Gail Liston has hit the road and distilled her extensive travel knowledge to bring us the 20 Top Tours from all around Australia.

Crossing the Western Simpson Desert with seasoned cameleer Andrew Harper and the “ultimate 4WDs” (his camels) is pure adventure. In the tradition of the 19th Century explorers, the journey starts about 300km southeast of Alice Springs on the edge of the mighty Simpson, a desert filled with mystery and wonder, where the traveller may happen upon Indigenous artefacts or remnants of colonial explorers just as easily as seeing some of the 700 species of plants and 80 species of birds that frequent the region.

But caution – this is by no means a walk in the park; a fair level of fitness is required to enjoy walking 15-odd kilometres a day on this desert jaunt. There are no maintained roads out here and, as Andrew says, the only way to explore and really appreciate this habitat is on foot. You’ll observe the living history of untainted desert environment, but by the end of 11 days the charismatic amiable dromedaries are guaranteed to have stolen your heart.

Brag Factor // No tour bus pulling up on the next dune and every piece of footprint evidence is blown away by the next gust of wind.

Details // Tour by Outback Camel Company, $4015 per person including road transfers. (07)3850 7600,

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