Oodnadatta Track

Oodnadatta Track If you’re a history buff you’re going to go nuts crossing the Oodnadatta Track. The track follows the orignal Ghan line from Marla to Oodnadatta and then on to Marree. There's stacks of ruins, mound springs, excellent conservation park information & railway sidings/rubble.
StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMarla
DifficultyDifficulty 2.5/5 Suitable for4WD AWD 
Distance637.43 kmMinimum Days2
Average Speed52.97 km/hrDriving Time12 hrs 1 min
DownloadDownload Trek
Rating 3 Star Rating3 Reviews
Article By: ExplorOz Team
Page Updated: 1 May 2015

Images from this Trek

Oodnadatta Track Outback Travellers Guide Sponsor Message
A must-have guide! Includes enlarged sections of the track, track notes, gps co-ords, distances to & from your origin, photos, landmarks, fuel-food-water, camping & accommodation & more, buy it here.


Following the Oodnadatta Track is a journey back to the days of early European exploration and settlement. The most obvious historical relics are the last remaining sleepers and ruins of the original Ghan railway that run alongside the track from Marree to William Creek.

The Oodnadatta Track is the name given to the stretch of good dirt road from Marree through to Oodnadatta, which follows a major Aboriginal trade route - the original track taken by the explorer Stuart, the Overland Telegraph Line and the Old Ghan Railway Line.

Along the Oodnadatta Track route there are mound springs, Lake Eyre (Australia's largest lake), the biggest cattle station in the world (Anna Creek Station - owned by Kidman) and an ever-changing countryside that is both harsh and beautiful.

Track conditions are generally good enough for a 2WD vehicle to travel the route, however a 4WD will be more comfortable over the potholes and better equipped if the weather changes as rain will make the track slippery and some sections are prone to sudden washaways. It is also impossible to visit Lake Eyre without an all-wheel drive vehicle with some sections being very sandy, particularly the Halligans Bay Track.

Lake Eyre is an Australian identity and is the focal point of a trip along the Oodnadatta track. The lake is a giant basin where all the inland rivers (Diamantina, Warburton, Thomson, Barcoo, Cooper, Georgina, Eyre Creek, Peake, Neales, Macumba and Hamilton Rivers) converge into a pool of vast proportions, yet it can lay dry for many years on end as a crusty saltpan. To find out the status of Lake Eyre, please visit: Lake Eyre Yacht Club

To mark the start of a new millennium, Lake Eyre flooded for the first time in over 10 years in June 2000 and water could be seen from the shore. This brought an enormous influx of tourists to the region and so track conditions and facilities in the region were lifted to cope with the level of tourism.

But just as quickly as it can fill, Lake Eyre quickly evaporates under the scorching outback sun.

How to Use this Trek Note

The idea of a Trek Note, is that we provide a recommended route to explore an area with point-to-point guidance and extensive trip planning information about when to go, what to see, and where to camp. However, all the facts and data files are available should you prefer to build your own route/itinerary.

To see the route we recommend, click on the "Map" tab. Then, use the Moving Map Control to take a virtual tour of the route. You can reverse the order of the direction notes by clicking the arrow alongside the words Start/Finish at the very top of the information on this page.

Click on the "What to See" & "Where to Stay" tabs to see more about each Place that the route follows. Click each listed Place to open a separate page (and download for Members only) to enrich your understanding of the area.

A text list of Place to Place distances (see Directions tab) is given, plus you can download the route file to load into your GPS/Navigator. Go to our shop to obtain the complete EOTreks Route Files download.

If you just want the raw data files (for use with mapping software or to load into a GPS/Navigator), then the track file and waypoints are downloadable for free (Members only), using the Download Treks button at the top of this page.

You can also print this page (use the print icon button) and text from all sections (Description, Preparation, What to See, Where to Stay, Directions, Related, Feedback) will be reformatted into one easy-to-read document (except for detailed Place information – do these separately).


Take a virtual tour of this trek using the interactive map below. You can click any feature on the map, or use the Moving Map controls to watch the trek in auto-play from start to finish. As each feature is selected, it will flash green on the map, and a panel will open above the map with more detailed information for that selection.
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For detailed checklists & advice regarding remote area travel, you are strongly encouraged to read the following articles: 4WD Driving Skills & Rules; What to Take; Recovery Gear Needs; Spare Parts and Tools; Food & Water; Water Tank; Long Range Fuel Tanks; Suspension; EPIRB; HF Radio; UHF Radio; Satphone; Staying in Touch as well as Travel Etiquette; Care for the Environment; Snake Bite Treatment; Outback Survival; & Driver Fatigue.

