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.
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 this expedition is far more than just the Simpson Desert. We travel the historic Birdsville Tracks, rich in Aboriginal and European heritage. We explore lesser known gorges in the Flinders Ranges, and we trek north from Dalhousie to historic Old Andado Station.
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."
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.