Scientific & Ecological Surveys




With landscape photographer Carolyn Larcombe











 Max group size:

 Start point:

 Finish point:



6 Days

April 24 > April 29 2021

1 day 4WD / 4 days trekking / 1 day 4WD



Alice Springs

Alice Springs


Red Centre Explorer 1 Survey

+ Frame by Frame



























Torchlights around the camel camp on a typical still & clear desert night.

It's a Full Moon on April 27th 2021. All photos by Carolyn Larcombe.






Note that this survey is open to all trekkers who wish to experience the desert - you don't have to be a budding photographer to come on

this trek, but if you do wish for some professional help and guidance to capture your desert adventure on film, then this is the trek for you.


Frame by Frame with Carolyn Larcombe


Carolyn Larcombe has been trekking with us for over a decade and has produced countless beautiful images of not only the broader desert landscape but also the minute detail of desert life. She will be available during the survey to guide you on how best to get the most from

your SLR camera or indeed, the camera on your mobile phone.

And it's a full moon on April 17th , so be ready to capture that special moment as the moon rises over the red dunes!

Remember to bring plenty of memory cards and also your camera/phone charger, as we will be able to charge your camera/phone whilst on the survey. And we highly recommend that you bring a tripod, even a small one for your phone.


We begin our winter 2021 survey season in the Simpson Desert with one of our shorter surveys.


The western Simpson Desert - especially the area to the north and east of Old Andado Station - has a long and rich history of scientific work. It has featured as a site for many studies investigating the unique taxa of Central Australia including small mammals, reptiles, birds and plants.


Much of this ecological work has contributed substantially to our understanding of rangelands in arid Australia, especially the often complex ebb and flow of its cyclic ‘boom-bust’ dynamics. We will be using much of this past knowledge to benchmark and document some of the ecological responses to the current conditions in the Western Simpson Desert.


Exploring many of the diverse landscapes found across this area of the Northern Territory we will be conducting surveys focused on recording the presence (and absence) of fauna and flora after a period of sustained above average annual rainfall in 2016 and again in early 2017. We hope to visit ephemeral wetlands, breakaway rocky country, dunefields and plains to conduct mammal, reptile, bird and plant surveys, as well as assess the impact of feral predators (i.e. cats and foxes) and wildfires.


The landscape consists of towering red-crimson dunes, wide inter-dune corridors, small (usually dry!) creeks and scattered timber of Coolibah, Bloodwood and Mulga. Spinifex is the dominant plant species, however much of this hardy plant was destroyed in the 2011/12 bushfires, and many of the dunes and swales are now virtually spinifex-free, which besides making for easier walking, has created a whole 'new' ecosystem.


Walking in this landscape is on firm sand and occasional claypans and gibber flats. The western Simpson will be dry and mostly devoid of any wildflowers unless there has been sufficient rain in March/early April, in which case a profusion of yellow flowers such as poached-egg daisy & 'Yellowtop' will be covering the landscape, and supplying our camels with fresh feed.


Shaded area is the general survey corridor

Note - position of X represents the approximate location of the survey only


See here for a guide.



We will issue you with a comprehensive Survey Information Guide that details everything you need to know about what to bring and what to expect on your trek. This will be sent to you as a PDF document.



Yes, travel insurance is compulsory. Our office can advise on appropriate policies.



- All specialist safety equipment & communications

- Swags & tents

- Trek kit bag for your personal gear

- Desert silence!



- Your flights to Alice Springs and any other transport in Alice Springs prior to the survey

- Your flights from Alice Springs and any other transport in Alice Springs after the survey

- Accommodation and meals in Alice Springs

- 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 transfer via 4WD to the camel camp which will be located on the eastern fringe of Andado Station, approximately 300kms southeast of Alice Springs. The return transfer will be the same route.



Information about what to bring etc is contained in the SURVEY 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.


Stay up-to-date with our 2019-21 survey program and subscribe to our newsletter