Australian Deserts

Australian deserts can be very dry and cover huge areas.

Australia is a very dry country. Despite the fact that its eastern coast and northern tropics are frequently flooded in rains, 70% of the country are deserts or semideserts.

There are ten larger deserts in Australia, in inland Western Australia and Northern Territory, northern South Australia, and south-western Queensland.

On Top of the "Big Red" Sand Dune in the Simpson Desert, Birdsville,Queensland, Australia
Simpson Desert. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

The North-western Deserts
In the inland Northern Territory and Western Australia, there are Tanami Desert, Great Sandy Desert, Gibson Desert and Little Sandy Desert. Tanami Desert in the inland Northern Territory is famous for the Tanami Track that goes from Alice Springs to Kimberleys. It is also an important refuge for some endangered animals like mulgara, mala and bilby. The Great Sandy Desert is a large desert in northern WA, just south of the Kimberley region. Great Sandy actually gets a fair bit of rain, however the high evaporation rate means it's still a very dry place. Its vegetation is dominated by Spinifex grasslands and the animals include kangaroos, dingoes, feral camels, bilbies, and reptiles like thorny devils, bearded dragons and goannas. South of the GSD is Little Sandy Desert - a smaller desert with a very similar flora and fauna to the GSD. Gibson Desert is a large desert east of LSD and south of GSD. There is no large scale farming in the area, so Gibson's flora and fauna are fairly pristine and include some quite rare animals like komodo dragon and perentie (large monitor lizards); as well as thorny devils, kangaroos, emus, bilbies and camels.

Balgo Hills in the Great Sandy Desert Reflects Sunlight off Its Rock Surface
Great Sandy. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

The Central Deserts
The other six deserts lie in the central areas of Australia. The largest of them is the Great Victoria Desert, which covers huge areas of extensive sand hills, spinifex grasslands, and open eucalypt woodlands in South Australia and Western Australia. East of the Great Victoria Desert in north-eastern South Australia are Strzelecki, Sturt Stony, Tirari, Pedirka and Simpson Deserts.

Sunlight on Rippled Dunes, Simpson Desert
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Simpson is the largest and most amazing one, consisting of the world's longest parallel sand dunes (e.g. Big Red). There are also Spinifex grasslands, shrublands, coolibah trees and many desert wildflowers. Some animals include the water holding frog, mulgara, skinks and spinifex hopping mouse. West of the Simpson Desert is Pedirka, east of it is Strzelecki, and south of it is Tirari Desert with the dry and salty Lake Eyre.

A Camel Caravan Crosses a Dried Salt Lake in the Simpson Desert
Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Here is an Australian outback map showing the Australian deserts mentioned on this page.

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