A Short Trip Down The Birdsville Track To Walkers Crossing Turnoff

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After volunteering at the Big Red Bash, we spent some time in Birdsville caravan park. This gave a us a bit of time to have a look around, before heading south down the Birdsville Track to Walkers Crossing Road turnoff.

First though, a few impressions of Birdsville.

Sunrise on Birdsville Lagoon, Birdsville QLD.
Sunset over Birdsville Lagoon. Not too bad at all!

Birdsville, Busy Then Not!

The town was chaotic when we rolled in before the Big Red Bash. After the Bash though, it settled back into a sleepy place with just a few of us stragglers left.

My Generator Black Friday sale now on.
Black Friday Sales specials at My Generator.

While they no doubt love the boost to the town’s economy, I’m sure the locals appreciate the break between the Bash and the Birdsville Races. Tourism keeps the town alive. Fuel, food, vehicle repairs, accommodation… they’re in great demand during busy times.

Unfortunately the legendary Birdsville Bakery had closed its doors. There seems to be more to this story than meets the eye. Whatever the reason, it was a blow to the town. Great news though… it has since been bought and re-opened by the owners of the Birdsville Hotel.

The Birdsville Hotel was busy every night and continues to serve reasonably priced, delicious meals. It’s good to see the owners are smart enough to avoid the temptation of price gouging during busy times.

The Birdsville Hotel, QLD.
The famous Birdsville Hotel.

A Special Spot On Birdsville Lagoon

We stayed at Birdsville Caravan Park and snagged an ideal spot right on the edge of Birdsville Lagoon. This is a branch of the Diamantina River.

The amenities at the van park are excellent, with individual shower/toilet cubicles. It was good to be spoilt a little!

Back to our special campsite. We could have been in the middle of nowhere, parked down out of the way in the south-west end of the park. As we stepped out of our camper, we were treated to an uninterrupted view of the lagoon. And the sunrises were unbelievable!

Sunrise over Birdsville Lagoon at Birdsville QLD.
This sunrise greeted us as we emerged bleary-eyed from our camper.

The Diamantina had flooded earlier in the year after record rains in western Queensland earlier in the year. The flood rubbish in the trees was higher than the top of our truck, so the Birdsville would have been a tiny island in a vast ocean.

Sunrise over Birdsville Lagoon, QLD.
The lagoon was like glass in the early morning light.

The pelicans were enjoying the extra water. They paddled to and fro in groups, their enormous beaks and necks disappearing under the surface as they filled their bellies with fresh fish. Highly entertaining for us casual observers from the shoreline.

A Brief Encounter With The Birdsville Track

Finally it was time to move on. We had enjoyed our stay at Birdsville, especially after the crowds had dissipated. But it’s always good to get moving again.

So we pointed the truck down the Birdsville Track, making for the Walkers Crossing Road turnoff. This is about 120km south.

Crossing the QLD/SA border on the Birdsville Track.
Crossing into South Australia from Queensland.

Pretty soon we crossed the QLD/SA border. The track was in great condition, more a wide gravel highway than a track. The Diamantina River was off to our west, so we decided to launch the drone and see what was over those ever-present sand dunes.

The Diamantina floodplain from the air is a spectacular sight!

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We pressed on and soon encountered a long detour. The Diamantina floodplain had cut the road, which was either under water or in the midst of a boggy swamp. Seeing lakes and vast swathes of green grass in this red sand dune country sort of messes with your mind.

It is such a contrast to the surrounding country, and so beautiful.

One part of the Birdsville Track was still underwater from a flood earlier in the year.
This swampy floodplain stretched all the way to the dune, way in the distance.

Once past the detour, the sand dunes gave way to gibber plains as the land rose slightly. A little while later, we reached the turnoff to Walkers Crossing Road and a new adventure awaited us.

Rising up onto gibber plains, south of Birdsville on the Birdsville Track.
Onto the gibbers.

Final Thoughts

We loved our stay in Birdsville. It has a good feel… quiet (sometimes!), friendly and relaxed. Our campsite on the edge of the Lagoon was fantastic. We really could have been camped in the middle of nowhere.

What of the Birdsville Track? Well, the small section we drove over was in excellent condition, even so soon after the endless Big Red Bash traffic.

We haven’t driven the entire track for several years. But after this small “refresher”, it’s now high on our list of things to do soon. Can’t wait!

Birdsville is on Yarluyandi Country.

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