Bedourie, an Oasis in the Desert

Bedourie means “dust storm” population 120. Is perched on a sand dune and surrounded by Eyre Creek. In the 1880’s Bedourie was a major watering and rest stop for drivers moving cattle from NT and NW Qld to Birdsville. Bedourie is home to the Bedourie Camp Oven. In 1920’s a tin smith constructed the camp oven for drovers who were having trouble with the outback cookware. In 2001 the Australian Government recognised the Bedourie Camp Oven as “Uniquely Australian”. In recognition of the iconic oven the ACT named a St called Bedourie Street.

Bedourie proved to be a nice little town, one we would happily visit again. The Mud Hut dates back to the 1880’s and is said to be one of the first buildings constructed in Bedourie.

The Bedourie Hotel previously known as the Royal Hotel over the road constructed of sun-dried bricks is said to be in the same time frame.

A new artistic representation of a dust storm and whirly winds.

We popped in to the visitor centre and spoke to a very friendly lady who has only just moved there from the Sunshine Coast, what she currently lacks in local knowledge she makes up for in enthusiasm. She convinced us to go to the Artesian Spa and Aquatic Centre. A $50 fully refundable key deposit is required for the key to unlock the gate as the spa is not staffed. The spa is 40 degrees or hotter. It was hop in 10-15 mins then out for a break. We had the whole place to ourselves.

We dropped the key back and had lunch at the park opposite which had shelter, tables and chairs even a BBQ. Really nice spot to have lunch with public toilets next door with the most water used at flushing we have ever seen.

We then headed out of town towards Diamantina National Park. The road to the park is flat, the whole country side is flat and devoid of much vegetation, don’t think we have seen an area so flat for such a long distance. There is just nothing there yet that is what makes it special and has its own natural beauty.

The road is wide, gravel, dusty with some areas of bull dust with views a long way to the horizon with mirages of water. Wouldn’t like to be here in the heat of summer. Apart from a line of trees along dry creek beds every now and then and a couple of station properties, 4 gates as many cattle grids a few jumpups the landscape stayed much the same until the National Park.

Q – Cuttaburra Crossing

Cuttaburra Crossing – T, F, OR, B, W, D, DP. 68 kms from Bedourie on the Eyre Developmental Road. There is a toilet and dump point. It opens up to a flat gravel area next to the river, there is a shelter shed with table and seat. A track leads off following the river, there are several small cleared areas near the river to camp. There are several bird hides tucked away amongst the trees. Loads of birdlife and fish jumping in the muddy water. Sort of place you could stay a few days if you had the time. Rating – 5


Birdsville the Modern Big Smoke

“Your great Outback escape awaits you. Deep in the heart of wild and isolated country you will find the frontier town of Birdsville. Situated between the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert, the vast gibber plains of the Sturt Stony Desert to the south and rich in Channel Country to the north. It was once a notorious place through which cattle drivers moved their stock. Now Birdsville is a thriving modern community” taken from several tourist brochures.

Some may not call it modern but after being in the desert for 10 days and nights Birdsville actually did feel like the big smoke. We did a big clean up and resorted and shuffled bits between trailer and Ute again. Nice to have the simple usability of the trailer once more. After lunch we filled fuel and water and let the van park know we had picked up the trailer the night before. Today was very much a sorting out day.

Birdsville is filling up. There is a Big Red Run from Birdsville out to the Simpson, from the 24th to the 29th. The Big Red Run course comprises a mixture of sand dunes, open gibber plains, clay flats, salt lakes and a few station tracks. 250km over multiple days. You can check out the course map here and more info about the race if you are interested in doing the race in 2018.

We had completed the Simmo in shorter time than we had allowed which we had hoped to do allowing for hold ups etc but still making sure we felt we had plenty of time exploring and enjoying the Simmo. This allowed us a few extra days to do the long slow trip home via Bedourie, Diamantina National Park, Blackall and where else we felt like exploring on our way home.

The road to Bedourie known as the Bilby Way is very flat with lots of open spaces, not a lot of vegetation. Pretty good gravel road with lots of areas with bitumen. Approximately 12 kms from Birdsville you come across the Waddi Trees. Some of these trees are almost a thousand years old. Apparently the timber is almost impossible to burn and it is so hard it can damage an axe.

Someone does have a sense of humour. I’ll let the photos show the interesting sites we saw along the way.

81km’s from Birdsville is the Carcoory Homestead Ruins. It is all that is left of one of the first properties owned by Sir Sidney Kidman.

We stopped for the night at Cuttaburra Crossing 68 kms from Bedourie on the Eyre Developmental Road. There is a toilet and dump point. A gravel area where you first come in next to the river. Several caravans were camped there.

There was a track leading off following the river which we took. There is a bird hide tucked away amongst the trees. Loads of birdlife and fish jumping in the muddy water. Several cleared areas to camp along the track. A camper van was in one spot.

We snagged a good hidden spot amongst some trees next to the river. Sort of place you could stay a few days if you had the time.