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Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours - Birdsville

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Map showing the route of the Birdsville Track

Birdsville Track - Australia

The Birdsville Track is just one of several desert tracks that start in the South Australia Outback.

It runs from Marree in South Australia, same as the Oodnadatta Track, to Birdsville in Quensland covering a distance of a little over 520 km. There is a long stretch without fuel of about 315km and you are best to do it in the winter months, as with all Desert Trips, from say April to October.

The Birdsville Track is not considered to be a very hard trip these days, rain can change that somewhat though, but it is one that is very popular amongst 4wdrivers. It is a good dirt track these days and mainly travels through the vast, dry northern regions of South Australia.

The road surface is rated good in 4wd terms and the trip fairly easy going but don't read this as being able to be complacent. It is still an absolute requirement that your vehicle be in tip top condition and that you make ample provision of fuel, water and supplies.

The desert can be a very in-hospitable place when you are in trouble.

The first explorer to enter this region was Edward Eyre in 1840 who travelled as far as Lake Eyre. It wasn't until a search party went searching for Burke and Wills, who had in fact died at Cooper Creek, in the early 1860's that the region first started opening up.

In 1880 Burt travelled the route that is now known as the Birdsville Track.

It was around this time that cattlemen used the track to move their stock from Queensland to Adelaide in the anticipation of getting higher prices for the cattle. The
Afghan Traders used the route as well to plough their trade between the remote settlements in the area.

In the 1930's vehicles started using the Birdsville Track and one of the more famous travelers at the times was Tom Kruse, the legendary postman who worked for Harry Ding.

Many lost their lives along the track and in the region in those days, mainly from getting lost in the dunes. Tom Kruse used to have corrugated iron sheets stored along the way to help him get his truck through the very soft sand dunes. At times it would take a day or more to travel just 10 to 15 kilometers.

The journey starts at Marree which was once a major rail junction and a thriving town. It lost its significance when the rail tracks were closed down in the early 1980's due to the new Ghan line being built 200km to its west.

There is plenty of accommodation and supplies in town as well as adequate camping areas. A visit to the iconic Marree Hotel is almost a must, say g'day to Phil and Maz, the publicans, their hospitality is second to none, the accommodation clean and neat, the beer cold and the food good.

Head out of town towards Lake Harry which is 30km north of the town.

Here you will find the remains of the Lake Harry Homestead. There are some good vantage points in the area from which to get a good view of the surrounding countryside.

About 15km north again the track passes through the dog fence, which is the longest fence in the world, stretching from near Western Australia through South Australia, along the South Australia / New South Wales border, then along the New South Wales / Queensland border before veering north and ending up in central Queensland.

It is generally regarded that the areas to the north of the fence are cattle and wild dog country, whilst south of it is sheep country.

About 10km further on is Clayton Creek and the Clayton Creek Homestead and about 30km further again you come across the Dulkaninna Homestead. Not much
further is the Cannuwaukaninna Bore. This bore supplies many tanks on the property and bird life is normally fairly plentiful in the bore area.

About 10 or so kilometers from the bore stands the Etadunna Homestead where a cross has been placed at the roadside in memory of the Moravian Missionaries
who worked in the area with the Aboriginal people from the 1860's until around 1917.

On occasions the Cooper Creek, north of Etadunna Homestead, floods and makes the Birdsville Track impassable. When this happens the track diverts of to the
Cooper Creek ferry to the east from a track near the Etadunna Homestead. It is on these occasions that the additional water in the area attracts all manner
additional of bird life to the area.

You would be considered fortunate to have been through here in a flood as it is ironical that you are traveling through one of the driest regions on earth, and here is a flood accompanied by teams of bird life. Quite an amazing experience.

North of the creek you will see the remains of the MV Tom Brennan which was a barge used to ferry stock across the creek. The stretch north of the Cooper flood plain sees the countryside change as you travel through the Natterannie Sandhills towards the Ooroowilanie Ruins.

Some 45km north of the Etadunna Homestead is the remains of the Mulka Homestead and general store which was abandoned around the early 1950's. From
here you are entering the outer regions of the Sturt Stony Desert and gibber country. The Birdsville Track runs northwards through the Sturt Stony Desert the Tirari Desert and Lake Eyre to its west, and to the east the Strzelecki Desert. To the north west of here is the Simpson Desert.

