The Simpson Desert National Park, now referred to by its traditional Aboriginal name Munga-Thirri National Park, is Queensland’s largest reserve at 1 million hectares. However, this park covers only one part of the greater Simpson Desert which crosses over the South Australian and Northern Territory borders to cover more than 17 million hectares of Central Australia.
The wind is the grand artist that created these sand dunes blowing them into piles up to 90m in height in a south-east to north-west direction across the landscape. Each dune crest is around 1km apart and can extend up to 200km in length. “Big Red” is the first of these parallel dunes and marks the eastern entry to the desert. If you have seen Duna Federico Kirbus in Argentina, Cerro Blanco in Peru or the mighty dunes of the Sahara don’t get too excited as Big Red in comparison is “Baby Red”, nevertheless, it is still one of the few places on earth where you really can experience the feeling of blissful isolation.
The wind also sculpts beautiful, unique patterns into each of its dune and during the day the tracks of small animals are the only traces of life in this baking hot environment. However, despite appearances, there is an abundance of well adapted reptiles, birds and mammals that call the Simpson Desert home. The dunes, and flat plains that separate them, are also generally well vegetated and after rains they put on a miraculously vibrant flower display that can rival the Chelsea Garden Show.
For more information on Australia’s driest and most remote national park visit here.