SA Deserts

The real outback and 4WD playground. Famous tracks such as the Birdsville Track, Strzelecki Track, Oodnadatta Track and Simpson Desert. Real outback towns and pubs like Birdsville, Mungerannie, William Creek and Australia's biggest inland lake, Lake Eyre.
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Page Updated: 26 May 2014

Go to top Description



The great Australian outback - where conditions are harsh, the climate extreme and the distances daunting, has a unique fascination to the more intrepid traveller.

Australia's desert region is extremely dry and only very sparsely populated although not like the true deserts such as the Sahara. In fact, Australia's arid zone contains an amazing amount of flora and fauna. Even the slightest rain can transform the dusty dry desert into a beautiful garden of rare and beautiful flowers such as the Cunningham's Bird Flower, Billy Buttons, Sturts Desert Pea and so on.

Primary production is scattered and limited to low intensity sheep and cattle grazing. The few significant towns are all largely dependent on tourism or mining. Because of their isolation, even the smallest towns generally have an excellent range of facilities and services.

The region has some of the nation's remotest treks, each with their own unique attractions. Major adventures include challenging 4WD tracks such as the French Line across the Simpson Desert and the Anne Beadell Highway where there are no facilities for days.

There are a few desert regions namely Strzelecki Desert, Sturt Stony Desert and Simpson Desert with the more well known tracks being the Strzelecki Track, Birdsville Track, Oodnadatta Track, Rig Road and French Line.

All these tracks and those within nearby regions such as Lake Eyre, Innamincka Regional Reserve, Witjira National Park, Tallaringa CP and the Flinders Ranges all require special access permits. The simplest way to obtain permits is to purchase a Desert Parks Pass. This permit grants you unlimited access to all conservation parks and National Park regions within the desert fringe of SA, NT, Qld for 12 mths from date of purchase. The permit consists of an information pack for outback travelling, brochures detailing desert wildlife, desert trees and plantlife and Westprint maps for each trek. Once you have the pass there are no additional fees unless you stay in private areas.

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NOTE: The Tanami Desert, Gunbarrel Highway and Canning Stock Route are featured in our region.

Go to top Treks

Birdsville TrackBirdsville Track
The Birdsville Track runs south from Birdsville to Maree and passes through the Sturt Stony Desert. It is an extremely remote region but is strikingly beautiful in its harshness.
Cordillo DownsCordillo Downs
This is the main route from Innamincka to Birdsville. The track is about 420km and conditions vary greatly. The countryside is a seemingly endless gibber plain but this is Australia's prime cattle country - the Channel Country.
Dalhousie to Finke via Bloods CkDalhousie to Finke via Bloods Ck
This trek connects the Red Centre and the Simpson Desert but also intersects the Old Ghan in numerous places and provides an interesting drive.
Dig Tree CircuitDig Tree Circuit
This loop trek from Innamincka will take you on a historic adventure, heading towards The Burke and Wills "Dig Tree", which is one of Australia's national icons and an enduring reminder of our pioneering spirit.
Innamincka Memorials and MarkersInnamincka Memorials and Markers
This trek which lies purely in the Innamincka Regional Reserve follows the memorials, markers and waterholes along Cooper Creek and includes the 15 Mile Track, and Nappa Merrie Road. It is a trek filled with history and culture from the Burke and Wills Expedition to protected Aboriginal sites and artefacts.
Inside TrackInside Track
The Inside Track was gazetted as a public road on 16th January 2002 and provides an alternative route that is also 35km shorter than the main Birdsville Track.
Maralinga  Range TourMaralinga Range Tour
See first hand an area that for decades has been out of bounds to all but Government Officials and learn about Australia's Nuclear past.[Feature Story]
Maralinga via ColonaMaralinga via Colona
Maralinga is set to become one of Australia's top outback travel destinations where you will see first hand an area that was classified as one on Australia's most secretive places for decades. This will be the major route to Maralinga.
Maralinga via Nullarbor RoadhouseMaralinga via Nullarbor Roadhouse
For the more adventurous driver, this route will take you through the very heart of the Nullarbor Plain. It is recommended that you have a very good navigation system, as there are no signs to Watson along the route.
Mt Dare to Oodnadatta via DalhousieMt Dare to Oodnadatta via Dalhousie
This trek provides an easy opportunity to access Dalhousie Springs, one of the main icons of the Simpson Desert without a significant detour if touring between South Australia and the Red Centre.
Oodnadatta TrackOodnadatta Track
If you’re a history buff you’re going to go nuts crossing the Oodnadatta Track. The track follows the orignal Ghan line from Marla to Oodnadatta and then on to Marree. There's stacks of ruins, mound springs, excellent conservation park information & railway sidings/rubble.
Painted DesertPainted Desert
The Painted Desert has to be the highlight of the South Australian Desert experience. This trek from Coober Pedy takes as little as one day, but if you are a photographer or painter, you may choose to spend an entire week in the Painted Desert.
Simpson DesertSimpson Desert
The Simpson Desert can be crossed via the French Line, WAA line or Rig Road. This trek provides a route using a combination of all 3 routes.
Simpson Desert French LineSimpson Desert French Line
The French Line is the most direct route across the desert and traverses directly across the tops of over 1200 red sand dunes, with Big Red being the major challenge.
Simpson Desert Rig RoadSimpson Desert Rig Road
The Rig Road is the most southern access across the Simpson Desert. It is a longer route because it winds along the edge of dunes and crosses at the lowest points. Old clay-topped track is now eroding, but was once used for moving heavy equipment.
Simpson Desert WAA LineSimpson Desert WAA Line
This track is similar to the French Line and although it has smaller dunes, it is very picturesque especially after rain. While in this area take a look at the Knolls, which is a scenic but fragile part of the Simpson so please stay on the track.
Strzelecki TrackStrzelecki Track
The Stzrelecki Track is strictly the route from Innamincka to Lyndhurst, however our trek note is for travellers going between Innamincka and Arkaroola Village in the heart of the Flinders Ranges.
Walkers CrossingWalkers Crossing
Route for driving between Birdsville and Innamincka through the flood plain country of the nothern overlow of the Cooper Creek before rising onto the Sturt Stony Desert on the Birdsville Track.

Go to top SA Deserts Weather & Climate

Closest Weather Station

Oodnadatta at 27/07:30pm CST
Distance from Oodnadatta 2.88km SE
TemperatureFeels LikeRel. HumidityDew PointPressureRainfallWind DirectionWind SpeedGusts
23.8°C21.5°C43%10.5°C1010.6hPa0.0mmE13km/hr
7knots
15km/hr
8knots

Closest Climatic Station

Oodnadatta Airport
Distance from Oodnadatta 2.88km SE
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C37.936.633.728.523.219.919.622.126.630.333.736.3
Mean Min. °C23.022.319.214.49.76.55.87.411.415.118.621.2
Mean Rain mm22.932.214.310.912.711.710.08.19.913.913.017.1

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