Simpson Desert

Simpson Desert Geography

Occupying central Australia the Simpson desert comprises a dry area of red sandy plains and dunes. It stretches across the northern, southern and central Australia covering an area more than 68000 sq. miles. below the desert is the Great Artesian Basin that surface as natural springs. The desert is classified as type of erg with numerous non-shifting sand dunes. The Nappanerica is a red 40 meters high sand dune and is the largest of the lot. The sand is grainy and made up of quartz and its color ranges from grey to red with rich deposits of iron oxide.


Name Origin: Alfred Allen Simpson
Country Australia
States Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia
Area 176,500 km2 (68,147 sq mi)
Biome Desert

Quick Facts

  • Area : 170,000 sq kilometres
  • Fourth largest desert in Australia
  • The Simpson has the longest parallel dunes in the world
  • Some dunes are 200 km long
  • Estimated number of parallel sand dunes : 1100+
  • The tallest dune is Nappanerica or Big Red. It’s 40 metres high!
  • Annual rainfall ranges from 150-200mm
  • Temperatures ranging from -2 Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius have been recorded

Climate / Weather

The seasons in this part of the world are opposite of the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer time for the Simpson desert and so the national parks are closed for visitors due to the harsh heat of the summer months. Temperatures here can range from 39 to 50 degrees Centigrade during summer. Winter temperatures range from 18 to 24 degrees Centigrade. Dust storms occur at least 4-5 times annually. Winters are less windy and rains are very unpredictable.

Simpson Desert History

The Simpson desert was first discovered by an European explorer in 1946. It was named after an Australian philanthropist and geographer named Alfred Allen. It is now known as the Simpson Desert National Park. Many ancient river systems have been discovered under the desert

Plants or Vegetation of the Simpson Desert

The desert eco region comprises of shrubs and grasses such as Zygochloa paradoxa and spinifex that hold the dunes in place. Coolabah tree are natives of this land.

Flora & Plants List

  • Georgina gidgee
  • Sandhill canegrass
  • Spinifex dune (Triodia basedowii)
  • Saltbush flats (Atriplex)
  • Narrow-leaved hopbush (Dodonaea attenuata)

Animals of the Simpson Desert

A number of reptiles and Amphibians inhabit this desert . The Water holding frog Litoria platycephala and the kowari Dasycercus byrnei are more abundant. Birds include Eyrean Grasswren (Amytornis goyderi) and Grey Grasswren (Amytornis barbatus). Seasonal wetlands are formed due to the high rate of precipitation in some areas. A number of water birds such as the Freckled duck Stictonetta naevosa, Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae, Musk Duck Biziura loba), Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, Great Egret Ardea alba and Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus have formed these wetlands their habitat.


  • Whip Snake
  • Fierce Snake
  • King Brown Snake
  • Ringed Brown Snake
  • Western brown Snake
  • Narrow-banded Snake
  • Little Spotted Snake


  • Wedge-tailed Eagle
  • Black Kites
  • Nankeen Kestrels
  • Brown Falcons
  • Bilby
  • Perentie
  • Thorny Devil
  • Bearded Dragon
  • Red Kangaroo
  • Camel
  • Desert Dingo

Simpson Desert Conservation Park

Nearest town or city Oodnadatta
Coordinates 26°15′05″S 137°50′40″E
Established 1967
Area 6,881.42 km2 (2,656.9 sq mi)
Managing authorities Department for Environment and Heritage
Website Simpson Desert Conservation Park
See also Protected areas of South Australia

Simpson Desert Distance

From - To Distance
Adelaide – Roxby Downs 561 km

Roxby Downs – Algebuckina

406 km
Algebuckina – Mt Dare 337 km

Mt. Dare – Dalhousie Springs

81 km

Dalhousie – Simpson camp

Approx 130 km

Travel through desert

Approx 156 km

Travel through desert to Eyre Creek

197 km

Eyre Creek – Birdsville

56 km

Birdsville – Mungerannie (Via Inside Track)

286 km

Mungerannie – Copley

321 km

Copley – Adelaide

569 km

Maniscalco Glass Tile & Mosaics

  • Ayers rock
  • Gosford glass - palm beach
  • Gosford glass - storm
  • Great barrier reef
  • Gosford glass
  • Aussie dream
  • Sydney harbor

Hay River Track

Origin West of Mount Barker
Mouth Wilson Inlet
Basin countries Australia
Length 80 kilometres (50 mi)
Source elevation 225 metres (738 ft)
Mouth elevation sea level
Avg. discharge 69400 ML/yr
Basin area 129,800 hectares (320,743 acres)


  • Finke River
  • Macumber River
  • Warburton River
  • Kallakoopah Creek
  • Diamantina River
  • Mulligan River
  • Eyre Creek
  • Lake Eyre
  • Lake Dieri

Motorcycle or Motorbike Tours

Item Details
All Inclusive Tour Cost From AU $8200
Bring Your Motorbike From AU $6800
Tour Difficulty 2 out of 5
Number of Riding Days 16
Tour Starts Fremantle or Airlie Beach
Tour Ends Airlie Beach or Fremantle
Total Riding Distance 5700 km
Number of Days 16 Days/15 Nights
Road/Dirt Ratio 5% / 95%
Accommodation Bush Camping/Campground
Group Size Minimum 8. Maximum 12

Daywise Schedule

Day From - To Distance
Day 1 Fremantle to Lake Moore 420 km
Day 2 Lake Moore to Lake Mason 480 km
Day 3 Lake Mason to Carnegie Station 560 km
Day 4 Carnegie Station to Camp Beadell 280 km
Day 5 Camp Beadell to Lake Christopher 330 km
Day 6 Lake Christopher to Yulara 450 km
Day 7 Yulara 0 km
Day 8 Yulara to Finke Desert Race Track 480 km
Day 9 Finke Desert Race Track to Purnie Bore 380 km
Day 10 Purnie Bore to Erabena Track 110 km
Day 11 Erabena Track to Peoppel Corner 80 km
Day 12 Peoppel Corner to Birdsville 160 km
Day 13 Birdsville to Cooper Crossing 380 km
Day 14 Cooper Crossing to Longreach 320 km
Day 15 Longreach to Charlies Hut 400 km
Day 16 Charlies Hut to Airlie Beach 440 km

National Parks

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park

Nearest town or city Marree
Coordinates 28°22′13″S 137°22′51″E
Established 31 October 1985
Area 13,488.37 km2 (5,207.9 sq mi)
Managing authorities Department for Environment and Heritage
Website Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park
See also Protected areas of South Australia

Munga-Thirri National Park

Nearest town or city Birdsville
Coordinates 25°08′33″S 138°14′25″E
Established 1967
Area 10,120 km2 (3,907.4 sq mi)
Managing authorities Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
See also Protected areas of Queensland

Simpson Desert Oasis

  • Address : 1 Herbert Street, Bedourie QLD 4829, Australia
  • Phone : +61 7 4746 1291 / (07) 4746 1277
  • Fax 07 4746 1208

Simpson Desert Images / Photos

Simpson Desert Australia Map
Simpson Desert Australia Map
Simpson Desert Big Red Sand
Simpson Desert Big Red Sand
Simpson Desert Jeep Wrangler
Simpson Desert Jeep Wrangler
Simpson Desert Location Map
Simpson Desert Location Map
Simpson Desert Map
Simpson Desert Map
Simpson Desert Quad Bike
Simpson Desert Quad Bike
Simpson Desert Sand Dunes
Simpson Desert Sand Dunes
Simpson Desert View
Simpson Desert View