Are you considering taking on the Strzelecki Track? If you are then we’ve put together some tips to make your journey safer and more enjoyable.
Whilst the new Strzelecki Track is unlike the old one you’ll still need to consider if your vehicle and trailer, if you’re towing one, is up to scratch. There’s still not a lot of help out here so make sure you prepare your vehicles well before leaving.
It’s mostly a formed gravel road, and in dry weather it’s suitable for conventional vehicles. Good ground clearance however will help prevent bottoming out over the many dry creek beds and post rain ruts.
Tip 1, is to start off with good tyres, anything below 50% tread should, in our opinion, be changed. We chose Cooper S/TMAXX as our tyres of choice for this trip, and hopefully, many others.
With lots of intermittent rain about this year the track has been open and closed, so Tip 2 is to make sure you check the track is open.
The South Australian government has a great website where you can check if roads are closed and it is updated as required.
Follow this link to find it and select the area you are looking for.
The stepping off point in the south is Lyndhurst in South Australia, this is where you can either head to Marree further north or take a right and head towards Innamincka along the Strzelecki Track.
Take note, some of the old Strzelecki Track can be travelled along but the section north of the Moomba to Innamincka road now requires a Desert Parks permit as it is within the Innamincka Regional Reserve.
Tip 3 is to carry good paper or digital maps too as they often have points of interest noted along the way.
Track conditions can vary, sometimes quite rapidly, especially if wet weather is around. Generally though the track is more like a road these days and there are even some bitumised sections to allow for overtaking and/or to stabilise historically bad sections.
Still, as with all roads simply drive to the conditions you encounter. Be polite on the road and avoid showering other users with rocks just because you don’t want to slow down.
We saw some users seemingly oblivious to their speed and position on the road and received several chips in our windscreen as a result. They received some verbal abuse, even if it was just between Amanda and I in the cab of our car.
If you’d rather other travellers applaud you rather than abuse you, Tip 4 is to slow down a little and pull over as far as you safely can to avoid flinging rocks onto oncoming traffic.
This is an all day trip in our view, it allows you to stop a few times, or alternatively, you may choose to camp along the way. Don’t forget though it’s not a race, and ensure you use the regular rest stops along the way.
There is lots to see as this area, especially the lower part, boasts quite a few emus and also kangaroos eager to cross the road before you pass!
You can also visit Talc Alf, a couple of kilometres up the road from Lyndhurst. Dutch born, Alf is a self taught sculptor and a bit of a philosopher and poet, so drop in and say G’day if you’ve got the time.
The change in scenery along the track can be quite dramatic as you pass through undulating hills, gibber and then sand dunes.
As you get closer to Moomba there can be lots of gas field traffic so be aware of trucks and other road users. Interestingly you can also get Telstra coverage as you pass by Moomba.
Looking for accommodation before you get all the way up the track? Once heading north on the last leg towards Innamincka you’ll see what is called Cooper Parks.
This is a purpose built facility catering for not only mining staff and contractors but also for the general public. It has accommodation, meals and a pub, what more could you want?
Once you pull into Innamincka you’ll find you have a few choices to choose between as to where you can stay overnight. There is the town common, just down adjacent to the Cooper Creek, if you’re camping or need a place to pull up with the camper or caravan.
The Innamincka Trading Post has budget cabins and the Innamincka Hotel has motel rooms, small huts and a bunkhouse, your choice.
Tip 5, have a cold one in the pub, it’s got a lot of character and you never know who you might meet there.
Innamincka is a great stepping off point to Coongie Lakes or to all the Burke and Wills history in the area. Campers heading for the campsites east and west of town within the Innamincka Regional Reserve, or the waterholes of Cooper Creek can obtain camping permits from the Innamincka Trading Post.
You can also visit Cameron’s corner on the way up or make a side trip along the old Strzelecki Track from Innamincka.
Across the border into Queensland you can head up the Arrabury Road towards Birdsville or drive further east towards Thargomindah.
In our case we chose the Arrabury Road but that’s another story.
Written by Travel Outback Australia