Caravan Destinations Australia: Birdsville

Birdsville is a town situated between the Simpson Desert and Sturts Stony Desert. Birdsville sits at the northern end of the Birdsville race track. Photo – https://campr.com.au/birdsville-qld/

History

Birdsville was originally called Diamantina Cross, until 1885.  There are a lot of stories about the original name some say the name is from the fruitful bird life in the district. Another legend said it was called after a store which was owned by Percy Bird and George Field and therefore they called it Birdsville. Birdsville was originally established to collect tolls from those driving cattle interstate.

Things to do

The first place I would highly recommend is to go to is the Wirrarri Visitors Centre. Tourists can visit the Information Centre and get travelling tips on sights and activities to do around the area.  The centre offers, maps, information, internet access, a library, local art and a souvenir shop.

Birdsville Races

Friday race day, Birdsville Races 2018 © Photo by Salty Dingo 2018

The town comes alive with thousands of visitors, to enjoy the annual Birdsville Race on the 3rd and 4th of September 2021. The Birdsville Track is a 517 kilometre track that runs between Birdsville South-western Queensland and Maree, a small town in the north-eastern part of South Australia.

Originally the track was of poor quality and only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles only, but it is now a graded dirt road and is a very popular tourist route. The track is also known as the best-known stock routes. One of our amazing customers has tried the Birdsville Track with their Millenco Mirrors attached, needless to say they survived the track!

The Birdsville Races are horse races held each year in September in the town of Birdsville Queensland. It is a two day event where almost 7000 people come and visit.

The carnival is a 13 race program, with prize money of around $200,000. The race is a major event for the local community, it raises funds for club facilities and supports the Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland.

The racecourse is 3km south of Birdsville. A shuttle service operates to and from the racecourse throughout the day. This service operates from various locations including the local caravan park.

www.birdsvillehotel.com.au

Race times:

FRIDAY – Race 1 commences at 1.00pm with the final race at 4.30pm.

SATURDAY – Race 1 commences at 12.30pm with the final race at 4.45pm.

Although the dates for 2021 were highly sought after and were booked out in May 2021 the dates for next year dates, 2022, Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd September, 2021

The most popular item from the Birdsville Races is the Birdsville Races souvenir medallion, which can be purchased from the official Birdsville Race Club merchandise van situated at the Wirrarri Information Centre during race week.

The Big Red Bash.

https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/roma/home-brew-leaves-qld-festivalgoer-critical/news-story/acc16face7fe5c115775f618a9f77406

This is another very popular annual event in Birdsville. This is staged at the base of its namesake dune creating a huge desert amphitheatre. Once a year, Australian music lovers come from all over the country to attend the world’s most remote music festival.

Date: 6 to 8th July 2021

Go Border-hopping

https://kobusm.travellerspoint.com/140/

Do what tourists do, hop between borders and take photos right in the middle of the South Australian and Queensland border.

Climb sand dunes at Munga-Thirri National Park

https://birdsvillehotel.com.au/what-to-do/simpson-desert-munga-thirri-national-park/

The most famous and tallest of sand dunes in the Simpson Desert – Munga-Thirri National Park, is the Big Red. This is a 40m tall sand dune and is worth the climb. Ride the red waves on a boogie board or catch the most amazing sunset.

Take a sandy walk and watch the sunset over Big Red

https://holidayparksdownunder.com.au/climbing-big-red-and-the-new-addition-to-birdsville-caravan-park/

Take advantages of the tallest sand dune in the Simpson Desert. 40kms out of town is Big Red; this is the perfect vantage point for watching the sunset at the end of a long sandy walk to the top. For the Four-wheel drive fanatics, you can explore the National Park tracks throughout the national park.

Note: Big Red is on private land, so please show respect accordingly.

Munga-Thirri National Park is closed from 1 December to 15 March, due to extreme summer temperatures which can exceed 50 °C.

Carcory Homestead Ruins

History lovers can explore the Carcory Homestead Ruins, which was built out of local limestone in 1877. The only remains of the homestead are the small stone cottage, which was abandoned due to the severe drought.

