An Adventure of a lifetime

It’s “S Day” we woke feeling a little excited but knew we had a few things to do before we could head down the Birdsville Track to start our Simmo adventure.

We spent the morning letting the canvas on the trailer fully dry and moving things between the 2 vehicles that we either didn’t need to take or did need to. We then dropped the trailer at the Birdsville Caravan Park for storage for the next 2 weeks.

Filled up with fuel and the popped into the Birdsville bakery for a couple of pies, bread rolls and a muffin for Chris. He has had the curried camel before and didn’t like it so this time he got a standard chunky beef and something a little more adventurous kangaroo claret. Chris said the kangaroo was very nice.

Now we were really getting excited as we headed out of town, down the track towards the Warburton Track.

A South Australian Desert Park Pass is required to drive and camp in the Simpson. At time of writing it was $160 and is valid for 12 months. The pass includes a guide, permit and some maps. It can be purchased in advance from the SA National Park website, or from places in Birdsville or Mt Dare. We opted to buy ours in Birdsville just in case something came up that changed our plans, like rain or flooding.

Some areas of the Birdsville track were very rutted from where vehicles had driven along the track in recent rains. In many places there was water alongside the road, water on the road in several places and even some grading being done. All in all it’s not a bad road and we saw plenty of people towing caravans up the track.

A sand/safety flag is also required to travel across the Simpson Desert, check the SA National Parks website for up to date requirements.

The turnoff to Warburton Track is 200km from Birdsville, now the adventure really begins.

Birdsville Track to Maree

Thursday – 12th. We had some light rain overnight it seems the track had a tad more as its a bit sloppy and we are getting mud thrown up all over us 🙂 can’t to the Birdsville track and not get a bit of mud on you. We headed off a bit  late this morning as the gas regulator was having some issues and needed some adjusting.


Every car we see is loaded with gear on the top, but some are a little extreme, especially for an L plater.

M.V.Tom-Brennon M.V.Tom-Brennan

The road is very busy this morning. A big tag along group is ahead of us which is kind of handy as the guide is telling people things over the CB, so we get the info too including info on the road ahead.


The road is certainly wetter than yesterday, with water across the road in a few places. We had some entertainment for a while watching people in front of us in a Jayco Outback doing a bit of slip and slide. It’s a beautiful sunny day, no clouds in sight. Things change very quickly out here.


Clayton’s campground is a beaut spot to stop, loos, showers, hot tub all for $10 a car per night. There is even instructions on how to fill the hot tub and use it. 53kms north of Maree.


Wow the amazing things you see in the middle of nowhere. Lake Harry aqua blue water complete with black swans. The road comes very close to the lake so it was a good spot with everyone else to get out and have a look.


A bit further up the road is Lake Harry Date Plantation ruins. The stone it was made from had some beautiful colours and  patterns.


Woohoo we completed the Birdsville Track, awesome was great fun. We had lunch in Maree and spent a bit of time checking out the old Ghana trains. And other old relics like the Tom Kruse mail truck. Kruse used to do the mail run up the Birdsville track from 1936 for many years.

GhanInside-the-GhanMemorial-2 MemorialRoyal-Mail The-Old-Ghan

Birdsville Track

Wed 11th – Our night time spot was a beauty, awesome place to watch the sunset and a nice quiet night. A bit of a breeze came up during the night, keeping the canvas dry and making it a tad cool in the morning. Also blew away any clouds so clear blue skies Smile

181 km’s south of Birdsville or 134 km’s north of Mungerannie, there is Tippipila bush camp, that has toilets and plenty of places to stop for the night. There were several campers there when we drive past. It is listed in the Camps Australia Wide book 5 as having a fee, not sure where or why you need to pay, maybe for the loos.

We pulled off the road at Flaggy creek for morning tea. Be a great place to stop for the night. Trees and a pool of water. Wow we had a lovely treat, 2 Wedge Tailed Eagles flew in to check us out. We fired off a few shots, the sky has turned grey though so we will see but they are a majestic sight to see.

Mates Flaggy-Creek2 Flaggy-Creek

Mungerannie Hotel has fuel, camping, hot pools, toilets, showers, public phone and of course a hotel. It was too crowded for us so we went a bit further down to the Mulka store ruins road for lunch.

