The Simpson Desert stretches south from Alice Springs towards the South Australia border. Many attractions located on its fringes are an easy day trip from Alice Springs and deliver a taste of its fascinating natural, cultural and historical wonders.
The Simpson Desert is host to some of the best four-wheel-driving in Australia. An endless horizon, rolling sand dunes and challenging desert four wheel drive tracks all contribute to an ultimate frontier experience. Travelling through this desert region means exploring territory very few people have seen.
The Old Ghan Heritage Track passes through the Simpson Desert on its way from Port Augusta in South Australia to Alice Springs. This is one of Australia's most important heritage trails as it follows the route of the original narrow gauge Ghan line. Interpretive signs on replica railway trolleys are located at 20 key points along the trail and tell the story of an incredible engineering achievement in the outback.
Not far from the Stuart Highway (Explorer's Way), south of Alice Springs is Rainbow Valley. Nestled in the James Ranges, it is a spectacular sandstone bluff with rainbow like bands, best seen in the late afternoon sun or after heavy rainfall.
An easy stop off on the way to Chambers Pillar is the Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve. These rock carvings and petroglyphs provide a fascinating record of many important beliefs by the local Arrernte people. Chambers Pillar was named after one of the explorer John McDouall Stuart's sponsors and rises as a solitary beacon out of the vast red plains and the early pioneers used it as a navigational landmark. When you clamber up the hill to this 50 metre sandstone pillar's base, you'll be inspired by the markings made by nineteenth century explorers who carved their names into the soft sandstone.
After stopping at the Aboriginal community of Finke to refuel and buy refreshments, you may want to head out to Old Andando, the heritage listed station where Molly Clark has lived alone for 50 years. Molly holds a fundraising bash for the National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame at Old Andando every year.
Temperatures for Simpson Desert
Simpson Desert has hot summer temperatures. The summer high temperature for Simpson Desert is approximately 36 °c. The summer low temperature is approximately 20 °c.
Simpson Desert has mild winter temperatures. The winter high temperature for Simpson Desert is approximately 19 °c. The winter low temperature is approximately 4 °c.
|MONTH||LOW °c||HIGH °c|
Destinations within Red Centre
|Other Red Centre Destinations|
|Aileron||Alice Springs||Barrow Creek|
|Eastern MacDonnell Ranges||Hermannsburg||Kata Tjuta|
|Kings Canyon||Simpson Desert||Ti Tree|
|Wauchope||Western MacDonnell Ranges|