The Oodnadatta Track (OT) is certainly the most historic Outback track in Australia, hence it should be on top of your South Australia travel itinerary. The track is classified as an easier route, so it is just right for anyone with no Outback experience.
The track follows an ancient trail used by Aborigines for ochre trading for thousands of years. Artesian mound springs supply water in this arid region. Aborigines relied on this water source as well as the European explorers who used the route to build the Overland Telegraph and the Old Ghan railway lines in the late 19th century.
This was the time when the story of the Australian camels began. Without the ships of the desert exploring the vast Australian inland would have been even harder.
The OT takes you into true Outback country - you will find stony plains, rocky hills and wildflowers after good rain. You have to cross several creeks and river systems, most of them are usually dry.
"Sandy creeks that flow nowhere, Excepting when it rains"...This line from a Slim Dusty song really fits. Everywhere in the Outback you'll recognize dry waterways by the stands of river red gums and coolibah trees along the dry creek beds.
Come on, join me on a fantastic journey along the historically most interesting Outback track. Get the information needed to plan a safe journey.
Coming from the south take the Hawker-Leigh Creek Road that passes by the Flinders Ranges. The bitumen ends in Lyndhurst.
On my last trip to this region a few years ago roadworks were in progress, and locals in Marree told me that the route from Marree to Lyndhurst is going to be sealed very soon. However, although there are a couple of sealed sections between Lyndhurst and Marree now, there are still long stretches of unsealed road. The distance from Lyndhurst to Marree is 79km.
Don't miss the Ochre Pits and the ghost town Farina on your way to Marree.
If you come from the north along the Stuart Highway, there are several ways to reach the Oodnadatta Track.
Look at this map of the Oodnadatta Track - it opens a new window for your convenient reading and planning.
I've been asked frequently whether a 4WD is needed or if you can tow a caravan along the track. The answer is not easy.
Basically, you can go with a sturdy 2WD car when the road is dry, freshly graded and no rain is expected. However, a 4WD is more convenient and you can do a detour on a track where a 4WD is required.
Don't forget, this is a long journey and conditions can change quickly. A rain shower can make the Oodnadatta Track unpassable for a 2WD in a few minutes. The "escape" routes back to the bitumen are also dirt roads.
As for towing, using a small camper trailer for off-road travel is the best thing out there. You will certainly damage your 20ft caravan on the rough road and the frequent creek crossings along the way.
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