Oodnadatta Track is one of the best outback drives in Australia

Oodnadatta Track (OT) is an unsealed outback road located in South Australia. Steeped in history, the track offers one of the best outback drives in the country.

Oodnadatta Track

How long is Oodnadatta Track?

The track is 622km (386 miles) long, running from the southern end of the Birdsville Track at Marree (a small town in the north of South Australia) to the sealed Stuart Highway at Marla (a town in the state's northwest). The track was named by Adam Plate of the Oodnadatta Progress Association Inc. around 1980 to form a trilogy of unsealed tourist routes with the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks nearby. The track is a very real alternative to the Stuart Highway if you’re traveling to or from the Northern Territory.

How difficult is the Oodnadatta Track?

In dry weather, the track is passable to most vehicles and caravans, but a four-wheel-drive (4x4) vehicle will provide a more comfortable journey and will be essential for driving the track during and after rain. Any 4WD will be better on this track than a 2WD sedan. It’s a well-maintained gravel road, but washouts, sandy sections, potholes, and corrugations can appear without warning, especially on the stretch of road between William Creek and Oodnadatta. You have to cross several creeks and river systems, most of which are usually dry.

What is the best time of year to do the Oodnadatta Track?

The best time to drive the road is from April through October. Remember it’s unbearably hot between November and March. For details on roads please contact 1300 361 033. The drive is not difficult, so it’s the ideal track for first-timers to off-road driving in the outback. The Government of South Australia recommends that users check whether it is open before departure.

How long does the Oodnadatta Track take?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 11 and 13 hours. A speed of 60 to 80 km/h is expected most of the time. The track follows a traditional Aboriginal trading route and offers stunning semi-desert scenery. Running on the southern lake of the Lake Eyre National Park and the outback settlements of William Creek and Oodnadatta, the drive offers stunning views. Remnants of the many railway sidings and Overland Telegraph repeater stations are still along the track - some of the best-preserved are the Coward Springs Campground - complete with natural artesian spa and Curdimurka. Along the track are numerous springs feeding water from the Great Artesian Basin.
Image credit: Depositphotos