Simpson Desert National Park

The Simpson Desert National Park is the largest national park in Queensland.

The park is 10 000 square km of incredible outback adventure.

Big Red, Simpson Desert National Park, Queensland, Australia

It adjoins South Australia’s Simpson Desert Conservation Park and Simpson Desert Regional Reserve.

This part of the Simpson Desert also has the highest dunes, including Big Red or Nappanerica, which is why it’s so popular with four wheel drivers.

It’s a great place to explore, but you need to be self-sufficient and experience in remote 4WDing to visit this remote area.

On this page we tell you about how to get to this national park, its facilities and what to see and do.

Getting There:

  • 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.

Simpson Desert National Park, Queensland, Australia

Simpson Desert Climate

Temperatures in the Simpson Desert are extreme. The park is closed over summer – between 1 December -15 March.

The average maximum temperature in January is 39C, however, summer temperatures can exceed 50C.

Winter times can fall to below 0C, and the early mornings can be freezing. Winter days are usually perfect: about 20- 22C, dry and clear.

The desert’s average annual rainfall is less than 150mm. April-September to generally fine, with most rain falling in January-February. However, rain may fall in any month.


The Simpson Desert National Park is truly remote.

Big Red, Simpson Desert National Park, Queensland, Australia

People who visit should be totally prepared and take all of their fuel, food and water.

There are no toilets, showers or camping grounds. The closest food and fuel supply is Birdsville.

Camping in the park is permitted within 500m of the QAA Line.

A camping permit is required and must be obtained in advance from the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, phone (07) 4656 3272.

Note that all vehicle tracks in the park are rough sandy tracks. Like most outback roads, these tracks become impassable when wet.

Before planning your trip, make sure you check the latest road conditions via the Desert Parks Bulletin on 1800 816 078 (free call).

Sightseeing and Tips

The Simpson Desert National Park is a wonderful place to enjoy bushwalking, photography, and birdwatching.

And to test yourself as you drive up some of those huge sand dunes!

Beside sand dunes and amazing outback scenery, there are a several places to check out in the park:

Big Red

Located 31km from Birdsville and rising 40 metres above the surrounding desert, Nappanerica or Big Red is one of the Simpson’s most famous sites.

This clip will give you some idea of just how big this dune is!

Would you dare to try your skill and driving up Big Red?

Poeppel Corner

After Big Red, Poeppel Corner is the most famous place in the Simpson Desert.

It’s where you can stand in three different states at the junction of the borders of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

They’ve put a replica of Augustus Poeppel’s original marker where these three states meet. However, those with a keen eye might find some of Poeppel’s original mileposts and historic markers.


1 Comment

  • haydn beswick says:

    coming to os with my son to cross the simpson desert birdsville to fink to a springs by m/cycles we have lived in botswana and crossed the kalahri meny times . arriving mid march to buy and equipe the bikes would be greatfull for as much information you can give, very much looking forward the trip regard haydn and matthew

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