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
'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.
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.
Interactive Route Map
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Oodnadatta Track From:
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Things to See & Do
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
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
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.
Fuel Supplies & Usage
|Marla, Oodnadatta, William Creek, Marree
||Diesel||4cyl 76 litres *
||ULP||4cyl 103 litres
||LPG||4cyl 127 litres|
|6cyl 111 litres *||6cyl 102 litres *||6cyl 181 litres *|
|8cyl 98 litres||8cyl 106 litres|
Services & Supplies
The following locations have various services and supplies: Marla
, William Creek
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.
Camp Sites & Accommodation