The Simpson Desert

The Oodnadatta Track and Dalhousie Springs

Crossing the Simpson Desert

The Birdsville Track

Simpson Desert Trip Photo Gallery

Bird Watching along this route

The Birdsville Track

After the descent from the crest of Big Red the road becomes flat and well-graded and it took very little time to reach Birdsville.  The historic Birdsville hotel is well established as a favourite watering-hole for travellers in the outback.   It is a terrific pub serving excellent meals in a modern dining room.  The fascinating mix of photographs, both old and new, are entertaining.  Unfortunately we only camped for one night along the banks of the Diamantina River before heading south down the Outside Birdsville Track.

The Gibber Plains with Koonchera Dune

The Birdsville Track is extremely well maintained and it seems easy to travel too quickly through Sturts Stony Desert.  The shiny rocks of the gibber plains are strikingly red in colour.  Some one hundred kilometres south of Birdsville the Koonchera Dune is just visible on the horizon and is one of the largest dunes in the region.

The Warburton River

We took a short detour from the main track to bird watch at the Warburton River.  The turn-off is just a short distance south of the Clifton Hills station homestead.  The river was flowing gently across the road, and there is a small area which would make a suitable camping spot.  

Mirra Mitta Bore

There are a number of artesian bores along the Birdsville Track, but Mirra Mitta Bore is easily accessible from the road.  Hot water gushes from the bore pipe at boiling point and must run for many kilometres before it is cool enough for stock to drink.

Mungerannie Wetland

There are a number of signs on the roadside as you approach the Mungerannie Roadhouse, urging you to visit this wonderful oasis.  There are excellent camping spots here, with good facilities.  The wetlands of the Derwent River are a haven for birds, and you can even have a dip in the pool, specially built for travellers to refresh themselves in. The 'golf course' would have been a challenge!

Wetland near Dulkaninna Station

The Natterannie Sand hills south of Mulka stretch from the western side of the road to the Simpson Desert.  The Cooper Creek occasionally floods across the Birdsville Track and its floodplain is very wide.  When the Cooper floods this plain there is a long detour for travellers.  There is a small steel punt, the 'Tom Brennan', on display near here, which was used in the 1950s by the mailman, Mr Tom Kruse.  

Clayton River

The Clayton camping area and wetland would be an excellent stop for bird watchers.  The Clayton River is a normally dry river bed, but there is a small wetland area here which is teeming with bird life.  With the huge diversity of plants and trees here, the bird watching is superb.

View from the hilltop near Lake Harry

The final section of the Birdsville Track passes Lake Harry, seen to the east of the road.  All too soon we had reached Marree and were heading home to Adelaide.


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