Scientific & Ecological Surveys


One of the world's great wilderness journeys

The most remote camel expedition/walking trek in Australia

24 days of living in the world's largest parallel sand-ridge desert

A full scientific documentation on a new transect across the great dune field

Expedition includes a flight over the Simpson Desert salt lakes and Kati Thanda - Lake Eyre

Led by ADE founder Andrew Harper and ADE Chief Scientist Dr Max Tischler








 Max group size:

 Start point:

 Finish point:




27 Days

June 9 > July 5 2021

2 days 4WD / 24 days trekking / 1 day flight



Alice Springs


AUD$12960 including flights (details below)


The Simpson Desert Expedition

This survey includes the bonus of seeing the desert from the air!

The expedition price includes a charter flight over the southern Simpson Desert salt lakes, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, then the scheduled domestic service from Olympic Dam to Adelaide.





Some history...

Our camels are supplied by the Outback Camel Company, a camel trekking business that was established in 1976 with the Simpson Desert Expedition (SDE). In the ensuing 44 years, the Outback Camel Company conducted dozens more SDEs in addition to major expeditions across nearly all of Australia's major deserts - the Great Victoria, Nullarbor, Great Sandy, Gibson and Little Sandy Deserts.


Those expeditions were not "science based". Rather, they were "commercial" expeditions designed for the serious cross-country desert walker to explore the vast inland. And it was therefore appropriate that in 1999 National Geographic Adventure Magazine described the Simpson Desert Expedition as one of the 25 Greatest Adventures In The World.


The Outback Camel Company ceased operating the SDE in 2017, and the mantle has now been taken over by Australian Desert Expeditions with a full scientific & ecologically based expedition across the dunes. Our first such journey was in 2018, and we are delighted to be able to operate this major expedition in 2021.


The SDE is truly a remarkable journey, but it wasn't 'invented' for tourism, eco-tourism, or even adventure tourism. The first science based Simpson Desert Expedition (which was also the first fully equipped camel expedition across the desert) was Cecil Madigan's 1939 journey, and ADE now proudly continues that legacy.


The 2021 Expedition will be on a new transect from the western desert fringe near the Finke River floodplain, across the great dune field and into the Northern Territory, then south towards the central desert in South Australia. Crossing the dunes every day is certainly challenging for the human element of the team, and equally demanding for the camels, who after all, are doing all the hard work.


The minimum distance walked will be well over 240kms, with most of the journey spent in the dune field. In the 'middle third' of the expedition  we will cross some more open country near where three native wells (mikiri) are located, and we intend to visit one of these sites before heading southeast. And of course as our first nation peoples lived and traversed right across the desert, we would expect to find evidence of their habitation throughout the expedition.


What research will we carry out on the journey?

This does depend on the season and if there has been rainfall over the desert in summer/early autumn. However, we will be conducting studies into the bird, mammal and reptile life, including setting pitfall traps every evening.


Once we reach the extensive Acacia georginae (Gidgee) forests closer to the Queensland border, we will also be collecting morphometric data associated with these woodlands as part of a joint research project with the University of Queensland.


A full summary of our intended scientific & ecological objectives will be distributed to all trekkers prior to joining the expedition.


So if you are ready for a physical and mental challenge, in addition to learning and discovering more about the world's largest parallel sand-ridge desert, then the Simpson Desert Expedition is for you.


The expedition will be co-led by ADE founder Andrew Harper and ADE Chief Scientist Dr Max Tischler, who between them have 35 years experience of living and walking in this incredible wilderness.







The expedition route will begin at X, continue to Y then down to Z. The actual route will be determined closer to departure and take into account the seasonal weather conditions etc.

Note - position is approximate 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 trek. This will be sent to you as a PDF document.



Yes, travel insurance is compulsory. Our office can advise on suitable 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 expedition

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

- Accommodation and meals in Alice Springs and Adelaide

- 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. Over two days, you will transfer via 4WD to the camel camp which will be located on the eastern fringe of Andado Station, approximately 360kms southeast of Alice Springs. At the conclusion of the journey, you will fly via charter aircraft from the desert to Olympic Dam in South Australia, then join the scheduled domestic air service to Adelaide.



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.

This expedition operates in an extremely remote area and 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.

And it's a full moon on June the 24th...


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