With 170,000 kilometres of dry, flat land, the Simpson Desert is the fourth largest desert in Australia. However, far from being desolate, it is a popular destination for outback explorers and is home to a large array of birds, animals and wild plants. As well, the desert is where you’ll find the world’s longest parallel sand dunes, with some dunes running unbroken for up to 200 kilometres. The dunes vary in height from three metres in the west to around 30 metres in the east. The largest and most famous sand dune is the Nappanerica—also known as “Big Red” in honour of Simpson Desert explorer Dennis Bartell—and stands 40 metres high. There are no maintained roads across the desert, but there are tracks left over from seismic surveys done in the 1960s and 1970s, which are still navigable by four-wheel-drive vehicles.
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