Poeppel Corner, Simpson Desert National Park, Qld

Author: Tahlia Maynard   Date Posted:30 November 2016 

Amid the red sand dunes and clear blue skies of the Simpson Desert National Park, Queensland’s largest protected area, exists a unique meeting point of two states and a territory.

Average Winter Temp: 23°C

Average Summer Temp: 38°C

Traditionally inhabited by: Jeljendi, Aranda, Wangkamadla and Wankanguru people

Known as Poeppel Corner, this landmark junction between Queensland, Southern Australia and Northern Territory is a heritage listed site, proudly marked by a vintage sign mounted right where the three regions (and their respective time zones) meet.

Poeppel Corner is surrounded by miles and miles of bewitching desert landscape, featuring giant dunes that often rise to 90m in height. In fact, Simpson Desert was recently renamed Munga Thirri, or ‘Big Red Sand Dune Country’. This breathtaking sampling of the Outback comes with equal measures of geological, ecological and historical significance. Besides serving as the natural habitat for hundreds of species of birds, mammals and reptiles, the area has been home to multiple aboriginal tribes, who survived the extreme temperatures and arid conditions of the desert via brilliant indigenous techniques.

Explore Poeppel Corner and the surrounding Simpson Desert National Park any time of the year (barring the unforgiving summer months of December through March, when the Park is closed to visitors). If you’re lucky enough to arrive here after a spell of rain, you could be in with a chance to witness a plethora of beautiful desert wildflowers. Camping overnight is recommended for the complete Munga Thirri Outback experience, though you would need to be absolutely self-sufficient.

Attractions & Activities:

Caravan Parks / Accommodation:

Poeppel Corner, and in fact the entirety of the surrounding Simpson Desert National Park, is accessible only by 4WDs. Travellers are required to be completely self-sufficient in terms of food, water, fuel and conveniences. While camping is permitted within the Park (for a fee), there are no toilets, showers or designated camping grounds. As such, Birdsville, the nearest town in the area, is the most suitable stopover option for caravanning tourists, or those who prefer at least a few basic facilities while camping.

Birdsville Caravan Park

Birdsville, Qld

A convenient, and in fact the only, base from where caravanning tourists can plan their excursions into Simpson Desert National Park to visit Poeppel Corner and the Big Red, Birdsville Caravan Park offers an extensive range of stay options, ranging from cabins and rooms to caravan parking and tent camping sites. There are as many as 50 powered sites on the premises, along with a 30 acre area designated for unpowered/tent camping. All sites come with wheelchair access and are backed up by a fully-equipped camp kitchen, 3 barbecues, a campfire area, modern toilets and showers, coin-operated laundry facilities, as well as a café and souvenir shop. Bush gardens within the property provide much needed respite from the extreme, arid conditions of the desert beyond.

$25/night for 2 persons, unpowered sites (off-peak season rate)

$30/night for 2 persons, unpowered sites (peak season rate)

$40/night for 2 persons, unpowered sites (Race Week/Big Red Bash rate)

$30/night for 2 persons, powered sites (off-peak season rate)

$40night for 2 persons, powered sites (peak season rate)

$55/night for 2 persons, powered sites (Race Week/Big Red Bash rate)

($10 for every additional person. Motel rooms, cabins and tent camping sites are also available.)

 

Free Camping / Low Cost Camping:

Other than rest areas along the main roads towards Simpson Desert National Park, there are no free or low cost caravan parks in the vicinity of Poeppel Corner. Tourists heading there in high clearance 4WDs can camp anywhere in the National Park, as long as they stay within 500m of the QAA line (the main track within the Park). However, this is a full-blooded remote camping experience, and you would need to be equipped with food, water (lots of it) and fuel. A small camping fee applies, which can be paid in advance or on site.