The Cooper Creek

Innamincka

and

The Coongie Lake Region

The Strzelecki Track

Innamincka and The Cooper Creek

Coongie Lake

Bird Watching in this Area

Coongie Lake

South Australia's north eastern region includes the fabulous Flinders Ranges and the more remote, but equally beautiful Gammon Ranges.  The Strzelecki Track begins in Lyndhurst in the south and winds its way as far as Innamincka in the north.  The World Heritage Coongie Lake region can be found north and west of Innamincka.  Please choose a link to find out more and to view photographs of these regions, or simply scroll down.

The Strzelecki Track

Innamincka and the Cooper Creek

Coongie Lake

Bird Watching Along this Route

 

The Strzelecki Track

The track begins its journey in Lyndhurst, travelling north through harsh country to the small community of Innamincka.  Harry Redford was the first to travel this route, when he drove stolen cattle down the Strzelecki Creek to Blanchewater station.  It has a history of being less reliable, since it was served by only one bore at Monte Collina, and was prone to sand movement and heavy drought.

The Track

Today the Strzelecki is maintained to service the important gas fields at Moomba, just to the south and west of Innamincka.  It is generally in good condition, but care needs to be taken, especially after rain.  The surface can become extremely hazardous when wet.   

Swallow nests

Montecollina Bore Shelter

The original Blanchewater homestead can be seen on the left of the track about 250 km from Lyndhurst.  Montecollina Bore is a further 60 km on, and is an interesting stop along the track.  Camping is allowed here, where there are numerous flat camping sites.

Yaningurie Waterhole

Close to where the track crosses the Strzelecki Creek, you may be able to locate Yaningurie Waterhole.  This is a small oasis in the Strzelecki Regional Reserve, where you are able to camp.  The creek crossing region also offers many spots to stop under the shade of large gums.

Moomba Gasfields

The main track continues on to Moomba, a closed town for workers of the gas fields.  It is well worth stopping at the viewing area provided for tourists just as the track heads east.  The information boards tell of the history of Moomba and its enormous importance to gas supplies in Australia.  The huge chimneys, and sprawling buildings provide a stark silhouette against the desert sky. 

Red Dune along the Bore Track

Alternate routes to Innamincka include a detour via Merty Merty along a section of the Old Strzelecki Track.  An interesting diversion which is dotted with many gas drilling sites.  From just east of Moomba, another detour can be made to the north and then east, approaching Innamincka along the Cooper Creek.  Thirdly, it is possible to take the Bore Track and approach the township from the east.

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Innamincka and The Cooper Creek

Innamincka township provides a welcome sight in this region.  Situated close the banks or the amazing Cooper Creek, most tourist facilities are available including fuel and repairs, a caravan park, motel, hotel and general store.  Camping is allowed in many spots along the Cooper Creek, but a Desert Parks Pass is required.  The Pass can be purchased at the store, and details of available camping areas are included with your pass booklet and maps.

Towards Innamincka

The Cooper is one of outback Australia's greatest treasures.  It has become the 'stuff of legends' in the struggle to explore our vast country, and there are numerous historical sites to explore nearby.  The tale of Burke and Wills is well known, and sites of importance in their tragic story can be found along the Creek's banks near Innamincka and further away at the Dig Tree.  

The Cooper Creek

The Cooper Creek banks provide an oasis for travellers and wildlife alike.  Bird watchers will not be disappointed, and fishermen can also have a wonderful experience here.  The creek is lined with huge river red gums which provide shade and give this region its deservedly excellent reputation.

Brolgas

The Cooper Crossing

Gibber plains

The Cooper Creek

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Coongie Lakes

Within the Innamincka Regional Reserve lies the World Heritage listed region of Coongie Lakes.  The track to the lakes takes you roughly north-west of Innamincka through dry sandy country.  Two regions are worth exploring along the way.  Scrubby Camp Waterhole provides some excellent views of the North-West branch of the Cooper and camping is allowed here.  Further along is Kudriemitchie Outstation.  There are camping spots along the creek just north of the outstation, which are shady and quiet.  Birds are plentiful!

The Coongie Lakes system has been recognised for its importance in providing a unique environment for plants and animals of the desert.  There are pleasant camping spots around the south-east corner of Coongie Lake, and a few spots along the creek bank.  Wading birds are plentiful, and the surrounding bush is full of other desert bird species, so the lake is a bird watchers' dream.  The peace and remoteness of this area will also appeal to other travellers.  Canoeing along the creek here is a wonderful way to explore.

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Bird Watching In This Area

The bird life is prolific in the region.  There are desert species to be found, but most obvious are the waders, waterbirds and bush birds which inhabit the areas close to the waters of the Cooper Creek.  The Coongie Lakes system is so highly populated with birds, that there are hundreds of rufous night-herons roosting next to the cormorants.  

The gibber plains that surround Innamincka are an ideal environment to observe gibberbirds, chats and other tiny desert inhabitants.  The dry sandy regions provide yet another ecology with some elusive species being observed amongst the salty flora.

Red-kneed Dotterel

Black-fronted Plover

Pied Stilt

Red-necked Avocet

Corellas

Black-tailed Native-hens

Rufous Night-herons

Nesting Martins

Whistling Kite

Pelicans

 

BIRDS OF INTEREST

Brolga

Kori Bustard

Pacific Heron

Rufous Night-Heron

Pink-eared Duck

Musk Duck

Black-breasted Buzzard

Little Eagle

Brown Goshawk

Little Falcon

Swamp Harrier

Spotted Harrier

Spotted Crake

Black-tailed Native-hen

Red-kneed Dotterel

Black-fronted Plover

Red-necked Avocet

Pied Stilt

Australian Pratincole

Whiskered (Marsh) Tern

Diamond Dove

Cockatiel

Budgerigar

Blue Bonnet

Barking Owl

Red-backed Kingfisher

Rainbow Bee-eater

White-backed Swallow

White-winged Triller

Chirruping Wedgebill

Restless Flycatcher

Cinnamon Quail-thrush

Rufous Songlark

White-winged Fairy-wren

Crimson Chat

Orange Chat

Gibberbird

Red-browed Pardalote

Zebra Finch

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