Australian Desert Expeditions

Australian Desert Expeditions

Experience the real desert with Australian Desert Expeditions. Help researchers and assist the ecologists with their important fieldwork, which may include collecting and documenting botanical specimens, assisting with marsupial trapping surveys or anthropological and archaeological documentation – all whilst travelling in the grand tradition of the early explorers and pioneering Afghan cameleers. A true Australian experience for brave adventurers!

About Australian Desert Expeditions

Australian Desert Expeditions is a not-for-profit, Registered Environmental Organisation that partners with leading universities, state and national government land management authorities, national conservation organisations and private research institutions to conduct scientific and ecological survey expeditions into remote regions of the Central deserts.

There are two components to our research surveys – the ecological and scientific documentation and the desert trekking experience with our camel team. Walking alongside traditionally outfitted packcamels, delivering the smallest environmental footprint possible, is ideal for traversing the arid zone and learning about the desert flora & fauna. Our surveys are a direct living link to the historical spirit and cultural heritage of scientific desert exploration of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Why do we conduct our surveys like this? Because walking the desert is timeless. Every single step reveals the story of this ancient landscape.
Beginning in June 2014, we commenced the first stage of The Central Australia Transect (CAT) in the Simpson Desert, a major and dedicated survey of the remote sections of the world’s largest parallel sand-ridge desert and Australia’s driest area.”

© Australian Desert Expedition

About the Expeditions

Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the driest continent in the world and has the largest desert region in the Southern hemisphere. More than a third of the continent is effectively desert; over two thirds of the continent is classified as arid or semi-arid with the ten recognised deserts comprising 18% of the mainland. There are many plants and animals still to be discovered by science. It is estimated that three-quarters of Australia’s biodiversity is yet to be identified and 45% of continental Australia has never been comprehensively surveyed by scientists. Australian Desert Expeditions is trying to solve this problem by challenging the desert research status quo, initiating and conducting surveys in the most isolated desert regions that are inaccessible by conventional means.

Australian Desert Expeditions use camels on their surveys mostly because vehicle based surveys have their place and purpose for ecological field work but are severely lim

ited in scope when it comes to exploring and documenting country between limited access points.

ADE founder Andrew Harper explains:

“Even in this day of 4WD travelling, the best way to see the deserts is to w

alk them. With the demise of the stockman and his horse, and the Aboriginal leaving of the Simpson and Western Deserts in the 1900s, very few people walk the remote desert any more for extended periods. Consequently

, the stories the desert holds ha

ve been missed over the last few decades. The desert deserves to be approached gently, so its mood is revealed. The way people have a

lways approached these (areas) was on foot, as we have done today. That reveals the country – the continuum of country.”

Choose your Australian Desert Experience

Red Centre to the Pilbara Expedition

The Simpson Desert Expedition 


Canning Stock Route Expedition

 Bindibu Country and Pintubi Nine

Availability in August 2019

Duration : 17 Days (approx.)

Starting from 7,500$

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Availability in May 2019

Duration : 11 Days (approx.)

Starting from 4,500$

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Availability in June and July 2019

Duration : 19 Days (approx.)

Starting from 8,100$

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 Availability in May 2019

Duration : 12 Days (approx.)

Starting from 6,640$

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An expedition designed to capture the very essence of the Western Deserts and their astonishing diversity. From the rugged ranges of remote Karlamilyi (Rudall River) National Park and the ironstone red ranges of the lesser-known East Pilbara to the botanical wonderlands of the Gibson Desert bio region.

This was the last wilderness in Australia, it was only in the 1960s that any vehicle tracks were made into the area. 

This is the ultimate Western Deserts Safari. If you have been looking at a map of Australia and wondering what mysteries lie in the blank bits out west – look no further. Rather than a barren desert, you will find nature’s wonderland, including the Mulga parklands of the Gibson Desert Nature Reserve, the rugged splendour of Rudall River National Park, and the stunning and seldom visited East Pilbara. See how the country changes, and how the plants, birds and wildlife adapt to those changes. This expedition travels through the communities of Haasts Bluff, Papunya, Warburton, Warakurna and Kiwirrkurrna. You will travel the paths of the explorers as well as tracks put in by Len Beadell, including the Gary and Gunbarrel highways and the seldom-travelled Talawanna Track. For lovers of nature, those with an adventurous spirit, or simply those who love to immerse themselves in wild and remote places, look no further, this is the one for you. 

