SURVEY GRADES

To give you an indication of the difficulty of our trips, we've graded our surveys into three categories: easy, moderate and challenging. We take many factors into consideration in these gradings, including distances and type of terrain that needs to be travelled.

 

We operate our surveys in the cooler winter months (April to September) when the weather in Central Australia is superb for bushwalking and exploring deserts. The average daily temperature is about 23 degrees Celsius, however at night it is not uncommon for the temperature to drop to zero or below.

 

Good physical fitness, a love of the outdoors and a constructive mental attitude are fundamental to the success of your desert trekking experience. Due to the very nature of your journey and the remote areas that you may visit, conditions may be outside that of your normal experience. After leaving the comforts of civilisation behind, you should be prepared to enjoy the desert on its own terms. Group sizes are usually between 6 to 8 trekkers plus 4 to 5 cameleers and up to 4 ecologists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EASY

Suitable for most people in good health. This grade applies to our short 3 day treks which include remote locations and there is not as much walking with the camels. Remember however that you will be bush camping for the duration of the trek and must be prepared to actively participate in the day-to-day running of your trek, so there will be light physical activity. A flexible, open-minded approach is essential. We are not running any surveys graded EASY in 2017.

 

 

MODERATE

A good level of fitness is required and you must be prepared to rough it & actively participate in the day-to-day running of your survey. Our walking pace is approximately 3 to 5 kilometres per hour, depending on the terrain being covered. The average distance travelled per day is usually between  to 12 kilometres with distances up to 15 kilometres sometimes covered depending upon the wishes & capabilities of the trekking group. Trekking may involve some spells of continuous, although moderate, dune climbing on firm sand. On a number of days, we will make camp at lunchtime, allowing the ecology team to explore the area in detail and prepare traps etc.

On other days we may cover a little more ground in search of a suitable campsite with enough feed for the camels. Water is available for drinking only but will not be strictly rationed - common sense will prevail. Travel will be cross-country, away from tracks and roads and the itinerary of each survey is flexible allowing the leader to adjust the pace of the survey to the aims of the ecology program, and to the wishes and capabilities of the group.

 

 

DEMANDING

A good level of fitness is required and you must be prepared to rough it & actively participate in the day-to-day running of your survey expedition. Our walking pace is approximately 3 to 5 kilometres per hour, depending on the terrain being covered and the average distance travelled per day is usually between 10 to 15 kilometres with distances up to 25 kilometres sometimes covered depending upon the wishes & capabilities of the expedition party. Trekking may involve some spells of continuous, although moderate, dune climbing on firm sand. Occasionally, you will make camp at lunchtime, allowing the afternoon 'free' to explore or (if available) to relax by a waterhole. On other days you may cover a little more ground in search of a suitable campsite with enough feed for the camels. Water is available for drinking only and WILL BE RATIONED - common sense will prevail. It is essential that you are prepared, both mentally & physically, to fully participate as an expedition member and mentally ready to go bush for up to 21 days.

 

 

Please note that the grading system is not a straightforward measure of how far you are walking. Rather it is an overall indication of how tough it will be and it takes into account the number of hours trekking, terrain, the average temperatures and weather conditions. So even though a survey is graded MODERATE it does not mean you will never feel tired! Similarly, inexperienced desert trekkers need not necessarily avoid survey expeditions graded as DEMANDING, as long as they are experienced fit bushwalkers.

 

You do not need any previous camel trekking experience to join one of our surveys. You just need to be prepared to spend up to 21 days out bush - this is perhaps where the 'fitness' and 'mental preparation' come into the equation. Our survey expeditions are not hard, but with appropriate preparation and a good mental attitude, at journeys end you can expect to be tired but also fulfilled with a great sense of personal accomplishment.

Camel trekking (desert bushwalking) can be a very personal experience - one person's stroll can be another's expedition. Please do not bite off more than you can chew!  It is important that you choose the correct grade for your capabilities. If you have any concerns please do discuss this with our knowledgeable team who are trekking experts. On our more challenging survey expeditions we may require you to complete a fitness questionnaire and medical certificate.

Common characteristics of all our surveys are:

 

• Team participation & walking with a string of up to 22 camels

• Sleeping in swags under the stars

• Camping at non permanent camps (excluding the first & last nights and unless otherwise noted)

• Camp cooking in camp-ovens & woks on open fires

• The subtle beauty of the desert landscape

• Self sufficiency – there is no vehicle back-up

• On all surveys, the camels carry all your personal gear, excluding your day pack

 

...oh, and lastly, the thunderous desert silence!

 

 

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.

 

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