The time had come for us to set off to the Big Red Bash 2018. We have had our tickets booked for such a long time and as you would expect, we are very excited. Normally we would travel by ourselves. This year as we are going to the Big Red Bash, there were 3 cars and camper trailers in our group. We travelled by ourselves until Farina where we met up with everyone.
First stop was Nildottie, where we topped up on local seasonal produce. I love these stalls, not only are we able to support our local community but the farmers that grow and or prepare this wonderful produce. They always say “eat local”
After some last minute supplies, takeaway coffee and the chance to fill up our water tanks in the Kimberley Kamper at Peterborough. We then called into the Carrieton Community Store to top up with fuel but unfortunately for us they had already closed for the day. For anyone passing through here are the opening times. It is always good to support these small communities.
Monday 9am – 1pm
Tuesday 11am – 4pm
Wednesday 9am – 5:30pm
Thursday 9am – 5pm
Friday 9am – 5:30pm
Sunday 9:30 – 11am
Almerta Station $10 per person per night. Plus $15 for a load of firewood delivered
As always, we like to start our trips off by calling into Almerta Station. We were greeted by the ever so friendly Shane Rowe from Almerta Station who booked us into Lena’s camp plus organised for some firewood to be delivered. The weather was perfect and very soon after setting up Shane had delivered our wood. After a nice long chat, we lit the fire and settled in to cook our evening meal.
Each camp is far enough away from the next camp that you really have a sense of privacy and being somewhat remote. Each camp is equipped with a bush toilet. If you don’t have your own shower on board you can use the showers near the shearer’s shed.
The Prairie Hotel at Parachilna is always a good place to stop for morning tea. The hotel is very fascinating and although we didn’t eat here this time, they do offer good quality meals. Very important to note you can’t get fuel here. So if you hadn’t filled up in Hawker, the town before. You will have to wait until Leigh Creek. The IGA at Leigh Creek is very well stocked and is your last chance for food supplies.
Copley has a great little rest stop, with seating, bbq’s and toilets. The Copley Bush Bakery and Quandong Cafe is one of the best bakeries in South Australia.
Once you arrive at Lyndhurst the bitumen stops and you are on gravel roads from this point forward. You have a choice here to follow the Strzelecki Track to the right. Or continue straight on as we did. This road will connect you with the Oodnadatta Track and the Birdsville Track at Marree.
Farina Campground $5 per person per night
We were surprised to see a new building when we arrived. After setting up camp we headed to the bakery for our treats and started talking to the volunteers about the new building. It is a replica of Patterson House, it will be a cafe and place to display historical artefacts. They have done such a tremendous job with it. We hope to be able to utilise it when we visit again.
The campground has flushing toilets, hot showers and rubbish bins. They are all cleaned daily and the campground is kept in magnificent condition.
We set ourselves up against the boundary fence and had uninterrupted views of birds coming in for a drink all day long. There are many walks on the property and the ruins are just so fascinating.
The Old Ghan Track used to go through here and there are many remnants that remain. I often wonder how hard it must have been to live here in its heyday.
Our fellow travellers had arrived and the time had come to head towards the Birdsville Track. We called into Marree to top up with fuel and to our surprise found out they had ran out of diesel. There was a long line of cars waiting and still a few hours to wait for the tanker. Luckily we had enough in our tank and a jerry can full. So we set off and hoped that when we got to Mungerannie that they also had not run out.
With the amount of people heading to Big Red Bash we were concerned with the condition of the track. It is after all a very dry and desolate part of Australia. The track is generally kept in very good condition and well maintained. It does not however, come without the normal gibber stones, bull dust and corrugations. We found the section from Marree to Mungerannie to be in better condition than the section from Mungerannie to Birdsville.
The Birdsville Track
The Birdsville Track is 517km long and was first opened in 1860 to walk cattle from Northern Queensland. The original stock route followed the inside track which was slightly shorter. However due to flooding and erosion after rains they developed the outside track, which is what we use today. The inside track is usually closed and is not maintained. It is really for the enthusiastic 4 Wheel Driver. One that we would like to try one day (after it has been reopened) apparently a very scenic drive with lots of challenges.
