List of Deserts in Australia

Australian deserts cover more than 1,371,000 square kilometers of the Australian mainland. The desert type of arid climate is found primarily in the western plateau of the continent and the interior lowlands of the country. Vegetation is very limited in these areas. The population of Australia is mainly concentrated in the coast with only 3 percent of the population living in the desert areas.

The ten main deserts of Australia are as follows:

Desert Name Area (square kms)
Great Victoria Desert 424,400
Great Sandy Desert 284,993
Tanami Desert 184,500
Simpson Desert 176,500
Gibson Desert 156,000
Little Sandy Desert 111,500
Strzelecki Desert 80,250
Sturt Stony Desert 29,750
Tirari Desert (South Australia) 15,250
Pedirka Desert (South Australia) 1,250

Australia Deserts List

  • Central Desert – a central Australian desert
  • Gibson Desert – a central Australian desert
  • Great Sandy Desert – a northwestern Australian desert
  • Great Victoria Desert – the biggest desert in Australia
  • Little Sandy Desert – a western Australian desert
  • Simpson Desert – a central Australian desert
  • Strzelecki Desert – a south-central Australian desert
  • Tanami Desert – a northern Australian desert


The climate of Australia is mainly determined by hot, sinking air of the sub tropical high pressure belt. The El Nino-Southern Oscillation is mainly responsible for the dry conditions in the area. Around 40 percent of the land area is covered by dunes with central Australia receiving scanty rainfall on an average of 150mm each year.

Ecological Issues

The main ecological issue of the desert land is the introduction of different foreign species which have affected the flora and fauna of the region. The native vegetation to a large extent has been affected by the Australian Feral Camel which is a herbivore animal. The presence of four wheeled vehicles in the sensitive areas of the desert has also posed a serious threat to the natural ecosystem.

Animals and Plants

Though the Australian deserts are inhospitable yet it is home to large range of flora and fauna. The Acacia trees also known as wattles is a native to the Australian desert which grows up to 16 feet in height. Other commonly found trees are the Eucalyptus trees and the Australian saltbush which grow as shrubs.

Spinifex hopping mouse, the white striped mastiff bat, and the short beaked echidna are some of the main fauna found in the region.

List of Australian Deserts

Desert State/Territory Size Proportion of Australian landmass
Great Victoria Desert Western Australia, South Australia 348,750 km2 134,650 sq mi 4%
Great Sandy Desert Western Australia 284,993 km2 110,036 sq mi 3.5%
Tanami Desert Western Australia, Northern Territory 184,500 km2 71,200 sq mi 2.4%
Simpson Desert Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia 176,500 km2 68,100 sq mi 2.3%
Gibson Desert Western Australia 156,000 km2 60,000 sq mi 2.0%
Little Sandy Desert Western Australia 111,500 km2 43,100 sq mi 1.5%
Strzelecki Desert South Australia, New South Wales 80,250 km2 30,980 sq mi 1.0%
Sturt Stony Desert South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales 29,750 km2 11,490 sq mi 0.3%
Tirari Desert South Australia 15,250 km2 5,890 sq mi 0.2%
Pedirka Desert South Australia 1,250 km2 480 sq mi 0.1%