Abstract: Four wheel drive tourism appears to offer some potential for economic development in desert Australia. Realising this potential in a sustainable way will require attention to issues of destination competitiveness, innovation and manageability (in regards to travellers’ safety, and environmental, social and cultural impacts). This paper reports on several surveys of four wheel drive travellers to present evidence of the extent to which the market favours deserts over other destinations (competitiveness), the extent to which the market can be diversified and made resilient (innovation), and the willingness of the market to engage in processes which mitigate environmental, social and cultural impacts (manageability). It finds that the desert is a favoured environment for four wheel drive travel but that other environments are more favoured. There appear to be a range of market segments based on motivations, activities, and demographics which offer potential for a diversified marketplace. There are major differences, for example, between domestic and international travellers. The extent to which travellers, and particularly relatively inexperienced travellers, are willing to engage in processes to mitigate environmental, social and cultural impacts is not well understood.