When you followed my journey so far, today's section from Oodnadatta to Marla is your last day on the Oodnadatta Track. I
hope, you enjoyed this famous route as much as I did. It is a great
Outback travel experience.
But before we are going back on the track again, we'll have a close look around Oodnadatta.
This is tiny settlement gave the track its name. Oodna is located
about 1000 km north of Adelaide. The town has a population of about 160, and offers basic facilities.
The name Oodnadatta is relating to an Aboriginal word meaning "blossom of the mulga".
Oodnadatta is the last stop for travellers to stock up before heading to the Simpson Desert, Dalhousie Springs, and other beautiful places in the region.
Oodnadatta was proclaimed a government town in 1890. The town's heydays
were merely more than 35 years, while it was the terminus of the Great
Northern Railway from 1891 until 1929. Like Marree, it played an
important role in opening up Australia's harsh inland.
The hospital was the first AIM (Australian Inland Mission) nursing home, opened in 1912. Rev. John Flynn had the vision to cover the Australian inland with a "mantle of safety". He established several bush hospitals across the country, and finally founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
The third and last section of the Oodnadatta Track leaves the route of
the Ghan so there are no railway sidings or other historical stuff along
the way to Marla.
Angle Pole Memorial is just a few km outside of Oodnadatta and marks the point where the Old Telegraph Line and the old Ghan line turn straight to the north. The memorial commemorates all those involved in the building of the Overland Telegraph Line between Adelaide and Darwin.
The topography along the track is fairly flat, occasional tree-lined creek beds make a change in the scenery.
If you are lucky and travel in spring after some good winter rain. you can see carpets of wildflowers. Otherwise there is just more gibber.
Even if there is no more history to explore as on the first sections of this historic route, it is a great experience to travel here.
This is a tiny town with a population of 100. Marla was
established in 1980 to service the increasing traffic along the Stuart Highway
as it was planned to tar the entire road from Adelaide to Darwin.
Marla offers a huge roadhouse, a motel, caravan park and other essential services for travellers.
The Oodnadatta Track meets the Stuart Highway near Marla, 1099 km north of Adelaide.
I hope you enjoyed the last stage of the track from Oodnadatta to Marla. Wherever you go from here, enjoy the South Australian Outback.
If you are in a hurry, and don't want to drive along the entire Oodnadatta Track, you can take several short cuts to the Stuart Highway.
Back on this main highway, you have the choice of travelling north to Darwin, or south to Port Augusta.
Don't miss the articles below which give you many more details about the route.
Get general facts, an introduction and overview of the track. (617 km)
Read about Marree, the town at the start of the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks. This is my favourite Outback town
Discover the history of the early days, when the Outback was explored.
Marree To William Creek (204 km)
The first section of the Oodnadatta Track is in my opinion the most diverse part of the track.
Lake Eyre, mound springs, several ruins of former Ghan railway sidings are among the highlights.
This small town offers everything a traveller needs. You'll be surprised what you'll find in this village half-way along the track
Oodnadatta to Marla (211 km)
First discover Oodnadatta, before you go on the last leg of the track.
Both the Ghan and the Overland Telegraph Line leave the track north of the township Oodnadatta.
Road conditions along the Oodnadatta Track.
Don't forget to read this page, it also includes useful tips by Outback Guide readers.
Read about Australia's largest lake which only fills with water every couple of years. Get the latest water status of the lake.
Aerial view of the lake - photo © John Carnemolla
Where to stay
Great tips about camping & cabins, where to get fuel & food, plus other useful information
Enjoy this most interesting track in the South Australian Outback.
Below you'll find more useful articles to help you plan your journey.