Scientific & Ecological Surveys
"...walking with purpose..."


One of Australia's great wilderness journeys

Diagonally across the Great Dune Field from the Northern Territory to Eyre Creek in Queensland

Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of Cecil Madigan's 1939 Simpson Desert Expedition and the 175th Anniversary of Charles Sturt's 1844 Expedition


19 Days

June 28 - July 16 2019

1 day flight / 16 days trekking / 1 day 4WD / 1 day flight






Includes flights from Adelaide (via Olympic Dam and William Creek) over the Warburton River and the salt lake system of the southern Simpson Desert, accommodation in Birdsville and flight to Brisbane

Munga-Thirri North x North-East Expedition





 Max group size:

 Start point:

 Finish point:


Further Information




This expedition will be our longest (in time & distance) survey in 2019 and this is the first time that we will document this part of the great dune field in Queensland. Indeed, it will be a benchmark ecological survey for this area of the desert.


In addition, as a camel expedition alone, the Munga-Thirri North x North-East Expedition is arguably one of Australia's great wilderness journeys. There are very few other places on the planet where you can walk across such a vast desert wilderness knowing that you will not run into anyone else! No vehicles, no tracks or roads to follow - just pure desert.


Combined with the field work of our ecology team, this expedition is rated as demanding, so if you are considering joining the team be prepared to train hard for what will be an enriching experience.


Alongside our team of five cameleers, we will have up to three ecologists who will be documenting life in the great dune field. This area was extensively burnt by bushfires in 2011/12 and the once extensive spinifex has been severely impacted by the fires, to the point where it is now a 'new' landscape. It will be fascinating to see how the spinifex is rejuvenating and what this means for the mammal and reptile population.


As we head northeast, nearly every day of this journey involves crossing dunes, so you must be fully fit and prepared for living outside 24 hours/day for the duration. With a combination of working with the ecologists and trekking with the camels, journeys such as this indeed can be a life changing experience.


As with all our surveys, the camels we use are from the Outback Camel Company who have been crossing the desert on month-long expeditions since 1976. They are widely recognised as the experts when it comes to crossing the world's largest parallel sand-ridge desert.


Madigan's route across the desert has now become a 4WD tourist track, so even though there is follow-up ecological data that can be gained by "following" his journey, there is very little to be gained by doing this on foot with a camel team, as it now can be done relatively easy by vehicle.


We prefer to create "new Madigan's" each year, looking at parts of the desert that are yet to be surveyed, and indeed if you take our entire 2019 survey program, our camel team and ecologists will traverse far more territory and distance next winter than the entire 1939 expedition.



General survey corridor


Note: The survey corridors above are intended to be a guide only


See here for a guide.



We will issue you with a comprehensive Expedition Information Guide that details everything you need to know about what to bring and what to expect on your trip. This will be sent to you both as a PDF document and printed hard copy.



Yes, travel insurance is compulsory.



- Domestic flight from Adelaide to Olympic Dam

- Charter flight from Olympic Dam to Poeppel Corner

- Domestic flight from Birdsville to Brisbane

- All specialist safety equipment & communications

- Swags & tents

- Trek kit bag for your personal gear

- Desert silence!



- Your flights to Adelaide and any other transport in Adelaide prior to the expedition

- Your flights from Brisbane and any other transport in Brisbane after the expedition

- Accommodation and meals in Adelaide and Brisbane

- Personal trekking equipment you may wish to use such as walking poles etc

- Eating and drinking utensils

- Waterbottle

- Sleeping bag, sheets & pillowcase. (You need to bring these items and they will be put into our swag)

- Day pack



You must notify us upon booking if you have any known medical and/or food allergies.









The camel team will be in the Northern Territory. You will fly via scheduled and charter aircraft from Adelaide to Poeppel Corner and then transfer via 4WD to the camel camp. Your flights will fly over the southern Simpson Desert including the extensive salt lake system, the Kallakoopah Creek, the Warburton River, Lake Eyre-Kati Thanda, and part of the Tirari Desert.


The return transfer will be via 4WD from near Eyre Creek to Birdsville, then on the scheduled domestic service from Birdsville to Brisbane.


Information about what to bring etc is contained in the EXPEDITION INFORMATION GUIDE which is issued upon booking



Apart from vegetarian or vegan diets, we only cater for dietary allergies and not preferences.

The survey is definitely not the place or time to 'try out a new diet' regime!

We may ask for a medical certificate detailing any known allergies.

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Australian Desert Expeditions is an Australian registered charity with tax-deductable status.

A donation to the Australian Desert Expeditions Public Fund goes directly to the scientific & ecological research of Australia's Deserts