The Route

Reaching the start of the race at Purni Bore, South Australia can be a challenging trip.

As a minimum allow three days from Melbourne, three or four days from Sydney, two days from Adelaide and one day from Alice Springs. Those leaving from Queensland often arrive via Birdsville and drive along the course to the start. This does give you a sneak preview of the track but requires you to carry enough fuel and water for an out and back trip.

The quickest approach from the Southern states is via Pt Augusta heading north along the Stuart Highway, turning off the highway at Coober Pedy. This route is sealed until you turn on to the dirt road from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta. If you have time, the Oodnadatta Track (via Maree) is a nice trip and follows the old Ghan railway line.

Approaching Purnie Bore, the last (limited) supplies available are at Oodnadatta and Mt Dare. Do not expect to fill up with water at these points. Coober Pedy has good water available at 20c/40 litres. You can get water opposite the Shell servo coming into town. Port Augusta has several large supermarkets and a basic bike shop. Birdsville is the last supply point from the eastern side.

Allow plenty of travel time. The track from Dalhousie to Purni Bore can be slow and rough. Drop your tyre pressures and speed once on the dirt and you will be less likely to have tyre damage on the way there.

Check road conditions in the National Park prior to your departure using the Desert Parks Hotline: 1800 816 078. Call Transport SA Road Condition Hotline 1300 361 033 for road updates outside of the National Park. Bulletins are also posted on the website.

Map overview for accessing the Simpson Desert


Coober Pedy – motels, backpacker accommodation, camping, pubs, restaurants, mini-supermarkets, water, fuel, ATM, PO, public phones, mobile coverage. Click for website

oodnadatta roadhouse

Oodnadatta – camping, cabins, pub, meals, fuel, basic supplies, public phone, EFTPOS, limited water.

Pink Roadhouse Oodnadatta 08 8670 7822 Click for website

Maree – camping, cabins, pub, fuel, public phone, EFTPOS, basic supplies, limited water.

Mt Dare Station – fuel (they may have other supplies but ring ahead first) phone 08 86707835 Click for website

Dalhousie Springs – toilets, showers, hot springs (no drinking water)

Purnie Bore – shower, toilet, bore water (no drinking water)

Birdsville – camping, cabins, pub, motel rooms, fuel, water, basic supplies, EFTPOS, phone. Click for website

Birdsville Hotel 07 4656 3244 Click for website

Birdsville Caravan Park 07 4656 3214 Click for Website

Fuel Useage

Last stop for fuel…Oodnadatta Roadhouse

From Oodnadatta take sufficient fuel for at least 800k (to reach Birdsville).

Fuel usage (a rough guide):

  • Diesel – 150 litres
  • Petrol – 200 litres
  • Always allow extra fuel for unplanned detours.
  • Dual tank vehicles can usually take enough fuel without the need for jerry cans.

SDBC2024: 1 October to 5 October 2024