with the Lead vehicles and both Kenny and Ross displayed the skills to repair the vehicles enough to get to a mechanic. I hope that this trial run ironed out any problems likely on the 2 Madigan Line tours that followed. K & R say that it takes about 6 sand dunes before the tagalongs feel confident to tackle the dunes on their own. But at all times the guys are giving advice as to the direction the dunes turn once on the top. Safety is a big issue and they call the tagalongs through once the lead vehicle is on the flat over the dunes. Interesting to understand the protocol of calling through to any vehicles in the area once going through marker points in the Simpson. We were offered an alternative pick-up point which was appreciated as the town had more flights and more to see while waiting for the tour to start. As we were such a small group and were ready, we left a day earlier so got a 17-day tour which was handy with a 2 night stop at Mt Dare to do repairs and rest before going on to Alice Springs. As passengers, most meals are included bar a few pub meals at own cost. Ross and I did a ‘fast’ shop getting food items specifically that my husband and I wanted to eat. Choose wisely as lunch stops are short and on the go which enabled early arrivals into camp most days. Evening meals were of a meat and 3 vegetable style with a sauce accompanying it, healthy and filling. Suggest taking along a thermal mug or small thermos as the kettle is usually only boiled in the morning. The stretcher with swag on top was comfortable to get into and out of, if not much room to do anything, like reading, once inside it. Suggest taking along a device to play music or podcasts. The provided toilet tent for out in the desert was appreciated and with only 6 people there was never much of a wait time. We were lucky enough to see about 50 camels (in 3 groups) and 30 emus (in one group) plus the wildflowers in fields of colours were wonderful. We also appreciated that the tour went on many different roads/lines in the area so had the opportunity to visit many lookouts and sites. Ross and Kenny both were very obliging to any needs we had as far as stopping to take photographs or logistics once we were on foot in towns. Highly recommend Kookaburra Tagalong Tours as an option for a passenger and look forward to possibly doing another tour in 2025. V (and B)

Vicki & Ben

NSW Trip

This trip has it all. If you love getting off the blacktop and getting back to nature, this trip is for you. There are hidden gems, spectacular scenery, towns that ooze country charm, mountains, rolling hills, valleys, rivers and creeks, and good old Aussie country pubs. History for the history buffs, and flora and fauna for nature lovers all mixed in with endless photo opportunities as you travel along roads and tracks few get to see. All at a leisurely pace and to top it off, your guide is the best you will ever get to travel with; what Tiny doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.


Madigan 2023

Kookaburra Tagalong Tours We have just finished a tagalong tour crossing of the Simpson Desert Munga Thirri in Australia. We hired 4WD vehicles and joined Koolaburra Tagalong Tours. We crossed Birdsville to Mt Dare then up to Old Andado then back across via the Madigan line to Birdsville. Kookaburra Tagalong were absolutely fantastic, highly recommend. We had a great group. Just get out there and do it. Steve & Deborah

Steve & Deborah

Madigan 2023

What a blast! We undertook the Kookaburra Tours tag-a-long tour of the Simpson desert in August '23. The guides were incredibly warm, capable and trustworthy of getting us out of any strife in the dunes should it have occurred. The breathtakung sun rises and sunsets, the fond memories of sitting by night camp fires beneath glowing stars telling yarns to each other, the long lasting friendships made with other members in tbe group, the beautiful and varied wildflowers, the excitement we all experienced with seeing dingoes and other wildlife, and the endearing stories told through the eyes of our dear mascots kooka and emu.... a must do for anyone seeking adventure in the vast Australian outback. We will carry those fond memories with us forever and extend many thanks to Ross and Kenny for their amazing organisation and leadership. We'll be back! Tania & Elaine

Tania & Elaine

Simpson 2023

It's the great friendship between Ross and Ken that sets the relaxed casual mood for a wonderful crossing of the Simpson Desert, which we have just completed, with these principals of Kookaburra Tagalong Tours. Having no experience in desert driving, nor sand dune crossing, we appreciated Ross and Ken's pre-trip advice and assurances in the preparation of our vehicle. During the actual crossing, knowing that Ross and Ken had prepared all official passes, identified campsites, had emergency equipment and contact capability available, combined with their wealth of practical knowledge and experience, allowed us to relax and enjoy the excitement and scenic beauty of this rarely seen part of Australia. Thankyou to both of you and all the best in your future tours, Gail and Noel

