Simpson Desert National Parks

We love Simpson Desert National Parks.

A trip to the Simpson always leaves us feeling alive, re-energised and in awe of how beautiful and full of life a desert can be.

Simpson Desert National Parks, Australia, travel

There’s nothing like spending time amongst the sand dunes, exploring salt lakes, grasslands, scrubland and just soaking up the expanse of the desert.

Four national parks (or conservation reserves) have been created in the Simpson Desert, protecting a total of 54,338 square kilometres of land.

This sounds like a lot, but when you remember that the Simpson Desert covers almost 200,000 square kilometres, this means that only a quarter of the desert is protected.

This page introduces you to each of these national parks, tells you how to get there and has links to more information on what to see and do.

Before You Go

If you’re heading anywhere in the Simpson Desert, it’s vital to make sure your vehicle is prepared, you’ve got enough fuel, food and water, and you know how to drive over sand dunes.

Simpson Desert National Parks, Australia, travel

You will also need to know how to change and repair tyres and how to deflate and check tyre pressures.

It’s also critical that you’re aware how much FUEL your vehicle will use:

  • how many litres does your vehicle’s fuel tank hold?
  • make a rough calculation using the information here to determine how much fuel you’ll need
  • ALWAYS carry spare fuel – we recommend 2 jerry cans for a French Line Crossing

You’ll need equipment such as a compressor (to reinflate tyres), a tyre gauge, and around 80 litres of water, and all of your food and drinks.

You should also be aware that there are NO accommodation facilities in the Simpson Desert once you leave Mt Dare or Birdsville.

We strongly suggest that you only consider a Simpson Desert crossing if you are experienced and totally self-sufficient.

For more information on Simpson Desert Crossings, visit THIS page.

Be aware that all national parks in the Simpson Desert are closed in summer, from 1 December-15 March.

That’s not a typo, either. We have summer in December through March in the Southern Hemisphere.

General Information

As we’ve said above there are four Simpson Desert National Parks to explore.

There’s so much to see and do in each of these parks, we’ve written a page on each:

Getting there

To visit the Simpson Desert from South Australia, you’ll automatically travel through Witjira National Park.

Here’s how to get to all of these parks:

Simpson Desert National Parks, Australia, travel

Via the Northern Territory:

  • Leave the Stuart Highway at Kulgera, and head to Finke, then drive to New Crown Station.
  • Cross into South Australia near Charlotte Waters and head on to Mt Dare Homestead (located in Witjira National Park)
  • Then, travel via Dalhousie Springs and Spring Creek to Purnie Bore.

Via Oodnadatta:

  • Travel from Hamilton Station to Mt Dare or via the Pedirka Desert to Dalhousie Springs.
  • From Dalhousie Springs, travel via Spring Creek then Purnie Bore.

Via Birdsville:

  • Route 1: Travel from Birdsville along the QAA line to Poeppel Corner. This is a spectacular part of the desert where you’ll be travelling over some massive dunes! Going can be slow, so take your time and enjoy the trip!
  • Route 2: Head along the Shire road which leaves the inside Birdsville Track southwest of Birdsville. Turn onto the QAA Line at the Big Red sand dune 33km from Birdsville and head west into the desert.

Further Information:

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