To give you an indication of the difficulty of the OCC Treks and ADE surveys, we have four categories: easy, moderate, challenging and strenuous. We take many factors into consideration in these gradings, including distances and type of terrain that needs to be travelled.
We operate our trips in the cooler winter months (April to September) when the weather in Central Australia is superb for bushwalking and exploring deserts. The average daily temperature is about 23 degrees Celsius, however at night it is not uncommon for the temperature to drop to zero or below.
Good physical fitness, a love of the outdoors and a constructive mental attitude are fundamental to the success of your trek or expedition. Due to the very nature of your journey and the remote areas that you may visit, conditions may be outside that of your normal experience. After leaving the comforts of civilisation behind, you should be prepared to enjoy the desert on its own terms and adjust to 'desert time'. Group sizes are usually between 6 to 9 trekkers plus 4 to 5 cameleers.
Suitable for most people in good health. This grade applies to our short 3 day survey treks which include remote locations and there is not as much walking with the camels. Remember however that you will be bush camping for the duration of the trek and must be prepared to actively participate in the day-to-day running of your trek, so there will be light physical activity. A flexible, open-minded approach is essential.
A good level of fitness is required and you must be prepared to rough it & actively participate in the day-to-day running of your trek. Our walking pace is approximately 3 to 5 kilometres per hour, depending on the terrain being covered. The average distance travelled per day is usually between 10 to 12 kilometres with distances up to 15 kilometres sometimes covered depending upon the aims & objectives of the survey program. Trekking may involve some spells of continuous, although moderate, dune climbing on firm sand. Occasionally, you will make camp at lunchtime, allowing the afternoon 'free' to explore or (if available) to relax by a waterhole. On other days you may cover a little more ground in search of a suitable campsite with enough feed for the camels. Water is available for drinking only but will not be strictly rationed - common sense will prevail. Travel will be cross-country, away from tracks and roads and the itinerary of each survey trek is flexible allowing the leader to adjust the pace of the trek to the wishes and capabilities of the group combined with the aims and objectives of the ecological program.
On the 2018 OCC Bare Sole Trek, there will be some ecological research documentation.
A good level of fitness is required and you must be prepared to rough it & actively participate in the day-to-day running of your survey expedition. Our walking pace is approximately 3 to 5 kilometres per hour, depending on the terrain being covered and the average distance travelled per day is usually between 10 to 15 kilometres with distances up to 25 kilometres sometimes covered depending upon the wishes & capabilities of the expedition party. Trekking may involve some spells of continuous, although moderate, dune climbing on firm sand. Occasionally, you will make camp at lunchtime, allowing the afternoon 'free' to explore or (if available) to relax by a waterhole. On other days you may cover a little more ground in search of a suitable campsite with enough feed for the camels. Water is available for drinking only and WILL BE RATIONED - common sense will prevail. It is essential that you are prepared, both mentally & physically, to fully participate as an expedition member and mentally ready to go bush for up to 22 days.
None of the ADE surveys are currently graded as strenuous.
Physical preparation is essential as you may be walking for 7 hours per day or longer for up to 25 days. These are genuine contemporary expeditions that travel in a traditional style just as the early explorers would have done, whilst encountering the rich desert diversity entwined with the rewarding experience of working with the camels. Due to their duration and terrain covered, these explorations are far more challenging than any trek. The expeditions may travel between 320 - 400 kilometres (unless otherwise noted) and have a definite objective, whether it be to cross an entire desert or to arrive at the designated base camp at journeys end. Full rest days during the expedition are not guaranteed and the average distance covered per day can be between 15 to 25 kilometres. Water rationing is strictly enforced and there are neither permanent camps nor any type of vehicle back-up.
Please note that the grading system is not a straightforward measure of how far you are walking. Rather it is an overall indication of how tough it will be and it takes into account the number of hours trekking, terrain, the average temperatures and weather conditions. So even though a trek is graded MODERATE it does not mean you will never feel tired! Similarly, inexperienced desert trekkers need not necessarily avoid treks graded as DEMANDING, as long as they are experienced fit bushwalkers.
You do not need any previous camel trekking experience to join one of the ADE surveys. You just need to be prepared to spend up to 22 days out bush - this is perhaps where the 'fitness' and 'mental preparation' come into the equation. These surveys are not hard, but with appropriate preparation and a good mental attitude, at journeys end you can expect to be tired but also fulfilled with a great sense of personal accomplishment.
Camel trekking on ecological surveys (desert bushwalking) can be a very personal experience - one person's stroll can be another's expedition. Please do not bite off more than you can chew! It is important that you choose the correct grade for your capabilities. If you have any concerns please do discuss this with our knowledgeable team who are trekking experts. On our more challenging survey expeditions you may be required you to complete a fitness questionnaire and medical certificate.