Official track reports are reviewed weekly and you'll always find the latest report in the ExplorOz Road Conditions section.
Your vehicle will need to be extensively prepared for remote area travel, with all fuel, water, food and vehicle repair equipment and spare parts.

All travellers should read the 4WDriving Topic for related articles and checklists for vehicle setup and driver awareness.

We advise that you refer to the latest information and advice about outback communications in the Communications Topic. All drivers should set their UHF radios to scan all stations, but take note that Channel 10 is the offical channel for the Simspon Desert. Anywhere in the Diamantina Shire (comprising the towns of Birdsville, Betoota and Bedourie) you must not used UHF Ch 8 and 38 as these are to be reserved for emergency calls only - these channels are monitored by the Clinics, Police and station operators and must remain clear.


SA Desert Parks Pass for entry to Lake Eyre, otherwise not needed. Permits - day (24hr) visitor permits to Lake Eyre are $30 per vehicle. They can be purchased from the William Creek store and Marree Post Office. For longer term travellers, the Desert Parks Pass is also available. A Desert Park Pass can be purchased online directly from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources SA here: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Park_Entry_Fees/Parks_Passes

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Oodnadatta Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 110.21km N
 JanFebMarAprMayJun JulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C 37.936.633.728.5 23.219.919.622.1 26.630.333.736.3
Mean Min. °C 23.022.319.214.4 11.415.118.621.2
Mean Rain mm 22.932.214.310.9 12.711.710.08.1 9.913.913.017.1
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended
Marree is a good place to stock up your supplies, with supermarkets, caravan parks, a pub and some interesting bits of local history that fill in the gaps you missed in history class.

What to See

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.

Lake Eyre North

Just 7km south east from William Creek is a 72km long access track that heads out to Lake Eyre North. This track is marked 4WD (mainly because of large potholes, soft sand, and claypans) and takes you 62km to a Y junction at the ugliest section of Lake Eyre you'll see. The terrain all around appears burnt out but on closer inspection you realise that it's not the aftermath of a holocaust but strange natural colours of the landform. As soon as you turn left and begin the 10km out to Halligan Bay you leave the stark black scenery behind and suddenly you are surrounded in soft pastels and salmon coloured sand. The sand is soft so consider deflating your tyres if you get stuck. (Don't become a statistic out here. People have died because they weren't prepared).

Here you will find an information shelter, toilets and a small water tank. Other than that there is absolutely nothing else here but salt. You can safely walk out along the softer, muddy brown coloured crust which crumbles beneath your weight for about a kilometre until coming to the edge of the starkest white.

After staying a while, backtrack to the Oodnadatta track. You will pass a cross marking the spot where a traveller died. In the heat of summer 1998 a couple of misfortunate foreign travellers in a hired 4WD, had car trouble and waited for 3 days and then decided to walk back for help. They were bogged in sand and didn't know to deflate the tyres. The pair had an argument and the guy returned to his vehicle and was later rescued, but his partner was not so lucky and perished about 40km short of the Oodnadatta track. A cross beside the road marks the spot where she was found the next day. It's worth the drive out for the view and for a sharp reminder of how desolate this country is. It's all too easy from the comfort of your air conditioned 4WD to forget how reliant you are on the shelter it provides.

For a taste of what you can expect to see along the Oodnadatta Track, please enjoy this 30 second film by Member - George Royter, made exclusively for ExplorOz.com

There are a total of 5 place entries

The Angle Pole Memorial - SA

Point of Interest
This pole marks the spot where the Overland Telegraph Line changed to a more northerly direction.
Position: -27.49511 135.41438 Altitude: 120m PlaceID: 77748 Updated: 18 Jul 13 12:58

Irrapatana Siding - SA

Point of Interest
Position: -29.02543 136.49023 Altitude: 79m PlaceID: 40755 Updated: 13 Feb 08 01:12

Strangways Springs (Ruin) - SA

Point of Interest
Near this location is Strangways Siding with nothing much left, but take the nearby rough bulldusty track up a hill to an impressive ruined site that was once the Strangeways ...
Position: -29.14761 136.56461 Altitude: 0m PlaceID: 40819 Updated: 23 Sep 14 08:23

Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park - SA Overall Rating: 5/5

