A Desert Oak adventure encompassing 5 states! Starting in Victoria we trekked up through the Little Desert National Park, Big Desert Wilderness Park and into South Australia. Things start to get a little more rugged as we ventured through The Flinders Ranges National Park staying at Arkaroola (where there is an amazing star observatory) towards the northern end of South Australia. From here we bounced along the Oodnadatta Track stopping for a dip in the small heated spring at Cowards springs stopping for a night at William Creek. It has always been a tradition on our trips to drop into the pub here for chips and gravy! If you adventure over West there are adventures to be had at Coober Pedy with the exploration of an underground mine, underground hotel and plenty of Opal jewellery stores!
The iconic Pink Roadhouse provides a top up of food, drinks, pink clothing and a spare tyre if you need. Mount Dare Hotel is famous for the bar decorations- stubby holders cover every surface of the old pub. Our crew all got a cold ice cream here before entering the desert.
Before the dunes begin we set up camp for a few nights at Laura’s personal favourite place- Dalhousie Springs. The lake is naturally heated between 36 – 40*C and is a slice of heaven before the Simpson Desert.
The Simpson Desert took about 4 days to cross at a leisurely pace. The sand stretches further than your vision in every direction and dunes roll on and on. Poepell’s corner is where Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia meet, you can stand on the exact position, right on the pole makes a great photo! When you cross from West to East the big finale is Big Red. It is a huge sand dune with various tracks up and over, the ones to the top are tough with only the more capable 4WDs and drivers getting up. If you are an avid 4WDer, there are hours of fun to be had here!
After spending an afternoon playing on Big Red we left the Simpson Desert and settled into Birdsville. Dinner at the renowned Birdsville pub, followed the next day with lunch at the Birdsville Bakery where you can feast on pis made with beef, chicken, crocodile or camel!!
On our way back south we stopped at Cordillo Downs to walk through the old ruins and look at the old farm equipment that was used at the station that was once regarded as Australia’s largest sheep station- it recorded shearing 85,000 sheep in one season! Laura named one of her childhood puppies ‘Cordillo’, ‘Cordy’ for short after meeting a whole litter of farm puppies here on a trip as a child.
Cameron’s corner is where New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia meet, another popular photo op. Not to be outdone, just south of the corner lays Innamincka, the home of the famous Burke and Wills Dig Tree. The Strzelecki Track takes us out of the Outback and in a definite southern direction!
The trek south often ends up being a little faster and a more direct route home as the trip comes to an end. The Simpson Desert is an amazing trip that includes a lot of great places without adventuring all the way north from Vic. It is our recommendation as a brilliant first trip and a bucket list must!