Bush flies in the Australian Outback

by Jeannie Lapping
(Sydney )

Hi, are flies a problem only in the warmer months, or do you get swamped in winter too, every time you have a picnic? How can I prepare for this possibility? We were planning to stop and eat next to the road when possible, as it is probably easier for the kids to then run around, on the long trip from Port Augusta to Yulara - is this viable? Thanks for your input.


Jeannie Lapping

Rock Wallaby in Alice Springs

Rita's Reply

Hi again Jeannie,

That's a good question!

The flies can be annoying at times, especially when you want to sit down for a meal. However, on all my travels in Australia, they were never as bad as I expected.

I read somewhere that flies can be a terror one day, and the next day there are just a few in the some location. Looks like it is hard to predict where they appear in disgusting swarms.

I think it shouldn't be so bad in winter. Bush flies don't like the cold, the population in the southern and central parts of Australia dies in winter, or gets at least heavily reduced.

I remember that there were many flies along the Oodnadatta Track, and there was one occasion the flies really spoilt our lunch at an artesian spring.
When we finally arrived at Yulara, there were no flies at all, for three days! We were there at the end of September.

To be prepared if the flies get annoying, I would bring small fly nets that can be fixed on the kids hats. So they can run around when you stop and won't have the nasty critters in their mouths, eyes, and nostrils.

Do you go to Alica Springs? If you go, you should stay, or at least visit the Heavitree Gap Outback Resort to watch the wallabies at dusk. They have a special feeding area right behind the motel block. They sell food for the wallabies, and if you are lucky, you can hand-feed them.
The rock wallabies are very shy, you need to sit quietly, and then they come down the steep hill. I am sure the kids would enjoy it.
Sorry, I forgot to mention this when you asked about interesting things for the kids in your other submission.

I wish you no flies, and have a great trip.


Comments for Bush flies in the Australian Outback

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Nov 14, 2012
Flies at Uluru and Kata Tjuta
by: Tim (Maryland, USA)

I visited Uluru and Kata Tjuta in mid-November 2010. On the first evening there were some flies at Uluru, annoying but not bad. The next day there were virtually no flies around Uluru and I walked around the mass in great comfort, but over at Kata Tjuta the flies were everywhere and were always buzzing my face. It was constant and so bad that I left. My advice is be prepared and have the fly nets to wear on your head if you need them. It would be a shame to be there and have your time ruined by flies.

On another note, the temperature was 100 F, but the air is very dry. So walking around is comfortable, but you are still losing a lot of moisture. Make sure you have water!

Jul 19, 2009
Great to hear from you
by: Rita

Hi Jeannie,

I am glad you enjoyed your trip so far. :)

I haven't done the trip from Alice Springs to Mount Isa so far. It is a long way, and from what I read the section over the Barkly tableland to Mount Isa is just barren, flat country, and not much to see.

Mount Isa is nice, and so are Cloncurry, Winton and Longreach . A lot of Australian Outback history to explore.

There are detours and sections where you can by-pass the Stuart Hwy if you decide to go the same way back, which is certainly much shorter.
However, I don't know which car you drive, and if you are comfortable driving on unsealed roads.

You could take the Oodnadatta Track, for example, from Marla to Marree, and the see the Flinders Ranges and go to Sydney via Broken Hill.

The Oodnadatta Track is usually in good condition if dry. Just checked the latest road report, and it says that the track is a bit rough and corrugated in places. I think there are too many people out there to see Lake Eyre, which weakens the road.

Thanks for offering your photos. Since my trip to Alice Springs was a few years back, I don't have many good digital photos. Hey, what about publishing a report of your family's epic journey to Uluru in this guide? We can work that out when you are back. Just let me know if you are interested.

So what about the bush flies? Were they a nuisance?

I wish you a pleasant and safe trip back home.


Jul 19, 2009
Arrived in Alice Springs
by: Jeannie


We have arrived in Alice Springs after a great trip now just contemplating looking for some variety and rather than going back the same way or returning to Sydney via Mount Isa & Long Reach and wanted to know your opinion?? Are there any good places you would suggest other than these mentioned or any general tips on if this route....
I have some great pics which I will happily share with you which if you wanted you can use as content....


Jul 07, 2009
Cultural Centre & Mala Walk
by: Rita

Hi Jeannie,

sorry, I don't know about the dot painting courses, it's been a while since I visited Uluru.

I would recommend that you visit the Cultural Centre at Uluru / Kata Tjuta National Park. It gives an introduction into the Anangu (local Aborigines) way of life, their culture and art. There are photos, videos, sound panels and more. It should be really interesting, for the kids as well.

As we always prefer to explore sights at our own pace, we did the self-guided Mala Walk at the base of Uluru. You can purchase the brochure "An insight into Uluru" at the Cultural Centre. You learn about the Mala men who prepared for a ceremony. Physical features you'll see along the walk are explained. There are caves, shelters and a rock art site to explore. The walk takes you to the Kantju waterhole, a very peaceful place.

The Mala Walk was an inspiring experience. Learning about the ancient stories, being so close to the rock is very special. You'll feel that Uluru is a powerful place. The base of the rock looks so fragile, it is not just the solid rock as it appears from the distance.
The Mala Walk is an easy walk of about 2 km.

In Alice Springs, the Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre might be interesting for you. They have dot painting galleries, and you can see the artists at work.

You are really getting excited by now, do you? I'll try to answer more last minute questions if possible.


Jul 07, 2009
outback art
by: jeannie

Hi Rita, thanks for the info, I have checked out the hotel and it seems perfect (and available). If we had to go and visit rockart/cave paintings, which would be the most accessible and child-friendly that you could recommend. My kids are very into Aboriginal art, both of them have been studying it in their art classes this term, so I would like to do something in that line with them. I have also seen some dot painting courses advertise - is this just rubbish, or have you had some good feedback?

Thanks so much for your help.



We are leaving in 2 days time, hence all the last minute questions.

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