Birdsville Track and Cooper Creek Crossing Latest Update

Submitted: Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 19:28
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Hi All
Further to a post on the weekend regarding if the Cooper Creek will go over the Birdsville Track and the ferry put into use, I have spoken to my contact today.

The flood detour passes through Etadunna Station, the people that I happen to know. Things are still very wet up there, but no where near as wet as Birdsville. Patsy was telling me this morning that they only received 14mm over the weekend. They did receive their first road train of cattle to start to restock the station, after de stocking it during the drought. She said that the road train had fun and only just got out.

Patsy said that she is receiving a lot of phone calls, all asking the very same question - IS the Cooper Creek going to go over the Birdsville Track. They are still only receiving local rain which at this stage is not enough. A lot of water is still required to fill Lake Hope and they head further west. She said that if that happens, it could be many weeks, even up to 6 weeks before it could happen with the current water trends. But like she said, you will never know until it happens.

We will all have to see what happens.


Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Member - Prickle (SA) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:18

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:18
Steve,

Watching ALL the posts re this area and Simpson as a friend is doing the crossing in May and us in July. Rain is good, hopefully lots of flowers when we cross.

Also watching BOM and all there posts etc re the northern area.

Hopefully will be a good year for a Simpson crossing.

Thanks.
Russ


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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:57

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:57
Hi Russ
The hole of Central Australia seems to be under water. My sister lives in Alice Springs and she said that she has never seen so muck water in the Territory. She drove up to and back from Darwin last week and see said it was just water all the way.

If they have had just a fraction of that out in the Simpson, it will be magic. Another plus will be the dunes will be easy to drive over, as usually the hot summer winds turns the desert into a tinder box and the sand a fine as.

Thinks are shaping up to a good desert year for travelling, we will all have to see what happens.

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Follow Up By: Member - Prickle (SA) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:59

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:59
Yep, could be a great year to enjoy the outback.
Russ


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Follow Up By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 22:25

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 22:25
IMHO the Simpson will open in name only in 2 weeks and will be impassable for an E to W (or W to E) crossing till June. This was the case last year as Eyre Creek was up. And the Warburton Crossing didn't open at all. Every road in NE SA will have washouts galore with a huge repair bill. This year it's the Coopers turn with floods at Windorah increasing today which will take rwo months to reach the ferry. That monsoonal low is still dumping phenomenal quantities of rain. The Birdsville region - say 150 km in all directions has in one day had over 10 cubic km of water fall out of the sky!! The country is already saturated from a similar dump over Moomba 3 weeks ago. By the time the low runs its course this week the catchments will be flooded even more and funnelling all that water slowly but steadily towards Lake Eyre. See pic below of rain to 9am todayImage Could Not Be Found. Also Feb rainImage Could Not Be Found
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 23:04

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 23:04
Hi Warrie
Lets hope that the Cooper does cut the track, there seems to be enough water. If it does, we will be making a quick trip up there to see it.


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Reply By: Member - Ed C (QLD) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:20

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 20:20
There has been some good rainfall in the Thompson / Barcoo catchments in the last 24 hrs, & more expected tonight...

The flood in the Cooper Ck. at Windorah is currently classed as 'major', and rising..

When you add this to the water that is already in the system, there is still a heck of a lot of water that has yet to make it's way downstream..

As I said in a reply to the earlier post, I wouldn't rule out the chance of a ferry ride just yet;-))

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 21:10

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 21:10
Hi Ed,
That is exactly what Patsy was saying, all that water has to make its way south. Seeing the whole area is very wet from local rain, the flood waters will not be soaking in as much as if it was dry. I personally would love to see the Cooper come down.

There is a country saying what all those in the bush will agree on - "There is money in Mud and not in dust". The pastrolist have had some very lean times and this rain is going to be worth Millions of Dollar to the Pastrolist Industry.

It would be great to have a crystal ball, so we can start to plan a trip to see water over the Birdsville Track.

