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Visit Oodnadatta

Every year, since 1890, Oodnadatta comes alive to host one of the oldest picnic race meetings in the Australian Outback.

Waterhole

Waterhole

Oodnadatta Racing & Horse Sports invites you to experience a fun filled weekend in the heart of South Australia’s Outback.

The 2 day weekend has been traditionally held on the Adelaide Cup weekend in May, The weekend highlights traditional bush racing in it’s finest form. Fancy a flutter on the local races or try your luck on the interstate tracks. If horse racing doesn’t quite take your interest what about the camel races or the local Iron Man competition! Local children come in from the surrounding stations to compete with their horses and the adults gymkhana is hotly contested by all who stand at the starting line!

If you are unable to join us for our race weekend maybe the Bronco Branding & Campdraft , which is held annually in July, is an other outback experience to consider

The Bronco Branding weekend showcases the traditional skills of the men & woman of the bush in the competition arena .

Want to experience the ‘real’ Australian Outback! We offer the experience to you, so come and join us on the Oodnadatta Track!

For travellers looking for an opportunity to get away from the hustle & bustle of city life the Oodnadatta Track offers the opportunity to leave every day life behind and journey into the heart of the Australia! For some, travelling the Oodnadatta Track may conjure images of lifeless lands & desert mirages but this unique corridor that traverses the South Australian Outback has many secrets to discover.

Traditionally, the Track begins at Marree (660km North Adelaide) and ends over in Alice Springs. Present day travellers look upon Marla Bore or Marree as a positional point (start or finish) to the Oodnadatta Track.

For millions of years this now famous “track” was a major Aboriginal trading route. It was a path well travelled for cultural ceremonies and trading expeditions with other indigenous tribes, carrying traditional materials (Ochre) from the Flinders Rangers deep into the heart of Central Australia. The path travelled by the indigenous people was only made possible by the unique mound springs systems commonly known as the ‘String of Springs’ The mound springs that are found all the way along the Track are permanent natural wonders and are fed by The Great Artesian Basin. There are many Dreamtime Stories associated with the springs. Indigenous tourism services, mapc@deadlymob.org, operate from Marree for those travellers who wanting to discover more about this ancient culture.

The unique ‘String of Springs’ made it possible for John McDouall Stuart to complete the first crossing of Australia’s interior from south to north in 1862. Stuart was, without doubt, one of the greatest explorers of inland Australia. In conditions that bear no forgiveness, not one person died on any of Stuarts expeditions. It is bitter sweet that Stuarts success has been over shadowed by the histrionic expeditions of the ambitious Burke and Wills.

John McDoull Stuarts epic journey’s opened up the vast unknown and paved the way for the construction of ’The Overland Telegraph’, construction on the line was completed on the 22nd August 1872, total construction time was a mere 2 years. The first messages between London and Adelaide were receipted on the 22 October 1872. The completion of the ‘Overland Telegraph’ linked Australia to the rest of the world for the first time.

The route of the Old Ghan railway line also wanders the line similar to that paved by the by the explorer John McDoull Stuart & The Overland Telegraph. In its hey day, The Ghan was considered one of the world’s Greatest train rides.

Oodnadatta roadhouse

The Pink Roadhouse, Oodnadatta

The Ghan derives it name in honour of the Afghani tribesman, who with their strings of camel trains delivered goods to Alice Springs.

As you follow the Track from Marree to Oodnadatta , the historical relics of scattered sleepers, crumbling railway ruins and lonely gravesites are ever present reminders to the hardship and toil experienced by early settlement and to those who helped shape the legend of the Old Ghan.

In our modern world today of air conditioned 4 wheel drives , the Oodnadatta Track route is the gateway to the Simpson Desert, Lake Eyre and some of the most unique outback experiences to be found in Australia.

Highlights along the Track include the fascinating ruins of the Farina pioneer settlement; Coward Springs, where you can unwind in a thermal pool and watch thousands of native birds; William Creek, take a scenic charter flight over the Lake Eyre region and have a beer in the famous William Creek Pub; As you wind your way up the Oodnadatta Track you will pass through the worlds largest cattle station, Anna Creek now owned by Sir Sidney Kidman‘s descendants; Nilpinna Station which is home to the Davenport Ranges and a variety of unique flora & fauna; Peake Station, has the magnificent Peake & Denison Ranges and the historic Peake ’Overland Telegraph Line’ repeater station ruins; Algebuckina Bridge, a mammoth monument to the Old Ghan days; Allandale Station renown for it’s Gibber Plains and whose lifeline is the Neales River which runs into Lake Eyre. In Oodnadatta you will find the quirky Pink Roadhouse along with the recently refurbished museum (an absolute must for an insight to the past 100 years of Oodnadatta ).

As another glorious outback sun sets in the west, end your day with a cold beer at the local pub, The Transcontinental Hotel or enjoy a glass of wine ‘alfresco’ style with a mouth watering ‘Oodna Burger’ at the Pink Roadhouse. Oodnadatta was established on the Neales River , in 1889 it was South Australia’s most northern railway town. It was a starting point for pioneering travellers heading north and a major railhead for cattle being walked down the northern stock routes. By 1893, Oodnadatta boasted a diverse population which included Afghans, Chinese & Europeans.

It is at Oodnadatta that you may choose to veer North West towards Marla Bore (200km) or North and continue travelling along the Old Ghan Heritage Trial. If you continue your travels towards Marla Bore on the Stuart Highway you will see the gradual changes to the surrounding landscape for the 200km journey. As you travel this part of the Track you will make your way through Todmorden Station, one of the finest cattle properties on the Oodnadatta Track.

Gidgee sunset

Gidgee sunset

You will also pass through Lambina Station and finally, Welbourne Hill Station before arriving at Marla Bore, on the Stuart Highway.

For those of you who are continuing North along The Ghan Heritage Trial you will pass through the pastoral properties of Mount Sarah and Hamilton Stations. This part of the Track is a vision of splendour as you appreciate picturesque sand hills which are abundant with wildflowers after the rains in late Summer. The road is rough and arriving at MT Dare Homestead, South Australia’s most isolated pub with a population of 4, the thought of quenching your thirst with a cold beer is most welcoming! At Mt Dare you can replenish food & fuel supplies prior to heading across the Simpson Desert or heading into Witjira National Park to enjoy the famous Dalhousie Thermal Springs or travelling further North, continuing along the Old Ghan Heritage Trial whilst making your way to Alice Springs, via Finke, in the Northern Territory.

NB. Travelling in Remote Areas can be dangerous and we recommend you to seek further information from the RAA or SATC