The Birdsville Track
This legendary track was once Australia’s most hazardous stock route, stretching from Queensland’s Channel Country to the railhead at Marree. These days, you can journey along its maintained road and enjoy many sight-seeing wonders, including the gibber plains of the Sturt Stony Desert, the 5 km-wide Cooper Creek crossing, and the vast beauty of the Simpson Desert.
The Strzelecki Track
This historic track was once a stock route, and is best accessed from Arkaroola, via Mt Hopeless. It runs all the way to Innamincka, the old customs post on the Cooper Creek. Take this route and you’ll be travelling in the tracks of Harry Redford, one of the most colourful and daring drovers in Australian history. This man stole 1,000 cattle in the 1870s and forged this route through unchartered territory to evade the law.
Paddle a canoe or fish in Cooper Creek. Or sit quietly beneath the famous Burke and Wills Dig Tree and contemplate the tenacity and bravery of Australia’s most famous explorers.
The QAA Line
This unsealed desert sand dune track can be used to travel from Birdsville out to Poeppel Corner, the corner that marks the meeting point of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland. On the way, you can introduce yourself to Nappanercia, better known by its nickname Big Red – a towering dune that reaches 90 metres above sea level and is the highest sand dune in the southern hemisphere.
Along the Outback Loop, road conditions can vary with the season and with weather conditions. Generally the roads are safe, wide, dusty desert highways and are well maintained by South Australian and Queensland government road crews. Desert tracks are all single lane, designated tracks.
Desert Parks Permit
Before entering any of the national parks on The Outback Loop, you will need a desert parks permit. You can buy permits at the following places:
Innamincka Hotel P: 08 8675 9901
Birdsville Roadhouse P: 07 4656 3226
Wirrari Information Centre P: 07 4656 3300
Mt Dare Hotel P: 08 8670 7835
Online at www.environment.sa.gov.au (keep in mind that delivery of your permit may take a couple of weeks if you buy online)
Roads Reports & Travel Information
Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks Road Report (SA Government) Click Here
Birdsville Track Trek Report (ExplorOz Website)
Strezlecki Track Trek Report (ExplorOz Website)
Diamantina Development Road Updates (ExplorOz Website)
Arrabury Road and Cordillo Downs Road Forum Updates (ExplorOz Website)
Crossing the Simpson Desert
General Information about the Simpson Desert Conservation Park & Regional Reserve (SA Government)
Road Condition Report for Simpson Desert Regional Reserve and Witjira National Park (ExplorOz Website)
Handy Telephone Numbers
Northern SA Road Conditions (Automated Service)
1300 361 033
Outback Queensland / Diamantina Shire Road Condition Report
Contact the Visitor Information Centre on 1300 794 257
Simpson Desert Conservation Park & Witjira National Parks
Desert Parks Information – Phone: (+61 8) 8648 5328
DEWNR Port Augusta office – Phone: (08) 8648 5300