We are pleased to bring you another Explore WA news post, this time on Western Australia’s Gibson Desert.
Almost two-thirds of WA is desert or desert fringes, but that is not to say these areas are totally barren. Occasional rains occur in every Australian desert which maintain a variety of unique arid zone plants and animals.
The Gibson Desert is located in the central east region of Western Australia, with the Great Sandy Desert to the North and the Great Victoria Desert to the south. These three make up the main deserts within Western Australia. To the west of the Gibson Desert lies the Little Sandy Desert and to the east is the Central Ranges region.
The desert itself is a great expanse of sand dunes, sand plains and gibber plains, while the vegetation is mainly spinifex and mulga. Its size (the Gibson Desert bioregion) is 156 290 km², making it the fifth largest in Australia. The area has an arid climate with variable and unpredictable rainfall patterns.
While it can be hard to fathom how life exists in such a harsh desolate place, the briefest of showers in the Gibson Desert encourages plant growth even on the driest of surfaces. Seeds that have endured in the dust for up to ten years come to life within days and the few desert birds that are accustomed to the arid conditions welcome the sudden explosion of insects. Iconic Australian species such as the Red Kangaroo, Emu, Bilby, Dingo and Thorny Devil (pictured below) also call this area home.
The main land uses in the region include Conservation and Aboriginal land, with the Gibson being home to Aboriginal Australians including the Pintupi and Ngadadjara.
In 2021, Coates is thrilled to offer you our NEW Gibson Desert Expedition.
This desert adventure will introduce you to some truly remote outback destinations, many of which are rarely visited by tourists and therefore remain untouched.
We will follow in the footsteps of Len Beadell, often labelled the ‘last true Australian explorer’, as we travel his iconic outback tracks through the wilderness. Our journey from Perth to Alice Springs will take us on the Gunbarrel Highway, Great Central Highway, Gary Junction Road, Sandy Blight Junction Road and the Tanami Road. The Great Central Highway is one of WA’s iconic central tracks (Uluru awaits at the end), but it also forms part of the Australian ‘Outback Way’, our equivalent to the United State’s Route 66. The Gary Junction Road is often thought of as ‘the road less travelled’ but is well worth the exploration due to the ever-changing scenery. The Sandy Blight Junction Road is Len Beadell’s Central Australian Showcase (his favourite track) and is one of the most picturesque tracks in outback Australia.
We will also explore the remote and pristine Gibson Desert Nature Reserve which is rarely visited by tourists, including a visit to Lake Cohen which is an excellent spot for bird watching after a good wet season. Our visit to Mangkili Claypan should also be fascinating due to water from the summer rains that should still be present. Here we hope to see arid bird species as well as a range of migratory birds.
At Carnegie Station we will encounter truly authentic outback hospitality. The station is an outback oasis; billabongs, creeks and salt lakes located in the middle of the desert. Our visit to Giles Meteorological Station (Australia’s most visited weather station) will also be a different and interesting experience.
From all of us at Coates, stay safe and we hope to see you out there again soon.