The Birdsville Track travels alongside the Tirari Desert, Strzelecki Desert, Sturt Stony Desert and the Simpson Desert. The government had to sink bores into the Great Artesian Basin along the way, so drovers could water their cattle. Some of these can still be seen today.
The Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the world. It underlies 22% of Australia, occupying more than 1.7 million square kilometres beneath parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Northern Territory. Temperatures range from 30 – 50c and up to 100c at surface level and can be up to 130c below surface level. It is important to note that this is the only source of fresh water for inland Australia.
I have always loved old houses and old ruins really intrigue me. It wasn’t long and I saw some ruins in the distance. It was Lake Harry Ruins which was a former date plantation established over a 100 years ago. It was a government experiment commencing in 1897 albeit a failed experiment, I am unsure why it failed. One thing that has been said is that the date palms needed to be pollinated by bees. Apparently bees don’t like hot, dry climates of the Tirari Desert. However I am unsure if this is actually true. Maybe someone can tell me?
Clayton wetlands Campground $10 per car per night
To our surprise for your $10 you are lucky enough to have flushing toilets, hot shower and a spa. This was a large camping area and we camped away from everyone else and had the most amazing time. It is very well maintained by Clayton Station. The wetlands are a real oasis in such a dry place.
The spa is filled from the hot artesian basin and was the most amazing experience. Sitting in a hot spa in the desert, watching the sun go down. The note says to just fill the spa when ready and make sure you empty it when finished. Unfortunately we did not get any photos of this. So I have managed to obtain one from the ExploreOz website! What a wonderful find on the Birdsville Track. A night we won’t forget.
Once again in the distance we’re more ruins, first built around 1897 by the Scobie Family. Alexander Scobie sank many wells looking for water. After many years he finally found a suitable supply and called it New Well, this is where he built his home. He ran sheep and bred horses. Unfortunately the sheep succumbed to the dingoes, so not all that successful in such a harsh environment. They brought 4 children with them and then had a further 3 children. 2 of the children are buried behind the house under a tree, Edith and George Scobie. When we looked around, as it was slightly elevated the aspect was really beautiful. The Scobie’s sold onto George “Poddy” Aiston who built on a store in 1924. He died in the 1940’s and his wife continued to run the store until the 1950’s. I really can’t imagine the hardships these people endured. With terrible droughts, boiling hot summers, dust storms and then when the rains came they would be flooded out. I take my hat off to the early pioneers.
Mungerannie Hotel $10 per person per night
We were pleased to find out they had diesel so we quickly filled up the car. You can camp anywhere along the fence line. Beyond the fence line are the wetlands, although they are mostly dried up it did make for a nice walk and some nice sunset pictures.
They have a lot of old cars and machinery on the property, so Cindy and I took the opportunity to muck around. We call this one driving Miss Daisy!
The grounds were kept clean as are the amentities. Although we didn’t eat at the pub we did hear that people enjoyed their meals. We enjoyed a relaxing evening here.
Birdsville Caravan Park and Campground $40 per night (unpowered)
We arrived late in the afternoon and got the last 3 sites in their overflow section. All crammed in like sardines. It was quite a walk to the amentities block but they were clean and the hot shower was definitely welcomed. Got up early to exchange our Big Red Bash tickets for wrist bands and to get some supplies from the Birdsville Bakery. The bakery was completely sold out of everything. After getting fuel we headed off to the Big Red Bash Site. The concert has the backdrop of a sand dune called “Big Red” it is 40 meters high and is only 35km from Birdsville. The location is called Nappanerica, Simpson Desert, QLD.
2 thoughts on “Adelaide to Birdsville”
Very good Sharon, you made me feel like I was there with you, you really should be a writer, you would sell a lot of books,
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Thank you, glad you are enjoying the read.