Gail & Noel

Anzac & Pub Tour 2023

We had the pleasure recently of travelling with Kookaburra Outback Tours on their Pub and Anzac Tour and visited a variety of different places including Cunnamulla, Tibooburra , Broken Hill and others. The experience was great and we learned of the history of the towns at the stopovers, learned a lot about the opal mines and the resilience of the miners and had fun with the rest of the team over the campfires at night and also learned some of their stories which were also very interesting. We were impressed by the caring nature of the guides towards the travellers especially when there was a need (and there were a couple). Everyone should see more of Australia! Gary & Cheryl

Gary & Cheryl

Could not asked for more

We travelled across the Simpson Desert to Mount Dare & back to Birdsville via the Madigan Line. We were expertly guided by Kookaburra tours under the guidance of Kenny & Ross. We could not have asked for more from them. We left Birdsville on the 11 Aug, returning Saturday 20. with a total of 11 cars chasing each other. It was enjoyable to have the company of others as we endured what the desert had to offer. Thanks Ross

Graham Johnson

Would do it again

Went across the Simpson with them the wife and I had a great time. Great outfit and they look after you. Ross and Kenny are great would do it again no drama at all

Ian Shorter

Bucket List

My recent Kookaburra Tagalong tour of Arnhem Land and Kakadu was a bucket list trip which was made completely enjoyable by Ross and Kenny. Ross was able to be flexible and adaptable when dealing with issues that were encountered on the trip such as rain that was unexpected during the dry season. He was vey adept at reorganising and rescheduling to suit changing conditions. Kenny is a most capable right hand man and together with Ross make a formidable team. I would not hesitate to recommend Kookaburra Tagalong tours for those wishing to experience the outback in a safe and friendly environment. Ron

Ron Crane

Highly Recommended

Highly recommended I just completed the 11 day Madigan line tagalong tour. the tour leaders Ross and Ken were excellent and highly knowledgeable about this area. It's a great way to travel remotely as there's and instant group of friends and help if there's any glitches. I'll put my name down for one of there tours for next year.'

Fraser Trueman

Go as a Passenger

Go as a passenger. If you would like to enjoy the outback without the cost or hassle of owning your own 4WD vehicle, check out Kookaburratagalongtours options to go as a passenger. I did the 15 daySimpson desert tour and spent my days sitting with Ross as he guided the 5 other vehicles over red sand dunes, gravel and Sandy tracks. I saw places I never thought to see, slept in a swag or a tent most nights. The night sky’s were gobsmacking and the company funny and excited to be out learning and testing their own skills. Ross and Kenny were great guides and everyone seemed to grow in confidence as the days passed. Happy to chat with anyone who might be interested. All I had to take was a sleeping bag. All good and sleeping arrangements taken care of by Ross and Kenny.

Ann W

Simpson Desert & Beyond 2022

Thank you Ross and Kenny for leading a group of 4wd novices across the desert and back to Birdsville. As the only single driver I have to say that whilst it was tiring it was really exhilarating to know that I had driven across this amazing remote area with its awesome and expansive beauty. I loved the flowers, the colours and the landscapes. The company was just the best. 4 couples old enough to know the best of humour- Monty Python and the rest; great music, historical and geographical references in our afternoon quiz and the hilarity of Kooka News of the day usually round a crackingly good campfire. I really hope we keep in touch - it was such a great time! The Lake Eyre option was just magnificent. So many tour highlights, so much learning and such a huge , exciting and beautiful experience. I can commend this trip to everyone with a 4wd, sense of humour and adventure and love of the great outdoors. Thanks again Ross and Kenny- great job! Thanks

Jenny R

Simpson Desert & Beyond 2022

We completed the 15 day July 22 Simpson Desert and beyond tagalong and had a great time. As novice 4wd people, we were thankful that Ross and Kenny ensured we were able to safely develop our skills while seeing unique and remote areas of central Australia, highlights being the crossing of the Simpson desert with time on all the major tracks and traveling on the Oonadatta track through the painted desert. Ross and Kenny are very flexible and relaxed in their style and are always striving to make sure you gain maximum value and they are always available to assist. This is a safe and hassle free way of visiting remote areas with like minded people and we have no hesitation in recommending Ross and Kenny from Kookaburra tagalong tours. Mark and Julie Gower

