Bindibu Country

Introduction to Bindibu Country - with the Pintubi Nine'

Bindibu Country

Click on the Map for greater detail.

Travel Insurance

nib insurance

Diamantina Touring Commpany strongly believe in the value of travel insurance. You can purchase NIB Insurance (Australia Limited) policies issued via the link below. You can use this link to purchase travel insurance not only for Diamantina expeditions, but for any travel you want to do anywhere in the world. This insurance is underwritten by XL Insurance Company SE, Australia branch (ABN 36 083 570 441) A Product Disclosure Statement should be considered before acquiring this product..

Purchase or get instant quote

Proceed to booking page

Ask us for more info

$7800 seat in our vehicle per
29th June - 10th July 2024
Departs Yulara Returns Alice Springs
12 Days

Main Info

Welcome to an extraordinary journey that will transport you to the heart of Australia's rich indigenous history and the breathtaking landscapes of the Outback. Our Diamantina Expedition offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to connect with the last Aboriginal family group that made contact with Europeans, the Pintubi Nine. These remarkable nomads roamed the vast Great Sandy and Gibson Deserts, only stepping into the 20th century just 30 years ago. Join us as we embark on an adventure to their homeland, where ancient traditions meet the modern world.

As you venture into the depths of the Australian wilderness, you'll have the chance to camp alongside the Pintubi Nine, engaging in their timeless customs and observing their highly developed skills that make seemingly impossible tasks appear effortless. This is a rare opportunity to witness their hunting and gathering techniques and marvel at their adaptability in the desert environment.

One of the highlights of this expedition is spending a night camped with Pintubi Nine near the shores of Wilkinkara, the vast Lake MacKay. Gather around the campfire as you listen to captivating stories and songs that speak of the Tjukurpa, the Aboriginal law that has been passed down through countless generations. Prepare for moments of great humor and laughter as you connect with your hosts, forging meaningful connections.

If you have an interest in the history and culture of the first Australians, then this journey is an opportunity not to be missed. You'll explore a remote and beautiful country that few have had the privilege of experiencing. We begin our adventure at Uluru airport or Yulara resort (with the option to join us from Alice Springs), setting off to the west into the picturesque Petermann Ranges. Our route takes us along the Sandy Blight Junction Road, winding through the stunning Gibson Desert until we reach Kintore. From there, we head west to Kiwirrkurra, Australia's most isolated Aboriginal community, and continue northward to the enchanting Lake MacKay. Prepare to be enthralled as we follow the unmapped and rarely travelled Lake Mackay track, deep into the heart of the Great Sandy Desert, culminating in our arrival in the East Kimberley at Balgo. As we traverse this captivating terrain, we journey through Tanami Downs Station, retracing the original Tanami Track. Eventually, we connect with the Tanami Road, leading us back to Alice Springs. This is a grand adventure through the Outback, an expedition that unveils the beauty of seldom-seen landscapes, offering you an opportunity to explore a path less traveled.

Don't miss this chance to embark on a journey that blends cultural discovery with the pristine beauty of the Australian wilderness. Join us and experience the Outback in a way you've never imagined.

michael terry
European Exploration

In 1932

the intrepid explorer Michael Terry set out on an extraordinary adventure with a team of five men, a caravan of twelve camels, and provisions to last them nine months. Their destination? The captivating Lake Mackay, home to the enigmatic Pintubi People. Terry's journey was meticulously documented in his journal, aptly titled "Into the Big Paddock." This expedition provided a rare glimpse into the untamed beauty of Central Australia and the resilience of its inhabitants. Fast forward to the mid-20th century when anthropologist David Thomson embarked on the Bindibu Expeditions, a series of three field trips spanning from 1957 to 1965. His mission was to discover and connect with the Pintubi Indigenous Australians, who remained elusive to the outside world. Over the course of these expeditions, Thomson and his team bridged the cultural divide, unraveling the story of the Pintupi, who were the last Aboriginal group to make contact with Europeans between 1956 and 1984. For the Pintupi people, these encounters with anthropologists like David Thomson were profound and unforgettable. Many still vividly recall their experiences of meeting Thomson, who for some, was the first white man they had ever seen. These interactions served as a pivotal moment in their history, as their world connected with the broader Australian society.

pintubi nine
Who were the Pintubi Nine?

