The Oodnadatta Track in South Australia is 620km of unsealed road running from the outback towns of Maree to Marla via the town of Oodnadatta, and offers an iconic Outback Adventure.  

 

I think the great thing about this track is that there are a lot of ‘little’ stops along the way. Each unique in it’s own way
— Ben Woods

It is this sense of discovery combined with the rich sense of history that makes the Oodnadatta Track an iconic Aussie Adventure. The track conditions tend to change drastically with the weather, so be sure to check conditions before you head off. The intermittent flood markers along the way stand as constant reminders of how much rain can impact this region, and the serious trouble you could face if hit by sudden rain. It is not uncommon to have floodwaters over a meter high engulfing the track.   We will be using a Westprint map available on the Mud Map 2 app and Mud Map M7 GPS to highlight some of the key attractions and camping along the way.   

Flood markers a reminder of drastic rainfall. Photo thanks to our mates: 4X4 Guys 

Flood markers a reminder of drastic rainfall. Photo thanks to our mates: 4X4 Guys 

Things to see on Oodnadatta Track 

The Old Ghan Railway. Photo thanks to our mates The 4X4 Guys 

The Old Ghan Railway. Photo thanks to our mates The 4X4 Guys 

The Old Ghan Railway 

The Oodnadatta track roughly follows the former railway line of The Old Ghan Railway.  Many remnants and ruins can be viewed along the way providing a portal into the past and painting a picture of a time gone by that shaped this magnificent region of Australia.  The railway also played a major role during World War II transporting troops and equipment. Photographers and explorers will love discovering the rustic ruins and marvelling at the tales they have preserved over time.  

Westprint Map showing how Oodnadatta track follows The Old Ghan Railway and outlining some of the many ruins that can be discovered along the way.

Westprint Map showing how Oodnadatta track follows The Old Ghan Railway and outlining some of the many ruins that can be discovered along the way.

Lake Eyre  

As you approach the majestic Lake Eyre you will notice the bright white sand dunes reaching out over the horizon. Lake Eyre fills once every 25 years, however flood waters can reach the Lake more often and lead to a spectacular sight contrasting the barren Aussie Outback. When filled to capacity Lake Eyre becomes the largest Lake in Australia.  If you are lucky enough to witness the filled Lake, it will no doubt rate as a highlight of your trip.  This is a great spot to stretch out the legs and explore. 

I guess that’s why we have done it four times, you keep finding highlights!! Lake Eyre full of floodwater certainly rates.
— Ben Woods

Mound Springs Conservation Park

Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is worth adding to the 'to do' list. It can be accessed along a side track about 4km off the Oodnadatta Track. Here you will view The Bubbler and Blanche Cup the two natural spring water holes, that form interesting natural mounds as the mineral rich water seeps to the surface. If you have a trailer consider parking it to the side before entering as the road to the park is in terrible condition. 

So much to see along the track and what ever you do dot miss the Coward Springs water hole.
— Daniel Strickland
The Bubbler. Photo thanks to our mates 4x4 Guys 

The Bubbler. Photo thanks to our mates 4x4 Guys 

Westprint Map showing Wobma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park. Map available on Mud Map apps and devices.  

Westprint Map showing Wobma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park. Map available on Mud Map apps and devices.  

Camping on the Oodnadatta Track  

We camped in our camper trailer with our 5 kids that ranged from 11 down to 6 weeks of age! Usually the camp sites are at the back of the pubs in Maree, William Creek and Oodnadatta
— Daniel Strickland
Just completed this track a few days ago. Stayed at Maree. It was very full because it was the day before the Camel Cup, but very nice with hot showers.
— Lachlan Mitchell

Coward Springs Camping Area  

Coward Springs Camping Area flourishes like an Oasis amongst the barren landscape and provides a great stay while exploring the Oodnadatta Track. Prue and Greg are the resident hosts who have lovingly restored this heritage listed property that was once a train station and planted native trees to add character and shade. Situated west of Lake Eyre, Coward Springs makes for a good stop off on your adventure. Here you will also find a small spa built into the natural springs, which offers a perfect spot to take a refreshing dip.   

Westprint Map available on Mud Map 2 and Mud Map M7, showing Coward Springs Camping Area and Lake Eyre

Westprint Map available on Mud Map 2 and Mud Map M7, showing Coward Springs Camping Area and Lake Eyre

William Creek pub is well worth an overnight stop!
— Troy Mckay

Quirky Surprises

The Oodnadatta Track would not be complete without the fabulously quirky attractions along the way. Here is just a snapshot: 

Maps and navigation on Oodnadatta Track 

Having up-to-date and accurate maps and navigation equipment is crucial as this is a very remote region of Australia. The Westprint map featured throughout this guide is included on the Mud Map M7 GPS and for Offline use on iPhone and iPad via Mud Map 2 4WD GPS App. You can view the full map here.

 

Hints and tips from the Muddies:  

The general theme when speaking to people about their experience is to really set some good time aside to take in all the little stops and quirky attractions the Oodnandatta track has to offer.   Set aside at least 3-4 days and enjoy each little stop-off and piece of Aussie history this region has to offer. 

Oodnadatta Track is dingo country, keep food in sealed containers and take all rubbish out with you. Photo thanks to our mates 4x4 Guys

Oodnadatta Track is dingo country, keep food in sealed containers and take all rubbish out with you. Photo thanks to our mates 4x4 Guys

Take your time and take your rubbish, this is dingo country. It is a little sad seeing rubbish being left behind by campers, only to have the dingos spread it everywhere.
— Ben Woods
Bag out and don’t speed.
— Adam Peter Hinchliff
We did the oodnadatta track last year over 3 days. One tip I would give would to give yourself more time. When visiting the old telegraph station leave your camper at the entry to this side track...gets a bit rough in parts and easier without. Pack a face fly net...William Creek flies are horrendous.
— Daniel Strickland
First tip would be don’t try driving into Peak Creek! Was there in January, stuck for 18 hours, in 50+ degree heat!
— Troy Mckay
My only tips are take your time on the roads and have fun whilst it is still as beautiful out here as it is now.
— Lachlan Mitchell

Special Thanks

A very special thank you to the awesome 4X4 Guys that contributed their expertise and stunning photos for this post.  

Thank you

A big thank you to the Muddies (Facebook fans) that contributed to writing this guide:  

Ben Woods, Troy Mckay, Lachlan Mitchell, Adam Peter Hinchliff, Daniel Strickland  

Have something to add? We would love to hear about your experiences on the Oodnadatta track. Please comment your experience below:  

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AuthorMaria Oanca