 The deserts of the Lake Eyre basin are unlike any other in Australia.  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. You’ll travel the historic Birdsville Tracks, rich in Aboriginal and European heritage, explore lesser known gorges in the Flinders Ranges and trek north from Dalhousie to historic Old Andado Station.

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 depart Adelaide and travel north to Port Augusta, our first nights camping in Parachilna Gorge. Awake to birdsong and a hearty breakfast before we start following the award winning self interpretive geological trail tracing 200 million years of geological history as we wind beneath the native pines and red quartzite ridges. We’ll travel through Gammon Ranges National Park and Flinders Ranges at Copley. Then we’ll head north onto the plains in Birdsville marking our completion of the Birdsville Track. Crossing the Finke River, we’ll then travel further north past Santa Theresa Mission, arriving in Alice Springs late morning, and the end of an extraordinary expedition.

 A trip down the Canning is like nothing you could ever imagine. One solitary set of wheel tracks setting out across the Great Sandy Desert eventually connecting with Wiluna, 2000 km to the south making it the longest and most remote stock route in the world.

It is a place of great natural beauty, with land systems ranging from spinifex plains to wetlands, dune systems, desert oak forests, spectacular ranges and escarpments and salt lakes. It is also the longest heritage trail in Australia, containing Aboriginal rock art galleries, lonely graves of stockmen and explorers, and the series of wells that punctuate the route. Some of these have been restored, and good water can be obtained. Others lie in ruins.

This is a fully catered expedition. You can choose to travel in our vehicles or tagalong in your own. The Canning today is one of the worlds greatest 4X4 adventures that combines a rich cultural heritage, extraordinary natural history, and an exciting remote area tour. Diamantina have been operating down the Canning Stock Route since 1992. Travel with the acknowledged and recognised experts! You will be travelling in a small convoy of modern desert equipped expedition four wheel drives over the Great Sandy Desert. We never use large vehicles like unimogs or 4X4 coaches. Your drivers and guides are all experts in their field.

This Diamantina expedition travels into this remote and beautiful country, taking the path less travelled. After a pick up at Uluru airport or Yulara resort (there is also an option to start  from Alice Springs) you’ll travel west into the Petermann Ranges, through the Sandy Blight Junction Road north and the Gibson Desert to Kintore. You’ll then travel west to Kiwirrkurra, Australia’s most isolated Aboriginal community, and north to Lake MacKay. Following an unmapped track deep into the Great Sandy Desert, eventually you’ll arrive at Balgo. You’ll continueb travelling through Tanami Downs Station on the old original Tanami Track before joining the Tanami Road to return to Alice Springs. This is a great expedition through country seldom seen by anyone – it’s always better along the path less travelled.

This is a trip for those who really want to get away from it all. After the stunning beauty of the majestic Petermann Ranges, the Sandy Blight Junction road winds its way through beautiful stands of stately desert oaks. From Australia’s most isolated Aboriginal community  to Lake Mackay, the largest salt lake in the Western Deserts. The track we take from here is so little travelled, you’ll rarely encounter another vehicle on it. The country is diverse, travelling across sandhills, desert ranges and claypans before finally culminating at the spectacular Balgo Pound. Turning south we travel along the little travelled original Tanami Track to Rabbit Flat where you’ll join the Tanami Road to return to Alice Springs.

What you need to know…

  • All our surveys are participation based walking treks and are not camel-riding safaris. Because we operate in very remote areas, there are substantial costs incurred in transporting camels, equipment, ecologists, crew and trekkers to different deserts across the continent, stretching from central Western Australia to Birdsville in Queensland, and we endeavour to keep prices as competitive as possible and give our trekkers the best possible desert experience. Your contribution to the ecotourism sector of our business is vital in enabling us to carry out our important desert research.
  • Our journeys are designed for anyone who is in good general health. You do not have to be ‘ultra-fit’, however a super-fit person who is unhappy at leaving the comforts of home behind will not cope as well as a moderately fit person who is prepared to encounter the desert on its own terms.
  • We carry tents but only use them during wet weather, and yes, it can rain in the desert during winter! Otherwise there is no need to use a tent. You will be issued with a swag which will keep you warm during the cold nights. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag.
  • You will be surprised at the variation in meals that we can create. Except for refrigerated goods of course, we can carry just about anything, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and cook all meals on the campfire using woks and traditional camp-ovens. We cater to nearly all dietary requirements, bearing in mind that we operate in remote areas, just enquire at time of booking.

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or call 08 8929 1609 to enquire

For bookings and more information, feel free to contact our Reception on 08 8929 1609 from 7am-8pm daily
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