Track runs from the north of the Flinders Ranges at Lyndhurst to the
north east corner of Southern Australia at Innamincka. The trip can be
done in a normal two wheel drive vehicle but a 4wd is essential if you
to follow the original Old Stzelecki Track which runs along the
Creek. This is a more scenic route although it bypasses the oil and gas
field viewing platform at Moomba.
In round figures the
trip is approximately 450km long. Slightly
|shorter along the creek, longer on the road. The
trip is best done in the winter months from April to October.
A stretch of The Strzelecki Track
This part of the Australian countryside is particularly harsh. It was
first travelled by Charles Sturt around 1844 and was named after a
Polish count who had settled in Australia.
It is the same area, at Cooper Creek near Innamincka, that famous
Australian explorers Burke and Wills
perished some 15 or so years later during an ill-fated expedition led
by Burke and including Wills, Charles Gray and John King.
They had been on an expedition north, having left a support party in
the Cooper Creek area. The expedition had taken longer that expected
and, on their return, discovered that the support team had given up and
left only a matter of hours before.
Whilst they had left some provisions behind just in case, Burke and
Wills later perished on the banks of the creek having made unsuccessful
attempts to reach the Blanchewater Homestead. King, the third
surviving member of the expedition party, was the only one to survive.
King had stumbled upon a group of local Aboriginals further up the
the others had died, who took care of and looked after him.
The Strzelecki really only opened up some 12 or so years after this
episode when a cattle rustler, Harry Redford, stole 1000 head
Queensland and was taking them to Adelaide. He was later
and tried for the theft but, as he had become somewhat of a folk hero
for his pioneering spirit , was found not guilty. He went on to become
a very famous drover in the area.
Thereafter the route become a popular stock
track, that saw thousands of animals pass annually.
In the early 1930's the stock route started to become less popular as
cattle were being transported more and more by truck and the vehicles
found the sand ridges too hard to cross. A few years later the mail
service was discontinued and the once thriving town of Innamincka was
ultimately abandoned in 1952.
In 1963 gas was discovered at Gidgealpa, west of Innamincka, and the
rebuilding of the town was started in the early 1970's mainly
service the gas fields that were being discovered around
it is thriving, being a very popular tourist and four wheel drive
destination. It is the start, or end, depending on which way you are
going, of several major 4wd treks.
The Strzelecki Track, which by now had fallen into complete disrepair,
was again being used by the exploration parties and continually
The trip starts of at Lyndhurst in South Australia and travels through
very remote, desert, country. Vehicle preparation is paramount, as is
the carrying of adequate fuel, water and supplies.
Whilst not much happens at Lyndhurst it is a good re-fuelling point and
plenty of supplies are available for you to stock up.
Leigh Creek, to
the south is a larger town with more facilities.
Head east out of town and you are on the Strzelecki with a couple of
hundred kilometers in front of of fairly ordinary countryside. 80 odd
kilometers out of town sees the turnoff to Calcutta
Freeling and the Mt Freeling Talc Mine area.
Whilst this is a viable detour off the Strzelecki, running eastwards
and just north of the northern end of the Flinders Ranges,
although there is not much of them to see at this stage as they are
starting to flatten out and become part of the rolling countryside.
Be warned some stretches of the track are often badly damaged
following rains and it is important to check with the locals
There are also a maze of tracks around the mine area that often become
confusing and, if you are hoping to view the mining operation, your out
of luck as there is not much that you are able to see.
The road becomes increasingly rockier as you approach Moolawatana
Homestead, where the road from the lovely countryside around the
Arkaroola Village, on the eastern flanks of the Flinders Ranges, and
the Gammon Ranges National Park. Some, in fact, prefer to start their
Strzelecki trip at Leigh Creek and head eastwards via Nebabunna to
At Moolawatana the road veers northwards on the stretch to
Hopeless and the Mount Hopeless Outstation some 50km away.
A little past here the track re-joins the Strzelecki Track at a T
junction and continues northwards.
Had you not turned eastwards towards Mt Freeling, and simply carried on
northwards on the Strzelecki you would arrive at the Dingo Fence some
30km north of the turnoff and about 100 kilometers from Lyndhurst.
The Dingo Fence is the longest fence in the world and has a length
almost twice that of the Great Wall of China. It was constructed to
keep the wild dingo dogs to the north of the fence separated from the
sheep areas to the south of the fence.
It stretches from Western Australia up into Central Queensland.
Around 20 kilometers north of the Dingo fence is a turnoff to
Murnpeowie Homestead, which is 10 or so kilometers off to the west.
About 50 kilometers from the Dingo Fence you the track crosses the
George Creek which drains into Lake Blanche to the north east, and the
turnoff to the Blanchewater Homestead ruins.
About 40 km further is the junction that heads south to Moolawatana, as
mentioned earlier in the alternative route. 20 km past the junction the
track enters the Strzelecki Regional Reserve and a little further
arrives at the Montecollina Bore adjacent to the Strzelecki Creek,
which is normally dry.
Being the only water point constructed along the Strzelecki the
Montecollina Bore is a very popular camping area with the bore
supplying an abundance of water. Being an oasis in the middle of a very
dry region it attracts thousands of birds.
