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Birdsville Track in South Australia 2024-2025

A road through a desert is called the loneliest in Australia

Best time: all year round

Birdsville Track
Birdsville Track

The Birdsville Track is a dirt road from Maree in South Australia to Birdsville in Queensland that covers 517 km (321 mi). This iconic drive through Australian Outback is perfect for a 4WD high clearance vehicle.

The track was opened in the 1860s to move livestock from the Northern Territory to the nearest railway in Port Augusta and Maree. It is still used by cattle trucks for transporting livestock. It lies through some of the most isolated and driest Australian landscapes—the Strzelecki Desert, Sturt Stony Desert, and Tirari Desert. Make sure you have enough water, fuel, and spare parts for your car in case of an emergency. There have been times when vast stretches of the track were damaged by drifting sand or flash floods.

The Birdsville Track features a famous store—the Mulka Store Ruins are listed on the South Australian Heritage Register. Birdsville track became famous after being featured in a 1954 documentary The Back of Beyond with an outback legend Tom Kruse. In 2006, the Australian Governor-General Michael Jeffery traveled along the track for five days.

The original Birdsville Track, also known as the Inside Track, was designed to run through Goyder Lagoon, but it became impassable after the smallest rainfall. That's why the new road called the Outside Track was built. The latter is a bit longer than the original one, but much safer and open to conventional vehicles for most of the year. In the meantime, the Inside Track is still available but only during dry weather.

Practical info

When is the best time of year to travel the Birdsville Track?

The most suitable time to travel on Birdsville Track ranges from April to September given the favorable weather and minimal precipitation. On the other hand, summers are too hot, while flooding during the wet season makes it dreadful. So, plan for the inter-seasonal trip and have a better experience. Show more

What type of vehicle is recommended for driving the Birdsville Track?

Birdsville Track demands a 4WD high clearance vehicle, which can overcome the sandy dunes and stony terrain encountered during the trip. As the remote trail can harm the car's underside and due to unforeseen circumstances, always be equipped with the latest model and rugged vehicle to enjoy the journey. Show more

What is the history behind the Mulka Store Ruins?

Mulka Store Ruins, which dates back to the early 1900s, served as a supply point and general store where travelers would restock before continuing their journey to Birdsville. However, the construction of the Adelaide-Alice Springs route led to the route's gradual decline, and the store was abandoned in the 1950s. Even today, the store holds significant historical importance and remains a landmark of the otherwise deserted route. Show more

Are there any specific safety precautions to consider while driving the Birdsville Track?

Birdsville Track is a remote and isolated track that requires special attention and care while driving. It's imperative to check the weather conditions, carry adequate fuel and water reserves, and intimate someone about the travel plans. Additionally, perform a thorough assessment of the vehicle's gear, the condition of the roads, and avoid steering on steep hills to ensure a safe trip. Show more

Where can I find more information about the Inside Track and its current condition?

To access the Inside Track, one must avoid wet weather as the floodplains of Goyder Lagoon cause impassability during such times. Visitors can get valuable information regarding travel and weather conditions on Birdsville Track's website or visit the local information center. However, if things get confusing, consider getting guidance from experienced 4WDers or seek official guides for safer passage along the track. Show more

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