Simpson Desert Recovery Assurance

Birdsville is considered the gateway to the Simpson desert. Now known as Munga-Thirri National Park, it is Queensland's largest protected area and covers nearly a million hectares. A 4-wheel driving paradise, the Simpson Desert is a bucket list expedition for those wanting to explore some of the most remote and untouched areas of Australia. Crossing the Simpson Desert doesn't come without its challenges however and while this is a big part of the attraction, it can also be a worry for those considering embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. Most Roadside Assistance Policies do not cover the Simpson Desert and emergency vehicle recovery callout services can take weeks and cost upwards of $10,000 so breaking down in the Simpson Desert could easily ruin even the most resilient 4WD enthusiasts' journey.

But not anymore, with the peace of mind of your Simpson Desert Recovery Assistance Package.

In 2024 the Birdsville Hotel designed and built a specialised, heavy-duty off-road recovery truck specifically designed for this region & terrain, and with our highly trained staff is now offering Simpson Desert Recovery Assistance Packages.

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    Book a Recovery Assistance Package

    • Cost of package: $495 inc GST per vehicle

    • Additions: $99 inc GST trailer towing cover

    Important Information before Purchasing Cover

    • To enable your recovery, a Satellite phone or mobile phone with satellite connectivity (Starlink or SatSleeve) is required to notify us. Although Satellite phones can be hired from the Wirrari Information Centre in Birdsville and the Mount Dare Hotel, their availability is limited.

      It is advised you ring either of the above to book a Satellite phone prior to leaving home or alternatively bring one from your home base or ensure you have one for your desert crossing. A Satellite phone also provides tremendous peace of mind should your or one of your fellow travellers have a medical emergency.

    • Simpson Desert Recovery packages must be purchased before entering the Simpson Desert. If you are within 2 days of your arrival date you must contact us directly on 07 4656 3244 to purchase your package or do it in person at the Birdsville Hotel.

    • If purchasing before 2 days, you will be sent confirmation by email within 48 hours.

    • There is a 7 day waiting period for the commencement of your cover unless purchased at The Birdsville Hotel in person.

    • All recovery services are back to Birdsville and not to any other location. The reasoning behind this is once back in Birdsville, our home base, your broken down vehicle can be securely stored until such time it can be freighted to a repairer as organised with your normal insurance provider. We can then generally organise some accommodation for you (not guaranteed but we'll do our best) and ensure you and your family / friends are fed, watered and looked after.

      Regional Express also service Birdsville with flights to Brisbane or Mt. Isa twice per week. Alternatively, Birdsville aviation have aircraft that can be chartered to fly you back to your home base.

    • Please check what type of breakdown is covered below.

    • Please view our Terms and Conditions below.

    What type of break down is covered:

    The cover offered covers the recovery of your 4wd vehicle if it suffers a major mechanical breakdown while crossing the Simpson Desert. We are not a RACQ or NRMA type of service and cannot be called out to assist with basic breakdowns like flat batteries, running out of fuel, having a flat tyre or other minor problems that can be fixed or repaired onsite. A major mechanical breakdown or failure can be described as being but not limited to:

    • Front or rear suspension failure which is not repairable on the track and the vehicle is not driveable

    • Engine, transmission or any part of the driveline that has failed and is beyond being able to "limp" back to Birdsville. (All recovery services as mentioned are back to Birdsville only).

    • Broken vehicle chassis, blown up or failed axles, failed and collapsed wheel bearings, broken steering systems, failed fuel systems, broken and failed water pumps or radiators, seized or failed alternators preventing the engine and electrical system to run. Something as simple as a stick through your radiator can really put a downer on your adventure!

    • If by chance you become severely bogged and are not part of a convoy of other vehicles, we will come out to pull out your vehicle as long as every effort has been made to free the vehicle yourselves.

    • If by chance you accidentally roll over your vehicle or are involved in an accident, we can recover your damaged vehicle and of course rescue you and your family as well. If the matter is an emergency and urgent medical assistance is required please contact 000 as first priority. We can then work in with the relevant emergency services to recover your vehicle when appropriate.

    Recovery Zone Map

    Your Recovery Assistance Package will cover you for vehicle recovery while travelling on the designated tracks within the zone clearly stated on this map.

    The zone marked on the map covers the most popular tracks and where travellers are most at risk of a vehicle breakdown. Your cover stretches from the township of Birdsville in the east to over Big Red and to the western intersection of the Rig Road and French Line. Further west from here, the track is far less arduous and considered "fairly easy". From here, any recovery would be a day and a half to two days back to Birdsville and the limit of how far we can go.

    Venturing to the southeast of the Munga-Thirri National Park? The Recovery Assistance Package covers you on those desert southern routes tracking down onto the K1 line and into the Warburton track finishing at the intersection of the Warburton and Birdsville tracks (when this route is open, please check with SA National Parks to ensure that it is open at the time of travelling). The zone has been designed around a region that we have confidence in proving a recovery service to our package holders safely and within a reasonable time frame.

    If travelling on marked routes outside of the recovery zone and you experience a breakdown, we may be able to provide a recovery, but it will depend on your location and will be assessed on a case by case basis. Please understand that depending on your location, your recovery may be denied. Our primary focus is to provide recovery services to those who have purchased a recovery assistance package and are broken down within the recovery zone area.

    While the recovery assistance package covers you for the marked routes within the zone please be aware that if tracks are officially closed due to wet weather or poor track conditions we will be unable to depart Birdsville to carry out a recovery until the track is officially re-opened for travel.

    We proudly support and adhere to the "Tread Lightly Code" in this pristine remote area. Please refrain from venturing off the main tracks.

    What to do in the Event of a Breakdown

    Use your Satellite phone to ring our Recovery Assistance direct line available from 7am – 8pm daily. Have the details of your whereabouts ready ie. GPS location ideally but otherwise; your closest desert "Q call point", what track you're on, distance from last known point of interest, and distance from the nearest track if off-track. Be prepared to give details about the reason for your recovery request to allow us to best prepare our team for an efficient recovery.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    About the Recovery Truck

    Our brand-new Mercedes Arocs 1835 4x4 with 7.7 litre TDI engine developing 1400 Nm of pulling power is a bespoke heavy-duty off-road recovery vehicle specifically designed for recoveries out in Simpson Desert terrain. The tilt tray has been purpose built to carry large 4x4 vehicles including larger imported dual cab utilities that have become extremely popular with offroad touring enthusiasts. The tray has also been designed with our region specifically in mind with the ability to carry additional spare wheels, tools, and heavy-duty recovery equipment. Boasting bigger than standard off-road tyres to ensure premium performance in the sand hills, there are few places this vehicle can't go.

    The cabin is well appointed with a bench seat in the rear of the cab to enable us to transport not just your vehicle but the family as well in safety and comfort! Our goal is to ensure that those taking on the adventure of the Simpson Desert feel rest assured that we have a premium recovery service to back you up should the trip not go to plan.

    Terms & Conditions

    By purchasing Simpson Desert Recovery Assistance, you are bound by the terms and conditions below that apply to the relevant product.