About 50 kilometers on, and into an area known locally
Desert, there is a track to the west that heads a couple of
kilometers to Yaningurie Waterhole situated on the Strzelecki Creek,
which also, on the rare occasions that it has water, empties into Lake
Yaningurie normally has water and, from time to time, also serves as an
attraction to bird life and other native animals. It is not a bad
camping spot and many have enjoyed their stop over here.
A word of caution - the Dingo looks like a domestic dog but always
remember that this is a wild animal and, if it is encountered, treat it
Just north of Yaningurie Waterhole the Strzelecki Track crosses the
Strzelecki Creek. If the creek is dry, more often than not, there are
some pleasant, shady spots on the creek bed to rest a while.
North of here, and bypassing, Mundibarcooloo Waterhole again
Strzelecki Creek, sees a turn off east that heads 10 kilometers to the
Merty Merty Homestead and the junction with the Old Strzelecki Track,
or Strzelecki Creek Track.
It is interesting to note that at this point you
are approximately 70 kilometers by reasonable track from Camerons
Corner, the most north west point of New South Wales, at the point
where New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia meet in the Sturt
From this turnoff it is about 50 kilometers into Moomba and its oil and
gas plants of Big Lake Gas Field and Moomba Gas Field operated by
Whilst there is a viewing platform on the Strzelecki track of the oil
and gas operation, visitors are not really welcome at Moomba itself. In
emergency medical help is available and that's about it, just high
barbed wire fences and security guards.
Just for the record, Moomba is a huge operation of a combination of oil
and gas fields that have their product piped and consolidated to Moomba
and then on piped to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Just a little further on past the Moomba Viewing Platform the track
forks. Take the main track to the right, heading almost due east.
From Moomba you have some options as to how you get from here to
Innamincka. The Main Road, the 15 Mile Track and via Merty Merty and
the Strzelecki Creek Track.
So via the Main Road. There is a junction shortly after passing the
viewing platform, take the right track. Continue on what is obviously
the Main Road for about 45 kilometers past the viewing platform,
having gone over the Strzelecki Creek a couple of
before you will see the Old Strzelecki Track leading off to the right.
Continue on the Main Road, past the Delta Gas Fields on the right until
you come to what is clearly a main junction. Turn left here and, having
travelled east for the last 60km or so the track now heads almost due
About 45km past the junction there is a junction where the Adventure
Way and the Nappa Merrie road joins the Main Road.
At this point you are literally almost in Innamincka.
To go via the 15 Mile Track continue north from the viewing platform
for about 7km across the flat, very dry, plains and turn left at the
junction. Continuing north there is a junction about
from the viewing platform where the Walkers Crossing Track leads of to
the left. This is the main route from Innaminka to Birdsville and joins
the Birdsville Track just south of the Koonchera Dune and the Page
Family Grave and about 160km from the 15 Mile Track junction.
Walkers Crossing Track from here to the Birdsville, although it is the
main access route from Moomba to Birdsville, can be very rough going.
Continue going straight past the junction, you are now on Walkers
Crossing Track, and still almost due north and the road will soon start
As the track enters the Innamincka Regional Reserve, where a Desert
parks Pass is required, it veers northwards for a while before again
heading east. About 15km from the reserve entrance there is a track
leading off to the north that takes you about 5km to the banks of
It is here that Burke and Wills perished and, whilst they are buried in
Melbourne, there is an appropriate memorial here to them.
A few kilometers past this turnoff is another north bound track that
goes to the Minckie Waterhole, where there is reasonably good camping.
4 kilometers past the Minckie Waterhole turnoff is another track off to
the north leading to a point a couple of kilometers down where John
King, who was the only surviving members of Burke and Wills'
exploration party, was found by a search party led by a bloke called
From here there are several other track leading of to Cooper Creek and
camping grounds along the creek. Having crossed the Strzelecki Creek
you are almost in town. Camping is allowed on the Innamincka Common if
you haven't found a spot to your liking so far.
The third route from Moomba to Innamincka takes you along the
Strzelecki Creek Track, or Old Strzelecki Track. If you go back to
before we arrived in Moomba there was a track off to the east, about 50
kilometers before the Moomba Viewing Platform, that heads to the Merty
Merty Homestead and about 120 kilometers to Camerons Corner.
Take this turning and about 12 kilometers down the junction with the
Old Strzelecki Track leads off to the north. Whilst this track is
definitely not for conventional vehicles, being literally just a track,
4wd's normally have no problem.
This is the original Strzelecki Track before is was re-aligned to the
west. It is a shorty distance from the turnoff to Innamincka than going
via Moomba and is certainly a more picturesque route.
Not far up from Merty Merty there are some tracks leading off to some
small oil wells. Whilst the public are welcome to have a look at them
they are not for touching.
The Strzelecki Creek Track runs for about 70 kilometers amongst trees
and the sandy creek bed until it reaches the T junction with the
Walkers Crossing Track. Here it is a turn to the east and a short
distance into Innamincka.
If you want to visit the Burke and Wills Memorial it would be a turn to
the west for about 12 kilometers until the north bound turnoff to
Cooper Creek and the memorial is reached.
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Looking forward to seeing you back,