The 4WD track called the Anne Beadell Highway leads 1300km through the heart of the Great Victoria Desert.

Story + Photos Mandy McKeesick

There is a buzz of nervous anticipation in Laverton, WA, as desert virgins Jen Thomson and Fran Fimmano prepare to embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Fuel tanks are full, water tanks brimming, freezers and food boxes stuffed, and permits approved. Autumn has arrived with glorious days and cool nights tending to frost, and most importantly the Anne Beadell Highway, after being closed by rains, is once again open to traffic. 

In the company of more experienced travellers, Jen and Fran are now ready to leave the bitumen in Jen’s 2019 Ford Ranger and begin the almost 1300km trek through the Great Victoria Desert to Coober Pedy, SA. “I’ve done the Gibb River Road, Karijini and Steep Point,” Jen says. “I would usually tow a camper, but for this trip have a canopy and tent. I’m looking forward to the trip but my main concern is am I up to it mentally?"

This story excerpt is from Issue #151

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2023