OLD ANDADO TRACK, NT
For a remote adventure that showcases the diversity of the desert, take a run down the Old Andado Track.
STATISTICS tell us the Simpson Desert is the largest parallel sand dune desert in the world. Some of its dunes are the longest in the world, running continuously for almost 200km.
Despite its reputation as a Mecca for ambitious 4WD travellers, the Simpson is multifaceted. Rated as our fourth-largest desert, it touches on two states and one territory with a range of features that go far beyond eternal sand dunes. On its fringes is a surprising array of environs, and in its northwest corner the Old Andado Track slices through some of the best landscapes.
Connecting Alice Springs (in the Northern Territory) with Mount Dare (just over the border in South Australia), the Old Andado Track is a remote adventure and travellers should be suitably prepared. The 430km track is diverse and the southern section is recommended for high-clearance 4WDS only. The Old Andado Track is part of a larger tourist route known as the Binns Track, and though signage for the Binns helps with navigation, travellers should also be equipped with the right maps.
Alice Springs is the departure point for southbound travellers and the last place for final checks and supplies. Access to the Old Andado Track is south of Alice, past the airport and toward the Santa Teresa community.
For the most part it’s an unsealed track; the 80km to Santa Teresa can be corrugated and rather dusty. Closer to Alice the terrain appears quite desolate, more so when covered with a patina of drifting dust from passing vehicles. But the gently rolling plains gradually develop into more interesting countryside, while rocky outcrops become dominant. The residual ridges from ancient mountain ranges slowly but surely appear, just as spectacular as any Central Australian icon.
Santa Teresa can be seen from quite a distance, backed by the colours of beautiful ranges. There aren’t any specific tourist facilities here, though the Keringke Arts Centre is open at set times or by appointment – contact the art centre before arriving to visit the gallery.
There’s quite a network of tracks near Santa Teresa, but the main route south isn’t hard to follow. It’s well defined and carries a bit of traffic – mostly station workers and the occasional road train. More old ranges can be seen in the