The "Wet Centre" by air and road

Submitted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 19:55
ThreadID: 86672 Views:3834 Replies:7 FollowUps:16
This Thread has been Archived
For most of my adult life, and that's about half a century, I have wanted to drive the Birdsville Track. I now have the chance, which leads me to a question.

As my wife and I don't camp, or own camping equipment, is it reasonable to travel from the south to Marree, up the Track and out via Windorah or perhaps Innamincka using pubs and camp park cabins as accommodation, under normal conditions. We had in mind a stop at Mungeranie Hotel to break Marree to Birdsville into two days. I note that the Cooper is over the road at Windorah but the road around to Innamincka and out from there through Thargomindah appears to be open, at least to 4WDs. But that may all change by mid-July when we plan to make the trip.

We leave here on July 1 to meet friends at Horsham in Victoria to board a Wrights Air aircraft for a three day tour that takes us through Broken Hill, Innamincka, Bedourie, Birdsville, William Creek, Port Pirie and back to Horsham and includes flying over the Goyder Lagoon, parts of the Simpson Desert, Warburton Creek and Lake Eyre. As we end up back at Horsham it seems just too good a chance to miss to return via the same area and fulfil a very long held desire.

Any helpful comments or information will be most welcome. The vehicle in which we will travel is pictured below. Without the caravan, of course.

Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Eric Experience - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 21:01

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 21:01
Kevin.
Things don't always go like clock work in the centre,so if you were able to book a room at each place you may be held up by water or flat tyres and not get to your bed. I would say that if you are not able to survive a night under the stars you best not go. or hire a motorhome. Eric.
AnswerID: 456031

Reply By: vk1dx - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 21:49

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 21:49
Similar to what Eric said but I would look for a 4WD tour. I would also suggest to stay clear of the larger bus tours. Too much emphasis on time as opposed to the scenery etc. Sorry I cannot help any more. Maybe someone will hop in here. Maybe try Google. But you are asking for quite expensive small party tour. Still cheaper than buying your own kit and learning how to use it etc.

Best of luck.

Phil
AnswerID: 456036

Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 06:35

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 06:35
Kevin,

Don't see why not apart from road conditions. Just have some contingency plans.
Just a word of warning. Tour companies block book this stile of accommodation at popular locations although with just two of you there should not be any dramas. I have run across Spirit a few times.

We just did a similar trip based on what you are proposing.
As we had artists and photographers with us our aim was to stay for a few nights at different locations in the outback with day trips from that location before moving on.

For example our recent trip from Sydney was:
Nyngan - Motel 1 night
Gundabooka NP - Shearers Quarters 5 nights
Broken Hill - Cabins 4 nights
Sturt NP - Mt Wood Homestead 3 nights
Lyndhurst - Pub 1 night
William Creek - Dongas 3 nights
Arckaringa - Dongas 4 nights
Mt Dare - Cabins 3 nights
Alice Springs - Finish

All accomodation booked in advance and we were hanging out for the roads to open and thankfully Merty Merty opened the week before we left.
We had a couple of contingency plans but they involved big distances.

Have fun.

AnswerID: 456047

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 08:57

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 08:57
Thanks Richard. That is useful information. We have researched the options and will book now. I have been told that the Mungeranie Hotel has limited accommodation so that will be a good place to start. We don't expect some of these places to be too flash but that is part of the adventure.

Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729024

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 17:24

Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 17:24
Kevin... we did a similar trip late last year.

Stayed at Marree, drove the Birdsville track in a day after a 6am start. Spent two nights in the Birdsville Caravan Park, then went onto Windorah, Longreach, Rockhampton etc.

We booked all our accomodation well in advance and had a basic tent as a fail safe plan. If something went pear shaped, the plan was to unload the gear into the tent for the night and sleep in the back of the Captiva for the night. Thankfully, the tent is still in its original unopened box.

