Strzelecki Track

Where: Strzelecki Track (Lyndhurst to Arkaroola), South Australia
Permits: None
Costs: None – bushcamping only
Difficulty: Graded, gravel track. Sometimes corrugated and very remote
Days required to do it justice: 2+days

The Strzelecki Track is one of ‘those’ Australian 4WD tracks that hover about on every map you look at and you know that one day, some day you will have to go there just to see whats there. We found the right time this month on a trip back from the Oodnadatta Track to Adelaide. We spotted the opportunity on the map for a loop from Lyndhurst along part of the Strzelecki and around the back way into Arkaroola in the Flinders Ranges.

The start of the Strzelecki at Lyndhurst

The start of the Strzelecki at Lyndhurst

This section of the Strzelecki has some descriptive place names: Happy Thoughts Well, Dreary Point and Mount Hopeless. They are names which suit the remote and desolate isolation of this track. When we travelled along it it was 42+ degrees. We’ d given ourselves a couple of spare nights for camping along the track but as the temperature soared and we didn’t see a single tree anywhere we just kept driving. And driving. And driving. Until we reached a shady riverbed full of gum trees near Arkaroola.

Dreary Creek, South Australia

Dreary Creek, South Australia

This track is one that has to be done, if only for that feeling of ‘remote’ Australia. There is little to see but at the same time, thats what its about. Out in the middle of nowhere we stumbled across the Blanchewater ruins which were once a bustling station hub in the 1880s. Further on we saw a family of emus and got excited when we spotted trees anywhere on the horizon. Crossing the dog fence deserved a cup of celebratory tea.

Emus on the Strzelecki

Emus on the Strzelecki

Blanchewater Ruins, Strzelecki Track

Blanchewater Ruins, Strzelecki Track

The best story I’ve heard about this track is about the teams of shearers in the early 1900’s who would collect their bikes at Farina (the northern most railway station at the time) and cycle north for over 500kms through this barren desert to complete the shearing circuit up at Cordillo Downs. Cycling across this nowadays would be a hell of a challenge and I am in awe of men who tackled this on rudimentary bikes with little water to be found along the way.

The Shearers who cycled the Strzelecki in the early 1900s

The Shearers who cycled the Strzelecki in the early 1900s

The Strzelecki Track

The Strzelecki Track

It might not take you long to drive this track but its well worth a look.

 

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