Diamantina National Park

https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/diamantina/about

Nature enthusiasts can explore the Diamantina National Park to experience the highly weathered sandstone ranges, the beautiful wildflowers, amazing birdlife and the stunning desert-like landscape.

Deon’s Lookout

https://www.queensland.com/au/en/things-to-do/attractions/p-56b25f61d5f1565045da24e8-deons-lookout

Deon’s Lookout, located near ghost town Betoota, is the perfect place to take in some spectacular views of the amazing Channel Country.

See Birdsville by Air

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/nine-days-over-45c-queensland-outback-town-smashes-heat-record

The outback is not only amazing from the ground, but the landscape is very impressive from the air. The smaller planes fly at a lower attitude, so you can get a birds-eye view of the ever changing coloured landscape, from deep reds to bright oranges, this experience will show you a glimpse of this beautiful region.

The Birdsville Billabong

https://mapio.net/pic/p-98637/

On the edge of town is an amazing place to view the stunning outback sunset. The Billabong is also a great place for walking, swimming, kayaking, SUP or fishing.

Across the water head to Pelican Point, a small peninsula. This offers great views of the Birdsville billabong with the amazing backdrop of the desert.  If you have a chance, observe the local birdlife or cast a line in!

Visit the iconic outback trees

https://wildwings.com.au/tag/waddi-tree/

Head 12 km north of Birdsville towards Bedourie to find the largest patch in the world (and one of only three in the world) of rare Waddi Trees, standing boldly on a Gibber flat. If you’re looking for firewood then you won’t be in luck; these trees have abnormally hard wood; so hard it can damage an axe and is impossible to burn!

The Burke and Wills Tree

Head down to the Diamantina Riverbank and look at the historical Coolibah. This famous tree is famously marked by a party tracing the route taken by Burke and Wills.

Australian Inland Mission Hospital

https://www.australiasgoldenoutback.com/business/attractions/australian-inland-mission-hospital

For the history buffs, look at how the sick and injured were treated in this hospital back in the early 1900’s.

Birdsville Hotel

https://birdsvillehotel.com.au

This is a great place to get a pub meal from. It also offers 27 comfortable motel rooms. If you visit this iconic pub, don’t leave without taking a photo of the weathered sandstone walls of one of Australia’s most photogenic pubs.

Birdsville Bakery

https://birdsvillebakery.com.au

Every good town needs a good bakery. From curried camel pie to kangaroo, claret and lamb shank pie, you won’t be alone if you decide to go back for seconds.

Birdsville Caravan Park

https://www.queensland.com/nz/en/plan-your-holiday/accommodation/p-5779a125002e5a4b375f4f4f-birdsville-tourist-park

The Birdsville caravan park is a spacious caravan park located at Birdsville, southwest Queensland.  The Park is located right in town and is walking distance to Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre, the iconic Birdsville hotel/pub and Birdsville bakery, the roadhouse and the post office.

Birdsville Caravan Park has 50 powered sites. The sites are very easy to access and include power and water. The parks unpowered sites are spread over 30 acres. Most of the time, you can choose where you’d like to set up, although during peak times when it is very busy you may have limitations.

The park is able to accommodate larger vehicles such as motorhomes, coaches and fifth wheelers. Some sites are drive through and if you are unable to park your van, the park owners are even happy to help you!

Birdsville Tourist Park also offers excellent facilities to make your stay pleasant and relaxing. They accommodate for families, campers and caravanners. There is a well-equipped Camp Kitchen with plenty of cooking options, a large stainless steel sink, large refrigerator, Microwave, Electric Kettle, Toaster, Gas Stove and full oven available.

Birdsville Tourist Park also offers a sensational Camp communal Fireplace area. This is a great place to meet other travellers, share information and travel stories, as well as making lifelong friends. Bring your own chair and enjoy a late afternoon/evening entertainment.  The park also allows campfires at your own site.

