Australian Bicycle Camping Fact Sheets
PO Box 3331 Rundle Mall SA 5000 Australia

Oodnadatta Track 2005

Andrea Hagenauer < | >

Edited with some additional material by Grace Newhaven ( Revised 2008)



This fact sheet is intended as an introductory guide to cycle camping on the Oodnadatta Track.The region is an established conventional tourist destination; and general tourist and promotional information is readily available from mainstream sources elsewhere. This fact sheet assumes the reader has, or will have, access to those sources.


The Track follows a series of natural springs, which provided in turn an ancient trade route for Aborigines and later the necessary water supply for the Overland Telegraph system and then "The Ghan" railway line to Central Australia. The region contains a variety of land uses and a range of heritage sites. Parts of the track are very scenic, with low hills and sometimes views. Maximum temperatures can vary from 50C in January to 30C in June; the driest time is July & August - roads can become impassable very quickly after rain.


The "strip maps" produced by Adam Plate of the Pink RoadHouse (Oodnadatta 5734 S.A.) are useful, with extensive background information. ( Send an SAE + about $5.00 in stamps for the set of 5 ). Adam is bicycle-friendly- sometimes, but he doesnít link to this website, for example Ė he thinks itís unnecessary.

" Oodnadatta Track" Map by Westprint ( 1: 1,000,000) is useful, with considerable historical detail. ISBN 1 875608 01. About $ 15.00.

There's an excellent, printer friendly article at the www site of the NRMA with detailed route notes.

Jan Boonstra & Rick Park ( 2002) have written an account of their bike trips on the Track. Other accounts will be listed at Bicycle Fish as they come to notice.

For recorded information on Road Conditions in South Australia ( 1300 361 033.

Click here for the Rough Guide section on the Track


The quality of the local bore water varies considerably : in some places water may be very salty, even undrinkable. When they can, local people collect rainwater in large plastic or metal tanks, and you may be lucky to get some. Be prepared to ask for water from passing motorists. The longest stretch without drinking water would be around 240 km.(between Oodnadatta and Marla). You will need a capacity of at least 10 litres per person. A waterbag will be useful. A herbal tea-bag in your water bottle may help with the taste. There are also cattle dams at frequent intervals, water quality unknown.


There are good supermarkets at both Oodnadatta & Coober Pedy ; and general stores at Marree & Marla. Prices are generally much higher than in metropolitan areas. You can post a food parcel to the PO in each place, and to William Creek Hotel - be ware though that mail may take a week or more to arrive. This will be a good place to make your own " damper" bread. Click here for more cooking & food ideas for bicycle camping.


There are unlimited places for " bush camping". In several places there are campgrounds ( see list). When bush camping, you should always try to leave the campsite as you found it, be especially careful to bury any fire under ground when you leave - old fire scars are ugly. Firewood may be scarce, but do not burn the sleepers - they are history. Be careful also to bury human waste carefully.

Roads & Traffic

The Track is a public road, maintained by the State Government. It is generally traversable by 2 WD cars The road is unsealed N. of Lyndhurst. Surface conditions vary considerably, depending in part on how recently the road has been graded. In some places, the way is heavily corrugated, rocky and sandy, so progress will be slow, and you may need to walk for two or three kilometres at a time. You can expect to cover 70 or 80 km 's a day, more if you really want. It's essential to have off-road tyres , and because of thorns, useful to to fit tube liner protectors, remembering to rotate them regularly. You can avoid most thorns by not riding your bike off the track ( walking will be OK ). Traffic consists of maybe 20 vehicles a day in the winter, much less in summer, mostly tourists in 4X4's, but also a few local people and a few road trains - wearing some bright clothes, so drivers can see you coming, will be safer for you. How many cyclists do this trip? Locals say " about 3 groups a year". Note especially: there are no reliable bike parts etc between Port Augusta & Alice Springs. A few cable ties will also be useful in your emergency toolkit

Getting There

By bike

From Pt Augusta, Marla or Coober Pedy

By bus

Greyhound to Marla, Coober Pedy. Stateliner to Hawker or Roxby Downs

By rail

Great Southern Railway to Pt Augusta. Discount for YHA members

Adelaide-Darwin Railway to Coober Pedy

By air

Scheduled services to Pt Augusta , Olympic Dam , Coober Pedy






Water quality


Alberrie R/S

Sculpture Park

Private rain tanks


Algebuckina Bridge

Popular campsite, lots of mosquitoes

Creek w/ muddy & salty water


Anna Creek HS





Ruins, good shade

Bore water. Shower


Blanche Cup

Pretty oasis



Copper Hill HS

Campsite, art sales

Private Rain tank


( 8670 7995

Coward Springs

Camp site

( $6/pp)

Spas, wetlands with birds

No food

Rain tank.

Bore water is OK to drink


( 8675 8336


Ruined cottages and sheds

Bore water OK for cooking


Edwards Creek

Ruins & Bore

Salty but drinkable bore




Very salty water

( private rain tank)

( 08 8675 7790


Small general store, pub, EFTPOS , i/net

Tap water is salty, some rain tanks.

Bottled water $8/10 litres


Nilpinna HS

8 km off the road





Camping $7.50/pp good grocery, EFTPOS Museum, hospital,

Rain tanks

Pink RoadHouse

(Friendly )

( 8670 7822 police

( 8670 7805

Peake HS

Off the road




Ghost town

Flowing bore



5km off the road



William Creek


( $3.50 pp ) loud generator, pub, very few supplies. May be noisy on week ends

Rain water $2.00/litre

Bore water not recommended.


( 8670 7746

  8670 7881

 This fact sheet was produced by grassroots cyclists. No responsibility for errors or omissions can be accepted. It is intended for free or low cost distribution on paper or on the www, and you are free to copy it on that basis. Suggestions for improvement are most welcome!

Other Bicycle Camping Fact Sheets in this series include

Central Australia | SA Kangaroo Island | SA Flinders Ranges | North Queensland

| WA Kimberley | Stuart Highway | NSW Central West | NSW Sydney to Canberra |

| NSW Hunter Valley | Nullarbor Eyre Highway | Qld/ NT : The Plenty Highway | Kakadu NP