The old stock routes : Birdsville en Oodnadatta Track

When we exit the Simpson Desert, we decide to take the old stock routes – now famous Outback ways – all on dirt roads.
It are the Birdsville Track, some 560 km’s between Marree and Birdsville and the Oodnadatta Track, another 600 km’s between Marree and Marla. We only travel them partly in both cases, but long enough to enjoy the scenery. The reason why they were so famous in the real drover’s days is because the presence of lots of bores or springs along the way. They allowed the mobs, horses and drovers to be rested and watered.

Both of these routes are still in the great artesian basin, feeded by the rains of North Queensland and the Territories. This water goes underground, to rise again around these tracks.
This basin covers around 22% of Australia’s landmass. Within this basin, another one, the Lake Eyre Basin is situated, covering around 1/6 of the Australian landmass.
Inside the basin lies also the largest inland oil and gas fields of the country. Many mining cities lie inside the area.

Before the drovers used them, the Aboriginals walked them for trade and culture and now many and more drive along with a 4WD. We are one of the many…

The only significant detail along the Birdsville Track is the Mungerannie Roadhouse, more because of the guy behind the tap than for something else.

When we arrive in Marree, we see a sign telling us that the day after a group of camel races is held… Lucky us.
The races themselves are not that interesting, a group of camels and their drivers, running some 400 or so meters, with only one purpose… Finish first.
Many times we have the funny sight of camels wandering round instead of running straight. Once a camel even arrives without driver…
The Aussies like them mostly because of the bets on the races.
As entertainment, there are also a couple of donkey and dog races during the day. They even ‘invented’ a golf game on the race course.

After Marree, we drive to Lake Eyre to camp over there and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the lake.
From there we continue along the Oodnadatta track, passing the sculptures, a couple of bores until we reach the Pink Roadhouse.
After all not our best Outback trip, nonetheless a rewarding adventure!

The most interesting part of these tracks for us were the evenings, we enjoyed all of them in the company of Lotte and Bart, which we met at the end of our Simpson adventure.
It feels great to talk once again with people from our own country. They stay here till september.

Belgen in de outback

Wat een toeval. In de middle of nowhere rijden we bijna letterlijk in op 2 Belgen.
We genieten van de avonden in de outback in het gezelschap van Bart en Lotte. We voelen ons op dezelfde golflengte…reizigers in hart en nieren. Terwijl de mannen kletsen over auto’s maken Lotte en ik echte dampers….Australisch brood op het kampvuur in de bush. Ingrediënten: 3 cups zelfrijzende bloem, 3/4 blikje bier, klein beetje zout. Dit alles mengen en in 3 dubbel zilverpapier (dit vervangt de echte kampoven). Na 20 min hebben we een heerlijk broodje met rozijnen en noten! Smakelijk!
Bij het kampvuur maken Bart en Lotte ons letterlijk warm voor Zuid-Afrika waar ze juist 8 maanden doorheen reisden.
Beste Bart en Lotte, tot in het najaar voor een Australisch barbecue en een cake in jullie campoven!!!