Her camels

In 1977 Robyn Davidson trekked 1,700 miles across the Australian outback with four camels and a dog. Her epic journey was made into a film.

Tracks tells the true story of Robyn, played by Mia Wasikowska, a young woman who leaves her life in the city to go on a life-changing journey across the Australian desert.From Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, Robyn's nine month trek was photographed by National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan.

Here we show the original photographs behind the story as shot by Rick Smolan, who was side-by-side with Robyn for some of her epic journey.

The four camels that joined Robyn on her trip were a mature male she named Dookie, a younger male named Bub, a female called Zeleika and her calf, Goliath

Aborigine children

Robyn encountered many indigenous Australians along the way, the children always greeted her with tremendous excitement: 'A mile outside the settlement we were greeted by a welcoming throng of Aborigine children, shouting, giggling and begging for rides'

Robyn with her camel Zeleika

For two years before she started the trek, Robyn trained the camels and learned how to survive in the harsh desert

Robyn with her camels at Uluru

Standing at 1100ft high and five miles in circumference, it is the world's largest single rock and has a history that goes back to the beginning of time. Uluru today attracts many Australians who regard a trip to the Rock as a pilgrimage


Robyn Davidson with Bub

Of all the camels Bub was the one who seemed to be the most delighted by the water even though he couldn't drink it. He treated water as if it were a new found toy, splashing around like a toddler. If Robyn was in the water Bub had to be there too

Travelling companions

Mr. Eddie, a Pitjantjatjara man, was going to walk with Robyn for two days but ended up staying with her for three weeks and 200 miles of her journey. She said 'I still think of our three weeks together on the trail as the heart of my entire journey'

Camel Lady

After National Geographic was published in 1978, many referred to Robyn Davidson as 'The Camel Lady.' She was also the inspiration behind a painting of the same name by Jean Burke


Robyn with photographer Rick Smolan

Robyn with photographer Rick Smolan who joined her three times during the nine month journey. The photographs he took were published in National Geographic in 1978 and attracted so much interest that Robyn then decided to write the book about her experience

Helping each other

Robyn taking time out to feed a baby goat, Robyn's diet also consisted of drinking a lot goats milk of on her 1700 mile journey


Robyn with her trusted dog Diggity

When the dog was tired he would take a ride on one of the camel's backs and once, when Robyn was low on food, she had to eat some of dog biscuits



Even though Robyn had a compass and detailed maps; tracks often went off in five directions and there was no way to know which track would be a 10 mile dead end and which would lead in the right direction