Ian & Vicky Thompson

Simpson Desert & Beyond

We completed the 15 day July 22 Simpson Desert and beyond tagalong and had a great time. As novice 4wd people, we were thankful that Ross and Kenny ensured we were able to safely develop our skills while seeing unique and remote areas of central Australia, highlights being the crossing of the Simpson desert with time on all the major tracks and traveling on the Oonadatta track through the painted desert. Ross and Kenny are very flexible and relaxed in their style and are always striving to make sure you gain maximum value and they are always available to assist. This is a safe and hassle free way of visiting remote areas with like minded people and we have no hesitation in recommending Ross and Kenny from Kookaburra tagalong tours. Mark and Julie Gower

Mark & Julie Gower

Great Trip

It was a great trip, Ross & Kenny went out of their way to accommodate our many requests. If anyone didn’t enjoy it then that was their problem. Saw lots of things that I would not have seen on my own. Thanks guys. 🥳


Great Experience

Sandra & I would love to thank you and ken for a experience we will never forget,we love every minute. All the people on this trip were amazing.Please keep us informed of other trips you have in the pipeline. Thanks again Peter & Sandra young

Sandra & peter Young

Thoroughly enjoyed

We thoroughly enjoyed our “Anzac/Outback Pubs Tour” with Kookaburra Tagalong Tours. The travelling was relaxed with the aim of the tour to enjoy unusual and iconic pubs of the outback. Experiencing Anzac Day in the Opal Fields of Lightning Ridge was a special highlight. When roads were closed due to rain, Ross always ensured we had a safe alternative to our next destination. Nothing was too much trouble, including a request from some of the guests to add in an extra feature not mentioned in the original itinerary. Thankyou Ross and Ken for a most memorable tagalong experience. Sue and Clive Gotlieb”.

Clive & Sue

A Fantastic Trip

In 2018, I joined Ken & Ross in a convoy of 7 vehicles to explore the Simpson Desert. It was a fantastic trip, and the landscape was spectacular. We travelled from Birdsville across the Simpson Desert and returned via the lesser-known Madigan Line. I felt totally included in the group and the atmosphere of fun and banter around the campfire each night was memorable. This was a trip I’d been wanting to do for years however I just didn’t have the confidence or the CAN DO attitude to tackle it on my own. Travelling tagalong style, I knew that my safety was never in doubt and that certainly changed my attitude and increased my confidence. The trip was well-organised and informative, and the communication was excellent. When we arrived back in Birdsville to find our original route flooded, the team were quick to plan an alternative so that our adventure could continue. Good onya Ross & Kenny!

Cheers, Paul

Would I do another tag-along, yes in a heartbeat

We joined the tag-along tour for a Simpson Desert crossing. At first I thought it was just another added expense, as we usually did our own thing. After a very short time we were bogged in a very difficult situation, which with the combined experience, sharing of equipment, and the company and help of the others in the group, disaster was averted. Puncture repairs and tyre changes are certainly made easier with assistance from your fellow travellers, as they normally happen in the most difficult circumstances. Entry to normally closed areas was accessed with preplanned permits and permission to enjoy sites not normally seen. Advice on carrying petrol and alcohol were advised to avoid hefty fines of up to $30,000, and or jail in some areas. Permits are long drawn out affairs, that are expensive, especially for single tourers, and can be explicit on times of arrival and transitioning some lands that have many hidden treasures not accessible to most. The comfort of having experienced guides and support in times of 4WD'ing difficult terrain is fantastic, along with the fellowship in the evening, and discussing the day gone, and the challenges ahead. Providing your own food and meal requirements was important to me, as I have some special medical and dietary requirements. Safety and backup is important when exploring out of the way places, which was well covered by the tour leaders. Would I do another tag-along, yes in a heartbeat, and we have booked two more trip for this year.


Very organised and a great leader

To whom it may concern I have known Ross for several years and have accompanied him on a couple of his trips. He was very organised and a great leader, taking me to very interesting places. He has a huge interest in our country and I think him sharing that with everyone would be a fantastic thing for him to do. He is a great person, has a wonderful sense of humour and is heaps of fun to be around. I wish him all the best in his business venture.

Debbie Gridley


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