William Creek To Oodnadatta

More ruins and a huge railway bridge in the desert


Back on the Oodnadatta Track, the section from William Creek to Oodnadatta has more fascinating Outback scenery to offer.
Patchy salt bush, occasional wildflowers and sometimes a low range on the horizon, or another mound spring, along with more ruins from the Ghan railway await you. This ever changing scenery makes the trip diverse.

The colours of the OutbackBartons gap area & Stuart Range

Oh, and did I ever mention the colours? From yellow to ochre, red or brown, the various shades of the landscape are dotted with a little greenery and spanned by a deep blue sky. If you are really lucky, you'll see white clouds sailing in the endless sky!
It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the Outback colours are!

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Salt bush and small trees & bushes along a dry creek bed, that’s all what is growing in this barren landscape.
The creek crossings increase and the creek beds get wider. Driving through the creek beds shouldn't cause you any problems in dry weather. Just take it slowly, especially when you tow a trailer.

This is such a fascinating country. You'll feel the sense of freedom when you travel out there.

Highlights between William Creek and Oodnadatta

A wide and sandy creek bedDuff creek
  • Duff Creek near the turn-off to Nilpinna homestead, is a fairly broad creek bed, deeply covered with fine, powdery sand. A rusty railway bridge stretches across Duff Creek some hundred metres west of the track. It is no problem to manage these creek crossings if you drive careful and slow down.

  • Twenty-four kilometres further on is Edwards Creek railway siding. The usual water tank, water softener and a few ruins can be seen from the roadside. The siding is on property of Nilpinna station.

  • One of Adam Plate's pink mud-maps says: "Congratulations – you've made it to the centre point of the Oodnadatta Track! Drive to survive – only 320 km to go!!"

One of Adam Plate's famous signposts along the trackEdwards creek signpost

The next railway siding area along the route is Warrina. The ruin of a fettler’s cottage and a few rusty pieces of a cart and some sort of machinery is all that remains.

Five kilometres further on, at the turn-off to the old Peake telegraph station, Giles Memorial commemorates the crossing of the continent by Ernest Giles.

In May 1875 the Giles expedition left Beltana with 24 Australian camels for the west coast. They made it to Perth until November.
In January 1876 he left the west coast near Geraldton for the way back, arriving at Peake Telegraph Station at the 23rd August 1876.

It never ceases to amaze me what these early explorers achieved travelling thousands of kilometres through this harsh and unexplored country.

A ruin in the distance, and a piece of railNorth Peake railway siding

The 17 km side track to the Peake Telegraph station is recommended for 4 WD only. If you have some time left, the visit is worth the detour.

The ruin of the fettler’s cottage at the North Peake railway siding is set on a vast plain. Amazingly, there’s a piece of rail left in front of the cottage which, together with the ruin and the far horizon, makes a pretty good photo. Don't you just love the Outback?

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Algebuckina

As you approach the Algebuckina area, probably the best attraction between William Creek and Oodnadatta, there are a few surprises.

The Neales River is by far the largest watercourse on the Oodnadatta Track, with a northern and a southern branch and several smaller channels, lined by coolibah trees. Depending on the season, there is water in the river, and invites to camp for the night.
But don't forget: Never camp in the creek beds, even if they are dry!

This huge bridge is the most impressive sight in this part of the South Australian OutbackAlgebuckina railway bridge

Again, there are ruins of the railway worker's cottages, however, the most stunning sight is the huge Algebuckina bridge. It is the longest bridge in South Australia, 578 metres. You can climb up the railway dam to reach the bridge. Most of the sleepers and the rails are left intact, however, nobody knows how sturdy the wooden sleepers remain after 120 years, so don’t walk out more than a few metres.

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At the foot of the bridge is the wreckage of a Holden car, although nobody would recognise it as that. Anyway, the driver tried to cross the flooded Neales River on the bridge and was pushed away by an oncoming train.
Bad timing, as there usually were no more than three trains a week on the timetable. It is said that the driver was able to escape from the car and survived, while his dog jumped into the river and wasn’t seen any more.

Stuart range in South AustraliaColourful scenery at Bartons gap

Leaving the Neales river behind, the Oodnadatta track takes you to more stunning scenery, as you pass the low hills of the Stuart Range at Bartons Gap. The mix of the bare ochre-coloured hills and deep red gibber plains dotted with greenish salt bush, set against a deep blue sky with big white clouds, make a beautiful sight and even better photos.
The hills and ranges are a nice change to usual the flat scenery along the track.

Now there are only a few kilometres, and you arrive at Oodnadatta.
Congratulations, you made the second stage of the track!!

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Did you enjoy the trip from William Creek to Oodnadatta? Then let's continue to the last leg from Oodnadatta to Marla.

Oodnadatta Track -> the route step by step

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)

Discover the history of the early days in this fascinating town

The first section of the Oodnadatta Track is in my opinion the most diverse part of the track (204 km)

This small town offers everything a traveller needs. You'll be surprised what you'll find in this tiny village

See more relics of the Old Ghan, including the huge Algebuckina railway bridge (202 km)

First discover the township Oodnadatta, before you go on the last leg of the track (211 km)

Don't miss to read this page, it also includes useful tips by Outback Guide readers

Read about Australia's largest lake which only fills every couple of years

Find camp spots, where to get fuel, a good meal, and a cold beer

Outback South Australia is a wonderful place to explore, don't miss it


Enjoy this most interesting (and my favourite) track in the South Australian Outback.

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Below you'll find more useful articles to help you plan your journey.