Driving the Birdsville Track.
Distance: 518 Kilometres (480 via the inside track)
Road Conditions: Much has changed since mailman, Tom Kruse, plied the Birdsville Track during the middle of last century. This excerpt from the film, Back of beyond, gives an insight into what the journey was once like.
On our trip (August/September 2015) the road was in pretty good nick, particularly the southern section.
The northern section has extensive stretches of tyre-munching embedded rock and loose rubble.
Conditions improve substantially from the dunefield, about 80km south of Birdsville.
There are patches of wheel-rutting following recent wet weather, and deep bulldust holes pock the surface just north of Etadunna HS.
Inside Track: Often closed, the inside track is currently open. Although 38km shorter than the main drag, it's not really a shortcut - rather an adventurous alternative.
Update, May 2018: Floodwaters have closed the inside track. See the DPTI website for current road conditions.
The track is narrow and very winding in sections with sandy patches. Also keep an eye out for rutted and water-damaged sections.
For an up-to-date road condition report, visit the DPTI website.
Marree: Marree has a hotel with pub and cabin accommodation and a caravan park with shade, powered sites and accommodation.
Clayton Station (53km north of Marree): Clayton Station has two modern units.
Mungerannie Hotel (204km north of Marree): Mungerannie has hotel accommodation and an unpowered campground with shade.
Birdsville: Birdsville has hotel/motel accommodation and a caravan park with powered sites and cabins.
Camping: There are caravan parks with powered and unpowered sites at Marree and Birdsville.
There are three designated bush camping areas, with toilets, alongside the track. One is opposite Clayton HS, a second can be found at Cooper Creek and a third near the junction of the Inside Track (see map below.)
Privately owned Coolibah Campground is at the end of a narrow, 800m long track, just south of Dulkaninna HS, near Dulkaninna Creek. It has toilets, showers, a sheltered kitchen sink and plenty of shady sites. An honesty box collects the $25 per night site fee.
Mungerannie Hotel has unpowered sites beside the Derwent River wetland.
Fuel: Unleaded and diesel fuel are available at Marree, Mungerannie and Birdsville.