There are two main routes between Birdsville and Innimincka - the locals use both, although this route - the Cordillo Downs
track, is the preferred.
Note - the alternate route is Walkers Crossing
, and crosses terrain that is more likely to be closed due to flooding and boggy conditions. It has only in recent years been open to the public and is still very poorly marked, which creates quite a navigational challenge to most drivers.
The Cordillo Downs
track is an interesting trek with worthwhile stops to explore ruins of old buildings. We suggest that this trek will take 2 days, that's because the fatigue and stress of attempting to complete this trek in one day has been the cause of many unnecessary accidents. Just remember, you are supposed to be on holiday - if you calculate at least 7 driving hours plus allocate time for rest stops you'll see that this is not a trip to be made in one day - we cannot stress this enough!
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
The countryside along the Cordillo Downs
track is a seemingly endless gibber plain and surprisingly these are the homes to large herds of cattle. The waterhole at Cadelga is important as a watering point for cattle. In recent years, we have seen a massive degradation to this waterhole with an increase in rubbish left by campers. Please take all your rubbish out with you - do not bury rubbish - dingoes will either dig it up and leave it to be blown about by the wind, or it will simply be exposed by the winds and rains in time.
The Cordillo Downs
station remains an active part of an operational cattle empire and all stock and buildings are private property. The Cordillo Downs
stone wooldshed (ruins) is State heritage
listed and for this reason the owners generously invite passing travellers to look, however it is only the woolshed that has been made available to the public, so visitors should not walk past it to view other buildings or structures. Camping is not permitted here.
Be prepared for mozzies if there has been recent rain, and be watchful of snakes - Australia
's most deadly snake, the inland Taipain is present in this region although rarely seen.Road conditions
are generally a little rough due to the gibber plains, although the only challenge is the stony, corrugations.
Station was first leased in 1875 and was originally known as Cardilla. Frazer only held ownership for 3 years with Edgar Chapman obtaining the lease in 1878. In 1883, the lease was taken over by the Beltana Pastoral Company, who owned it for almost a century and turned it into a major operation. By the turn of the century, Cordillo Downs
was running more than 85,000 sheep.
The station survived droughts, flood and the extremes of isolation. However, it managed to produce quality wool that was exported to world markets for much of its history. During this period, the Afghan camel teams hauled the stores up the Strzelecki Track
from Farina to Cordillo Downs
and returned with wool. This 1,200 kilometre round trip often took two months to complete.
In 1981 the Brook family took over the lease of Cordillo Downs
. Brooks Proprieters, who are the cattle kings of this region, also own Adria Downs Station, Cameron Downs, Mumpieowie & Alton Downs and live in Birdsville. Cordillo Downs
now runs about 7,000 head of poll hereford cattle on the 7,900 sqaure kilometres of property.
The original stone shearing shed for Cordillo Downs
is found about 250km along the track and can be visited by passing tourists - new information signboards will provide further information. Further on is the ruins of an outstation - CADELGA, which lies on the banks of a permanent waterhole.