The Strzelecki Track was pioneered by bushman Harry Redford, who brought stolen cattle from Queensland to South Australia in 1871. He was later immortalised as Captain Starlight in Rolfe Boldrewood's novel, Robbery under Arms.
In early days, the track was the scene of John Flynn's first efforts at radio communication. Driving a Model T Ford with his associate, George Towns, he headed up the Strzelecki Track in the early 1920s experimenting with Morse signals sent from a primitive set. On his return, a stationhand told him that he'd heard a faint signal from Cordillo Downs, a homestead north of Innamincka. It was the first positive result of many months of experimentation.
The Strzelecki Track doesn't present any major problems these days. In good weather it's passable to conventional vehicles, although care is required because of the many crests and sections of sand and loose rock. The track is maintained mainly for traffic to the Gidgealpa and Moomba oil and natural gas fields and while it's generally pretty good, can deteriorate suddenly due to unfavourable weather conditions. Check with Innamincka locals or Lyndhurst police before setting out.
There are some alternative routes along the Strzelecki which, while generally navigable by conventional vehicles, are probably more suited to 4WDs. A number of roads around Moomba veer off in all directions - they may look inviting, but they are private roads leading only to oil and gas fields, so stick to the track.
Innamincka is a tiny place with a population of around 15. Consisting basically of a pub and a general store which offers accommodation, it also has fuel supplies (leaded, unleaded and diesel), the only ones you're able to get between here and Lyndhurst. The store can also provide maps and local information and is open daily, 8am - 5.30pm or during winter 7am - 7pm.
About 45km from town, you're faced with the choice of two routes. The first, the Moomba road, is the 'new' Strzelecki Track which runs down over the Cooper flood plain past the gas fields to the Strzelecki Crossing. Due to the large amount of Moomba traffic, this road is fairly well-maintained. Note that the Moomba plant and field operations are closed to the public and there are no facilities, supplies or accommodation available for travellers.
The other route, the 'old' track, follows the Strzelecki Creek down to Merty Merty Homestead. While haphazardly signposted and not as well cared for as the Moomba road, it is the shorter and more scenic of the two and is worth considering as an alternative route. This part of the track is earth-formed and sandy in sections and special care is required at creek crossings. Get advice from locals on current road conditions before setting out.
Between Moomba and Strzelecki Creek, you'll cross many sandhills. They're usually capped with clay from the claypans, providing a firm surface over the sand, but there are places where this has broken away leaving a narrow carriageway with holes along the edges. Watch for oncoming traffic and large blowouts.
You'll find some good camping spots at the Montecollina bore, 52km south of the crossing and just before the start of the Cobbler. An enormous, drifting series of pale dunes, the Cobbler lies between Lakes Callabonna and Blanche and in early times was one of the most formidable obstacles on the track. More easily navigable these days, the crossing of the Cobbler definitely remains an experience!
From the Cobbler, the track skirts the belly of Lake Blanche, past the turnoffs to Arkaroola and Mt Hopeless Homestead. The ruins of Blanchewater Homestead are further down on the right, just after the MacDonnell Creek crossing. Blanchewater was one of the most successful holdings in the district until floods in 1940 destroyed the homestead and made the property unviable.
The track crosses the Dog Fence 53km beyond Blanchewater. The northern Flinders Ranges are well and truly close, their ridges and vegetation in stark contrast to the country just travelled. Not far away is a turnoff to the left to the talc mines around Mt Fitton, some great picnic spots along Yerelina and Frome Creeks and the historic Mt Lyndhurst Homestead. Lyndhurst is 37km away.
Like Innamincka, Lyndhurst is only small, with an average population of 20. It's at the end of the bitumen road from Adelaide, at the north-west tip of the Flinders, and is a convenient place to stock up on supplies before heading out into the big wide country. Services available in the town include a pub and a roadhouse with leaded, unleaded and diesel fuel.
|Automobile Associations||RAA Broken Hill||(08) 8087 2643|
|RAA Copley||(08) 8675 2618|
|National Parks||Far North Region||(08) 8648 4244|
|Innamincka Regional Reserve||(08) 8675 9909|
|Police||Leigh Creek||(08) 8675 2004|
|Tibooburra||(08) 8091 3303|
|Road Conditions||SA||1300 361 033|
|Services||Innamincka Trading Post||(08) 8675 9900|
|Lyndhurst Roadhouse||(08) 8675 9900|
All information quoted on this site is correct as at December 2001 however the information could change without notice and National Roads and Motorists' Association Limited cannot accept responsibility for any consequences whatsoever.
Images courtesy of SATC