The park also offers – 3 BBQ’s, a laundry, an information desk and souvenirs.  Don’t forget to enjoy the outback sunrise/sunset with the most amazing starry nights.

Birdsville Tourist Park

Opening Hours for Enquires and Bookings:  8:30am to 5:00pm

51 Florence Street, BIRDSVILLE QLD 4482

P: (07) 4656 3214

E: info@birdsvillecaravanpark.com

Travelling

https://www.holidaypoint.com.au/travelling-australia-the-motorhome-vs-the-caravan/

Pre-trip planning

A little bit of preparation goes a long way in the Outback, ensure you have a good map and plan ahead. It’s a good idea to calculate travel times and distances between stops, even preparing alternative routes. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and that you carry adequate food, water, fuel and spare parts.

Fuel Stops and tips

Fuel stops on major highways are generally no more than 200km apart, however, when you see a sign “no fuel”, this means exactly that, no fuel!   I would highly recommend a well maintained vehicle, with extra water, a first aid kit, a few spare tyres, radiator hoses, fan belts, and a good toolkit

Stay in Contact

If you’re travelling remotely it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re going, and when you plan to get there.

Road Conditions

This region use to be one of Australia’s most hazardous stock routes.  The Birdsville Track is one of the most iconic roads in Australia. Today it is still an unsealed road but maintained so that you can travel in either a 4WD or SUV with a caravan or camper trailer. The road conditions can vary; there will be a variety range of surfaces from sand dunes to stony downs. Be careful after heavy rains for standing water on the roads.

Road conditions should always be checked before heading off.

For the latest road conditions contact the below

South Australian Outback Roads (SA Government)

Queensland Road Condition Report (Live map via the Queensland Government)

Road Conditions Report & other Travel Information (Diamantina Shire Council)

Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks Road Report (SA Government)

Birdsville Track Trek Report (ExplorOz Website)

Strezlecki Track Trek Report (ExplorOz Website)

Diamantina Development Road Updates (ExplorOz Website)

Arrabury Road and Cordillo Downs Road Forum Updates (ExplorOz Website)

Caravanners

If you are in a caravan convoy, don’t travel too close together. Other road users will become frustrated if they are unable to overtake safely. The law requires caravans and other large vehicles, outside a built-up area, leave at least 60 m between each caravan.

Single Lane Driving/ Heavy Vehicles/Road Trains

https://www.caravancampingsales.com.au/editorial/details/smoother-drive-for-outback-way-travellers-124417/

When a road train or heavy vehicle approaches you on a single lane road, slow down and move off the road to the left. If it is safe to do so, move off the road and stop to avoid driving into any obstacles on the verge. In wet conditions, road verges tend to be soft and/or slippery, so when pulling off to the left you should always keep your right wheels on the bitumen and keep moving slowly to avoid getting bogged. Also be mindful of stock, be patient when they are near. It always pays to be attentive when driving in the Outback, as kangaroos tend to be most active during sunrise, sunset and at night

Water Crossings

Although not advisable but if you attempt this ensure you are certain of your vehicle’s capabilities. We recommend walking through the crossing first to test the depth and current, try to look for any underwater obstacles by using your feet or a stick. Put it in low 4×4 and drive through in 2nd or 3rd gear, always keeping the momentum.

Weather Conditions

https://www.northweststar.com.au/story/5916273/birdsville-cut-off-as-diamantina-river-rises/

Summers in the outback are extremely hot. Storms and heavy rain can occur during summer, so minor flooding can cut access towns.  The most appealing weather occurs between April and October. Before travelling to the outback we recommend checking the road and weather conditions.

Mobile Phone Coverage

Most towns may have phone coverage with Telstra and Optus, the Telstra Next G network will still be available within a 20km out of most towns. If you go extremely outback, we would recommend satellite phone.

Station Properties

Many roads are gated and cross station properties. The rule of the Station properties is to leave gates in the same way that you find them.

Be ready for the long roads!

Finally, before attempting trips on long roads, make sure you get your van serviced and road ready!