Birdsville Track - finallly

I am finally about to travel up the Birdsville Track for the first time next week - I have travelled most other tracks around Oz including Gunbarrelll - CSR - GRR - Kalumburu etc. but for some reason have missed probably the most iconic of all The Birdsville Track So before I set off on Sunday I would like some up to date info on the area including places of interest / camping spots etc. I relise it wont be anything like it was in Tom Kruse's day but I will be taking around 4-5 days to travel it so as to take it all in
Thanks in advance for any info
Cheers for now
Mike
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 08:39

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 08:39
Hi Mike,
Firstly 4-5 days is a very big overkill to drive this track. Great camping at Clayton Bore, on your left hand side of the track heading north about 60 kilometres north of Marree, just after the Clayton River. Mungerannie has good camping and check out the old graves behind the camping area. The track is now a very good fast track to drive. We usually drive about 80 kilometres per hour, but you will be passed by other vehicle travelling well in excess of 100 kilometres per hour. Just before you pass through the Cooper Creek Crossing, there is the old barge on the left hand side of the track.

Have a great and safe trip.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 09:45

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 09:45
Always a good drive Mike - we have camped over night the odd time but also driven it non-stop in 6 hours below the speed limit , so 4-5 days is a while.

Seen more damaged tyres here than anywhere else.

Limited 4wding around there but one fun spot is east side of road in lake Harry area, its flat everywhere except a couple of mounds 1km off road in which its hard to fit more than 1 car on top of - we hold record with 4 I thinkImage Could Not Be Found
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Reply By: Wizard1 - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:54

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 10:54
Travelled the track last August towing a caravan. Took a 1.5 days from Lyndhurst, via Maree. We weren't in hurry.

Average speed was 70 - 80 KPH depending on the road conditions with some places reduced to 40 due to corrugations and rocks.

There are plenty of places to go and explore off the track which might extend the journey a few days.

Drop your tyre pressures and drive to the conditions and you will be fine. Didn't have any tyre dramas, but the gibbers are bad.

Camp where ever you want.
AnswerID: 368367

Reply By: tim_c - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 11:31

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 11:31
Hi, I've also heard that the "inside" track (at the northern end ie. near Birdsville) is more scenic - I've only done the track once myself so I can't compare the inside and outside tracks. The inside track may be closed currently because of all the recent rains & flooding etc. (it goes closer to some lakes than the outside track).
AnswerID: 368368

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 14:10

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 14:10
I would doubt that the inside track will be open this year. Very boggy well after the floods have passed.
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Follow Up By: Member - colin M (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:22

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:22
Inside track was still closed two weeks ago when I was there
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Follow Up By: tim_c - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:41

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:41
Apparently it was closed when I did it too - I came up behind a 'ROAD CLOSED' sign in the middle of the road as I approached the intersection with the main Birdsville Tk (heading southbound - there was no sign from the northern end). There was one boggy bit which I was a little concerned about (no other vehicles in convoy, and nothing nearby to winch off) but got through it no problems.
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Reply By: Member - John & Sally W (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 11:57

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 11:57
Hi Mike,
Don't know whether you still can, but a side trip into the old Lutheran mission of Killalpaninna is interesting. The Etadunna (the one with the big cross outside) station used to hire out a key to go in through the locked gate and see where these brave and hardy people tried to exist. There are a few foundation stones and some graves but floods and the creep of the dunes have taken their toll. Here is an interesting read about it.
http://www.southaustralianhistory.com.au/killalpaninna.htm
There are lots of other stories about the track. The Lake Harry store that used to supply grog and supplies and the droving stories of huge dust storms suffocating whole herds of cattle. Lots of info on net.
Regards,
Sally
AnswerID: 368371

Follow Up By: Member- Tony C - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:13

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:13
Hi Sally,
There is a book titled 'Where The Seasons Come and Go' by Eric Bonython which is fascinating read detailing the history of the area.
I have always wanted to take in that area after reading the book.
Regards,
Tony
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Follow Up By: Member - John & Sally W (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 17:07

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 17:07
Hi Tony,
Yes, we have read this book. I think I have seen it still for sale at the Copley bakery in the last few years along with lots of other good books. When we visit areas we always try to pick up some info or books about that area. There is always something to learn or someone's story to read.
Cheers,
Sally.
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Reply By: Member - colin M (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:20

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:20
Just did the trip Marree north 2 weeks ago and track is in good condition. Agree with other postings 80kph is a good safe speed allows you to see all spots. I will be posting the Maree - Birdsville leg of the trip on my blog tomorrow if you want to see some photos, enjoy and make one camp at the Mungerannie pub and enjoy a swim in the pool, afraid Clayton spa is a fizzer as it is leaking and the water is cold.
AnswerID: 368429

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:03

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:03
Colin,

Clayton's shower was cold for us too until we worked out to fill the spa or turn it on full boar whilst you shower and then it was steaming hot....just lovely when we were there a few years back now though.

Regards, Trevor.
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Follow Up By: Member - GREENDOG - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:55

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:55
Colin was the pool at Mungerannie hot as i have heard just recently that the pool was cold and not being used.cheer's GREENDOG
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Follow Up By: Member - colin M (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009 at 15:54

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2009 at 15:54
Greendog
In the middle of May it was about mid 30c and there were plenty of folks swimming in it then, although thats nearly 4 weeks ago now not sure if it cools down in winter but I imagine the temperature from bores would be constant.

Trevor,
Pity we didnt know that little trick about Claytons, I should have asked the camper who was parked there.
Colin
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Reply By: Member - Glenn H (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:29

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 22:29
Hi Mike, we did the track just three weeks ago.
1. Maree to Mungeranie from 3 till 6pm. After reading the above that was probably a rush. Having come down the 400km from Ooodnadatta which has lots of interesting railway memorabilia, this bit of the B track was flat and featureless by comparison.
2. Mungeranie pool was lukewarm - say 33 degrees compared to Dalhousie 2 days earlier at 38. But I sat in it with a beer and watched a full moon rise over the sand dune - priceless.
3. The first bore north of the M pub has steam - don't jump in!! Get pix since there are no others steaming until Birdsville.
4. It's only 8km to the Warburton Crossing and the end of the Rig Rd. Check out the water level and mud - take care, it's boggy!
5. From say 50km north of the pub you are going thru Sturts Stony Desert. The road is as rough as guts. The tyre noise is dreadful and a rock sliced through the electric brake wiring.
6. At the end of the 3 hour rough section you see a huge bill board on your right saying something like - enjoy your drive on the B track. For the poor bunnies heading south it means the start of the worst bit. But going north you are into dune country and the road is as smooth as.
7. Cross the border and you see evidence of the Jan - March floods - it's incredibly green in contrast to the desert shades.
8. We were towing a 1 tonne van. See pic in my profile. Enjoy the trip and go out to watch sunset from Big Red. Cheers, Glenn
Warrie

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