The Pintubi Nine were a family group

of nine individuals who etched a unique chapter in the history of Central Australia. Their extraordinary tale begins in the vast and remote landscapes near Lake MacKay, where they lived a traditional hunter-gatherer existence. This nomadic way of life, largely untouched by the modern world, persisted until 1984 when they made their first contact with relatives in Kiwirrkurra. Today, most of the Pintubi Nine have found a new home in Kiwirrkurra, a remote Aboriginal community in the heart of the Australian Outback. Their story is a testament to their resilience and cultural heritage, as they are considered the last desert Aboriginals to make contact with the outside world. Yet, the legend endures in Kiwirrkurra that there may still be people living out there, in the heart of the remote desert. Occasional sightings of tracks and whispers of distant encounters keep the mystery alive. Given the extreme remoteness of the country they once roamed, the possibility, though highly unlikely, remains tantalizingly remote. The story of the Pintubi Nine is a living testament to the rich and enigmatic history of Australia's Indigenous people, and a reminder of the vastness and mystery that still surrounds the heart of the Australian desert.

The Sandy Blight Junction Road

Len Beadell, a name synonymous

with adventure and the exploration of Australia's vast and unforgiving outback, left an indelible mark on the country's remote landscapes. In 1960, following his successful completion of the Gunbarrel Highway, Beadell embarked on a new, daring endeavor - the construction of the Sandy Blight Junction Road. The name "Sandy Blight Junction Road" itself tells a story. During its construction, Beadell contracted a severe case of Trachoma, a debilitating eye condition, which made it extremely challenging for him to perform the astro fixes he typically relied on to determine his location. It was a testament to his unwavering commitment to his work that he continued to forge ahead despite these physical hardships. Upon completing the Sandy Blight Junction Road, Beadell extended his network of roads further into the desolation of the outback, however he always considered the Sandy Blight Junction Road the most scenic. Len Beadell's legacy as a trailblazer and builder of outback roads endures, reminding us of the spirit of exploration that defines Australia's vast interior. His contributions to the nation's infrastructure and the tales of his relentless determination continue to inspire those who seek adventure and discovery in the heart of the Australian Outback.


  • 1

    The Petermann Ranges

    Embark on a remarkable journey that commences at Ayers Rock airport and Yulara resort, ensuring a convenient and early afternoon departure. For those seeking to extend their adventure, the option of being picked up in Alice Springs earlier in the day is available, allowing you to savour every moment of your exploration. Our path leads us westward, guiding you past the awe-inspiring Kata Tjuta, a sacred site renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. As we venture deeper into the heart of the Outback, you'll soon discover the splendid Peterman Ranges, a geological wonder that has captivated explorers and adventurers for generations. Under the vast Outback sky, we establish our camp beneath the majestic Schwerin Mural Crescent, a name that resonates with the echoes of pioneering explorer Ernest Giles, who immortalized this rugged terrain in 1874. The ranges, adorned in shades of red, create a stunning contrast with the vivid white trunks of the magnificent Central Australian Ghost Gums, adding a touch of surreal beauty to your surroundings. As you settle into your campsite and gaze upon the enchanting landscape, you'll find yourself immersed in the heart of Australia's natural splendour.

    petermann ranges
  • 2

    Warakurna, Giles and Bungabiddy Gorge

    As the sun rises, a new day of adventure awaits. After a hearty breakfast, we set our course for the remote Ngaanyatjarra town of Warakurna. Our first stop takes us to the art gallery within the Roadhouse, where you can appreciate the vibrant and diverse world of Indigenous art, showcasing the creativity and traditions of this ancient land. We then journey to the Giles Meteorological Station, established to monitor air movements in the upper atmosphere for Woomera and Maralinga and still in use today. Our northern route along the renowned Sandy Blight Junction Road will lead us to our campsite beneath the rugged and imposing Walter James Range. This striking landscape offers the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of exploration and serenity. With ample time at our disposal, you can embark on a captivating walk through the stunning gorge, an experience that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds you. Along the way, you'll have the chance to discover the pristine Bungabiddy Rockhole, a tranquil oasis nestled in the heart of the Outback. Take a moment to sit beside the still waters, embracing the silence and serenity that envelops you. As you explore the gorge, keep an eye out for the Aboriginal paintings adorning the walls, each stroke telling a unique story and connecting you to the ancient heritage of the land. This day promises to be a journey of cultural discovery, natural beauty, and moments of quiet reflection.

