Two men have been rescued after surviving on nuts and rainwater for four days in the remote Australian desert after their car caught fire, police said on Monday.

The experienced prospectors were found after one of them walked towards an Aboriginal community 60 kilometres (35 miles) away where was he was able to text for help.

The West Australian newspaper said they had been travelling in bush about 85 kilometres outside of Warburton, north of the Nuallabor Plain, last Wednesday when their car caught alight.

It is thought that heat from the exhaust set alight grass that caught under the vehicle and that ignited the fuel tank and a fuel drum.

The men escaped unharmed but lost all their supplies including a satellite phone and distress beacon.

After two days in the desert, one of them, a 58-year-old, decided to walk out and seek help, leaving his 61-year-old friend, who had a prosthetic leg, behind, the newspaper reported.

He made it into mobile phone range and alerted authorities who launched an air and ground search, covering about 2,500 square kilometres.

The man was eventually located and directed police to a little used track where his companion was also found in good health, huddled by a fire and waving a burning stick to attract attention.