List of Deserts in Oceania

Oceania Deserts

Rangipo Desert – a barren desert - like plateau von the North Island Volcanic Plateau in New Zealand

Deserts in Oceania

The Oceania consists mainly of Australia and is one of the smallest continents of the world. Major portion of Australia is covered by desert. Here we will discuss some of the major deserts in Australia and their characteristics with respect to weather, human life, flora and fauna, location, rainfall etc.

Great Victorian Desert

The Great Victorian Desert is the largest desert in Australia covering region from Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia to the Gawler Ranges in South Australia. The annual average rainfall ranges between 200 mm to 250 mm per year and is quite irregular. The temperature ranges between 32 to 40 degrees centigrade in summer and 18 to 23 degrees centigrade in winter. Thunderstorms are very common with Great Victorian Desert experiencing 15 to 20 thunderstorms per year. The desert is named after the Queen Victoria of England. The Great Victorian Desert is mostly inhabited by Indigenous Australians. Vegetation is sparse since only few plantations can survive in such a harsh condition with Eucalyptus and Acacia being common shrubs. Wildlife is mostly limited but few animals and birds adjusted themselves to the harsh condition of the desert with Lizards being quite common.

Great Sandy Desert

The Great Sandy Desert is the second largest desert is Oceania mostly inhabited by indigenous Australians and mining communities. The Indigenous Australians can be broadly classified into Martu and Pintupi Tribe. Though the rainfall is higher than normal desert standard, higher evaporation rates makes up for the higher rainfall. The average annual rainfall measures 250 mm to 300 mm. However, the desert also suffers from few drought years. The summer temperature ranges between 35 to 40 degrees centigrade and winter temperature ranges between 25 to 30 degrees centigrade. The vegetation is sparse with spinifex dominating the vegetation and animal life includes animals like camels, red kangaroo, dingos and moles.

Tanami Desert

The Tanami Desert is the third largest desert in Oceania and is home to many Australia’s endangered and rare animal species like Western Chestnut Mouse, Little native mouse, long tailed planigale, grey falcon and Freckled Duck. The desert is inhabited by aborigines like Kukatja and Walpiri tribe. The weather conditions and rainfall is similar to other deserts in Australia.

The other significant desert stretches in Oceania are The Simpson Desert and the Gibson Desert. Both the deserts are similar to other Australian Deserts in terms of weather, vegetation, animal life and human life. The population is sparse and mostly inhabited by indigenous Australians. Rainfall is also irregular and ranges between 200 mm to 250 mm per year. Gibson Desert is in the most pristine state among all the deserts in Oceania region.

Deserts of Oceania


  • 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


  • Rangipo Desert – a barren desert-like plateau