Boggy Hole

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesHermannsburg
FinishErnest Giles Rd & Tempe Downs Access
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable for4WD Bike 
Distance114.47 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed34.23 km/hr
Driving Time3 hrs 20 mins
Page Updated: 14 Jul 2015


Four wheel drivers will enjoy this great trek along the river bed of the Finke River. It's an enjoyable drive along the Finke Gorge with plenty of opportunities to stop, take photos, and enjoy the solitude.

The track is NOT MARKED (other than crude signs pointing to Kings Canyon) nor well defined and conditions vary from rocky sections of the creek bed to soft and sandy stretches but the main feature is the permanent waterhole called Boggy Hole. Many people experience navigational problems trying to stay on the main track, so check our preparation warnings.

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The Finke River only rarely runs, although it forms in the MacDonnell Ranges near Palm Valley and runs for hundreds of kilometres until it disappears into Lake Eyre.

Starting near Hermansberg, a track leads south towards the Finke River bed, which when dry can be traversed right along its length to the Boggy Hole billabong by 4WD. Towering red cliffs line the banks of the river bed and the dry river bed is sandy and filled with river stones. The track criss-crosses the river a number of times in places so the track is impassable when river levels rise.

The Boggy Hole billabong can be up to 2.5km long after a flood but can dry to just 300m during very dry spells. If the water is plentiful its a great place for swimming and bird watching. Good shady camping is limited at the Boggy Hole site due to a massive flood in 1998 that took down many of the larger trees.


The Finke River, on which lies the Boggy Hole billabong, was named by John McDouall Stuart after the Adelaide financier William Finke.

In 1877, the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission was established as the first of its kind in Central Australia. The early years were hard, with much sickness and trouble ensuring between aboriginies, local station owners and police. Within the vicinity of the Misson, 2 police camps were setup to control the 'hostile' activities of local Aborigines. On the eastern bank of Boggy Hole, you'll notice the stone remains of the first camp that was established by M. C. Willshire in 1889 and a small signboard with further information. The camp was actually abandoned when he was arrested for the murder of two Aborigines in 1891. In 1894 a replacement police camp was set up at Illamurta Springs, west of the Finke River. This camp was also abandoned when the police were sent to Arltunga in 1912. The Mission continued until 1982.

In 1902, Albert Namatjira was born at Ntaria (Hermannsburg) on the Finke River Mission Station and became one of Australia's great artist and perhaps the best known Aboriginal painter.


Camping is free and possible anywhere along the track, however the main campsite is at the Boggy Hole billabong itself. If choosing to camp at Boggy Hole, the best camping is on the high side, before making the notorious crossing of the creek, although there are maybe 2 other average spots along the water's edge on the low side too.

Conditions are always changing in this area and the track can be closed for very long periods of time, particularly at the beginning of the season after a heavy wet. However, this is all typical and this trek note is advising you to prepared! Keep your eye on our for the latest information.

Trailers: National Parks and Wildlife frown upon the use of trailers on this track but we have never heard of anyone being fined. People certainly do continue to tow trailers to this site, but most agree that it is a challenging task to do so. We make no advise either way - please make your own decisions about taking a trailer based on your own research.

Travellers should be prepared for soft driving conditions on the sandy river bed and tracks and carry an air compressor. Due to the maze of tracks that are unmarked, except for some very crude and difficult to see markers, it is advisable to download the GPS plot file for this trek and load it into your GPS.


No permits are needed to travel to Boggy Hole.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol None on route
4cyl 16 litres4cyl 19 litres4cyl 23 litres
6cyl 18 litres6cyl 21 litres6cyl 20 litres
8cyl 18 litres8cyl 19 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Late dry season (June - Nov)

Closest Climatic Station

Alice Springs Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 123.36km NE
Mean Max. °C36.435.132.628.223.019.819.722.627.230.933.635.4
Mean Min. °C21.520.717.512.
Mean Rain mm38.643.832.316.318.913.615.09.28.521.429.136.9
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies


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What to See

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Beautiful driving along the Finke Riverbed, Boggy Hole camps, bush camping

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Where to Stay

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LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Hermannsburg to Larapinta Drive & Boggy Hole Access0.54 kmSE123°
Larapinta Drive & Boggy Hole Access to Ellery Creek & Boggy Hole Access9.74 kmSE129° 11 min
Ellery Creek & Boggy Hole Access to Mpakaputa2.36 kmS168° 2 min
Mpakaputa to Finke Gorge NP, Northern Boundary5.59 kmS190° 20 min
Finke Gorge NP, Northern Boundary to Todd Glen0.28 kmS197°
Todd Glen to Finke River & Ellery Creek4.59 kmS193° 17 min
Finke River & Ellery Creek to Boggy Hole10.01 kmS164° 38 min
Boggy Hole to Running Waters Yard28.91 kmS173° 1 hr 43 min
Running Waters Yard to Illamurta Spring Rd and Finke River Route14.65 kmW264° 36 min
Illamurta Spring Rd and Finke River Route to McMinn Creek, Tk to Ernest Giles Rd4.79 kmSE144° 6 min
McMinn Creek, Tk to Ernest Giles Rd to Finke River 4WD Route19.07 kmSW209° 21 min
Finke River 4WD Route to Tempe Downs Access & Tk to Ernest Giles Rd1.14 kmSW205° 1 min
Tempe Downs Access & Tk to Ernest Giles Rd to Ernest Giles Rd & Tempe Downs Access12.8 kmSE115° 14 min
Hermannsburg to Ernest Giles Rd & Tempe Downs Access114.47 km  3 hr 20 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


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Travel Journals

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