About 200km south of Alice Springs and 40km north of the South Australian border lies Lambert Centre of Australia. The geographical centre of the continent. Down Under’s dead centre.

 

We acknowledge that this adventure is located on Arrente Nation, the traditional Country of the Arrente people who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

About Lambert Centre of Australia

The Lambert Centre of Australia is the true geographical centre of the Australian continent. An obscure and seemingly out of place monument marks this spot. A shiny metal flag pole, modelled off the shape of parliament house sits surrounded by deep orange sand and sparse shrubbery.

Lambert Centre of Australia History

The very idea of finding the centre of Australia seems improbable, impossible even. This country isn’t perfectly round, not even close. In 1988, despite a history of failed attempts to do so, the Royal Geographical Society calculated the geographical centre of Australia to commemorate the 200 year anniversary of European inhabitancy (different times). The site was named for former cartographer, Dr Bruce Lambert, one of Australia’s top cartographers.

 

 

To determine the centre of Australia, the Royal Geographical Society used a version of what’s known as the ‘gravitational method’. This is where the centre of an object is determined to be the spot where a shape, balanced on a single point, is stable. In reality, this looked like utilising the data from 24,500 water tanks situated all around Australia’s coastline to determine the geographical centre of the Australian continent.

How to Get to the Lambert Centre

From Alice Springs, the easiest way to get to Lambert Centre of Australia is to follow the Stuart Highway south 275km to the Kulgera roadhouse.

There you can fuel up before hitting the dirt and going 126km east towards Finke. The turn off is on the left and is poorly signed.

 

 

After the turn off there’s 14km of narrow, windy, criss-crossing 4WD tracks that lead to the centre.

If you’re coming from Witjira National Park like us, it’s a very harsh 230km stretch along Mt Dare Road and Finke Road.

 

Places to Stay at the Lambert Centre

There’s no campground and no water here, just a set of drop toilets so make sure you have all the essential supplies you need.

Skill level

Intermediate

This adventure requires an intermediate knowledge of 4WDing – knowledge of driving in sand and recovery techniques is a must.

Read more: How To 4WD For Beginners

Distance / Duration / Elevation Gain

We drove 230km over heavy corrugations and rocks from Witjira National Park to the Lambert Centre of Australia.

Essential Gear

  • High clearance 4WD
  • 4WD recovery gear
  • Supplies of food and water
  • Camping gear
  • Camera
  • Good quality shoes
  • 4WD and topographic maps
  • PLB

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

What it’s Like to Visit the Lambert Centre of Australia

Endless red sand surrounded us as we set up camp for the afternoon. There wasn’t a soul for who knows how far, and that’s exactly what we wanted.

We’d made it to the Lambert Centre of Australia. There’s no campground and no water…  just a putrid set of drop toilets and a single flag – it felt like the end of the earth.

We put some music on, made an early dinner and were having some drinks. I went for a walk to check the place out and looked back at the car – the headlights were on!

I ran back and turned them off. They must’ve been on since we got here… will the car still start?

Stuck in the Middle of Australia With You

I let it sit for five minutes and turned the key – a few cranks and then, silence. Kate looked at me with disbelief. We’d been on the road for six months and never had a flat battery. This was the worst possible place for it to happen.

It was so eerie to look around at the seemingly never-ending red dirt and dusty shrubs, not knowing when or if we could leave.

The next morning the desert sun was beaming down on us. I had one trick up my sleeve, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to work.

I set the solar panel up in the full sun, charged the deep cycle battery to full and connected the jumper cables to the starter battery.

This was the moment of truth. With my eyes to the sky I turned the key, vroom! It worked! We were chuffed. And just like that we took off through the sand to explore another day.

Tips for Visiting Lambert Centre

  • Make sure you fill up with fuel at the Kulgera roadhouse before you drive the last 140km or so to Lambert Centre
  • BYO water (includes drinking, cleaning and showering water – there is none at the site)

 

Lambert Centre of Australia FAQs

Where is Lambert Centre located ?

Lambert centre is located 200km south of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory.

How do you get to Lambert Centre?

From Alice Springs, follow the Stuart highway 275km to the Kulgera roadhouse. From the roadhouse drive 126km east towards Finke.

The turn off is on the left and is poorly signed.

After the turn off there’s 14km of narrow, windy, criss-crossing 4WD tracks that lead to the centre