Warren Sprigg

By Warren Sprigg

7 activities you shouldn’t skip when touring the Simpson Desert

For many 4WD enthusiasts, crossing the Simpson Desert is high on their bucket list. After all, it is the world’s largest parallel sand dune desert and one of the most visited sites in Australia. See the vivid wildflowers, exceptional pine trees and unique wildlife that thrive in the deep red sands of the Simpson Desert.

Widely popular for its rich wilderness and tall sand dunes, the Simpson Desert is a place of stark beauty and wonderful serenity. It is quite accessible with the right vehicle. If you don’t have the experience to head off-road, there are organised 4X4 tag-along tours into the Simpson Desert.

Must-do activities in the Simpson Desert

Many attractions are located on this track and can be accessed on a trip from Alice Springs. Here are the best places to visit and activities to perform when touring the Simpson Desert.

Take a four-wheel drive

As mentioned above, the Simpson Desert is one of the best four-wheel tracks in Australia. Whether it’s the Binns Track that runs parallel to the Stuart Highway or the Old Andado Track that follows the Desert’s western edge to the town of Finke, you can explore a lot. Rolling sand dunes and challenging desert tracks make this tour a challenging driving experience. So, consider taking 4X4 tag-along tours.

Plan a trip to Aboriginal art centres

You MUST plan to visit the Aboriginal communities in the region. Located in Santa Teresa, Keringke Arts Aboriginal Art Centre is about one hour south-east of Alice Springs. This site is famous for the intricate and colourful work of more than 30 local Aboriginal artists. These artists live, paint, carve and sculpt at Tapatjatjaka Art and Crafts in the Titjikala community.

Explore the Old Andado Station

Old Andado Station is physical evidence of the establishment of pastoral activities during the 2nd decade of the 20th Century. It consists of buildings that are in isolation with the need to use available construction resources and reflect the distinctive way of life in a harsh environment. This old station is an understanding of human occupation in remote regions and the contribution of renowned individuals like the McDill brothers and Malcolm Clark.

Visit the Mac Clark Conservation Reserve

Mac Clark Conservation Reserve protects Acacia Peuce trees that are rare and found in only two other locations in the world. These trees have extremely hardwood and were traditionally used to make digging tools by Aboriginal people. They are the most striking trees of the Australian arid zone, which grows in one of the driest regions in Australia. You can reach the reserve via Santa Teresa or from Kulgera.

Take a journey on the Binns Track

The Binns Track is the Northern Territory’s newest 4WD drive route – running from Mount Dare to the township of Timber Creek. This track covers 2,191 kilometres and winds through some lesser-known nature reserves and national parks. Cross the outback towns of Alice Springs and Tennant Creek and run through some of the Northern Territory’s most interesting landscapes in the Simpson Desert.

Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve

This six-hectare reserve protects petroglyphs that are rock engravings made by the early Arrernte Aboriginal people. It is 39 kilometres south of Alice Springs and lets you discover the ancient petroglyph sites. Try to visit the site during the early morning or late afternoon, when shadows make the shallow engravings seen.

Don’t forget the Chambers Pillar

Built 160 kilometres away from Alice Springs, the Chambers Pillar is a tall solitary column – towering 50 metres above the desert. It was formed from sandstone and worn down over 350 million years. The pillar used to be an important landmark to guide the region’s earliest pioneers on their way. You can explore it on foot, but don’t forget your camera.

Summing up

We hope this blog post made planning your next desert adventure easier and inspired you to learn a little more about the places you should visit. If you are looking to explore the iconic Simpson Desert , feel free to check out our ultimate guide to the Simpson Desert.