Track is one of the great icons of the Aussie outback and was once an almost impossible trip. Now, modern day 4WD vehicles traverse the Birdsville
Track with no problem and even some 2WDs will travel this route.
So, take the time to read up on the history of the Birdsville
Track and its icons such as Tom Kruse. There are videos and books and some great guidebooks (all available from the ExplorOz Adventure Shop
) that will provide you with some background on the region and identify some ruins and their significance. That way, you won't be just another tourist that blasts down "the track" arriving at the end disappointed, saying "the Birdsville
Track is just a highway", because it is so much more than that.
Interactive Route Map
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Birdsville Track From:
This trek supports moving map, to take a virtual tour click on the Play button.
Things to See & Do
Approximately 130kms from Marree
, you cross the Cooper Creek
. Usually it will be dry - when it's full it is 1.5km wide and you need to cross the river via a ferry. That has not been necessary however since 1990. The original ferry has been restored and is now by the side of the road on the southern bank.
Take your time to meet stationowners, storekeepers & pub proprietors in one of Australia
's most remote and lonely regions.
If you plan your trip to arrive in Birdvsille on the first weekend in September, then you'll experience the annual Birdsville
Races but bookings will be essential for accommodation.
Track is travelled heavily during the peak outback travel season (April - October) by the growing breed of 4WD tourists, many even towing campertrailers. However do not take a trip into this region lightly - all vehicles should be specifically prepared for outback driving on sometimes very corrugated dirt roads.
All travellers are recommend to read the 4WDriving Topic for related articles and checklists for preparing your vehicle and ensuring you are aware of the necessary driving skills to tackle a trip of this nature.
All travellers should understand that mobile phones are not a reliable form of communication when driving in this region. We advise that you refer to the Communications Topic for related articles to help you decide what communications devices suit your budget and purpose.
NOTE: The Diamantina Shire (comprising the towns of Birdsville
and Bedourie) request that UHF Ch 8 and 38 are NOT to be used unless in an emergency - these channels are monitored by the Clinics, Police and station operators and must remain clear.
Fuel Supplies & Usage
|Marree, Mungeranie, Birdsville
||Diesel||4cyl 73 litres
||ULP||4cyl 84 litres
||LPG||4cyl 104 litres|
|6cyl 88 litres *||6cyl 99 litres *||6cyl 91 litres|
|8cyl 80 litres||8cyl 86 litres|
Camp Sites & Accommodation
Along the Birdsville
Track shady camp sites are fairly limited but with a bit of an adventurous spirit (and a good map) you can always find somewhere. One good spot
is quite secluded and not far off the main track at Melon Creek, about 155km south of Birdsville
Track conditions are generally extremely dry on a sandy base covered with large pebbles (very large) called "gibbers". Travelling speeds vary depending on conditions and your load, with most 4WDs being able to sit comfortably on 90km/hr in places
. The track will take its toll on tyres however, and the locals will all tell you that you're running the wrong tyre pressures. They run them much lower than the tourists.
Unfortunately, many people underestimate outback conditions and there are many serious accidents on this track. The reasons usually come down to driver error, with sudden breaking at speed on slippery gibbers playing a big part. The gibbers are piled thick and make a crunching sound as your drive. It is difficult to get traction if you start to slide around a corner so please keep your speed appropriate to what you can handle with your vehicle and load. It is advised by the locals that you keep tyre pressures low to improve traction - don't worry, the gibbers have rounded edges and stone fractures are unlikely.
The unexpected dangers are straying stock (cattle) and crazy emus and kangaroos that will dart out of nowhere. Other less obvious hazards are the cattle grids with mound rises and narrow openings that because of the dusty haze and low contrast surroundings can appear unexpectedly.
The terrain varies considerably along the track from harsh red stones of the Sturt Stony Desert to the yellow dunes of the Natterannie Sandhills. Try starting your trip in the late afternoon to experience the richness of desert colours. Without a guidebook the trip could be easily done in a full day but you'd just be blasting along the dirt and missing all the history and sights. Little is marked or signed and you really need to know what you're looking for to get the most out of your trip.
It seems that for most travellers these days a stop at the Mungerannie Pub is all that is left of the "atmosphere" of the track. The sights are mostly bores and hills with occasional grave sites and ruins, but the most notable thing about the Birdsville
Track is imagining what it would have been like for the original mailman and stockmen who travelled the track before the road was at its present state. You can see the actual vehicle used by Tom Kruse the mailman when you get to Maree at the end of the Birdsville
Track displayed opposite the pub.