Great Victoria Desert - Nullarbor Expedition

16 days

Great Victoria Desert - Nullarbor Expedition
  • Itinerary
  • Location

The Great Victoria Desert is one of Australia’s hidden treasures - a vast sand dune and sandplain desert - the largest in Australia. Check out this Nullarbor expedition!


Its area is shared equally by the States of South and Western Australia, north of the Nullarbor Plain and south of the Musgrave Ranges, and is bounded on the west by Laverton and the goldfields and to the east by Mabel Creek Station due west of Coober Pedy and the Stuart Highway.


The desert was named after Queen Victoria by the explorer Ernest Giles in 1875. Its dunes trend east-west, and aside from the major palaeo-drainage basin at Serpentine Lakes it has no major watercourses. Save for a few vehicle tracks, this vast wilderness is virtually untouched by man. The international significance of the Unnamed Conservation Park that lies on the South Australian side of the desert was recognised in 1977 when it was proclaimed a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It is one of the largest arid zone biospheres in the world.


Sandplains and dunefields are the dominant landforms, forming the southern part of the anticyclonic whorl of dunes that include the Simpson and Great Sandy Deserts. The dunes are longitudinal, from 5-20 metres in height and can run for up to 100kms. Salt lakes are another feature of the desert, the best known are the Serpentine Lakes, other lake systems are the Nurrari and Wyola Lakes, Lakes Maurice and Bring, and Plumridge Lakes and Yeo Lakes in Western Australia. To the south is the vast limestone Nullarbor Plain and to the south-east Tietkins Plain and the Ooldea dunefields.


This expedition travels across an extraordinary diversity of landscapes and vegetation, the scenery changing constantly. Both the Nullarbor and the Great Victoria Desert are veritable Botanic Gardens teeming with life. Departing Coober Pedy, (which is serviced daily by Rex Air from Adelaide) we travel west on the famed Anne Beadell Highway through Aboriginal Land to Tallaringa Nature Reserve.


We visit once top-secret ground zero at Emu Field, the site of the first atomic tests on Australian soil. We cross the GVD along the Anne Beadell Highway to Laverton. From the goldfields we return across the northern Nullarbor, crossing expansive and evocative sweeping plains. This program offers an astonishing diversity of landscapes and scenery.