The Ultimate Guide To Driving The Oodnadatta Track

The Oodnadatta Track is a remote and rugged outback road in Australia, perfect for adventure seekers. Spanning 617 km, this mostly unsealed road runs between Marree and Marla, passing through the Sturt Stony Desert, the Strzelecki Desert, and the Tirari Desert. 

Along the way, you’ll see beautiful landscapes, explore the rich history of the area, and have the opportunity to visit Indigenous sacred sites. 

Bring your 4WD, sunscreen and a sense of adventure, and don’t forget to pack extra water. The Oodnadatta Track is an adventure of a lifetime, just remember, “if the road is easy, you’re not on the Oodnadatta Track yet.”


How long is the Oodnadatta Track? 

The Oodnadatta Track is about 617 km long and it’s not a quick drive, so you should plan for a few days to complete the journey.

It depends on your driving speed and how much time you want to spend exploring the sights along the way. But generally it’s a 2-3 day trip, but you can take your time and stretch it out even more if you want to take it all in and enjoy the experience. 

So, pack your snacks, download some podcasts, and get ready to hit the road!


What are you going to see on the Oodnadatta Track?

The Oodnadatta Track is packed with interesting sights and landmarks to see, so you’ll definitely want to take your time and explore. 

Here are a few highlights:


The ruins of the old Ghan railway line 

Operating between 1878 and 1980 and it’s a great spot to take some cool historical photos.

The Oodnadatta Aboriginal settlement 

It’s an interesting place to learn more about the history and culture of the local Indigenous people.

The Pink Roadhouse

It’s a popular stop for travellers and it’s a good place to buy fuel and supplies, and also get some good tips from the locals.

The Coward Springs 

It’s a natural hot spring that is a popular spot for swimming and relaxing. It’s a great spot to refresh yourself and take a break from the long drive.

The Algebuckina Bridge

It’s the longest bridge in South Australia, and it’s definitely worth a stop for a quick photo op.


Some fun facts

  • The Oodnadatta Track is rich in history and is home to many Indigenous sacred sites, make sure to get permission from the local Indigenous community before visiting any of these sites.
  • The temperatures can get extreme, with average summer temperature around 40-45C and winter around 20C.
  • The Oodnadatta Track is also known for its red sand, rugged terrain, and extreme temperatures, so you’ll definitely want to pack your sunscreen and a spare bottle of water.


Do you need to bring fuel on the Oodnadatta TracK? 

It’s a good idea to bring extra fuel in jerry cans when travelling on the Oodnadatta Track, as there are long stretches of road with no fuel stations. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that you have enough fuel to complete the journey, even if you encounter unexpected delays or detours. 

It’s also a good idea to bring extra fuel in case of emergencies, such as getting stuck in the sand or needing to use your 4WD’s low-range gears. It’s important to note that carrying fuel in jerry cans is legal in most states, but it’s always best to check the regulations in the state you’re travelling in and make sure you’re following the safety guidelines for transporting fuel.


How much gear do you have? Can you bring a trailer on the Oodnadatta Track? 

Yeah, you can definitely bring a trailer on the Oodnadatta Track, but it’s not going to be a walk in the park. The road is mostly unsealed, narrow and rough in some places. So, if you’re planning on bringing a trailer with you, it’s best to check with the local authorities first to see if it’s even possible at the moment. If it is, make sure you’re ready for it. 

It’s a good idea to have a well-maintained and equipped trailer, and you should also be experienced and confident in towing it.

It’s possible to bring a trailer, but it’s not the easiest thing to do, so just make sure you’re ready for the challenge!


Do you need a permit for the Oodnadatta Track? 

A permit is not typically required to enter the Oodnadatta Track, but it is important to check with the local authorities for any current restrictions or requirements. Some areas along the track may be closed to the public due to flooding or other conditions, so it’s a good idea to check ahead of time to ensure the road is open and safe to travel on.

It’s also important to note that some areas along the Oodnadatta Track are sacred sites to the local Indigenous people, and it’s important to get permission from the traditional owners before visiting these sites. 

There may also be specific guidelines or restrictions to follow when visiting these sites, so it’s best to check with the local authorities or Indigenous organisations for more information.


What sort of camping facilities are on the Oodnadatta Track? 

Along the Oodnadatta Track, there are a few options for camping and accommodation.


  • Camping: There are a few designated camping areas along the track, where you can set up your own tent or park your caravan. These camping areas typically have basic amenities such as toilets and picnic tables. Some of them are free, and others may have a fee.
  • Rest areas: There are also a few rest areas along the track where you can stop and take a break. Some of these rest areas have basic facilities such as toilets and picnic tables.
  • Roadhouses: There are a few roadhouses along the track that offer accommodation, camping facilities, and basic supplies such as fuel and food. The Pink Roadhouse is one of the most popular stopovers along the Oodnadatta Track.
  • Station Stays: Some of the cattle stations along the track offer accommodation in the form of a homestay or a station stay, which is a unique way to experience the outback lifestyle and culture.


It’s always a good idea to check ahead of time to see what options are available and to make a booking if necessary, as accommodation can be limited in some areas.


When is the best time to tackle the Oodnadatta Track?

The best time to visit the Oodnadatta Track depends on what you’re looking for in a trip.


  • Summer (December to February) is the peak tourist season and the temperature can reach up to 45C. This time is ideal if you want to see wildflowers in bloom.
  • Winter (June to August) is the cooler and less crowded season, the temperature is around 20C which is ideal for those who don’t like the heat.
  • Spring (September to November) is a good time to visit as the weather is milder, the temperature is around 25C, and the wildflowers are starting to bloom.
  • Autumn (March to May) is also a good time to visit as the weather is milder and the temperature is around 25C.


It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and the road conditions before setting out, as the Oodnadatta Track can be closed or impassable due to flooding or other conditions during the wet season.


What things do you need to bring on the The Oodnadatta Track

So besides the obvious ones of; food, water, and fuel, what are some of the things you should bring for your adventure? Here’s a list of the essentials: 


  • Sand flag 
  • Recovery gear for 4WDing 
  • First aid kit 
  • Compass
  • UHF radio
  • Epirb
  • Fire extinguisher
  • A lighter
  • Spare parts for your vehicle
  • Service manual for your vehicle 
  • Jack and base plate 
  • A satellite phone 
  • A fly veil 
  • GPS 
  • Physical maps
  • Your permit 
  • Medications 


For a full mechanical check and advice on what else you should bring, contact a 4WD professional. 


What vehicle do you need to cross The Oodnadatta Track? 

When travelling The Oodnadatta Track, it’s essential to make sure your car is in tip-top shape – so get it completely checked by a professional before you leave. In terms of what type of car you need to complete The Oodnadatta Track, make sure you have a 4WD with low range. Some of the common vehicles include: 


  • Toyota Landcruiser 
  • Toyota Hilux 
  • Nissan Patrol 
  • Ford Ranger
  • Isuzu D-Max 


Where should you get your car upgraded for your crossing?

For any of your supplies and upgrades for your upcoming trip on The Oodnadatta Track, Total 4×4 is the one-stop shop for all truck, passenger and 4WD accessories with over 30 years of experience in both recreational and commercial. Not only do we have the best brands for you to pick and choose from, we also have the friendly team to put it on your vehicle. We have the products, we have the installers, come give us a visit!

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