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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 outback
Bartons' 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, sou'll see white clouds sailing in the endless sky!
It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the Outback colours are!

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.


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Highlights between William Creek & Oodnadatta

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 mudmaps says: "Congratulations – you've made it to the centre point of the Oodnadatta Track! Drive to survive – only 320 km to go!!"

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.
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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As you approach the Algebuckina area, 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!

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.

At the foot of the bridge is the wreckage of a Holden car, although nobody would recognize 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 anymore.

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 saltbush, 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!!

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

wide creek bed
Duff Creek
sign post on the track
Edwards creek signpost
peake ruin
North Peake railway siding
huge rail bridge
Algebuckina railway bridge
mountain range in the outback
Bartons' gap

Follow my journeys along the Oodnadatta Track


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