SA Outback Trip

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 15, 2014 at 20:28
ThreadID: 106733 Views:1610 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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Hi All,

We are contemplating a trip in the Sept/Oct school holidays to combine The Strezlecki/Birdsville/Oodnadatta Tracks and have a few questions.

Firstly is late Sept/early Oct a good time to go?

Secondly any thoughts/recommendations on the below itinery would be appreciated
Night 1 - Leigh Creek
Night 2 - Corner Country
Night 3/4/5 - Innamincka
Night 6/7 - Birdsville
Night 8 - Mungerannie
Night 9/10 - Maree
Night 11 - Lake Eyre
Night 12 - Coward Springs
Night 13 - Dalhousie Springs
Night 14 - Oodnadatta
Night 15/16 - Coober Pedy

Lastly I'm wary of comparing this trip to our Tanami/GRR trip last year and am curious about what to expect on a trip like this compared to our previous trip?

Thanks in advance, Lloyd
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 06:50

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 06:50
Hi Lloyd

If you can only get school holidays, then why not go in July when the weather in that area will be perfect camping and travelling weather. Temperatures then will be perfect days in the low to high 20's and cool to cold nights for great sleeping.

Temperatures in the time of the year that you are planning will be very mild nights and hot days with daytime temperatures in the high 30's to low 40's.

The area that you intend to see is great country to drive through, so why not see it when the temperatures are inviting for you to enjoy yourself.

Just my 2 cents worth.


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Reply By: Member - Fab72 (Paradise SA) - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:06

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:06
I agree 100% with Stephen, however if you are like me, I have to not only juggle school holidays but work commitments too.

For the record, I'll be up that way at exactly the same time doing a very similar trip although ours will start from Leigh Creek, head up the Strezelecki onto Cordillo Downs, then head back south through to Tiboburra (spell check), onto Eldee Station and finish up back in Broken Hill.

There will still be plenty of traffic on the tracks/roads so you won't be alone. Enjoy your trip and take a good camera. Spring is a beautiful time in the outback.

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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:56

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 09:56
Hi Lloyd,

As they say - comparisons are odious! This trip will be very different to your GRR trip, so just treat it as a new adventure. The country in the centre has its own charm, but maybe not as dramatic scenery as the Kimberley.

From my perspective your itinerary looks a bit rushed, but then we do like to take time to explore - maybe you don't have that option. You don't mention spending time in the Flinders, or going out to Coongie Lakes. Getting from Coward Srings to Dalhousie Springs in one day seems optimistic, ditto from Dalhousie back to Oodnadatta - roads in that area can be pretty rough.

If there is rain things can change and roads may be closed so you will need to be flexible.


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Follow Up By: Lloyd W1 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:43

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:43
Hi Val,

I agree about the comparison so I will need to keep reminding myself that it isn't the Kimberley and appreciate it for what it is.

Thanks for the thoughts on itinerary, no real time constraints so can tweak it to suit, have done the Flinders previously so can skip that, will consider Coongie Lakes and sounds like Dalhousie Springs might need to wait for another trip, just thought we were close so should go and have a look but if it's not possible in a day might need to reconsider.

You mentioned rain which might be a factor if we go July school holidays but worried about the heat if we go late Sept as mentioned above.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:03

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:03
Hi Lloyd,

Nothing really wrong with your itinerary, but there is not a lot to see in Marree and one overnighter there is enough IMO.
Likewise Oodnadatta is OK to check out but I would recommend an overnight stopover at the Algebuckina Waterhole (opposite the Bridge by the same name) rather than stay in Oodna. (That is if you are able to free camp)
I can’t vouch for Oodna at present, but with the absence of the late Adam Plate and Lynnie, (previously of the Pink Roadhouse) I think a lot of character may be missing somehow.
At least a one night stopover at William Creek is worthy of consideration, with a sideways trip out to Halligan Bay (Lake Eyre) worth the trip. Also plenty of Joy flights from Trevor’s Wrightair business to tempt you. Painted Hills, Lake Eyre, Simpson Desert, etc. and of course a beer (or two) in the iconic William Creek Hotel is a pleasurable experience.

