The Simpson Desert is large and it’s sands and rocks and stunted trees cover parts of three states, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland. It is probably more accessible for the normal traveller as it runs in the South Australian section, almost beside the Stuart Highway. In fact if one takes the Oodnadatta Track from Coober Pedy to Marla, the journey is through the Simpson Desert. There are large signs at each entrance to this loop trip warning of the desert conditions and to be prepared with extra water and fuel, and also stating that a four-wheel drive vehicle is the safest way to go .Locals will tell you in the right conditions a normal station wagon or sedan will take one round the desert journey.
The Simpson desert has been traversed by foot when an intrepid Australian explorer walked from the bottom of Australia through the desert to the Gulf of Carpenteria. With the advent of the four-wheel drive, many want to get right off road and cross the Simpson Desert. The “Birdsville Track” is as well known as Death Valley in California, and is a dirt road through the length of the Simpson Desert in it’s South Australian section. An annual event which all Australians know about is the “Birdsville Races”. Many of the four-wheel drivers start off in Maree and make the five hundred and twenty kilometre journey across the Simpson Desert to Birdsville, just across the border in Queensland. In fact it is the fringe of the Simpson Desert, with it’s well known giant sand dunes. Travel into the more remote areas, including the desolate Sturt’s Stony Desert, needs careful planning and talking to the experts who have made the journey before. The giant sand dunes present a formidable obstacle.
In the Northern Territory, the Simpson Desert covers a very large area, in fact most of its two hundred thousand square kilometres. The world’s longest parallel sand dunes are in the Simpson Desert and they vary in height from three metres to forty metres in height; the last mentioned measurement, the height of the famous ” Big Red ” sand dune. Underneath the Simpson Desert lies the Great Artesian Basin, which is a huge source of Artesian water, which many remote stations and road houses pump up to the surface and use it for stock. Some people swear by its mineral properties and drink it themselves. This travel destination is one to be treated with respect by the international visitor, as foreigners have lost their lives in the Simpson Desert through hasty planning . Camp here for accommodation.