Fab.
0
FollowupID: 729304

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 17:44

Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 17:44
Hi Fab. Where did you stay in Marree and how was it. We are coming up from Horsham via the Flinders Ranges to do Skytreck at Willow Springs Station and will also do a side trip to William Creek. Thanks for the idea of a tent as storage. I have to bend my legs to sleep in the Jackaroo but that is better than sleeping in a tent with a plague of mice going by during the night. We had that many years in the Wyperfeld NP in NW Victoria and it is an experience that I don't want to revisit.
Thanks. Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729305

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 19:42

Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 19:42
Kevin...
We've stayed in Marree twice.

First time was at the Oasis Caravan Park. Cabins with ensuites. Very small and aged accomodation, yet friendly staff. Great atmosphere around the bonfire. Short 5 minute walk to the Hotel and about a 3 minute walk to the General store.

Second time was at the Marree Hotel. Staff (proprietor) was...umm....let's just say less than helpful. The accomodation cabins were pretty new and clean, however there was a major mix up with our booking. Rather than repeat myself, have a read of the trip report I wrote, as suggested by members of ExplorOz on the below link. My report is the third one down... "Fab1972". Keep in mind, these events are written from personal experience and are opinions held by myself. The end choice is yours.

Marree Hotel review

Have never stayed at the Drovers Rest caravan park, but that's the one we'll be trying next time. I've heard it's basic, but clean and friendly.

FYI...in Birdsville we stayed in ensuite cabins at the Caravan Park...HIGHLY RECOMEND.

In Windorah we stayed at the Hotel/Motel.... clean, modern, and more what you'd expect in a large city than an outback town. Great place to stay!!! And a severly under-rated town.

Fab.
0
FollowupID: 729320

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 20:39

Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 20:39
That's good information Fab. Thank you very much.
Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729340

Follow Up By: tommo05 - Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 22:03

Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 22:03
Can definitely recommend the Oasis Caravan Park in Marree, we spent two nights in an ensuite cabin there to freshen up after a fair stint of bush camping a couple of months ago. Park has good facilities and friendly staff.

Marree Hotel was good for a feed and a refreshing ale or three, but I can't comment on the accommodation. I have heard good things about Drovers' Rest, it looked very basic from the road but apparently the owner is pretty good value for a yarn.

If you're looking for any good local knowledge while you're there, Lyall at the general store is the oracle for that part of the world. And he'll talk to you all day if you let him!

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729353

Follow Up By: Richard W (NSW) - Saturday, Jun 04, 2011 at 06:35

Saturday, Jun 04, 2011 at 06:35
Kevin,

I have also stayed in both the Oasis CP and Marree Hotel on other trips and agree with earlier comments.
0
FollowupID: 729363

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 05, 2011 at 18:55

Sunday, Jun 05, 2011 at 18:55
The Drovers Rest Caravan Park appears to be closed. That info came from the Oasis Caravan Park.
Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729551

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 17:07

Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 17:07
Ouch....thanks for the update Kevin.

Looks like it's the Oasis or Lyndhurst for us next time then. I refuse to stay at the Marree Hotel out of principle now. Such a shame because, under different management I'm sure it would be a lucrative and flourishing business all year round and not just when the rains fall at Lake Eyre.

Fab.
0
FollowupID: 729663

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 17:22

Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 17:22
The Marree pub is booked out the night we wanted to stay there and so are the cabins at Oasis, so we have to come back from William Creek to the Lyndhurst Hotel for a night before pushing on up the Birdsville Track for a night at Mungeranie Hotel before moving on to a cabin in Birdsville. So it has all come together quite well. We have found everyone to be most helpful with our bookings.
Any chance the Cooper ferry will be in operation by July 14?
Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729667

Follow Up By: Fab72 - Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 18:53

Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 18:53
For what it's worth Kevin, the road from Lyndhurst to Marree is really good. Extensive sections have now been bitumized and if dry, even the dirt sections are an easy 90-100kmph road.

I tried ringing Drovers....yep. The number doesn't work anymore.

Lyndhurst is a great town. The pub has nice meals and also the cheapest fuel in town. Technically speaking, if you drive up to the pub (about 300 metres from the Lyndhurst to Marree road) you can say you travelled on the Strezlecki track too.

