Port Augusta Town Hall

Park in Woomera

Overlooking Coober Pedy

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The Outback of South Australia is a remarkable place to visit and explore. South Australia is considered the driest state in the driest continent yet in spring in the outback you will marvel at the millions of wildflowers which rise from the red soil to turn the state into a carpet of colour.
The outback also is not anywhere as dry as you might consider. The Great Australian Artesian Basin, one of the largest underwater basins in the world, lies below the harsh landscape, here and there bubbling to the surface in mound springs or elsewhere tapped by bores to provide sustenance for the millions of head of cattle and sheep, and native animals which congregate around the water sources.
Getting to the outback is easy, though it is not a short journey. In the 1980's the Stuart Highway between Adelaide and Alice Springs was completed as a bitumen surface and it is an easy trip these days to take a conventional vehicleto Ayers Rock in Central Australia. The journey is around 1,500 kilometres one way and there are few stops along the way so you need to plan your trip before you go, but it is a comforatble and exhilarating journey.
Stark mountain ranges and extensive desert areas make the state one of the most interesting you can visit. Along the way you will pass giant saltpan lakes which fill to capacity after heavy seasonal rains. You will pass through the opal mining town of Coober Pedy which must be one of the most unusual in the world. To beat the heat residents construct magnificent underground homes as they search for the precious stones and they need to be seen to be believed. At Pimba, the turn off to nearby Woomera, you will see where rockets regularly blast off into space as an ongoing programme to explore the universe continues. You will see kangaroos and emus and unusual reptiles and small creatures who thrive in the outback conditions. It is a trip not to be missed and one that will reward you well
There are other roads leading north for the more adventurous. The Birdsville Track , the Strzelecki Track and the Oodnadatta Track are legendary in their challenge and beauty. Dirt surfaces crossing massive river beds and winding through spectacular countryside are what the outback is all about. It is nothing for outback station owners to travel several hundred kilometres to visit their neighbours for a chat and a cup of tea, or to get to the local dance or racemeeting.
The outback is not just a geographic area, it is a way of life. Massive cattle stations measured in square kilometres rather than acreage, some of them as large as the state of Tasmania; dusty towns where the general store and the local pub are the meeting place for locals and travellers to tell their stories and exchange news, vast expanses which offer brilliant skies at night and fabulous photographs at sunset and sunrise, and most of all the individual beauty of an area untamed or harnessed by man. A trip through the outback by car, rail or coach is a must in your Australian travel plans.


11 km. south of Clifton Hills the turn-off to the K1 Line track overthe Simpson Desert, which connect with Rig Road. (See Map) Another route leads across the north-west edge of Goyders Lagoon and on to Birdsville.


Do not attempt to use these routes unless equipped with 4WD vehicle, deatiled maps and adequate supplies and preparation. A Desert Parks Permit is required if entering the Conservation Park or Regional Reserve.

Remote Outback Park with spectacular spectacular red dunes.
Access to the park is from Ooodnadatta via the Dalhousie Springs, from Birdsville in Queensland via Poeppels Corner (the junction of the NT, SA and QLD borders), from Clifton Hills on the Birdsville Track or from the Northern Territory via Finke and Andado Station.

There are no facilities in the park, howver 70 km. north of Dalhousie Spring the Mount Dare Station provides fuel, accommodation, camping, takeaway food, an hotel and emergency mechanical repairs. Mount Dare also has an airstrip. Telephone: 08 8670 7835. Hosts: Phil and Rhonda Hellyer.

Located in the heart of the Simpson Desert in the far north of the state on the Northern Territory border, this park is mainly continuous red sand dunes with occasional mound springs, and plaka or salt lakes, and sprinklings of gidgee trees with scattered spinifex grass.
In Spring, or after heavy rains the park becomes a blanket of colour as wildflowers spring into life. These include yellow-tops, the Sturt Desert Pea and many paper type flowers which lie dormant in the sandy soil until water reaches them.
Many birds and marsupials will be found including budgerigars, zebra-finches, eyrean grass-wrens and Australian bustards or 'bush-turkeys'. Hopping mice, marsupial moles and many species of reptiles will also be found.
Access should be attempted only by 4WD vehicle and there are several tracks across the dunes. A good regional map is essential and provisions for several days should be carried when entering the park.
A Desert Parks Pass is required for camping, and there is little wood for fires in the area. Either bring your own, or use a fuel stove.

Birdsville to Oodnadatta
Crossing the Simpson Desert is becoming more and more popular as 4WD vehicles proliferate and there have been several successful crossing on foot. This journey is not however to be attempted by the normal bush-walker. The most notable of these are Warren Bonython and Charles McCubbin in 1973 and Denis Bartell in 1984.

To cross the desert you will need

  • A 4WD vehicle in good condition
  • Adequate supplies of water, fuel, tyres, and spare parts. Food and plenty of water, and if possible a radio or satellite mobile phone.
  • Adequate and up-to-date maps and any other relevant information. A compass could come in handy.
  • Only experience outback drivers should attempt the crossing
  • Seek local information before attempting the trip and do so only after a dry period. Outback rains can cause delays of up to a week.
    Despite all this, the trip is a most rewarding challenge and one of the most spectacular remaining.

    This regional reserve under the control of the National Parks and Wildlife Service is an extension of the Conservation Park and comprises most of the Simpson Desert. It is similar in terrain to main park.

    Details are elsewhere on the | Oodnadatta Track and Birdsville Track