Just on another matter, last year when we all had those dust storms, friends of ours that manage a station north west of Wilcannia lost 400 sheep that were too weak to move and were covered in sand. They are now land locked for the next 3 months, the only way in and out is by plane only. How the weather can change a country in such a very short time.


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Reply By: Member - Ruth D (QLD) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 22:07

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 22:07
Hi Stephen, you forgot to mention in regards to the Simpson the effect of the very flooded Eyre Creek. Enormous rains to the north - Eyre Creek is already very full (in the north) and with 188 mm rain in Bedourie yesterday should travel down and probably cut access on the eastern end of the Simpson, just like it did last year.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 22:20

Monday, Mar 01, 2010 at 22:20
Hi Ruth,
Not being a gambling man, I would put money on the Eyre Creek Crossing being closed just like last year. It seems like the whole of outback Queensland seems to be under water. Our son James, the surveyor is working up in Injune and the water up there must have been unreal. There work camp was cut for a few days recently. On his way back to Roma, many of the white road side marker post were half under water.

What us southerners would love would be just a fraction of that water to make its way into the Murray / Darling River systems and give the Murray a good flush out and fill the Lower Lakes. All we can do is hope.

From the pictures on the news tonight, you will not have to leave Birdsville to go fishing, just throw your line out from the Pub door, it must be an unreal sight.


Cheers and Happy Fishing


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Follow Up By: peterll - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 02:54

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 02:54
Hi Ruth...I am supposed to be visiting Pam and Phil next week..got me wondering if I should rent an old army duck now..lol

Stephen....do you have any news of the water at Dulkanina ?

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 07:55

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 07:55
Hi Peter,
The water up that way must be so unreal, it is so hard to believe. When I was speaking to Patsy on Friday, she mentioned a very lot of water over the road near Dulkaninna Station. From what I understand, it must be a very large body of water that stretches for a large area and all that Patsy said was that people that do not know the track and get off of the main road will get hopelessly bogged and make for form very serious recoveries as the ground is just so wet and boggy. Like what I mentioned in the post, she said that the road train got out, and only just, so that alone says just how muddy the Birdsville Track must be.

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Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 07:55

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 07:55
"What us southerners would love would be just a fraction of that water to make its way into the Murray / Darling River systems and give the Murray a good flush out and fill the Lower Lakes. All we can do is hope."

How about us that are about 300 km to the East that are still drought declared??

In the QLD map that Warrie posted above we are in the southern end of the white section to the East of Roma.

The water from Injune will make it's way south via the Maranoa, Balonne and Narran river before it reaches NSW.
St George has begun to release more water again due to the expected influx of flood water heading south.

Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 08:17

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 08:17
Hi Kev,
Yes the weather patterns are very strange. Down here in the Mid North of SA we have not had one drop of rain from all that rain activity from the Centre and the far north east of the state.

Lets all hope that the areas that need the rain will get their fair share soon. It is so very hard to comprehend that when speaking to Patsy and Jason well before Christmas, things were so bad up the Birdsville Track area, dust storms, very hot conditions and no feed for their stock. Now here we are 3 months later and they are swimming in water and green feed over 30cm high for their stock when they arrive.


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Reply By: B1B2 - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 06:24

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 06:24
G'day Stephen,
Thanks for the up to date information from your contacts. I am organising a trip to Innamincka, Birdsville etc in May and I reckon it could have a few road closures even then.

Cheers,
Bill
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 07:46

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 07:46
Hi Bill
Birdsville is a top spot and it is very hard to visualise the amount of water that is out there. When the water does subside the countryside will look unreal. Do not give up hope at this stage, as a lot can happen in 2 months.

Have a great trip and enjoy one of Australia's Classic outback towns.