Fab.
0
FollowupID: 729681

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 19:26

Monday, Jun 06, 2011 at 19:26
Been there done that Fab. Last year before we went up the Centre we left the van at Wilpena and went to Arkaroola for a couple of days. We came back via Copley and drove north to see the mines and visit Talc Alf. The real reason for going was that I was determined to do the bottom of the Strzelecki Track. We drove up it to the end of the sealed bit.
Thanks for the info on the road to Marree. One month today we will be at William Creek on out air tour. Then back to Horsham and we head west and north for home via The Track.
Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729688

Reply By: Rockape - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 07:29

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 07:29
Kevin,
Quilpie, Windorah to Birdsville should all be open.

DMR road conditions


Have a good trip,
RA.
AnswerID: 456051

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 08:59

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 08:59
That's an update from the last time I looked RA and is improved. I just hope the water has not all drained away before we get to fly over it.

Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729025

Reply By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 08:18

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 08:18
Thanks for the input. The purpose of my enquiry was to get a feel for road/distance relationships between centres and perhaps comments on the accommodation available. While I am not an experienced 4WD driver I am not a novice either. My wife and I (yes, I still have her after 49 years) travelled the Flinders Ranges 45 years ago in a Hillman Minx and later a Holden, and in a tent. We didn't know that it was dangerous to go to remote places on our own. We don't camp now because somewhere along the way I introduced the good lady to five star hotels and caravans.

I travel well equipped with 2 new spare tyres, good rubber on the 4 wheels, spare parts, uhf radio, mobile phone and Spot2 location device.

And I like driving too much to take tours where there is a road that I can drive on.

Thanks again,

Kevin



Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 456053

Reply By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 09:13

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 09:13
Just by way of additional information, and I guess this influenced our thinking to some extent, the Birdsville and Innamincka Hotels jointly ran an information booth at the recent Brisbane 4WD show to promote The Outback Loop which is broadly the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks. These pubs might be jointly owned as they have a common web site at www. theoutback.com.au

They had a very smart brochure to hand out and this is part of what it had to say the Outback Loop. In the brochure the tracks were described as well-maintained roads. Is that a fair description?

Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 456056

Follow Up By: tommo05 - Thursday, Jun 02, 2011 at 22:32

Thursday, Jun 02, 2011 at 22:32
Hi Kevin

Roads are definitely well maintained, they get so much tourist traffic these days that in good weather they are practically highways. Obviously they get damaged regularly from rain and flooding but the road crews get them fixed up amazingly fast. The Strzelecki Track is a major transport route to the oil and gas fields up in the Qld corner region, so that is kept in especially good shape. Not much fun when you get stuck behind a road train mind you, but the drivers are very conscious of other road users.

Make sure you check road conditions but last time I looked the Strzelecki and Birdsville tracks were in good shape. The Innamincka causeway is still closed so if Innamincka to Birdsville is part of the 'Outback Loop' then you won't be going that way.

Birdsville and Innamincka hotels are owned by the same people as you suggest, and they are typically friendly outback watering holes.

As mentioned in some of the other replies you never know when you may be held up and not be able to get to your booked accommodation, but I wouldn't let that hold you back. Just go for it... and enjoy! It's awesome country.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729211

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 08:52

Friday, Jun 03, 2011 at 08:52
Thanks Tommo, that confirms what I thought. I talked to the rep from the hotels at the Brisbane 4WD show and he said much the same as you. We are looking forward to this trip. It will be great to see it all from the air and then drive through it.
Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729236

Reply By: sweetwill - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 12:29

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 12:29
hello Kevin.
I was at Birdsville a couple of weeks ago and while sitting around the fire at the caravan park the lady that runs the place mentioned the amount of people that just turn up, without a booking, and no camping gear, i know this isn't you but your thread reminded me of her comment, cheers for now Bill.
AnswerID: 456059

Follow Up By: Member - Kevin S (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 13:51

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2011 at 13:51
Thanks Bill. I will be talking to the lady in a day or so.

Kevin
Kevin
It is important to always maintain a sense of proportion

2019 Mitsubishi Cross

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 729038

Sponsored Links