Birdsville is a small outback town situated on the banks of the Diamantina River between the sands of the Simpson Desert and the gibbers of the Sturt Stony Desert. The area is steeped in history, from Aboriginal meeting places to European settlement in the late 1870s and beyond.
This normally quiet town of roughly 100 people swells to around 10,000 during the Big Red Bash!
The Simpson Desert
The Simpson Desert to the west of Birdsville is a large area of dry, red sandy plain and dunes in Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland in central Australia. It is the fourth largest Australian desert, with an area of 176,500 km² and is the world’s largest sand dune desert.
The Simpson Desert is an erg (an area of actively shifting dunes, sometimes called a Sand Sea) which contains the world’s longest parallel sand dunes. These north-south oriented dunes are static, held in position by vegetation. They vary in height from 3 metres in the west to around 30 metres on the eastern side. The largest and most famous dune, Nappanerica, or more popularly Big Red (named by Simpson Desert traveller Dennis Bartell), is 40 metres in height.
Climate and Weather
Birdsville is located in the Temperate Zone with a generally arid climate. Rainfall average totals 160mm each year occurring mostly in summer with September being the driest month of the year. Daytime temperatures in the region reach an extreme mid 40C in the summer (November – February) down to typical desert nights of 4C in the winter. Milder daytime temperatures reach (15-35C) during the winter months.