There is not much left of the 1924  Mulka store. The store sold supplies to the drovers up until the early 1950’s.

Mulka-Store-2 Mulka-Store

There is a grave for one of the young daughters of the original lease holders the Scobie family, an Edith Adeline Scobie died Dec 1892 age 14 yrs and 5 months.  A harsh reality in that time period.  They actually lost 2 children at that time to pneumonia.

Edith's-Grave Crooked-tree

20kms up the road we pulled in early for the night at Cooper Creek. There was one other person when we came in who was near the toilet area. You can camp within 1km of the toilets. There are some tracks leading further off the road. We took one of those tracks and found a nice little nook for us. Several other people have come up the same track and camped in various spots, non too close to us. There are also many other campers in the area closer to the toilets.

We have watched a bit of a lighten show again tonight. The man closest too us came and asked if we knew what the weather forecast was, he seemed a bit worried. So far the track has been pretty good. A few rough rutty areas, could see how a small amount of rain could really make it a mess.

Birdsville-track-conditions 20120711DesertCampCooperCk


Birdsville and the Birdsville Track

Tues 10th – We woke to a wet foggy morning, we could hear the drip drip drip coming off the branches above us, dripping onto the canvas. Don’t think there has been any rain just very heavy fog, at 9.30 it still hasn’t lifted. As we don’t have the annex up we have retreated into he camper for a cuppa and catch up on some reading. We are hoping the sun breaks through so we can dry the canvas before we have to pack up just before lunch. Chris will be trying one of those famous camel pies Smile

Yeh the fog finally cleared to a beautiful sunny day, the canvas dried just in time to pack up. We called into the info centre first, finding out the Birdsville Museum is closed permanently Sad smile . The storm last night which we didn’t get has closed all roads to Innamincka. We were also told by some travellers that The Birdsville track is wet and muddy, even though we are told its open. We are trying to find out some more info as we might head down it today while the sun is out as more rain in coming over the next few days. We were also told water is over the road of the Birdsville Development road to Windorah, so reports say its closed. We travelled on that yesterday so did well to avoid the storm.

Chris had a curried camel pie and said it was ok, don’t think he was real keen, he is not a curry person. $5 a pie. They also have Rabbit, Kangaroo, lamb, sausage rolls and another items.

We popped into the pub, took a few photos and gave the required donation to the flying doctors for taking the photos, it’s a good cause. We sorted out the go for tea tonight but that was before we found out the road situation.

Birdsville-Pub-2 Birdsville-Pub Birdsville-Hotel

The people that told us were owners of an Aussie Swag which they had to wash when the came into town after coming up the track as it was covered in mud. We have also heard the Oodnadatta track could close, things change very quickly out here. We called into the police station in an effort to find the current and correct info. Ok seems like there is a bit of confusion as the police don’t know anything about the Birdsville track being closed and they are trying to find out who is telling people it is. The road to Windorah is currently closed, confirmed by the police. So we are off down the track, yippee.

Birdsville-Track Welcome-to-SA

We stopped at Moongara Channel, approx 74kms from Birdsville on the Birdsville track. A lovely channel of the Diamantina River. It was a beautiful spot with lots of little birds that looked like Budgerigars, very cute, some were paired up as love birds, snugging into each other. Nice spot to stop for a night as one person commented on the CB, that’s if you had, had a shower, guess they wanted that shower in Birdsville.

Wild-Budgie Moongara-Channel-2 Moongara-Channel

So far the track has been pretty good, a little bit of water on the track in a few places but easy to drive around. Some ruts where people had got bogged in days gone by. There are small wet lands close to the road, some with loads of birds. You could see how easily they would cut the road when it rains.

We have pulled off the track about 140kms from Birdsville right next to a sandhill.  Unbeknown to us, some other people also followed the same track we did but went further around behind some trees. You are allowed to free camp 200m from the road.


We had our first beautiful sunset for the trip, was amazing colors of pink, orange and purple. We climbed up the top of the sandhill and watched the array of colors until the colour left the sky, Ahh this is what it is all about.