Simpson Desert Travel Guide

The Simpson Desert is a flat, windswept area of desert with little to no vegetation and contains the longest parallel sand dunes in the world. Located in Central Australia, the Simpson Desert extends from the Northern Territory all the way into Queensland and South Australia. The large, dry, red plains cover 176,500 sq km making it Australia's fourth largest desert.

Renowned for some of Australia's best 4WD terrain, the Simpson Desert sits above one of the world's largest inland drainage areas, the Great Artesian Basin. This creates the unique natural springs that are also part of the Simpson Desert as water rises to the surface from the basin. The endless horizon of the Simpson Desert is only interrupted by the iconic north-south facing static sand dunes supported by vegetation. The most famous of these, Nappanerica or 'Big Red', is also the largest at 40m tall.

Offering the ultimate outback experience, the Simpson Desert offers the unique opportunity to traverse this desert region and explore an unforgiving landscape that few are privileged enough to see. Most of the attractions of the Simpson Desert are just a day trip from Alice Sprigs including the pioneer navigation landmark of Chambers Pillar. Featuring the names and markings of 19th century explorers, the sandstone pillar rises up from the red plains and sits atop a 50m base at the top of a hill.

The Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve is another popular stop as you approach Chambers Pillar and is home to the record of a fascinating range of petroglyphs and rock carvings of the Aboriginal people, specifically the culture and spirituality of the Arrernte people. Just off the Stuart Highway you'll also find Rainbow Valley, an amazing sandstone bluff named for its rainbow-like ring markings and most beautiful in the afternoon sun.