The Birdsville Track
Longest distances to fuel
Mungerannie :210 km
Mungerannie to Birdsville :314 km
Degree of difficulty
Easy to Medium:
normally an good Gravel-Road; medium because of long, monotonuos
General Stores, Petrol Stations:
Map: Birdsville- and Strzelecki-Track
Cooper Creek camping area (137 km north of Marree),
Mungerannie Roadhouse, Tippipila Creek camping area (178 km south of
In 1880 E.A.Burt pioneered the route that we know as
the Birdsville Track. The Track was used as a stock route to drove the cattle
down from southwest Queensland to the closer markets of Adelaide. The cattlemen
needed 5 to 6 weeks to cover the 524 km from Birdsville to Marree.
In 1884 the railway line reached Marree and the town became a major supply point
for the places further north, including Birdsville. Afghan traders led their
camels from here along the Birdsville Track taking all the goods for the places
north of Marree.
The camels were replaced by vehicles in the 1930 and the drovers by Road Train
30 years later. During the 1930s Tom Kruse began driving the mail along the
Track. During that time the track was hard and many people lost their lives in
this remote and very hot area of South Australia.
Today the Birdsville Track is a good dirt road (when dry) and is a famous
Outback Track. But it is a long trip
and should not taken too easy. The Track goes through very dry and remote areas
and vast empty spaces. It can be exhausting, when driving all the day. It's
better to plan at least 2 or more days to cover the track and to explore the
area. There's more to see than it seems at first glance (see also:
On the half way between Marree and Birdsville Mungerannie Roadhouse is the only
supply point along the track. A visit at the bar for a cold drink is a must.
There are some good descriptions of the Birdsville Track in several Travel
Guides, e.g. "Outback Australia" (Lonely Planet). If you want to know more about
history of the Birdsville Track, I recommend the book "Marree and the tracks beyond" by
Lois Litchfield. You can buy this book in Marree or Mungerannie Roadhouse.
Camping at the Mungerannie Wetlands near the Roadhouse can be a unique
experience, especially at sunrise. This place is a must for those who like bird
I did the Birdsville Track several times, the last time in March 2006. The
road conditions were fairly good. I camped at the Wetlands near Mungerannie
Hotel. The bird life here is amazing. John and Genevieve at the Hotel, where I
went to in the evening, have been very friendly hosts. They can tell you about
everything you need to know about the area along the Birdsville Track. There
have been some more people at the Hotel that night and it is a lot of fun to
have some drinks and talking to other travellers.
© 2006 / Jörg-Jost Michaelis. Updated: 23.6.2006