Tomorrow we leave for the desert- The Simpson Desert.
The desert in the middle of Australia (sometimes described as the middle of nowhere).
The one where we will have no showers, no toilets, no televisions, no mobile reception, no fresh food, no bed, no maintained roads and no chilled sauvignon blanc for eight days.
It is only Australia’s fourth largest desert, so clearly not that big even though it has an area of 176,500 km2, but it does have the world’s largest sand dune. Luckily for the 13 trekkers, three trek leaders, and me as part of a three-person production crew, we only have to walk 250km of it and hopefully not up the Everest of dunes.
We are doing it for Youngcare; the remarkable charity preventing or exiting young people with high care needs from having to live in aged care.
Well the 13 trekkers and their leaders are doing it for Youngcare, raising an enormous amount of money for the charity.
My crew and I are doing it for Channel 9, but there’s no question everyone who is heading to the desert has become invested in Youngcare’s mission and we will all be experiencing and sharing the same delights of the desert.
The desert where we will have no showers, no toilets, no televisions, no mobile reception, no fresh food, no bed, no maintained roads and no chilled beer for eight days.
What the Simpson Desert does boast though, is an oversupply of wildlife.
There are apparently 200 bird species- okay that’s fine.
34 native animals- kangaroos, bilbys and camels-okay we can handle that, bilbys are cute and as far as I know don’t attack hikers.
But this is the animal stat I am not so keen on.
125 reptile species- REPTILES PEOPLE!
I know I am not the only trekker going that hates snakes, but seriously they don’t rate in the top seven animals of the Australian desert.
In preparedness I have done some research, which now makes the idea of no showers, no toilets, no televisions, no mobile reception, no fresh food, no bed, no maintained roads and no chilled sauvignon blanc or beer seem welcoming.
There’s not just snakes, and we have been warned about scorpions, flies and rats.
But who the hell has heard of Perentie?
Or a thorny devil?
Or a bearded dragon?
Well a parentie is a two meter monitor lizard, that looks prehistoric and is described as amongst the top predators in the desert.
The thorny devil looks like a scorpion on legs and steroids.
According to the Outback Australia travel guide, “despite its dangerous appearance it is one of the least aggressive reptiles,” which naturally appeases me little.
And the bearded dragon is apparently a popular pet lizard, which looks like the frilled kind (which frightens me every time I go for a run around Southbank), but without the frill.
And that’s just 3 of the 125 species!!
Enough to scare the shit out of you.
Maybe that’s where no showers becomes more problematic than no chilled wine or a lack of bedding?
Good luck to all the trekkers and us- the Channel 9 crew-walking every step with you.
The documentary “8 days in the Desert” will be aired on Channel 9 on May 28, 2016.