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Travelling from Windorah QLD to Birdsville

by Tony B
(Melbourne, Victoria Australia)

How good/bad are the Diamantina Development and the Birdsville Development Roads, (Windorah to Birdsville)? There are plenty of write-ups about the Birdsville Track, and there seems to be a consensus that you could easily travel it in an ordinary sedan these days.

I'm fairly experienced in outback travel, however my vehicle will be a Subaru Forester, which isn't as big and hairy-chested as your land cruisers, Patrols etc. Any issues with ground clearance?

My belief is that even the best 4WD is only as good as the nut behind the wheel.

road to nowhere
North of Birdsville on the Bedourie Road


Rita's Reply


Hi Tony,

"My belief is that even the best 4WD is only as good as the nut behind the wheel." You are definitely right with this conclusion!

The Birdsville Track was very stony when I travelled it years ago. It was there that we had the only flat tyre of all Outback trips. Obviously, we hadn't lowered the tyre pressure as much as we should.
I thought the road north of Birdsville was even rougher than the BT itself, with lots of sandy patches.

The Diamantina Developmental Road is sealed from Windorah to the junction with the Birdsville Developmental Road. The Developmental Roads are maintained frequently. However, after rain they can be quite rough, with washouts and deep wheel ruts.

As an experienced Outback traveller you certainly know that any statement about conditions on a certain road is only true today, and can be rather different tomorrow.

Please understand, I try to avoid statements like "You can do this track/road with that kind of car", because it depends on the conditions on the day you go out there. As of today, the Birdsville Developmental Road is recommended for high-clearance vehicles only. But this might be different in a month.

With this Outback Guide I try to convince even first time travellers that they can explore the Outback (as long as they don't start with the Simpson Desert on the first trip), and offer help to prepare their journey.

Even if I repeat myself, a successful trip depends on how well the driver is prepared, knows his car, the weather, and current road conditions. It is good to ask the locals, even better oncoming drivers, before one gets out on a lonely stretch of road.

For the latest road conditions call 1300 130 595 (recorded), or check the Queensland road conditions on the RACQ website.
For South Australia the telephone number is 1300 361 033, and the website is Outback Roads South Australia

Safe travelling.
Rita

Comments for Travelling from Windorah QLD to Birdsville

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Sep 03, 2016
Birdsville Development Road
by: finz

Can anyone tell me if the Birdsville Development Road is sealed please. I plan on going to Birdsville on my Trike towing a teardrop camper. What is the best time of year to travel to Birdsville?

Sep 02, 2016
Drive to Birdsville
by: Terry W

4 trips to Birdsville Races in my Commodore , not a worry about puntures if carefull and watch the road . Biggest worry is the 4x4's with camper teailers doing over 100 kph throwing up stones every where when passing or over taking . Lots of stone chips if lucky ( 5 my first trip ) now l just get way of the road when l see them comming , who needs a broken windscreen or window

Jun 17, 2016
For Jules
by: Lee

For what it's worth I'd carry 20 liters of water and 20 liters of fuel plus a second spare tyre if you have room. Also cake a cake of soap handy, if you hole the fuel tank on dirt roads it is great for sealing the hole. Further make sure you have a UHF CB radio. Others may disagree but from my experiences these are my recommendations.

May 12, 2016
Help!
by: Jules

hey guys: A group of us girls are doing the trek from Brisbane in an SUV - Captiva Maxx ----- Do you think this would be ok? And the fuel consumption on this thing is silly at around 450klms a tank. Do you think that I will only need one tank of fuel? How would I take spare fuel?

Any help for us ladies would be appreciated....

