Scientific & Ecological Surveys









 Max group size:

 Start point:

 Finish point:



8 Days

September 9 > September 16 2021

1 day flights & 4WD / 6 days trekking / 1 day 4WD & flights





AUD$7190 (including flights - details below)


Watti Watti / Mudhla Mudhla-Southern Mikiri Survey

This survey includes the bonus of seeing the desert from the air - including part of the area where you will be walking!

The survey price includes the scheduled domestic flight from Adelaide to Olympic Dam, Charter flight over Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre,

to the southern Simpson Desert, scheduled domestic flight from Birdsville to Brisbane, & all 4WD transfers.





In 2018 we discovered a 'new mikiri' that was completely 'unknown' in both the archaeological record and local oral history. This discovery was extremely important, and indeed it raised many questions about who occupied and lived in the area.


We had hoped to go back to the site in 2019 for a complete documentation, however prolonged flooding in the Warburton River prevented us from accessing the lower desert.

So we how have the opportunity to get there in 2021, and we will be accompanied by our archaeological/anthropological team, as well as our own resident desert experts in birds, reptiles, mammals and plants.


This is a moderately paced survey that will explore the white dune fields and occasional small salt lakes to the north of the Warburton River floodplain. The Wangkangurru call this area Mudhla Mudhla or 'place where many dunes terminate'.


In addition to documenting the mikiri site, the ecological aim of this survey is to benchmark and document some of the ecological responses to the current conditions in the South-Eastern Simpson Desert, which will help us to understand the often complex ebb and flow of its cyclic ‘boom-bust’ dynamics.


A prime objective is to assess the impact of feral predators (i.e. cats and foxes).


We are hoping that there may have been summer/autumn rainfall which will result in a flourishing of flora & fauna, however, like all our surveys, we will just work with the season as it is presented to us.


The white sand ridges of the south-eastern portion of the desert holds many unique attributes compared to the broader Simpson. Made up of sediments deposited by ancient river channels and paleo drainage lines the area now sits atop the remnants of these long gone land systems. Characterised by jumbled and often towering white dunes, ephemeral salt lakes and expansive claypans, this part of the desert abuts the famed Warburton River floodplain - creating an ecotone (or transition) between desert river system and the wider dune field.


There are many unique plants and animals that had/have evolved to live in this part of the desert. The flora can be a mix of floodplain and desert species, creating a varied and interesting suite of plant communities. Birds can readily move across and between land systems, whilst some mammals like the Dingo and Long-haired Rat (Rattus villosissimus) take advantage of the varied landscape to move in and out of the desert when conditions suit. It is presumed many of the now extinct medium sized mammals (e.g. bandicoots, hare wallabies and rat-kangaroos) would have exploited these areas in similar ways.


It creates a fascinating land system that can offer many discoveries and insights into the general ecology of desert fauna and flora.


Walking in this landscape is on firm sand and occasional large claypans. Spinifex, the dominant plant species to the north, is virtually absent in this part of the desert, so walking is easy. The eastern Simpson will probably 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.


The survey will take place in the area indicated by the X


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.



- Return domestic flight from Adelaide to Olympic Dam

- Return charter flight from Olympic Dam to the southern desert

- 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 survey

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

- Accommodation and meals in 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 Munga-Thirri Simpson Desert Regional Reserve. You will fly via scheduled and charter aircraft from Adelaide to an airstrip in the southern desert and then via 4WD to the camel camp. The return transfer will be the same - first via 4WD, then from an airstrip in the southern desert to Olympic Dam where you join the scheduled domestic service to Adelaide. Your flights will pass over the southern Simpson, the Warburton River, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre and the Tirari Desert.



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