Cordillo Downs

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesBirdsville
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable for4WD Camper Bike 
Distance423.73 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed58.27 km/hr
Driving Time7 hrs 16 mins
Page Updated: 3 Jun 2015


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.


Cordillo Downs 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.


This trek is suitable for camper trailers - but offroad models only.

All travellers are recommend to read the 4WDriving Topic for related articles and checklists for preparing your vehicle and ensuring you are aware of the necessary driving skills to tackle a trip of this nature.

All travellers should understand that mobile phones are not a reliable form of communication when driving in this region. We advise that you refer to the Communications Topic for related articles to help you decide what communications devices suit your budget and purpose.

NOTE: The Diamantina Shire (comprising the towns of Birdsville, Betoota and Bedourie) request that UHF Ch 8 and 38 are NOT to be used unless in an emergency - these channels are monitored by the Clinics, Police and station operators and must remain clear.


Camping permits are required if you intend to camp within the Innamincka Regional Reserve (covered by the SA Desert Parks Pass). A Desert Park Pass can be purchased online directly from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources SA here:

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol None in between towns
4cyl 60 litres4cyl 69 litres4cyl 85 litres
6cyl 94 litres *6cyl 85 litres *6cyl 75 litres
8cyl 65 litres8cyl 70 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Dry Season (always check local conditions). Generally Easter weekend - October.

Closest Climatic Station

Birdsville Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 123.99km NW
Mean Max. °C40.
Mean Min. °C26.424.721.717.
Mean Rain mm20.933.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Innamincka, Birdsville


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What to See

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.
There are two main points of interest along the Cordillo Downs track - Cordillo Downs old shearing shed, and the Cadelga outstation, both part of the Cordillo Downs Station, which is still operational.

Showing 4 Places

Where to Stay

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This is just a selection. We recommend also browsing the map for other Places nearby.
You will need to pull up a bush camp along the way with no facilities but you shouldn't have any trouble finding a spot to take shelter near one of the many small creeks or alongside lovely camp spots by waterholes.

Camping is not allowed at the site of Cordillo Downs however - signs clearly state this.

Showing 1 Places


LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Birdsville to Birdsville Tk & Birdsville Dev Rd3.91 kmSE129° 4 min
Birdsville Tk & Birdsville Dev Rd to Birdsville Dev Rd & Roseberth Access29.49 kmNE64° 27 min
Birdsville Dev Rd & Roseberth Access to Birdsville Dev Rd & Durrie Cacoory Rd29.8 kmE70° 24 min
Birdsville Dev Rd & Durrie Cacoory Rd to Cuppa Creek, Birdsville Developmental Rd20.51 kmE68° 19 min
Cuppa Creek, Birdsville Developmental Rd to Durrie Station Access19.82 kmE109° 13 min
Durrie Station Access to Birdsville Dev Rd & Cordillo Downs Rd13.54 kmSE119° 9 min
Birdsville Dev Rd & Cordillo Downs Rd to Cordillo Downs Rd, QLD-SA Border26.08 kmS175° 21 min
Cordillo Downs Rd, QLD-SA Border to Cadelga Outstation Ruins11.61 kmS158° 10 min
Cadelga Outstation Ruins to Cadelga Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd0.14 kmS176°
Cadelga Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Providence Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd53.07 kmS178° 1 hr 6 min
Providence Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Bull Hole Waterhole15.9 kmS162° 17 min
Bull Hole Waterhole to Cordillo Downs19 kmSE116° 23 min
Cordillo Downs to Montkeleary Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd36.63 kmE109° 46 min
Montkeleary Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Cordillo Downs Rd & Arrabury Tk0.38 kmSE139°
Cordillo Downs Rd & Arrabury Tk to Innamincka Regional Reserve, Northern Boundary10.99 kmS164° 25 min
Innamincka Regional Reserve, Northern Boundary to Dripie Creek38.76 kmS194° 39 min
Dripie Creek to Mulga Bore6.47 kmS175° 5 min
Mulga Bore to Candradecka Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd7.07 kmSW208° 6 min
Candradecka Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Patchawarra Bore23.52 kmSW230° 18 min
Patchawarra Bore to Cordillo Downs Rd & Dig Tree Circuit52.12 kmS173° 47 min
Cordillo Downs Rd & Dig Tree Circuit to Innamincka4.91 kmS182° 7 min
Birdsville to Innamincka423.73 km  7 hr 16 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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