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For those who have never driven on a remote outback track before, the 620km Oodnadatta track in the South Australian Outback offers a perfect opportunity to make a start. Though ‘Oodnadatta” may sound remote and dangerous, it is anything but that. The well-maintained gravel road can even allow you to go up to speeds of 100 km/h on some straights and is one of the easiest outback tracks to drive, making it ideal for the first timers to go off-roading. The historic track is best known as the ancient trail used by aborigines for ochre trading for thousand years.
The Oodnadatta track is not just about great outback driving; it offers a lot more to those who dare. There are some excellent bush camping spots along the way which redefine the word picturesque. The artesian springs along the waterhole camps will tempt you no end to go for a swim. The track also has plenty of historic railway sidings and buildings to stop and explore along the way as it follows the original route of Old Ghan Railway from South Australia’s capital Adelaide to Alice Springs up north. You would also be greeted by Australia’s largest lake, Lake Eyre on the Oodnadatta drive, which in itself is an experience to cherish.
No matter which end of the track you start from, Marla in the north or Marree in the south, there will be opportunities galore to have fun along the way. Just outside Marree lies the historic Hergott Springs where you can have a quick, rejuvenating bath. Moving forward, you would be surprised to find a sculpture park i.e. Alberrie sculpture park right in the middle of the outback wilderness. The Coward springs nearby is a popular campground covered by a grove of gigantic Athel Pines offering fantastic bird watching opportunities. Next along the way is the Strangways Historic sight which features equipment’s used to guide and track rockets launched by the Woomera facility. Moving north along the track, you would come across the star attraction of the Oodnadatta track, the Algebuckina rail bridge. The bridge happens to be the longest in South Australia and also the most photographed in the country. Do visit the Oodnadatta Museum in the small town, Oodnadatta which will surprise you with its high-quality exhibits on Aboriginal and European history.
There is no dearth of places to satiate the inner epicurean in you throughout the track. William Creek is a major town along the way which has a famous pub and ‘donga’ style accommodations. You can also opt for a stay over at the campground across the road from the pub. If you crank up from Maarre, make sure you spend a night at the famous Marree hotel. The food here along with a beer will give a nice headstart to your journey. Once you cross the Algebuckina rail bridge, Oodnadatta, the small town after which the track has been named, comes next. Do grab the lip-smacking Oodnaburger at the Pink Roadhouse here.
So if you’re planning or getting ready for your big trip, it’s time to check out on your riding gear! Whether you are driving a 4WD or going solo on your motorcycle, the Oodnadatta track is sure to take you on a journey of exploration, discovery and imagination like none other.
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