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Oodnadatta Track ~ Images of Australia
Known colloquially as the ‘Oodna’ Track’, the Oodnadatta Track is one of the iconic Australian outback drives. The track follows an old Aboriginal trading route, who passed through this semi arid desert country by following a 'string of springs'. This route was then used by 19th century explorers such as John McDouall Stuart, paving the way for the Old Ghan Railway line towards Alice Springs. Today, this track is used by mainly travellers eager for some history or after a taste of adventure and the outback experience. These our modern day explorers follow the route, passing disused railway sidings and other ruins, passing artesian springs and waterholes along the way.

The historic centre is the township of Oodnadatta, once the crossroad, thronged with drovers, cameleers, goldminers and Aboriginal people. Oodnadatta became even more of a hub when the transcontinental railway started its construction in 1891. Prior to its completion in 1929, all the mail, freight and travellers were transhipped, taking six days on camelback, to Alice Springs.

The Oodnadatta Track officially starts from Marree in the south or Marla in the north. Some maps show it starting from Lyndhurst, south of Marree, whilst many travellers make Leigh Creek and Copley as their starting point. The Oodnadatta Track closely follows a section of the route of Charles Todd’s Overland Telegraph Line which ran from Port Augusta to Darwin. This same section of the route was that of the Old Ghan, before the current new Ghan Route of today that detours to the west.

There are a number of camping opportunities along the route, including the township of Oodnadatta, Coward Springs and the pub at William Creek. Stretching 615 km from Marree in the south, to Marla in the north, you can take the Stuart Highway down to Cooper Pedy and either follow the route back up to Oodnadatta or pass Anna Creek to William Creek. The road is unsealed with sandy patches that can become impassable after rain.

You can also make Marla from the Stuart Highway to Oodnadatta, your departure point for those planning to cross the Simpson Desert and visiting the Witjira National Park, with the popular Dalhousie Springs.

Oodnadatta is an aboriginal word meaning ‘blossom of the mulga’. The Oodnadatta Track crosses the traditional lands of three Aboriginal groups. In the south, between Lake Torrens and Lake Eyre are the Kuyani people; most of the west of Lake Eyre has been traditionally occupied by the Arabana people; and to the north is the land of Arrernte people. Now may people from further west, Antikirinya people, live here too.1

More information about the Oodnadatta Track and the many locations along the route.

Oodnadatta Track - Snapshots from South Australia

Marree - your starting point for the Oodnadatta Track
Salt crust and the Old Ghan line on the horizon
From gibber plains, sand country and flat top mesas - the Oodnadatta Track
'Plane Henge' at the Mutonia Sculpture Park, Alberrie Creek
Alberrie Creek - Mutonia Sculpture Park
View of Lake Eyre South from the Oodnadatta Track
Lake Eyre South
Curdimurka - Oodnadatta Track
Blanche Cup, Wabma Kadarbu Mound Spring Conservation Park
Wabma Kadarbu Mound Spring CP
The Bubbler, thermal artesian water bubbling up through the springs - Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park
The Bubbler - Blanche Cup, Wabma Kadarbu
Gould's Goanna - Varanus gouldii (V g flavirufus) in Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park
Gould's Goanna
Desert fish in the mound springs - in Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park.
Spring Aquatic Life
Strangways Springs Overland Telegraph Station / Strangways Station
Strangways Springs Ruins
William Creek Hotel, William Creek on the Oodnadatta Track
William Creek
Sand dunes and sandhill canegrass - Oodnadatta Track
Sand Dunes
Black gibber plains of the Oodnadatta Track
Gibber Plains
View of Algebuckina Bridge from the Oodnadatta Track
Algebuckina Bridge
The Oodnadatta Pink Roadhouse
Photos © Ausemade Pty Ltd

1 The South Australian Tourism Commission, South Australia. The Oodnadatta Track - String of Springs (PDF). Retrieved August 1, 2012
2 Government of South Australia - SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management: Publications & Resources - Tourism brochures: The Oodnadatta Track - String of Springs (PDF)
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