Australian Desert Pictures
Outback Photo Gallery

I love the Australian deserts, every single one of them. Every Australian desert is different and beautiful in its own way.

There are the stunning rock formations of the Victoria Desert and the orange and red dunes of the Simpson Desert...>/p>

The northern deserts, like the Tanami or the Great Sandy Desert, receive a lot of rain during summer and often don't look like deserts at all.

On the other hand the southern deserts, like the Strzelecki, the Sturt Stony or the Pedirka Desert, are about as barren as it gets.

Barren, but beautiful. Have a look...

Australian Desert Pictures 1 + 2

The Painted Desert

That's my car in the middle of the Painted Desert:

The Painted Desert
View from a lookout at the edge of the Painted Desert.

It's not hard to see why it's called the Painted Desert...

Another name for this colourful area is Arckaringa Hills. It is near the Pedirka Desert and is not all that far off the beaten track, only 122 km east of the Stuart Highway, in the middle of South Australia.

Australian Desert Pictures 3

The Breakaways

Here is another example of a barren but beautiful area in South Australia:

The Breakaways

The Breakaways are not far north of Coober Pedy. They are a must if you are in the region...

Australian Desert Pictures 4

The Dog Fence

On the way to the Breakaways it becomes obvious just how barren this part of Australia really is...

The Dog Fence

This is a view of the aptly named moon plain and the dog fence.

The dog fence is a 2 metre high wire fence, 5300 km long (!), stretching across the deserts of three states. It was built to keep dingoes out of the sheep growing areas in the south.

Australian Desert Pictures 5 + 6

Red Rocks

Let's leave the south east. It's amazing how the country changes once you leave South Australia. You cross the border and the Outback starts to look the way you imagined the Outback: red rocks and red sand...

The Victoria Desert
Also in the Victoria Desert. I think.

The places in the photos above can be found south west of Alice Springs. I'm not sure if it's technically still the Victoria Desert or already the Gibson Desert, but who cares. It's beautiful.

Australian Desert Pictures 7 - 11

Outback Desert Travel

The Australian Desert has a reputation as a hostile and dangerous place. Well, if you get lost it certainly is. But it is nowhere near as dangerous or unaccessible as most people think.

The roads are unsealed and often corrugated, but many of them are neither challenging nor deserted.

This is the road across the Tanami Desert...

Tanami Desert

... and this the Oodnadatta Track.

Oodnadatta Track

As you can see, they are perfectly good roads, nothing difficult about them. Both are very popular with tourists, too. You won't be alone out here.

The next picture might look like a joke...

A floodway in the Australian desert.

...but it's not a joke at all. I explained it elsewhere in a chapter about desert climate: it rains in our deserts, and when it rains it pours.

If it rains the roads can get cut for weeks. And they are usually not in the best shape just after rain. (The desert is, though. It bursts into life and is covered in wildflowers...)

Ok, so as long as it's dry travel in the Australian Outback desert is not as risky as it used to be. Still, you need to be reasonably prepared:

Great Sandy Desert

This photo of me filling up the tank was taken in the middle of a vast spinifex plain in the Great Sandy Desert. No service stations out here...

Flat tyre, again...

Water, fuel, and tyres. If you have enough of them you should be right. (That photo was taken in the Tanami Desert.)

Australian Desert Pictures 12 + 13

Sunset Views

The last few pictures of Outback deserts looked a bit flat and boring. Everything does during the middle of the day, and that's when I do most of my driving.

But it's the sunrises and sunsets when the desert is most beautiful. So I'll wrap up with a couple of photos taken while camping on the edge of the Simpson Desert, south east of Alice Springs:

Chambers Pillar
Australian Desert View

Read more about Australian Deserts and Desert Animals

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