    bungabiddy rockhole
  • 3

    Frederick James Range to the Mu Hills

    We head north along the Sandy Blight Junction Road. As we journey through the vast desert landscape, you'll be met with the enchanting sight of desert oak forests, where these neatly spaced trees create an almost regal atmosphere, reminiscent of an English parkland transplanted into this remote desert setting. Our path takes us through the fossil bed of Lake Hopkinsan ancient watercourse that once flowed through this rugged terrain. As we ascend the Frederick Range, a world of panoramic vistas unfolds before your eyes. From this vantage point, you'll be able to take in the grandeur of the Peterman Ranges in the south, and see all the way to the distant Kintore Ranges in the north. The entire Sandy Blight Junction track laid before you. Prepare for a unique and awe-inspiring discovery as we explore a dry riverbed, where ancient Aboriginal petroglyphs await, etched into the timeless rock surfaces, offering a glimpse into the rich heritage of the land. Our day's journey concludes as we make camp on a claypan nestled amidst the Mu Hills, providing the perfect setting for an evening of stargazing.

    frederick james range
  • 4

    The Tietkins Tree, Kintore and Dovers Hills

    As we meander our way through this remarkable terrain, we make our way back across the Northern Territory border, passing through the Davenport Hills. We lunch beneath the towering bluff of Mt Liesler and important men’s site. Here, you'll find yourself beside the remains of a tree, bearing the marks of an explorer from days gone by, William Tietkins. In the afternoon, we visit the community of Kintore. We then embark on a unique journey as we cross the border into Western Australia, a frontier that marks a significant change in the landscape. Our day concludes with a special experience, as we've obtained permission to make camp at Munderri, an Aboriginal outstation nestled in the serene Dovers Hills. Here, you'll find yourself in a tranquil and remote setting, surrounded by desert oaks and red bluffs.

    william tietkins
  • 5

    Kiwirrkurra and Pintubi Lands

    Immerse yourself in the heart of Indigenous culture as we journey to Kiwirrkurra, Australia's most remote Aboriginal community Here, you'll have the opportunity to engage with the local community and discover their rich heritage. Our visit includes a stop at the Women's Centre, a hub of creativity and tradition where you can witness the remarkable craftsmanship and artistry of the local women. You'll also have the chance to explore the modern Art Centre, entirely Aboriginal owned and expertly managed by Papunya Tula Artists, showcasing contemporary Indigenous art that's both captivating and thought-provoking. The art here is not for sale, all the works go to the gallery in Alice Springs for sale there or distribution worldwide. At Kiwirrkurra, we have the privilege of meeting our Indigenous guides, who will accompany us as we venture onto their ancestral country. Together, with the guidance of a facilitator, we'll embark on a journey to the very lands where the Pintubi Nine once thrived before making contact with the outside world. Your hosts will share their deep knowledge of food gathering techniques, providing insights into hunting, possibly for elusive lizards, and the intricate art of land management through controlled burning. This authentic experience offers a rare glimpse into the ancient practices that have sustained the Pintubi for eons. As the day comes to a close, we'll set up camp near the shores of Wilkinkara, also known as Lake MacKay. The evening will be spent dining and sharing food and stories around the campfire.

    lake mackay
  • 6

    North into the Wilderness

    As the sun rises on the following day, your journey into the traditional lifestyle of the Pintubi continues. You'll have the opportunity to explore even more of their captivating customs and age-old practices, gaining further insights into their unique way of life. After sharing lunch, it will be time to bid a fond farewell to the Pintubi people, leaving behind the shores of Lake MacKay to venture northward. Our path will lead us into some of the most rarely traversed terrain in the vast Outback. The track we'll follow spans an impressive 350 kilometers, stretching from Kiwirrkurra in the south to Balgo in the north. Locals humorously refer to this route as "The shortcut," but in reality, it is rarely traveled. This sense of remoteness and solitude adds to the adventure, promising an experience that few have had the privilege of enjoying. We'll establish our camp on a tree lined claypan. This picturesque setting provides the perfect backdrop for an evening under the stars, offering a profound sense of isolation a that is truly unique to this remote corner of the world.

