Simpson Desert Expedition Alice to Adelaide
- Duration: 11 Days (approx.)
- Product code: sd2
The deserts of the Lake Eyre basin are unlike any other in Australia. The sediments that flow down the great river systems of the Diamantina and Cooper are raised by the wind and dumped into vast longitudinal sand dunes. They hold less vegetation than the Western Deserts, interspersed with its salt lakes, clay pans and spinifex. In places there are gidgee groves in the interdunal corridors, gnarled like ancient olive trees. Amid all this beauty is one of the toughest four wheel drive challenges on the planet. But this expedition is far more than just the Simpson Desert. We travel the historic Birdsville Tracks, rich in Aboriginal and European heritage. We explore lesser known gorges in the picturesque Flinders Ranges. Diamantina have been operating expeditions to the Simpson Desert and Lake Eyre Basin since 1990. We have crossed the desert over 100 times, along every track, and off track as well. With this experience, we have designed what we believe is the best Simpson desert expedition.
We travel south from Alice Springs to Santa Theresa, visiting the heritage church and art gallery. We travel south through the rangeland to camp in the Rodinga Range.
We travel south in inte-dunal corridors to the Mac Clarke acacia peace reserve and check out some of Australia's rarest trees. We visit the heritage listed Old Andado Station, once home to outback legends Mac and Molly Clarke and camp on the Finke floodplain.
We cross the Finke River and the South Australian border to Mt Dare Station. We travel through the spectacular rocky rangeland of Witjira National Park to Dalhousie Springs for a swim in bath temperature artesian water. These springs are the largest surface expression of the Great Artesian Basin. Leaving Dalhousie we cross the Spring Creek Delta and re-enter the dunes of the Simpson Desert. We visit Purni Bore, a man made wetland and Mokari Airstrip with the lonely grave of "Mr Peck" before arriving at our camp, the Birthday Claypan.
Day Four to Six
For the next three days we follow abandoned oil exploration tracks and seismic tracks through this extraordinary landscape. Firstly through the southern desert where the colour of the dunes lighten to almost white. We cross the Bilpa Plain and visit Lone Gum. We head north on the Knolls Track to the Approdinna Attora Knolls, then east along the French Line to Poeppels Corner, the tri state border of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. Taking the QAA line we head east to Eyre Creek. Our final dune crossing is the aptly named "Big Red" - the Nappanerica Dune. We arrive in Birdsville and the chance to wash off the desert dust. South along the Birdsville Track we visit the lonely grave of the Page family on Clifton Hills Station.
South along the Birdsville Track we cross Sturt Stony Desert with its vast gibber plains. We check out Mirra Mitta Bore, where the water comes out of the bore head at almost boiling point. Lunch is at the Mungerannie Pub before we travel through the Naterannie Sandhills, where the Stzelecki and Tirari Desert dune fields meet. By arrangement with the owners of Etadunna Station we drive on station tracks out to the lonely ruins of the Bethesda Lutheran Mission on the banks of Coopers Creek. Here we will look at one of the most extraordinary stories of European/Aboriginal contact amid the sandhills of the Tirari Desert.
Southward to Marree we complete our journey along the Birdsville Track. Marree was a “Ghan” town, home to the Afghan Cameleers, and we look at some of the historic houses, including that of the famous Bejah Dervish. There is the option of taking an unforgettable flight over Lake Eyre and the Marree Man - the largest art installation on earth. Further south we visit Leigh Creek and Copley. We travel on private station roads. Tonight we camp on private property near a little known Aboriginal art site displaying thousands of stone carvings on the red walls of a spectacular gorge.
We travel through the Gammon Ranges National Park. Crossing the spectacular Balcanoona Plain we turn south to our camp at Mt Chambers Gorge. There is the option of climbing the mountain, or walking down the gorge - or both.
We drive through the Flinders Ranges. We visit the Copper mining town of Blinman, which is also South Australia's highest town and journey through time on the Brachina Gorge geological trail. We visit the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna and camp in Parachilna Gorge.
We travel on Station Tracks south to Quorn and exit the ranges through Pitji Richi Pass to Port Augusta. From here we journey through the wheat belt to Port Wakefield and south to arrive in Adelaide late afternoon
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