The trip up to Dalhousie can be pretty rough. We cheated and took a flight from William Creek with Trevor, over the edge of Lake Eyre, Simpson Desert and landed at Dalhousie for a couple of hours stopover at the springs, before lunching on an Oodna Burger at the Pink Roadhouse and the flight back to William Creek.

Notice you are planning two nights at Coober Pedy and this will be barely enough to take in the character of the place.
A drive out to the Breakaways (about 20k's up the Stuart Highway) is also worth consideration and you can continue down onto the Moon Plains and a drive along the Dog Fence before reaching a T junction. Left will take you out to Oodnadatta, but right will see you back in Coober Pedy within a short time.

All relative of course and I'm sure you will have a great time when you go.


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Follow Up By: Lloyd W1 - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:54

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 11:54
Hi Bill,

Thanks for the thoughts, I believe what you say about Marree is right but I was just trying to break up the 1 night stays a bit so happy to do 1 night there and spend a couple somewhere else, just need to work out where.

We are self sufficient so your advice about Oodna/Algebuckina seems like a better option and if the Pink Roadhouse has lost some character that would be a pity.

Was planning a night at Halligan Bay but not necessarily William Creek but the hotel sounds like a must see so will work something out.

Are Lake Eyre flights reasonably priced? We have a family of 4.

Your the second person to mention the rough drive out to Dalhousie so I think I'll need to leave that one out this time around.

And Coober Pedy is somewhere we do want to have a look around so thanks for the info.

Cheers, Lloyd
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 16:55

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 16:55

There is not a lot at Halligan Bay in the way of camping. Areas are "enclosed" and the basic toilet facilities are used by day trippers in their coaches as well as travellers and campers. You would be much better camping at William Creek opposite the Hotel. The camp ground is mostly gravel but the toilet/shower facilities are excellent. (at least they were when we were there). You will hear the throb of the "town" generator but will get used to it and have no trouble sleeping. We free camp a fair bit, but facilities like those at William Creek, give you a breather so to speak. The pub also provides sit down meals if you choose to skip the self cooking for a night or so.

Halligan bay is a half day trip and after doing the obligatory walk out onto Lake Eyre, you have kind of "been there, done that".
On the drive out you get to an area with an apparent "lake" on the horizon. This is a mirage and you reach the edge of a higher plain, then drive down onto the lower level. When you reach Halligan Bay (this area is the lowest point below sea level in Australia at 15m below sea level), you will be amazed at the size of the lake and this is only the lower southern section.

I love the character of the outback in the areas you are planning to visit.

As far as flight costs go, Trevor will have "package deals" that will be cheaper than single flights, or those at rare peak times, such as when Lake Eyre has water in it. We kind of got two flights for the cost of one, but there were two couples to share the total cost.
There is no harm in dropping in to Wrightair and enquiring on the options when staying there, or passing through. Trevor is based at the only house in "town" and is the "master" of William Creek. A good bloke too.


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Reply By: KevinE - Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:42

Sunday, Mar 16, 2014 at 17:42
Hi Lloyd,

We were up there in Oct last year & the year before (immediately after the school holidays were over); the weather was sensational on both trips, 2 or 3 hot days & one overnight storm in 2012, and last year we had some pretty hard wind at Cameron Corner, but apart from that it was great.

I like your itinerary too, except I'd query 3 nights at Innamincka - it doesn't take too long to see the King/Wills/Bourke sites & there's not a lot else to see there. I'd also drive across the border to the dig tree if you haven't been there before? (that 53 or so KM from Innamincka to Qld is a rough bit of road - full of big gibbers!)

As has been said, the drive to/from Dalhousie can be rough!

Have a great time mate!


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Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 07:18

Monday, Mar 17, 2014 at 07:18
Coming down the Birdsville, while the water hole at Mungerannie is good camping, a bit further on Clayton Springs offers a bore fed spa and shower. In either case you'd hit Maree by midday or sooner. Enough time to see what's there. Frankly I find it a hole.

Bush camping near Inna on the Cooper is recommended. And anyone interested in wetlands and birdlife will be rewarded if they make time to get to Coongie Lakes.
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