Apr 16, 2016
Looking to go from gympie to perth
by: Anonymous

Has anyone done this trip across . I am checking out now how and what roads to take. Preferably bitumen . No 4wd towing a camper too

Nov 15, 2015
easy does it
by: Anonymous

I was up in that area in 2014 and passed many 2wds including small hatch backs with low ground clearance and huge overloaded motorhomes full of grey nomads. Unless it's been raining heavy there will be no issues for a standard 2x2. It's bumpy in sections and I'd make sure to have the basics incase of a flat tyre which will be your biggest issue. Have a fun trip

Aug 30, 2015
Birdsville
by: Brisbane outbacker

Birdsville to innaminka is 380 km in a hilux v6 will I grt there with a standart tank
I will have 70 ltr of lpg in backup

Jun 27, 2015
On road van on the Birdsville track
by: Anonymous

Can anyone tell me if you can travel the Birdsville track in a on road pop top van

Jun 13, 2015
Bitumen Ends
by: Scott

Can anyone tell me how far out of Windorah the bitumen finishes on the way to Birdsville, someone said to me that there's only about 170km's of dirt now, is that correct?? Plus any idea on the road conditions the week before the races, Cheers.

Jun 05, 2015
standard van to birdsville.
by: Mick

Thanks Allen
Unfortunaly i wont be going to the big red bash could not interest any body else to come along so might try and get there next year

Mar 23, 2015
standard van to birdsville.
by: allan.

mick, your van will do it without a prob. its a rough gravel road with small bits of bitumen and can be a little rocky but just take it easy. its not the wild west that it once was. but big red is well worth a look, and a night time concert would be unreal.

Mar 23, 2015
Charlville to Birdsville Developmental Road
by: mick

Im looking at going to the big red bash in July this year have 4x4 and pop top van not off road and wondering it its feasible to take this van to B/ville.
Has any body done this trip with a van thats not an off road van?Would be travelling from Sydney.

Jan 20, 2015
Forester's capability
by: Ern

We've done many of the Channel country roads in a Forester towing a camper trailer no problems, even when the 'tracks' are classed as 4WD only, after rain.

You do need good tyres (AT LT recommended) and an aftermarket sump guard is a good investment (from SubaXtreme).

Aug 31, 2014
birdsville
by: allan

to all the lucky people heading to Birdsville here's a couple of tips, ive been a few times and never had a prob finding a camp spot until last time (2012) you'll first notice the race track is way out of town. when you cross the bridge you can go left or right for camping which is about half way between town and the track. its nice there to be on the river but good luck finding a spot if you are not there early. don't worry about the distance from town as a bus run back and forth all day about every 30 mins. the closer you camp to town the more arid the camping is. as in no trees or water to camp beside. DONT drink and drive, I must have got tested about 12 times. if you need fuel fill up when you get there, the que at the end of the week-end is crazy. ps have a look at big red, only about 30 km out the other side of town but worth a look. wish I was going CHEERS.

Aug 31, 2014
first time Birdsville
by: David Brent

Hi there
I am off to Birdsville Monday 1 sept from Maryborough Qld.I have a camper trailer towed by a mitsubshi triton. Looking forward to the trip.I have been down the Strzelecki track in april, it was great. See you all when I get there
Dave

Aug 27, 2014
Leaving the big smoke
by: Pete Mattson

Leaving tomorrow morning for Birdsville looking forward to country hospitality

Aug 25, 2014
Birdsville 2014
by: Jo and Glen

4 sleeps till we hook up the camper and head out west to the races. Can not wait.

Aug 22, 2014
birdsville
by: Jimi & Annie

Hi guys getting very excited about our impending trip we've had to delay our start by one day due to work commitments all going well we're on our way
Cheers Jimi & Annie

Aug 22, 2014
Birdsville and Back
by: Terry and Kathy

We are a couple of seniors off to Birdsville for our first time. We are leaving Plainland around 30th Aug along with our tent and look forward to meeting up with others travelling the same road, cheers to all.

Aug 15, 2014
nerang to birdsville
by: Jim&Annie

We are new comers and are planning to travel to the races leaving 01/09 we have a camper, Hilux and a lot of faith in the big bloke up stairs hope to meet up with others on the great trek

Aug 01, 2014
Check before you go
by: Rita

Right now there are no problems, but as you know, conditions can change any day.
So please check weather reports and road conditions shortly before you go.

Rita

Jul 21, 2014
Off to the races
by: Gary

We are travelling from Walgett to Birdsville. Can anyone tell me what the road conditions are like at the moment. We are off to the races so we will be travelling late August.

