5 day / 4 night tour
Per person, Twin share
- Specialised small group tour (maximum 12 passengers)
- Travel in fully equipped Toyota Land Cruiser 4WDs
- Hosted by experienced tour guides
- All meals whilst on tour
- Airport transfers
This tour highlights the sites of the far western corner of Queensland and the north-eastern corner of South Australia that Burke and Wills travelled during their epic journey in 1860. Our tour encompasses the Simpson Desert, Cordillo Downs Station, the Burke & Wills Dig Tree, Innamincka, the Strzelecki Desert, Clifton Hills Station, the Birdsville Track and the Sturt Stony Desert in a Outback Queensland bucket-list tour that loops back to Birdsville.
All accommodation is twin share (except when camping) – single supplement applies ($500pp)
Itineraries are subject to change depending on weather and road conditions. Whilst your guide will always try to run to the scheduled itinerary, it may at times be necessary to change the itinerary slightly to ensure passengers safety.
Due to the nature of our tours, we recommend you bring clothing that is suitable to the destination including swimming gear and comfortable walking shoes; along with your required toiletries, a towel, camera and extra money for snacks, alcohol or activities.
You should also bring a small day pack with hat, sunscreen, water bottle, torch and insect repellent (Bushmans).
We also recommend you bring any medication and/or motion sickness tablets (if required).
We would also like you to bring your own pillow, because everyone likes their own pillow, and a sleeping bag to suit the climate you are travelling through.
Your baggage must be limited to one (1) duffel-style bag (max. 60ltr) per person for your clothing and personal effects; along with one (1) soft duffel-style bag for your sleeping bag and pillow.
Guests arrive in Birdsville from their home ports. You will be met by our tour guides and transferred to your overnight accommodation in Birdsville. This afternoon we’ll visit some of the local sites in and around Birdsville, followed by sunset on top of Big Red at the edge of the Simpson Desert, with light refreshments before we dine at the famous Birdsville Hotel.
Prior to federation in 1901, Birdsville was used as a collection point for a toll that was payable on all stock and supplies entering South Australia from Queensland. It was a thriving community then and still is now.
Today, around 110 people call Birdsville home, except for two weeks each year when it plays host the the Big Red Bash and the Birdsville Races where it swells to 10,000 people.
For such a small town, it has excellent infrastructure, a geothermal power station provides the town’s electricity, with natural gas and diesel generators brought online during peak periods. Birdsville has two sources of water: the Great Artesian Basin and the Diamantina River.
Accommodation: Birdsville Hotel
After breakfast, we’ll travel east from Birdsville and visit the now deserted township of Betoota.
The town has been crowned Australia’s smallest town with no permanent residents. In fact, Betoota has a seasonal population; the last permanent resident, Sigmund Remienko, died in 2004. The only facilities in Betoota are a racetrack, a dry-weather airstrip, a cricket field and a deserted hotel.
We will then head along the Cordillo Downs Road, crossing into South Australia and past Cordillo Downs Station, home of the historic woolshed.
From here we’ll cross back into the south west corner of Queensland and travel down to the Burke and Wills Dig Tree.
The Burke and Wills ‘Dig Tree’ is one of Australia’s national icons and an enduring reminder of our early explorers. Located on the Northern bank of Coopers Creek, the ‘Dig Tree’ is a Coolibah (Eucalyptus microtha) believed to be 200-250 years old.
You can still see the base camp instructions carved into the trunk of the tree for Burke & Wills, who returned to the tree just hours after stockade Depot Camp 65 deserted their post, suspecting them dead.
These Blazes have now been covered to help preserve the tree. Burke’s face was carved into another tree (the ‘Face Tree’) about 30m downstream of the ‘Dig Tree’ by John Dick in 1898 and is still clearly visible. Apart from the boardwalk structure built around the tree to help protect it, the site as you view it now is as Burke and Wills and companions would have viewed it nearly 140 years ago.
We’ll then continue through to Innamincka, South Australia, our stopover for tonight. The Innamincka Hotel has long been a meeting place on the track, and the journey to get here is all part of the experience.
Innamincka is a tiny settlement in north-east South Australia situated within Innamincka Regional Reserve. It is 1065 km north-northeast of Adelaide and 459 km from Lyndhurst up the Strzelecki Track. On the banks of Cooper Creek in the state’s Channel Country, and surrounded by the Strzelecki, Tirari and Sturt Stony Deserts.
Accommodation: Innamincka Hotel
After an early breakfast, we’ll head north-west, stopping at the gravesites of both Burke and Wills before following the Walkers Crossing Track as we make our way across the Strzelecki Desert.
Prepare for a day of four wheel driving at its best. We’ll link up with the infamous Birdsville Track and travel through to Clifton Hills Station, where we will make camp for the night.
Clifton Hills Station is a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station in the far north of South Australia.
It’s situated approximately 132 kilometres south of Birdsville and 200 kilometres north west of Innamincka. The property encompasses part of the Sturt Stony Desert, is located on the Birdsville Track and is the largest holding along the track with an area of 17,000 square kilometres.
Accommodation: Clifton Hills Campsite
This morning we’ll travel the Birdsville Track through to Birdsville. This infamous road takes us into the Sturt Stony Desert.
The Birdsville Track is an icon amongst Australian outback tracks covering 517km of remote harsh outback country.
The track was established in the 1860s and was once the main stock route to bring cattle from central Queensland to the railway in Marree.
In those days the track had a grim reputation, many people and mobs of cattle lost their lives. Tom Kruse, the most famous of the mailmen on the track, had to fight many battles with the harsh conditions, to bring much needed supplies from Maree to Birdsville. The Birdsville Track is rich in history and tragedy.
The Sturt Stony Desert is an area in the north-east of South Australia, far south western border area of Queensland and the far west of New South Wales.
It was named by Charles Sturt in 1844, whilst he was trying to find the inland sea which he believed lay at the centre of Australia.
Much of the desert is covered by gibber. Sturt suggested the closely compacted stones were the result of currents moving across an ancient seafloor. However the gibber plains originated from desert sandstone sheets, which once covered the area. Weather has slowly broken down the sandstone with the harder fragments remaining.
After a day travelling through the desert, Birdsville will be a welcome sight and we can gather on the verandah of the iconic Birdsville Hotel to recap on the weeks travels.
Accommodation: Birdsville Hotel
This morning we’ll enjoy breakfast together at the Birdsville Bakery, to try their famous ‘curried camel pie’, before a visit to some of the historic landmarks in Birdsville, the heritage listed Australian Inland Mission Hospital and the heritage listed Court House.
Afterwards you’ll be transferred to the airport for your return journey home. The Regional Express Airlines flightpath will cross over some the magnificent country of Outback Queensland.