Oodnadatta track - Maree to Marla SA

I know lots of you have done it, but I haven't. If anyone has done it recently, is the Oodnadatta track suitable for a non off-road pop top heading up from Maree to Marla? Our van is in top condition towed by a near new D40 Navara.

As well, does anyone have a website that you can access with the very latest on road conditions in that area.

Would you consider that the Oodnadatta track be very similiar to say, the road from Yunta SA to Arkaroola or better/worse?

Thanks in anticipation.

True Blue.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:14

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:14
Provided there has been no rain, driving from Maree to Marla along the Oodnadatta Track will be a doodle.

For current Road conditions refer to: SA Road Conditions


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Follow Up By: Member -Signman - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:57

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:57
Good Afternoon Mr. Sand..

We've travelled the Oodna. Tk. a few times- and will be again in August. We are aware of most of the interesting things along the track- but always open to other POIs.
So between (say) Maree & Oodna. (and even South to Parachilna) what would you reckon are the POIs that shouldn't be missed..

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 17:56

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 17:56
Hey there Signman,

The Algebuckina Bridge is worth a visit for the history of the original Railway route and the Algebuckina Waterhole is a good place to camp close to Oodnadatta, but a better choice.

William Creek is probably my favorite place in the outback. Why?
I guess the relative remoteness that is still easily accessible from Oodnadatta, Coober Pedy, Marla, or Roxby Downs, plus the place has "a feel" about it. I have not visited since the pub has new owners and I want to go and say hello to the new proprietors.
We were planning to visit over the Easter period but crap happened and we had to cancel the trip.
Camping at the caravan park still gives a real feeling of remoteness, even though there is the background sound of the generator plant and you generally have the vocal contest of domestic dogs vs the Dingo as they communicate with each other.
William Creek is a good base to stay while visiting Halligan Bay on Lake Eyre, or taking a scenic flight with Wrightsair over the Lake, to the Painted Desert, or a day trip to Dalhousie Springs.
We really surprised the locals by staying three nights, before moving on.

Further south there are several "mound springs" formations, The Bubbler and Coward Springs the most popular. Other historic sites such as the Peak Telegraph Station will appeal to most people and there are other sites I can't think of, or haven't yet been to.

Basically, travel along the Track in either direction should be "leisurely" and be prepared to stop and visit the features that are signposted.


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Follow Up By: Patrolman Pat - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 17:48

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 17:48
Sandman I've visited the WC pub and the new owners are hospitable, just as you'd expect in an outback pub.
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Reply By: Member - John G- Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:34

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:34
G'day True Blue

I'd qualify Sandman's reply but only slightly. We did it last August towing a Tvan and our friends towed a 15' pop top that is raised and has leaf springs + shock absorbers. Not an off-road caravan but not conventional.

Overall the surface is rough, wide, and obviously dusty. There were some serious corrugations around the tip of Lake Eyre South, otherwise it is plain sailing if you take it steadily.

Our friends experienced some dust ingress, and as a result of a previous trip, had taken time to ensure that their water tank outlets were protected. They had no trouble on this trip.

A traveller in Oodnadatta at the same time as us arrived with a conventional van full of dust and with water tank outlets broken off. The same travellers had also had the rear window of their ute smashed. Our friends shredded a tyre (Coopers) just outside of Marree. So . . .it aint highway driving but it's do-able with good driving sense and preparation. And it's a great drive with heaps of interesting things to see.

Good Luck
John G
AnswerID: 294995

Follow Up By: Member - David P (VIC) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 15:23

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 15:23
John, What do you think of Tvan? How long have you had it? What affect on hwy cruising consumption? Ease of use etc? cheap skate wants free advice :)) .... silverback
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Reply By: True Blue - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:47

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 13:47
Thank you 'Sand Man' and 'John G' for that feedback. It's very much appreciated from you both.

Cheers for now.

True Blue.
AnswerID: 294996

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:27

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 14:27
I agree with previous posters, just an average gravel road, take your time & enjoy. Great bush camps at Parachilna Gorge 12 k
east of Prairie Hotel & at Algebuckinna Bridge about 50k south of
Oodnadatta. Check Trek Notes on this Site for further info.

AnswerID: 295003

Reply By: Member - MUZBRY (VIC) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 15:02

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 15:02
My brother did that track last year in the latest model Holden Caprice so yo should'nt have any problems.
Great place to be Mt Blue Rag 27/12/2012

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AnswerID: 295011

Reply By: Anthony (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 16:12

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 16:12
Hi TB,

We did that track Nov 2007, towing a Dove outback camper.

In addition to what has been said already, you can expect a bit of stone damage under the van. Cover your rear window with a cardboard beer carton to reduce rear windo breakage. If your tyres are low on tread, cosider replacing and maybe if possible upgrading to tyres that are more durable.

cheers Anthony
AnswerID: 295020

Follow Up By: pheonix - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 16:54

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 16:54
Hi Anthony,

We are heading off on June 30th for 100 days up the middle and then down the west coast. I drive a 2000 TD Prado towing an OR Eagle. I'm in the process of installing a pressure vent, extra bracing on the cupboards, building a stoneguard etc. From your experience what else needs to be done to the van to make it stronger off road and survive some of the roads we are going to take. We are not staying on the bitumen. Looks like you didn't either by your photos.

Car looks great in real life too!


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Follow Up By: Anthony (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 21:51

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 21:51
Hi Pheonix (& True Blue)

A lot of the changes we did to our Dove outback were more because we wanted to rather than needed to. We are a family of four, with two young girls aged 7 and 9 yrs old. So I changed the standard cupboards to become draws.