  • 7

    Stone Tools, Outstations and Claypans

    Prepare for a full day of exhilarating travel as we head north. Our path will unveil a series of intriguing stops that provide glimpses into the area's history and natural wonders. Our first destination is the fascinating abandoned outstation of Bilbard, situated on the rugged Waterlander breakaway. Here, you'll have the chance to discover the remnants of a bygone era and envision the stories that unfolded in this remote landscape. Continuing on, we'll visit Lamanbundah, another outpost with its own unique tales to tell. Venturing further north, you'll be enchanted by the diverse landscapes that unfold before you. Our exploration takes us to an extensive Aboriginal stone tool site, an archaeological treasure trove that speaks to the ancient history of this land. We'll navigate our way across breakaways and claypans, each turn revealing the astonishing variety of country that characterizes this region. As the day winds down, we'll establish our camp on the edge of the picturesque Lake Clay Pan, a tranquil and remote setting that invites reflection and connection with the timeless beauty of the Outback.

    stone tools
  • 8

    Point Moody, Wati Katjarra

    Our expedition takes us through the captivating landscapes of the Ngurrupa Indigenous Protected Area, where nature thrives in its purest form. Recently, the dedicated indigenous rangers from this area made an astounding discovery—the elusive night parrots, a testament to the pristine environment of this region. As we traverse this remote terrain, we follow in the footsteps of a bygone era, traveling along abandoned seismic tracks that bear the marks of oil and mineral exploration from yesteryears. Our path leads us to the site of the Point Moody oil well. The landscape begins to shift as we approach the hilly terrain around the Stretch Range, an area rich with significance in the Wati Katjarra, or "two boys," Tjukurpa. These sacred sites reveal stories that have been passed down through generations, offering a glimpse into the spiritual heritage of the land. Our day ends with a unique camping experience amidst a patch of Mulga, surrounded by the ancient sentinels of termite mounds. The serenity of the Outback, unspoiled and vast, envelops you as you prepare for a night under the stars.

    aboriginal art
  • 9

    Yagga Yagga and the Balcony Camp

    Our exploration takes us to the abandoned community of Yagga Yagga, once a thriving outstation of Balgo with a flourishing art movement. Here, you'll delve into the story of how public policy missteps led to the decline of this once-vibrant community, offering an opportunity for reflection on the challenges faced by Indigenous communities. Continuing our journey to the north, we arrive at our breathtaking "Balcony Camp," perched on the edge of the remarkable Balgo Pound. This pristine setting, surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty, promises a unique and unforgettable camp.

    balgo pound
  • 10

    The old Tanami Track

    Your arrival in Balgo marks the triumphant completion of "the shortcut," an unforgettable adventure through the heart of the Outback. In Balgo, you'll have the opportunity to visit the renowned Warlayirti Artists art center, where a distinctive and vibrant art style reflects the unique culture of the local community. Leaving Balgo, we'll embark on a journey along the seldom-traveled and overgrown original Tanami Track, heading southeast through the picturesque Kearney Range. A stop at McGuire's Gap offers a scenic backdrop for a well-deserved lunch, allowing you to soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you. In the afternoon, we'll continue our expedition through the remote landscapes of the Tanami Desert, each turn revealing new and captivating views. Our day concludes as we set up camp at the Grey Falcon Camp, surrounded by graceful Northern Coolibah trees with their striking white bark.

  • 11

    Mt Doreen Sunset

    As we cross the border into the Northern Territory. We find ourselves on the vast expanse of Tanami Downs Station, originally known as Mongrel Downs. This station holds a unique place in history, as it was the final property to be selected in the Tanami region, under the ownership of the Mahood family. Notably, the station's name was changed when it transitioned to Indigenous ownership in the 1990s. It's worth noting that the acclaimed author Kim Mahood, known for her deep connection to the Outback, spent her formative years growing up on Mongrel Downs, a place that significantly influenced her work and understanding of the land. Our journey takes us along station tracks, guiding us to the homestead, where we head north to Rabbit Flat, where we connect with the Tanami Road, leading us southward to our campsite near the ruins of the old Mt Doreen Homestead. Mt Doreen was significant in the Bindabu story in that it was the launching point for Donald Thomson's expeditions.

  • 12

    Pintubi Nine

    As we embark on our final day of this remarkable adventure, we'll continue our southward journey along the iconic Tanami Road. To the south, the majestic Western MacDonnell Ranges frame the landscape. Our route takes us across Burts Flat, a vast alluvial plain that stretches as far as the eye can see. This unique terrain offers a contrasting perspective of the Australian Outback, adding to the depth of your experience. We pass the Jindalee over the horizon radar facility. Eventually, we'll reach the Stuart Highway, where we'll turn southward, tracing the highway's path. By mid-afternoon, we'll arrive in Alice Springs, the endpoint of this extraordinary adventure. Your exploration of some of the last unmapped tracks in Australia has come to an end, leaving you with memories of the vast and untamed beauty that defines the Australian Outback.

    pintubi nine