ALONG THE OODNADATTA
Winter is the perfect time to explore the centre of this great land we call Australia. Home to many adventurers, photographers, wildlife seekers, hikers, and 4×4 enthusiasts, you will find an eclectic bunch of travellers in the Great Outdoors!
The Great Ghan Track Adventure
This time, the adventure dart has landed on the map of Australia, 590km above Adelaide, and 520km south of Birdsville, in a remote but beautiful area of the Outback. The Oodnadatta Track begins at the small town of Marree which was established as a rail head for cattle in 1884, then heads due west following the route of the original Ghan Railway. The Ghan ran from Adelaide to Alice Springs, and there are plenty of ruins, vintage bridges and old track remnants and railway sidings to explore. The Old Ghan narrow gauge track was replaced with concrete sleepers and relocated to avoid flooding. The termite-ridden sleepers no longer had to be replaced, and there is a Heritage Museum for the Old Ghan in Alice Springs, another great destination to visit.
Over Lake Eyre
Along the Oodnadatta Track modern-time explorers will see the lowest area on the Australian mainland – Lake Eyre which is a 77km wide and 144km long salt lake. When filled from the northern rains, the lake becomes a breeding ground for waterbirds, and well-worth a small plane flight out of William Creek for the birds-eye view of this naturally beautiful area of the Outback. Coward Springs is a beaut little campground with donkey boilers for hot showers, fireplaces for night time gatherings, and shady campsites under the shelter of historic trees. Soak up the artesian hot springs, as the gathering darkness falls and the light fades on the horizon. There is a restored Station Masters House and an Engine Drivers Cabin Museum, which are heritage listed, and show an interesting glimpse into the past history of this unique area, where camel teams transported goods from the Coward Springs Ghan siding to pastoral stations.
This whole area has bubbling ponds and artesian springs, created from the Great Artesian Basin – underground water which covers about 1.7million square kilometres. Do your research, prepare your vehicle and tow home, gather your friends and family, and have fun as you all tackle one of the most iconic Outback Tracks in Australia!