When you imagine exploring the dreamtime world of Australia’s Outback, especially the searing deserts of South Australia, be sure you plan your journey during the right season or you may snag more than you can handle. This year, to make sure that no one makes this mistake, officials will close the Simpson Desert from Dec. 1 to March 15—the Australian summer—to avoid tourist deaths and protect emergency personnel who might have to risk themselves to save stranded visitors.

The Simpson Desert at the northern end of South Australia is one of the world’s most unforgiving places where temperatures can reach hellish temperatures (this year officials forecast temperatures as high as 50 degrees centigrade, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit). Thousands visit the Simpson Desert Conservation Park each year to see the sand dunes and rock formations, but the park has no maintained roads, only tracks, and breakdowns are common, both from the rough terrain and intense heat. Deaths have occurred in the past and officials say they have had many near misses.

If death by desiccation isn’t enough to deter you, you probably won’t be put off by the fine for violators: 1,000 Australian dollars (US$657).

Filed Under Adventure Travel, Australia, Camping, Desert Travel, Feature, Travel


2 Responses to “Outback Desert Too Hot to Handle”

  1. Sharon on November 12th, 2008 1:14 pm

    Now that’s what I call hot! That’s the kind of temperature that leeches all the moisture from your body! Ouch!

  2. Darya Mead on November 12th, 2008 8:48 pm

    There is a great ‘Man Vs. Wild’ Episode about the Ausralian Outback, not sure if it’s this area but it’s so hot, Bear Grylls drinks his own urine! He talks about how tourists get caught there in the searing heat.

Leave a Reply