Video: Camel trek in the Simpson Desert
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Camels have carried expeditions and hauled loads in Australia from as early as the mid-19th century. Although much of our heartland has been mapped and explored since then, it remains dry and difficult to infiltrate on foot without the support of these animals.
From June to September 2014, cameleer Andrew Harper and the Australian Desert Expeditions camel train journeyed through the Simpson Desert to study areas where previously scientists have only skimmed the surface.
Composed of seven surveys, each of which passed along the 138th meridian, the project covered a survey corridor that extended up into the corner country.
Leading a train of 17 camels is not a fast way of travelling, but to Andrew it is the very essence of expeditioning. “By walking country, as opposed to driving, you see and you note everything,” he says, adding that it opens up “a whole blank part on the map”.