One of the more important off-road trip preparations was to protect the water tank drain tap from stone damage. I use a piece if galvanized sheet metal to basically extend the water tank guard on the vertical and flat and attached with metal screws.

The following is some of the wear and tear experienced on the Dove from 3000kms of outback tracks.

Stones cut the electric brake wires near the axle and brake drum area; I did a quick repair using screw type cable joiners and some tape.

I had repacked the trailer wheel bearings before we left and after doing some tracks in the Flinders ranges and the Oodnadatta track, I found myself replacing the RHS bearing in the Marla caravan park, glad I took spare bearings. Btw, the combined caravan park, garage, pub etc at Marla was set up for doing repairs for travelers.

While I had a stone guard fitted (the lower edge of it went across the top of the A-frame) the stones being kicked up by the 4wd were very hard on anything they came in contact with. All the galvanized plating on the A-frame, side step and axle was completely removed by the stones. The shockers of the Dove and the rear of the Prado are dented to the point they need to be replaced (but still work, I think). The guard on the water tank took a bashing (check the pix in my profile) to the point that the stones started to tear holes in the sheet metal.

On the inside, as ours has a wood frame for the seat and cupboards, I went to the local hardware store and bought small angle brackets (25mm by 25mm) and fitted them where Jayco had only used staples. Quite a few joins already had screws and staples.

On the wheels, I thought the standard 235/75-15 tyres supplied by Jayco (load rating 108Q) were a bit soft for outback tracks so I fitted the same wheel and rims as on the 120 series. If you are able to fit the same rims / tyres on your Prado on your Eagle its worth thinking about getting three extra rims and tyres (the rim offset on our 120 series required me to use 10mm wheel spacers to get the tyres to clear the inside of the trailer guard).

With the dust, we copped a fair bit, even after I taped over the door vent with some plastic. I will be interested to hear how the air pressure vent works for you, so all I can suggest is for anything that you want to keep dust out of, put it in side a glad snap lock plastic bag.

On the fridge - it does not work that well in temperatures over high 30’s. At the end of a day traveling after running our fridge on 12volts, the fridge temp was around 18 to 20C. Even running on gas or 240v when setup, the best it would do was about 5 to 8C. We had to change how we ate. Stopped buying fresh meat and bought canned ham etc. There is very little choice on canned food outside of the major towns so buy some quality tinned ham before you leave the bigger shopping areas.

I hope some of my long reply is of help or at least interest.

Cheers Anthony
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 17:57

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 17:57
Oodnadatta track is easily underestimated. Lots of busted tyres and broken read windscreens because the gravel is bigger and sharper than your average outback road. Because it looks OK, people travel too fast.

I've driven it in lots of vehicles - from a Corolla to a Subaru and multiple Landcruisers, and towed trailers, and if you keep your speed down, let some air out of your tyres, and don't overload, you've got a chance of getting your on-road leaf-sprung pop-top through unscathed. Your D40 will be fine, although the mob from one of the magazines managed to bust a piece off the transfer case on one up there.
AnswerID: 295040

Reply By: Member - Jinki & Harry - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 18:21

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 18:21
Hi True Blue

We will be heading back down the oodna first week in May - if you can stay a night or two at Coward Springs, a lovely camping spot with permanent toilet and shower facilities. It is really an oasis in the desert! and provides a warm artesian spa, lots of birdlife, date palms and wetland ponds. The caretakers might even supply wood if you are lucky. Of course old railway buildings are a good look around as well. Beresford Bore siding is also another good look - ruins are interesting and the bore still has some water.

Take advice of the others above, take your time, don't speed, lower the tyre pressure and you will enjoy. Have fun
Cheers Jinki
Jinki & Harry enjoying !!!!!

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AnswerID: 295047

Reply By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 20:44

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008 at 20:44
Will be up there next week for a working/holiday and will be coming down the track from Marla, with a small detour for a swim at Dalhousie.
In the past it has been rocky, and they are usually sharp, the best report I have been able to get is that it is rough and has some bad bulldust holes as it is too dry to grade, so steady as we go will be the order for the week with tyre pressures down.
Will try and remember to give a report when I get back.

Cheers Pesty
AnswerID: 295097

Follow Up By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:54

Monday, Apr 07, 2008 at 19:54
True Blue, report on post 56412 for you.

Cheers Pesty
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Friday, Mar 28, 2008 at 09:23

Friday, Mar 28, 2008 at 09:23
Amen to the above - the OT is mostly very good, most of the time - and people often go far too fast as a result - the Pink Roadhouse people usually know the status of every bit of it, all of the time - an example of the surface commonly found is on my site (the outback road surfaces page).


As others have said, 'taking it easy' on the roads up there makes a huge difference !
AnswerID: 295201

Reply By: True Blue - Friday, Mar 28, 2008 at 18:34

Friday, Mar 28, 2008 at 18:34
Thanks again to everyone who responded to my question.

Fantastic feed back from you all as usual.

Sometimes you (me) feel a little reluctant to ask such a question because to so many it may be 'old hat'. But then on the other hand you get responses from people who are probably still on a high from the experience. Love it.

Great forum / great people.

True Blue.

AnswerID: 295283

Reply By: matjo - Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 17:28

Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 at 17:28
Hello All,

I am planning to do Leigh Creek - Marree - Oodna track till the turn off down south to Roxby Downs on...hold your breath... a hitop Toyota 2WD campervan !!!! Now am I just plain stupid or do I have a glimmer of hope to do this.... The reason why I am doing this is cos (I am not trying to prove anything here), after the Flinders ranges (where this vehicle is allright),I am hoping to catch up with some mates at Roxby, who I havent seen in a long time...

What do you guys and gals out there say????

AnswerID: 299876

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