camp with the HJ Holden on the NW end of the Oodnadatta Track

March 11, 2019 - Comment

camp with the HJ Holden on the NW end of the Oodnadatta Track Image by spelio On our way to Uluru with Trudy and the kids. We got to Ayers Rock the next day, via Ebenezer, views of Mt Connor from a sand dune with Trudy, the dog, then a visit to Sunset Strip for

camp with the HJ Holden on the NW end of the Oodnadatta Track
camping plates
Image by spelio
On our way to Uluru with Trudy and the kids.

We got to Ayers Rock the next day, via Ebenezer, views of Mt Connor from a sand dune with Trudy, the dog, then a visit to Sunset Strip for photos before making camp in the Ayers Rock campground, where we saw a dingo licking down the BBQs.

We popped down a few Km along the track for the night to get away from the trucks on the Stuart Highway at Marla.

It was a pleasant spot with no noise or passing cars.

We never thought we would head down this road again 20 years later, and travel most of the road a few times, once agin in the HJ, and then a few times to see Lake Eyre in the Landcruiser, Smoky.

See a good description of what there is to see along the track.
From Oct 2016

Friday Forum

Editor’s comments are in green.

Trip Notes – Oodnadatta Track, South Australia.

Went from Maree to Oodnadatta this week. Best camp Farina by far. Best view Lake Eyre from lookout. Best experience- Arkaringa sunup and sundown. Best Tip- Flynet. Russ
Oodnadatta track – good news is that the Marree man has reappeared. Andrew…

With tracks drying out, it will be back to good driving conditions and if you want to include a link to my Blog when we were out there in August, it will give him and other viewers just what there is to see along this great drive. Stephen.…

We travelled the Oodnadatta Track in August this year, just before the recent rain. We were in our Patrol and towing an off-road camper trailer. Before the rain, the track was in very good condition and we enjoyed comfortable travel at about 80 kph.
And there is lots to look out for, but most of it is easily spotted from the road. Here are some highlights listed below.

First there is Farina – between Lyndhurst and Marree. Farina was a small township on the Old Ghan Railway line. Now in ruins, the Farina Restoration Group is slowly restoring the old buildings to prevent further decay. The Restoration Group has also placed informative signs around the old township. The ruins are on Farina Station and there is a very nice campground in the dry creek bed there.

Marree is an interesting old town with a fine hotel and railway station. There are narrow gauge diesels and Tom Cruse’s old truck also at the station. You can get fuel and other supplies from the general store and some of the best homemade pasties going.

Further along the track is Plane Henge. You will notice this from a long way off due to the unusual shapes appearing on the horizon. This is a sculpture park and worth a look at some of the unusual shapes and forms that have appeared here over time. There is also inventive use of existing structures, including the railway water tank that now looks like a dog.

Lake Eyre South is next, and a lookout has been provided, via a turn off to the right, with a good view of the lake – which is mostly dry.

Curdimurka Siding, was a former station for the railway line and is the next lump to appear on the horizon. As the most intact of the rail buildings not in a township, this is also worthy of a stop off. As well as the main building, there are a couple of tin sheds and rail tracks heading north to the decaying water tank and desalination tower. If you go past the water tank following the rail tracks will bring you to a bridge over Stuart Creek. There was a waterhole here when we were there with black swans, herons and ducks present.

The Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs, this time to the left of the road and along a rougher track, is another point of much interest. There are parking areas and board walks across sensitive ground to Blanche Cup and the Bubbler.

Back on the Track and Coward Springs is only a short distance away. This is another camping ground on station property, set in amongst some large casuarinas with all amenities of toilets, donkey powered hot showers and natural spa for something quite different. There are a couple of old buildings from the railway era too.

Another interesting stop off is Strangways Springs, via a turnoff on the left side of the Track, which is marked by a Pink Roadhouse sign. Here are the ruins of a pastoral station and the overland telegraph line. Walking tracks lead to some mound springs and further explores the history of Strangways.

The next stop is William Creek and always worthy of a stopover. There is the pub, an airstrip for scenic flights over Lake Eyre, an outdoor museum and a pleasant camp ground with all amenities.

At Algebuckina, the impressive railway bridge spans the Neales River. With an overall length of 578 metres it is the longest bridge in South Australia. There is also nice camping along the waterhole here.

And finally, Oodnadatta, where you will find the Pink Roadhouse, the Transcontinental Hotel and the old railway station building, which is now a museum housing a very interesting pictorial display. Ask at the Roadhouse for a key to view the museum.

There are several other railway or telegraph related ruins accessible from or close to the Track. The Oodnadatta Track might seem like it crosses a flat, featureless plain, but there is plenty to see along the way.

Coward Springs Campground is a must-stay along the Oodnadatta Track. Once a station on the old Ghan railway line, the site was constructed in 1888 and abandoned before the line was closed in 1980. Greg Emmett and Prue Coulls have been here as your resident hosts since 1991. They have built facilities, planted hundreds of locally native trees, restored the heritage buildings and much more. In 1998 the site (which includes two houses, two in-ground rainwater tanks, a bore, date palms and athel pines) was added to the South Australian Heritage Register. Well worth a stop even just for a day visit to the ‘natural spa’. Jenny.
We were up that way the end of August on the way to do the Madigan, which we had to cancel due to all the rain.

There has been a lot of rain out there and parts of the track have been closed on and off for the last couple of months so the first thing to do is check road conditions. This can be done by checking the SA Outback Roads condition report. Just google it. Alternatively, you can call the Pink Roadhouse for info. I would also check the forthcoming weather forecast by any of the reputable Apps that use BOM as their source

As this is a very frequently used track I would imagine the graders have been out after the recent rains? If so I think it would be in good gravel road conditions.

As for places you must see, the best bet is to go to the Pink Roadhouse website and follow the link to Mud Maps, where there are a whole host of mud maps put together by the late Adam Plate, prior proprietor of the Roadhouse.

From my perspective, things to see are

Lake Eyre …… If it is close to full, or you won’t see any water from the edge.

Algebuckina Bridge. This is on the side of the track with plenty of places to camp up

Old Peake telegraph station ruins and copper mine ruins. Although this is about 20k off the track it will take 45 mins to get out there. You can camp here but there is limited space.

Coward Springs is worth a stop to see the old Railway Station. You can also camp there for a fee.

At the top end, it’s worth heading for Dalhousie Springs to experience the hot thermal spring in the Witjira NP. Entry and camping fees apply unless you have a valid SA Desert Parks pass.

When we were at Dalhousie end of August, we managed to get out to Mt Dare on the day the track was closed. This means the track to and out of Mt Dare was becoming badly cut up. It may be wise to check with Mt Dare and SA Parks to see if the track has been graded since. Otherwise, if it is open, it will be badly rutted.

Malcolm and Trish


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