A group of adventurers follow an explorer’s little-known trek into the Gibson Desert 130 years later.

Story By Mick Hutton

You know it’s pretty cold when you have to give the billy a tap to get the lid off in the morning. Just after sunrise, the thermometer registers minus 7.9 degrees Celsius. In 1876, explorer Ernest Giles also complained of frozen gear in this same area – the Little Sandy Desert in central Western Australia. After breaking through the more southerly Great Victoria Desert in 1875, he attempted to link up to his unsuccessful 1874 track through the Alfred and Marie Range in the nearby Gibson Desert.
No landmarks were named once the expedition left the Ashburton River in central Western Australia in late May 1876 and, 130 years later, it is largely forgotten. So, as homage to a man who was arguably Australia’s greatest explorer, Beadell Tours will retrace the most remote part of this journey, travelling cross-country from the Ashburton River to the Rawlinson Range, a distance of some 900 kilometres.

This story excerpt is from Issue #50

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2007