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


Marree marks the start of both the Oodnadatta Track and the Birdsville Track.  The town is well-serviced with fuel, provisions, caravan park and a hotel.  Highly recommended is a scenic flight from Marree over Lake Eyre.  Views of the flat, arid landscape and the enormous expanse of Lake Eyre are both well worth the effort.  

In our opinion, the Oodnadatta Track is the most scenic of South Australia's three famous outback tracks.   Following the path of the Old Ghan railway, there are a number of significant historic sites.  The colourful and ever-changing scenery makes the drive enjoyable.  

Curdimurka Railway Siding

One of the first points of interest on the Oodnadatta Track is the view of Lake Eyre South to the left.  The Curdimurka Railway Siding ruins are situated just a little further along the track.  Site of the famous Curdimurka Outback Ball, it is one of the Old Ghan's most well-preserved sidings.  The Outback Ball is held every second year and helps to raise funds to ensure that this part of South Australia's history is not forgotten.  

The Bubbler Mound Spring

A short distance from Curdimurka Wabma Kadarbu Conservation Park has been set aside to protect some significant mound springs.  Underground water bubbles up and in the process small mounds are formed.  The barren landscape near these mounds provides an interesting contrast to the surrounding country.

Views from Hamilton Hill

A short climb to the top of Hamilton Hill in the conservation park provides excellent views of the area.  The Bubbler and Blanche Cup mounds are bordered by green grasses and full of water, in contrast to the crusty landscape.  Certainly worth the detour.

Crested Pigeons at Coward Springs

Coward Springs offers excellent shady camping sites and good facilities, with a small pool provided full of refreshing warm water.  We stopped at a number of Old Ghan siding ruins along the track, including the Beresford ruins which are a short distance from Coward Springs.  A cleansing ale at the William Creek hotel is a must, just to read, and be entertained by, the extensive collection of business cards and other memorabilia that adorn the walls, ceiling and all available space inside the front bar.

Oodnadatta Track View

The scenery along the track from William Creek to Oodnadatta is extraordinary.  The Davenport Range lies along the eastern side of the track, but there are also many features that make this section a very pleasant drive.  

Algebuckina Railway Bridge

Approximately 50 kilometres before reaching the township of Oodnadatta, the Algebuckina Bridge and waterhole are found at the Neales River Crossing.  This amazing bridge which spans just over half a kilometre is South Australia's longest rail bridge. 

The Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta

Oodnadatta is an excellent spot to stock up with supplies of food and fuel.  The friendly roadhouse staff are very helpful with mud maps and advice on road conditions for the Simpson Crossing.  Just north of town is the Angle Pole, a remnant of the original overland telegraph line.

Pedirka Railway Siding

We followed the Oodnadatta Track to Hamilton, ninety kilometres on, and turned towards Dalhousie Springs.  Here the road temporarily becomes lightly wooded before opening out to the Pedirka Plain.  The siding ruins sit proudly on a flat and barren expanse of gibber rocks.  The isolation of the railway siding population is starkly revealed at Pedirka.  

Dalhousie Ruins

Dalhousie Homestead Ruins sit prettily amongst the palms which were planted very early in its history.  A stop here is a must, since there are a number of buildings and other remnants of a once fine outback station.  

Dalhousie Springs

Arriving at the Dalhousie Springs camping area, we were shocked to find a huge number of campers.  We were forced to set up camp outside of the designated area.  There are good facilities here, with toilets, showers and rain water tanks.  The Dalhousie Springs pool is a wonderful place to swim.  The water temperature is very warm and the small fish that are endemic to the pool will approach if you sit quietly enough.  


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