Camel Treks Australia offers guests the rare chance to experience the special bond that can be found between camel and rider on a multi-day expedition.

Story + Photos Mark Muller

The sweeping expanse of Clayton station spreads out in the country between Marree and Mungerannie in northern South Australia – stretching across the Birdsville Track to the eastern shore of Lake Eyre. It is a spare and beautiful place and provides rare access to the little-known Tirari Desert. It is within this space that Karen and Paul Ellis currently share decades’ worth of hard-won expertise, knowledge and friendships through their award-winning business, Camel Treks Australia.

“Clayton’s got a lovely combination of influences, with the Sturt Stony Desert and the Strzelecki Desert being so close, as well as those parallel running sand dunes of the Tirari encroaching down into the gibber plain,” Karen says as she walks through the morning sun at the head of a string of camels. “It’s very difficult to get access in here. We’re extremely fortunate that station owners Shane and Debbie Oldfield are just wonderful people, and we are so grateful to them for everything they do for us. Shane – who was among other things head horse tailer on the Great Australian Cattle Drive – is a very humble but incredibly accomplished man and he likes seeing people come out and appreciate the country that he loves so much.”

Karen also loves sharing this remote country – the traditional lands of the Dieri peoples. “I think, if anything, with modern technology we’re at risk of losing a connection with space and everything’s become so close,” she says. “And there’s no doubt from watching people that this is a very grounding time for them. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 days for a person to really sink into the landscape and appreciate the rhythm of being here and really see the magic.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #151

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2023