The next point to head for is the Mungeranie Roadhouse and Homestead. Here youcan get a meal, fuel, minor repairs and accommodation. There is also a good camp ground in the area and a pleasant spot to stop for a while.

There is not much to see once passed the Mungeranie Roadhouse until you reach the Mirra Mitta Bore so 30 plus kilometers north. In the old days until the early 1930's Mirra Mitta was home to a small store that supplied fresh veg and supplies to travelers passing through.

North of here, near the Mt Gasson Bore and Mt Gasson Homestead, Mt Gasson is visible. It was named after the first policeman in the area, Samuel Gasson. A little further north you will notice a small fenced off area around some trees, the Mt Gasson wattle, unique only to this area and one other at Old Andado Station on the other side of the Simpson Desert.

About 30km north of Mt Gasson , a little before the Clifton Hills Homestead, the Yelpawaralina and Warburton Tracks head of to the west, crossing Warburton Creek at Warburton Crossing and into the Simpson Desert Regional Reserve.

About 85 kilometers north west of the crossing is the junction with the Rig Road, used extensively on Simpson Desert crossings. About 12 kilometers north of the Warburton Track turnoff is the turnoff to Clifton Homestead. This is the largest cattle station that you will pass through on the entire Birdsville Track.

It covers 12,500 square kilometers. No that is not a typing error - 12,500 square kilometers. Enormous, but not that large in comparison with some other outback cattle properties in Australia.

About 15 kilometers north of Clifton Homestead you will have two options for your run into Birdsville, the Birdsville Inside Track or the Birdsville Track, known also as the Birdsville Outside Track.

The Birdsville Inside Track is the original track that was used by the drovers in the old days. It winds up through Diamantina River flood plains andbecomes impassable after rains. In the 1960's the Outside Track was built to the east of the Diamantina River to keep the route open when the floods occurred.

The Birdsville Outside Track is by far a better track to travel on, however the more adventurous travelers like the Inside Track due to its more interesting scenery and bird life. The route takes you via New Alton Downs for about 140km to Birdsville.

The Birdsville Outside Track sweeps to the east around the Goyder Lagoon beforestarting to head north again near the turnoff to the east of Walkers Track, that leads to Innamincka via Walkers Crossing.

The Birdsville Outside Track and the Walkers Track combine to make it the shortest route fromBirdsville to Innamincka.

Innamincka is the setting off points for several outback adventures. The Adventure Way, the Strzelecki Track, the Old Stzelecki Track, which is treacherous after rain, and the tracks Cameron Corner.

Not far north of the Walkers Track turnoff is the Page Family Grave at Koonchera Dune. The Page family of five died in 1963 after their vehicle broke down. Having left their vehicle, probably in search of water, they all perished in the desert heat and were buried at this point.

Around 90km north of Walkers Track is the turnoff to Pandie Pandie Homestead and the Queensland border. From here about 30km further north, Birdsville.

About 15km north again the track passes through the dog fence, which is the longest fence in the world, stretching from near Western Australia through South Australia, along the South Australia / New South Wales border, then along the New South Wales / Queensland border before veering north and ending up in central Queensland.

It is generally regarded that the areas to the north of the fence are cattle and wild dog country, whilst south of it is sheep country.


The information provided on this web page is for use as a guide only. If you are planning to undertake this trip you must seek out other authorative advice and information. Desert and Outback travel can be very hazardous and should only be undertaken after lengthy and careful planning. The owners of this website shall not be held responsible for any damage or injury that you may experience during any conventional vehicle or four wheel drive trip, desert or otherwise. Distances between places mentioned on this page are as a guide only. You must verify these details yourself using professional maps and/or mapping equipment before you set out on a the trip. Do not attempt to access desert or other remote regions in an ill-prepared vehicle and without adequate communications equipment. Do not under estimate the
limited supply of fuel, water and provisions in these areas as well as the possibility of encountering extremely harsh elements and conditions.

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Australian 4x4 Tag Along Tours - Birdsville Track Information

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