See the brilliant wildflowers, rare pine trees and unique wildlife that thrive in the deep red sands and rolling dunes of the Simpson Desert.
The Simpson Desert is a vast expanse of rolling dunes, seemingly endless horizons and deep red sand. See the brilliant wildflowers, rare pine trees and unique wildlife that thrives in the harsh desert environment.
This vast desert covers the southeast corner of the Northern Territory, and extends over the South Australia and Queensland borders. Many attractions located on its fringes can be accessed on a day trip from Alice Springs. A four-wheel drive vehicle is required to navigate the sandy terrain. If you don’t have a vehicle or the confidence to head off-road, there are organised tours into the Simpson Desert from Alice Springs.
Landmarks in the landscape
Rainbow Valley is a spectacular sandstone bluff with bands of colour that is at its most spectacular in the early or late light of the day. Chambers Pillar is a towering 50m column of pebbly sandstone – all that remains after 350 million years of wind and rain erosion. At Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve ancient rock carvings and petroglyphs are a fascinating record of the beliefs of the local Arrernte people.
Things to see & do in the Simpson Desert
Take a (four-wheel) drive
In the Simpson Desert you’ll find some of the best four-wheel driving in Australia. The Binns Track runs parallel to the Stuart Highway from South Australia to Timber Creek, NT where it connects with routes into WA. The Old Andado Track follows the Desert’s western edge to the town of Finke. Rolling sand dunes and challenging terrain make this a challenging driving experience through this desert territory that has been seen by very few people.
Visit Aboriginal art centres
Join a tour or organise a permit so that you can visit the Aboriginal communities in the region. Keringke Arts Aboriginal Art Centre, located in Santa Teresa, about one hour south east of Alice Springs, is famous for the intricate and colourful work of the local artists. More than 30 Aboriginal artists live and paint, carve or sculpt at Tapatjatjaka Art and Crafts in Titjikala community, which is open daily.