Jun 29, 2014
birdsville to windorah.
by: Allan

Assuming you are coming through betoota, there is no accommodation between Birdsville and Windorah. Just wide open spaces and plenty of places to pull up stump for the night.

Jun 29, 2014
accommodation
by: Maree

any accommodation between Birdsville and Windorah please

Jun 28, 2014
Don't move over and save your windscreen
by: Anonymous

Hear hear.
e had is idiots coming the other way that dont slow down. two smashed windows like that. so now i dont move over till they are almost on top of me and they brake, then i move over and give a friendly wave as they go past at a more windscreen friendly speed. just take it easy and enjoy the scenery, might be big open spaces but lots to see if you take the time to look.

Have done this for years..
Http://www.flickr.com/photos/spelio/?details=1

Apr 20, 2014
Update
by: Rita

Thank you for the update, Ian & Maggie

Mar 31, 2014
Road to Birdsville 31st March 2014
by: Ian & Maggie

Well the road to Birdsville from Windorah is a stretch of road that requires a lot of concentration and patients ....we travelled it today and the tyre tracks make it difficult for a 4 wheel drive vehicle to get through , nearly impossible for a normal sedan .....a sedan would suffer damage ...Of the 388 klms about half is bitumen the other half is dirt ,sand ,stones and some slippy surfaces ... im glad we did the trip plus we towed a 21 foot caravan... The trip is well worth it and if you take care very doable.....fuel cost March 2014 $1.84.9 cents per litre P.S. take a camera and enjoy

Aug 17, 2012
road conditions for a bus.
by: allan

you'll be fine. i take it you are going to the races, so are we. been there a few times in past years and seen lot of buses. just drive to the road conditions. its sandy, stoney and dirt. only prob ive had is idiots coming the other way that dont slow down. two smashed windows like that. so now i dont move over till they are almost on top of me and they brake, then i move over and give a friendly wave as they go past at a more windscreen friendly speed. just take it easy and enjoy the scenery, might be big open spaces but lots to see if you take the time to look.

Aug 16, 2012
Windorah to Birdsville
by: Kate

We are planning to drive from Victoria to Windorah Qld within the next week or so. I have been able to find information on the conditions of the road up to Windorah all bitumen. We will be in a 1989 Hino Rainbow bus (motorhome) which is not 4x4.
Can anyone PLEASE tell me what to expect when we leave Windorah heading to Birdsville. I'm worried about tyres, windscreen, fuel and the rattling of the bus in general.
Any information would be greatly apprieciated.
Thankyou.

Apr 16, 2012
windorah birdsville to marree
by: landy swagy

In 2010 I was overtaken by a holden astra towing a camper trailer on these roads. If you plan your trip make a phone calls in relation to road conditions you could do this trip on a mobility scooter

Aug 14, 2011
Windorah to Birdsville
by: Tracie

Hi Rita,
I have checked out your comments for ealier in the year, but Im off to Birdsville via Quilpie and hoping for advice please.
I ahve a Hilux Dual cab with 3" lift kit, and am planning on towing 18' caravan poptop expanda... your thoughts? Normally I would take the camper but wanting to go 'Glamping' for the races??
Appreciate your input
Tracie

Feb 28, 2011
Birdsville Developmental Road
by: Rita

Hi Brian,

I haven't been there for a long time. Apart from that, I think with all the recent rain it won't help you much what the Birdsville Developmental Road usually is like in April.
So it really depends on when it was graded the last time, how much traffic went through in wet/damp conditions before you go.

I guess many Outback roads that are usually easy to drive are in a mess this year.

The road is unsealed from the junction with the Diamantina Rd until Birdsvile, 270km.

You can call the information centres in Birdsville Ph: 07-4656 3300 or Windorah Ph: 07 4656 3063 before you go.

Rita

Feb 26, 2011
Birdsville development road
by: Brian

Hello Rita we were thinking of travelling with a commodore sedan & a high lift 16.5 poptop from Cunnumulla to Birdsville by the Birdsville development road in late April . As you say the condition of outback roads can change over night but we just wondered what it is like generally as to wether any part of it is sealed and does it get badly rutted at that time of the year.I am familiar with the RACQ web site as to road closures in Queensland because of flooding.
Thanks, Brian




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