National Parks,Reserves Water Body,River,Stream,Falls
Not a hole in the ground but just a low mound 10m high and 100m round. Clear warm water is out of bounds. Watch it surging without a sound from the base of the pool at the top ...
Position: -29.45028 136.85802 Altitude: 9m PlaceID: 65634 Updated: 12 Sep 09 11:05

Curdimurka - SA Overall Rating: 4/5

Point of Interest
This abandoned railway siding on the old Ghan Railway Line next to the Oodnadatta Track is 104 klm West of Marree. For many years this siding had been home to the many fettlers ...
Position: -29.47724 137.08489 Altitude: -4m PlaceID: 40832 Updated: 08 Feb 14 07:44

Where to Stay

DownloadDownload Trek
Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
There are a total of 1 place entries

Coward Springs - SA Overall Rating: 4/5

Camp Fee Toilets Showers Water Supply
Restored old Ghan railway buildings and historical displays plus a shady picnic spot. Take a spa in the warm artesian waters....
Position: -29.40076 136.81111 Altitude: 16m PlaceID: 40827 Updated: 13 Apr 15 12:28


Marla to Oodnadatta Tk & Oodnadatta - Hamilton Tk 190.3 km E 95° 4 hr 4 min
Oodnadatta Tk & Oodnadatta - Hamilton Tk to Six Mile Creek Floodway 9.16 km SE 148° 9 min
Six Mile Creek Floodway to The Angle Pole Memorial 1.37 km SE 130° 2 min
The Angle Pole Memorial to Oodnadatta 7.1 km SE 150° 9 min
Oodnadatta to Mt Dutton 45.32 km SE 138° 1 hr
Mt Dutton to William Creek 163.52 km SE 154° 3 hr 21 min
William Creek to Irrapatana Siding 20.08 km SE 132° 19 min
Irrapatana Siding to Strangways Springs (Ruin) 15.45 km SE 150° 9 min
Strangways Springs (Ruin) to Coward Springs 13.82 km SE 143° 18 min
Coward Springs to Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park 26.14 km SE 143° 44 min
Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park to Curdimurka 13.87 km SE 130° 16 min
Curdimurka to Bopeechee 28.5 km E 98° 38 min
Bopeechee to Marree 32.87 km SE 114° 29 min
Marla to Marree 637.43 km     12 hr 1 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


Nearby ExplorOz Treks

Travel Journals

The following are links to Members' Blogs that contain the words Oodnadatta Track. Creating Blogs is restricted to Members only. Not a Member? Join here.
There are a total of 36 matching blog entries. Results based on search "Oodnadatta Track"
Farina township ruins - very interesting

Oodnadatta track June 2011

Member: Member-Heather MG NSW   Search Rank: 2288
Day 9 Thursday 9th June (Rawnsley Park- Blinman- Parachilna-Marree-Farina) Its a cool morning and I enjoy having the warmth of the electric heater......
Created: 17 Jun 2011 22:09  BlogID: 2989  Comments: 7  Views: 25158 
The CP, Jackabags, JB and Justin at a scenic lookout in the Flinders

"Destination Unknown" Day 4 - The Oodnadatta Track, The Ghan,...

Member: Mick O   Search Rank: 2288
Monday 4th July, 2011 – Oodnadatta Track We were aiming for an early getaway and as it panned out, we were squared away and on the road by 8:00 a.m....
Created: 03 Jul 2011 14:00  BlogID: 3107  Comments: 0  Views: 19120 
Catapillar trail near the Stuart

GDEC 2011 - A purists journey on the original section of the ...

Member: Mick O   Search Rank: 2288
15th April, 2011 Algebuckina Bridge, Oodnadatta Track SA We made a good start to the day and were a way from the prickle camp at a reasonable hour....
Created: 15 Apr 2011 09:00  BlogID: 4862  Comments: 0  Views: 3380 
Binns Track

WA Adventure 2009 - Parts 1 to 14

Member: Navigator 1 (NSW)   Search Rank: 520
This is an account of our 25,770 km trip from Sydney to WA and back home. Our adventures took in wonderful tracks/places such as Cameron Corner, Oodnadatta Track,...
Created: 26 Apr 2010 14:31  BlogID: 1819  Comments: 1  Views: 8782 
Breaking camp

GDEC 2011 - We reach the Stuart

Member: Mick O   Search Rank: 451
Thursday 14th April, 2011 Camp – A prickly location just of the Stuart Highway. We got a good start into a beautiful day....
Created: 13 Apr 2011 14:00  BlogID: 4860  Comments: 0  Views: 2926 
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