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Reply By: Teraa - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 18:03

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 18:03
As a recent traveller from Adelaide to Mungerannie just 2 days ago. I can tell you that we waited 3 hours 1km outside of Leigh Creek until the creek went down enough to cross. Though the road was open we slide all the way from Lyndhurst to Marree. The Birdsville track is wet and remains wet longer and longer every time there's even a small amount of rain. Frome Creek is running so is the Derwent. We have lost depth to the Warbuton but expect that to flow quite rapidly soon as most stations from Birdsville down averaged 6 - 8 inches of rain. The Warburton crossing is already covered in water from local rain. We don't expect that the track to be open past Mungerannie for a while. Contemplations of neccessary supplies are already being planned for a Cooper run up and down the track, ferry or no ferry somethings just don't come this way. I have no doubt the Muccumba will be flowing but we will know soon enough with a very belated awaited river trek in the next week hopefully.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 19:46

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 19:46
Hi Teraa
Yes I well and truly know what it is like to drive on an open, but very wet and boggy Birdsville Track. As you would know it usually take between 2 1/2 and 3 hours from Marree to Mungarannie. Our extended time was leaving Marree with it was coming down quite well. When checking to see if the track was open, their advise was to get as far north as you can. Before reaching the first grid, we were starting to snake over the road. The further north we went, the wetter and boggier it got. We finally arrived at Mungarannie at 10.30pm that night.

7am next morning up went the road closed sign and we entertained ourselves for the next 3 days at the Camp ground. We had many fine walks.We were later to find out that they had 3" of rain that day along the Birdsville Track. The only down side was that all that mud and water cut out the discs pads on the back of the vehicle, which we since found out is very common on any rear wheeled disc vehicle.

Knowing what it does to your vehicle, I would always keep well clear of a very wet Birdsville Track in the future.


Cheers

Stephen

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Reply By: Teraa - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 20:07

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 20:07
It was a pure need of supplies that chased us to town no supply truck
The worst part of lyndhurst to marree was previous bog tracks had filled with water in the middle and not wanting to go to the side became a neccesity
so if you really don't have to go up these tracks please don't as it makes it harder for the locals in the long run just trying to get some food. But there's always those times when you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I don't know perasonally but I believe the Onadatta track is in rack and ruin as well. I heard from a local that the Cooper has been known to run into lake Hope and to keep going forward if it has enough force behind it. Wrights air web page has the best pics. I don't reckon I'd be as brave as you and hit the track after 3 inches. Mulka would have to be the worst bit I reckon
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 20:44

Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010 at 20:44
Hi Terra
The Track only received that amount of rain on it when we were heading up it. The just got heavier the further north we went, and as you know, there is no way you would get off of the road, as it would have been a bottomless pit of mud. It took us 8 1/2 hours to get to Mungarannie.


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Reply By: Teraa - Wednesday, Mar 03, 2010 at 14:42

Wednesday, Mar 03, 2010 at 14:42
Yep fully agree never go off too the side
I don't think anyone thought we would realy get that much rain we kinda wait till there's mud on our boots till we realy believe it has rained. I checked the river levels this morning and they are higher then last years for the Warburton and it won't be hitting a dry river but one that has already got 3m in it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Mar 03, 2010 at 19:30

Wednesday, Mar 03, 2010 at 19:30
Hi Terra
Thanks for the update. It sounds like you must be on one of either three stations, Clifton Hills, Cowarie or Kalamurnia. All that water in the Warburton will put a lot of water into Lake Eyre.

Cheers

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Reply By: Teraa - Wednesday, Mar 03, 2010 at 22:14

Wednesday, Mar 03, 2010 at 22:14
Round about there
heading down to the lakes entrance tommorow I wanna see who's running
( creeks)
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Follow Up By: Teraa - Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 10:46

Sunday, Mar 07, 2010 at 10:46
went on a river run, river has dropped as it has gone into the lake expecting pulses in 2 -3 weeks with further pulse butI reckon it will be a short season in one end out other found a really good web page for the area will be the most accurate I have seen to day. I will post it later, I am just going to check there isn't already a link on oz explorer.
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