Central Deserts

Trips north from Sydney are often planned to fly west initially, via the Flinders Range, then north over Lake Eyre and across the Simpson Desert. This route takes us into Finke and Kings Canyon National Parks and, from there, into the MacDonnell Range and Alice Springs. We continue on via Yuendumu, across the Tanami desert, past Wolfe Creek crater into Halls Creek and up into the Kimberley.

The route is rich in history. The Flinders and Gammon Ranges are both rugged and spectacular, and poignant reminders of early settlement or mining endeavors in the hills are common. Out from Oodnadatta are the exquisitely beautiful multi-hued mesas of the Painted Desert. Oodnadatta is a predominantly aboriginal settlement and across the desert scant remnants of the original Ghan railway infrastructure remain. Yuendemu is another Aboriginal town. Throughout the entire journey evidence of Aboriginal culture is a constant presence, from the Flinders, through to Alice Springs and across the Tanami into the Kimberley, where many fascinating art sites are found.

On a recent trip, we were pursued relentlessly for the first week by strong southerly winds, not our favorite conditions for camping. In this instance however, the winds were a bonus, helping to keep away the flies, which were thick, possibly because of the water running into Lake Eyre from the recent flooding rains in Queensland. When we continued on to the Durack Range in the Kimberley, the wind suddenly stopped and the flies disappeared. Where - we wondered - did they go? Lost in the Tanami perhaps ...