8 Day Women's Simpson Desert + 10 Day Mixed Gender Hay River Package

From AUD $3,095.00
  • Duration: 20 Days (approx.)
  • Product code: wpackagesimpsonhay

What is a tag-along tour? A tag-along tour is one in which you drive your own (or a hired) vehicle following a lead vehicle. Your leader is there to help you develop the skills necessary for outback and desert driving including how to master the dunes. She is a skilled bush mechanic, able to solve many of the problems that people find themselves having in the outback, problems hat would typically result in the journey ending. She provides equipment and skill at recovering bogged vehicles. She also provides interpretive services, telling you all about the European and some of the Aboriginal history of the ares through which you travel. She provides some facilities with which to cook, a bbq plate, camp ovens and the like. She carriers extra water allowing for some kind of limited washing of ourselves, she provides the "shower tent" and toilet facilities and lots of knowledge and assistance when you feel out of your comfort zone. Vehicle hire companies will usually not permit a vehicle to enter the Simpson Desert unless on such a tour.

Our Touring Philosophy

We have over decades developed a formula that keeps our tour participants coming back for up to six years, every year, That formula is based on a couple of simple concepts.

 ·       We endeavour to create a fun, informative,  life-changing experience.

·       We keep our camps simple, so that you can experience nature, the dark skies and the camaraderie of like-minded travellers.  Our goal is to take you as far away from your buy lives as we can, we take you back to a simpler way of life, our camps, apart from the vehicles and modern materials are very reminiscent of the simple camps my father and grandfather enjoyed as bushmen and stockman.  You get to experience the kind of life the early explorers may have had, if only they had 4WD vehicles and modern sleeping bags and tents.

·       This is not five star camping, this is million star camping. If you want linen table cloths and waiters, we’re not for you.

·       It’s your holiday, not ours. Small itinerary variations, by mutual consent of all participants, in search of particular experiences, are welcome. If we can accommodate, we will.

·       We are not in a rush. Our tours are paced in such a way that we can deal with most delays, without having to “make up time.”

·       We create a life-changing learning experience. Your tour leaders are very experienced desert travellers, knowledgeable about our history and Aboriginal culture and they know this country like you may know your back yard. Whether its learning about that history, the geology, the flora and fauna or simply how to develop the knowledge and skills needed to travel unsupported in this desert country, your leader can help.

·       Our goal is to have you forget what day of the week it is.

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Olsen’s Tours and Training has been a member of the ACON Welcome Here program for years. Kimberly Olsen has been influential in Diversity and Inclusion and cultural change in Australian corporations and Australian Health as a consultant and inspirational speaker. Her most significant work has been on the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people within the recruitment process, her work on LGBTI inclusive service provision and the preliminary setup of the Pride in Health & Wellbeing program. We welcome all people on our tours and expect the same of our participants. Our women's tours are for all women.

Our tours travel through the traditional lands of Australia's First Nations peoples, often via invitation. A history of dispossession and colonisation lies at the heart of the disparity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians today. We don't tolerate racism and ask that all of our participants show the deepest respect for our hosts and their homelands.

This Tour

Located within the driest region of the Australian continent, the Simpson Desert is one of the world's best examples of an erg or dunal desert, a sea of parallel red sand ridges some 300 - 500 kilometres long covering a total area of more than 170,000 square kilometres. The mean annual rainfall of 130 millimetres is very variable and unpredictable. Summer temperatures can exceed 50° C.


The Simpson Desert lies across the corners of 3 States, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, with the South Australian section divided into 3 protected areas, Simpson Desert Conservation Park, Simpson Desert Regional Reserve and Witjira National Park.

Although many people imagine the Simpson desert to be a huge sea of sand void of plant and animal life, the truth is very different. The desert changes almost continuously as you travel across it. The views are often breathtaking. The sky is immense and so is the landscape. This is big sky and big dune country at its best.

Early risers will be greeted with the most incredible colours at dawn, and the calls of numerous birds including the Crested Bell Bird. A morning walk along the dune crests will reveal tiny footprints of the hopping mouse, lizards and small marsupials.

The journey to the Simpson Desert via the Old South Road and the historical Ghan railway line is perhaps one of the most interesting and picturesque desert journeys you can do. The route abounds in history, both aboriginal and european and some of the most amazing geographical formations tell of a much wetter past.
The Hay River track is in the once closed Northern Simpson Desert. Located within the driest region of the Australian continent, the Simpson Desert is one of the world's best examples of an erg or dunal desert, a sea of parallel red sand ridges some 300 - 500 kilometres long covering a total area of more than 170,000 square kilometres. The mean annual rainfall of 130 millimetres is very variable and unpredictable. Summer temperatures can exceed 50° C.

The Hay River is a unique experience. There are five rivers that empty into the desert. We are basically driving into the mouth of a river in the way a boat may do, just the river is dry.


Early risers will be greeted with the most incredible colours at dawn, and the calls of numerous birds including the Crested Bell Bird. A morning walk along the dune crests will reveal tiny footprints of the hopping mouse, lizards and small marsupials.

This tour travels perhaps the remotest track in the entire desert, running from Peoppel corner,  north along the QLD NT border then along the dry remnent river bed of the ancient Hay River.

Once completely inaccessible, the Hay River area of the Simpson Desert is now accessible due to the efforts of Jol Flemming and the traditional owners. Traditional owners run a neat, tidy and very welcome camp facility at Batton Hill where we overnight. Our host then takes us on a bush tucker tour of his land.  Depending on the season, we may dig for yams and witchety grubs; collect bush bananas, bush tomatoes and fruits like native cucumber and the yalka, a type of onion found in the area.

An evening spent relaxing around the campfire with Lindsay, is an unforgettable experience as he talks about his country, the old people, their traditional ways and some of their stories.

Step back in time to when aboriginal people populated this arid region of the continent.  The Hay River tour is perhaps the most interesting of all tours. Retrace the steps of the earliest explorers, learn of aboriginal life in the desert. Seee artifacts left where they were last used perhaps thousands of years prior.

This is a track that simply could not be attemped by the inexperienced without the help of a tour guide. The track improves each year but still navigation is by GPS alone in some parts, as there are simply no landmarks.  In other areas, knowledge of the few landmarks available is necessary for safe travel. If you really want to experience the Simpson desert, then this is the trip for you.


Once out of the desert, we head for the Queensland channel country and camp on the Diamantina River, before making our way to Lark Quarry, site of the largets set of dinosaur footprints in the world.

The Hay river trip is one you will remember and talk about for a lifetime.

Traveling the Simpson Desert via motor vehicle is not for the inexperienced, that is why a tag-along tour is one of the best ways to experience the desert. I personally have witnessed a convoy of eight vehicles reduced to a convoy of just three due to inexperience. Given that vehicle recovery costs from the desert could be more than $4000, a tag along is a great investment.

Cross the desert the smart way, with our tag-along tour. Get your head out of the maps, and enjoy the scenery.


Birdsville accomodation can be booked out more than 12 months ahead. If you would like a cabin in Birdsville, book early.