The Ultimate Outback Simpson Desert

Introduction to The Ultimate Outback Expedition

The deserts of the Lake Eyre basin are unlike any other in Australia. The sediments that flow down the great river systems of the Diamantina and Cooper are raised by the wind and dumped into vast longitudinal sand dunes. They hold less vegetation than the Western Deserts, interspersed with its salt lakes, clay pans and spinifex. In places there are gidgee groves in the interdunal corridors, gnarled like ancient olive trees. Amid all this beauty is one of the toughest four wheel drive challenges on the planet. But the Ultimate Outback is far more than just the Simpson Desert. We travel the Oodnadatta and Birdsville Tracks, rich in Aboriginal and European heritage. We camp on a remote stretch of Lake Eyre South, and explore lesser known gorges in the Flinders Ranges. Diamantina have been operating expeditions to the Simpson Desert and Lake Eyre Basin since 1990. We have crossed the desert over 100 times, along every track, and off track as well. With this experience, we have designed what we believe is the best Simpson desert expedition.

Michael Terry
Lake Eyre Hardyhead

A strange fish indeed

The Lake Eyre Hardyhead is a tiny fish that lives in Lake Eyre. When the lake is full it breeds exponentially, and when empty it survives in water holes, bore drains and creeks in the area. But what is truly amazing about this fish, is that it not only survives in fresh water, it can tolerate salinity 10 times that of sea water!

Michael Terry
John Edward Eyre

One Vast Dreary Waste?

Thats what Eyre thought in 1844 when he first sighted Lake Eyre, but he missed something. There is stuff going on out on the salt. Ants feed on seeds blown onto the lake. Lake Eyre dragons feed on the ants, and birds feed on them. And thats only when the lake is dry. When it fills it comes alive as the inland sea. It teems with fish and sea birds. And then slowly the lake drys out and becomes once again a vast shimmering salt lake.

Michael Terry
Ted Colson

Ted Colson - Triumph of the Bloke

The Simpson Desert's first crossing was attributed to Dr Cecil T Madigan, eminent geologist from Adelaide who raised an expedition in 1939 and successfully crossed from Abminga to Birdsville. But in 1936, with little fanfare, Ted Colson, a farmer and knock about bloke from Bloods Creek had crossed to Birdsville, stayed at the Birdsville Pub for a couple of days and then crossed again to go home. He laconically recorded in his diary, "Something achieved, something done."

Desert sand
Desert Sand

As far as deserts go - Its a pup.

Spectral analysis of sand particles in the Simpson Desert show that it is geologically 19-24,000 years old, only dating back to the last interglacial. Before that it was grassland and shallow lakes. This would suggest that the Wangkangurru people who lived in the Simpson, also lived there when it was a much wetter place and adapted as the desert dried out.

The Ultimate Outback
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