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Simpson Desert 4WD

Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Simpson Desert covers around 165,500 square kilometres of Central Australia. It is bounded by the Finke River and Mabel Range to the west, the Adam Range to the north, the Georgina and Diamantina rivers to the east and Lake Eyre to the south. It overlaps the Queensland and South Australian borders. Its average annual rainfall is just 200 millimetres.

The Great Artesian Basin lies below with water rising at a number of natural springs and at bores drilled along stock routes or during gas and oil exploration. The exploitation of exploration bores is decreasing the flow of water to the springs.

The vast area contains the world's longest parallel sand dunes. They are static and held in position by vegetation. The dunes vary in height from three metres in the west to around 40 metres on the eastern side. The most famous, Big Red, is 40 metres tall.

There are no maintained roads across the desert, but there are tracks that were made during the 1960s and '70s seismic gas and oil surveys. They are navigable by well-equipped 4WD vehicles, which must carry extra fuel and water.

The desert is accessed by Oodnadatta to the south-west and Birdsville in the east. A section of the Commonwealth Railways Trans-Australia line passes through the western side.

The remote and previously inaccessible Lincartan area is now open to 4WD tours. It offers 18,000 square kilometres of real frontier experiences. In fact, the Simpson Desert has some of Australia's best 4WD opportunities with endless horizons, rolling sand dunes and challenging desert tracks.

The 18,000 square kilometres is approximately 350 kilometres east of Alice Springs, south of the Plenty Highway and close to the Queensland border. The Hay River system crosses the property and the land is among some of the most sought after adventure tracks in Central Australia including the Birdsville and Strzelecki tracks.

Direct 4WD runs tours throughout the amazing and unforgiving Australian outback. Journey into the stunning beauty on one of their tag-along tours. You join up with other 4WD enthusiasts to form a convoy, led by Jol Fleming.

Jol runs Direct 4WD and is a qualified driving instructor. He's lived in the outback for most of his life and he and his dog Trixy are the ideal couple to follow! A car accident in 1981 rendered Jol quadriplegic, but his spirit is strong, and after 11 months of hospitalisation, he had his car modified so he could still enjoy the country he loves.

He is the provider of choice for the Central Land Council —, the unified body representing the interests of all Central Australian Aborigines — for the training of their many staff in all aspects of four-wheel drive vehicles.

Lincartan is the only place in Central Australia where you'll find an organised base camp. It's just the place for adventure 4WDers, nature and culture enthusiasts and those who just want a far- away-from-it-all experience. It is also a rare opportunity to access Aboriginal land, as permits are organised as part of your tour booking.

Lincartan Tours was established by Lindsay Bookie. He and his family are Eastern Arrernte people and traditional owners of the Atnetye Aboriginal Land Trust.

The Bookie family lives at the base camp, but when summer temperatures soar to more than 55°C they return to Alice Springs and begin preparations for the next tourist season — usually between April and September.

The family has thorough knowledge of things traditional, environmental, cultural and historical and they share it with wisdom.


The Northern Territory's south-eastern corner.


Direct 4WD Never Never Track six-day tours from Alice Springs are $995 per person, with 4WD tagalong, guide, back-up, 4WD expert and Aboriginal guide included. They have tours scheduled in August and September, 2008 and May to August, 2009.

Prices correct at May 15, 2008

For further information

Direct 4WD
PO Box 3395
Alice Springs NT 0871
Ph: (08) 8952 3359
Fax: (08) 8953 0109

Lincartan & Batton Hill Bushcamp
Bookings made through Direct 4WD

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User comments
It was so great to see Natalie going bush with her Dad.What a great relationship they share. When married we travelled Australia with ayoung family and had an amazing experience. Divorced, family grown, how can I achieve that red dust in the heart without a 4 wheel drive and the company to share it? Dunno.

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