Scientific & Ecological Surveys


The Outback Camel Company previously offered desert trekking in the Simpson Desert - what is the difference between the Outback Camel Company and Australian Desert Expeditions?

Australian Desert Expeditions conducts scientific and ecological surveys in the desert using packcamels as the main method of transport. All members of the public (minimum age 18) are able to join some of those surveys and assist the ecology team with the research.


The Outback Camel Company (OCC) is a privately owned commercial tour company that conducted desert treks & expeditions for extended periods in the more remote areas from 1976 to 2014. During the winter, the OCC camels can now be found working on ADE trips.

See for more details.


The Outback Camel Company now only offers two treks per year - the Bare Sole, Walking With Mindfulness and the WarmUp Walkabout.

How do you price your trips?

All our surveys are participation based walking treks and are not camel-riding safaris. Because we operate in very remote areas, there are substantial costs incurred in transporting camels, equipment, ecologists, crew and trekkers to different deserts across the continent, stretching from central Western Australia to Birdsville in Queensland, and we endeavour to keep prices as competitive as possible and give our trekkers the best possible desert experience.


The cost of operating any business in remote Australia is considerable and transport costs have particularly impacted on our operations in recent years. Keep in mind that most of our research surveys operate in extremely remote areas, well away from the infrastructure that exists on the desert fringe or in other arid regions such as the Flinders Ranges. Your contribution to the ecotourism sector of our business is vital in enabling us to carry out our important desert research.

How fit do I need to be?

Our journeys are designed for anyone who is in good general health. You do not have to be 'ultra-fit', however a super-fit person who is unhappy at leaving the comforts of home behind will not cope as well as a moderately fit person who is prepared to encounter the desert on its own terms. Some of our longer & more challenging survey expeditions may require medical certificates.

Will I see evidence of Aboriginal occupation of the desert?

Some of our previous surveys focused on aboriginal occupation of specific desert areas, and on nearly every survey that we have conducted we have found either stone tools or chippings. Whilst it is permitted to carefully examine and document these items, it is not permitted to handle or remove them from the area.

What is the food like?

Healthy and nutritious. You will be surprised at the variation in meals that we can create. Except for refrigerated goods of course, we can carry just about anything, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and cook all meals on the campfire using woks and traditional camp-ovens. We cater to nearly all dietary requirements, bearing in mind that we operate in remote areas.

Do you use tents?

We carry tents but only use them during wet weather, and yes, it can rain in the desert during winter! Otherwise there is no need to use a tent. You will be issued with a swag which will keep you warm during the cold nights. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag, along with other recommended items which are explained in detail in the Survey Information Guide.

Why do you use swags?

Swags are the proven choice when it comes to bedding. Yes, we could use a combination of tents/lightweight thermarests/sleeping bags, but for durability reasons, swags are preferable. They are also uniquely Australian and we like to keep things authentic.

I have a keen interest in desert ecology but I've never been on a camel trek before - does that matter?

Definitely not! You have to start sometime! If you have a love of the desert/wilderness, are an active bushwalker and want to experience the desert in its most pure form, then a camel-based research survey is for you. You will find that working with the camels is a fascinating and rewarding experience - about 20% of our trekkers come back every year, for a combined 'camel & desert' fix.

What emergency and communication equipment do you carry?

We carry satellite telephones for emergency communications. One of the great things about desert trekking is getting away from the "must keep in touch all the time" obsession that our society has with mobile phones. We do not use the satphones for idle chatter -they are used for emergencies only. We also have Personal Locator Beacons (EPIRBS) and UHF radios.


The camel team also carry a fully equipped Royal Flying Doctor Service First Aid Chest. Whilst the cameleers are trained in Level II First Aid (or more), they will only dispense 'Pharmacy Only' medicines from the RFDS chest in consultation with a doctor.

If there is a serious medical emergency, an evacuation would be organised with the RFDS and state emergency services.

I have no ecological qualifications - can I still come on a survey and assist the ecologists? And can I come on the survey just to experience the desert?

Of course! We find that our trekkers 'ecological experience' ranges from being a retired botanist to someone who just loves the outdoors and bushwalking but may not have much idea about flora & fauna. Rest assured, that everyone 'finds their spot' on our surveys. Some people will spend more time with the ecologists than others, whilst other trekkers find that helping the cameleers is more to their liking. Either way, it all adds up to the entire team working together to achieve the ecological objectives of each survey.

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