Driving from Melbourne to Lake Eyre

by Sara

Hi Rita, first thank you for this site for intrepid travellers such as myself. I am hiring a campervan with my 12 y.o. daughter and taking her on a road trip to Lake Eyre. We are leaving Melbourne on the 1st July and have 10 days to get there and back.

Am I being a bit ambitious. I am a seasoned European Combi traveller (well that was nearly 28 years ago now). However, I feel that I would be able to do this. Can you give me some tips on the best and safest route you know. I would love to fly over the lake, but have limited funds. Would it be cheaper to book a flight once we get there and where on the lake should we go to?
Thanks heaps Rita.

old railway station in the outback
Marree Railway Station

Rita's Reply

Hi Sara,

Thank you for your kind words about my site. I am glad it helps intrepid travellers like you. :)
I am sure you are able to do this trip, and I think you're going to enjoy it.

As for the route, I guess you don't want to spend too much time in Victoria as this is your backyard. I'd take the Western Hwy to South Australia.
If you want to bypass Adelaide, go to Murray Bridge and Mannum. The latter is really nice, and has a lovely caravan park on the banks of the Murray.
There are so many ways to drive to the Flinders Ranges, and all routes are quite enjoyable. You can go one way via Burra and Orroroo straight to Hawker, and then drive the parallel Main North Road from Quorn to Melrose and Claire when you go back.
The main road to Marree from Hawker via Leigh Creek bypasses the Flinders Ranges National Park. Perhaps you have some time to explore the Ranges when you return, it's worthwhile.

Once you arrive in Marree, you are on the junction of the famous Oodnadatta and Birdsville Tracks. From here all roads are unsealed, but usually in fairly good condition.
However, you should ask when you hire the campervan if you can go on the Oodnadatta Track, and whether or not the insurance covers unsealed roads. You really won't need a 4 wheel drive when you drive from Marree to William Creek, but the vehicle should have a bit ground clearance.

Wrights Air operates flights to Lake Eyre from Marree and William Creek. Get more information at the Marree Roadhouse (Ph: 08 8675 8352) or the William Creek Pub . I would book the flights in advance. You can also contact Wrights Air direkt Wrights Air (Ph:(08) 8670 7962).

Both towns are fairly busy at the moment, so it is good that you take your own beds.
Check out my Oodnadatta Track section for more information. Marree has two campgrounds and William Creek has one.

I wish you a wonderful trip. Would be great if you tell us about the trip when you come back.
Don't hesitate to ask more questions, just use the comment function.


Comments for Driving from Melbourne to Lake Eyre

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Feb 19, 2015
New owners at Marree Hotel
by: Rita

Owners at the Marree hotel changed in Oktober 2011. I haven't had the chance to go there since then, but reviews & feedback one can read on the internet is very positive now!

Apr 22, 2011
Marree Hotel
by: Pete & Kev's Big Adventure

The town had a great history to it! ( Afgan Traders & The Northern Line )but nothing much these days. Very disapointed with the service at the Marree Hotel, eg. Hi! any rooms? NOT SURE MATE. Are you serving food tonite?, NOT SURE,What about prices?, I DON'T KNOW! Anyway, on it went, Great OZZIE Hospitality. We ended up at the small caravan park 100 mtrs north, friendly & helpful.This was our only hassle after 2 weeks of desert touring.To have monopoly on tourists then to be treated like that was sad.....This was our experience , and I hope not anybody elses.

Oct 05, 2009
Thanks for the feedback
by: Rita

Hi Sara,

Good to hear from you, sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

I fully agree, Marree is a great place, my favourite Outback town.
At which caravan park did you stay, the one in the town centre, or at the junction of the Birdsville Track?

Did you get a flight over Lake Eyre, was it worth the money? Just being a bit curious. :)


Oct 05, 2009
Driving from Melbourne -Lake Eyre
by: Sara

Hi, well we made it. The drive from Melbourne to Maree took three days. The roads were all sealed up to Leigh Creek, then a dirt road in good condition to Maree. Maree is a great place, the people are wonderful too.

From Maree we headed south to Wilpena Pound for a night's stay. From there we drove to Adelaide (7 hours) and a night's stay there. Next stop was Naracoorte Caves for a day/night. Then onto Hall's Gaps in the Grampians, before returning to Melbourne.

I hope to add more soon.
Regards SARA

Jun 09, 2009
Gathering information
by: Sara

Thanks for your quick reply Rita. Its good to know that we can access your knowledge when planning a trip like this. I am going to book a flight to see Lake Eyre. I am collecting information on road side stops along the way. And now with all this information to hand am very much looking forward to this trip. Thanks again, I will definitely let you know how it goes. Regards

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