Cordillo Downs

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesBirdsville
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable For4WD Motorbike 
Distance423.72 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed58.27 km/hr
Travel Time7 hrs 16 mins
Page Updated: 21 Oct 2021


There are two main routes between Birdsville and Innimincka - the locals use both, although this route - the Cordillo Downs track, is the preferred.
Note - the alternate route is Walkers Crossing, and crosses terrain that is more likely to be closed due to flooding and boggy conditions. It has only in recent years been open to the public and is still very poorly marked, which creates quite a navigational challenge to most drivers.

The Cordillo Downs track is an interesting trek with worthwhile stops to explore ruins of old buildings. We suggest that this trek will take 2 days, that's because the fatigue and stress of attempting to complete this trek in one day has been the cause of many unnecessary accidents. Just remember, you are supposed to be on holiday - if you calculate at least 7 driving hours plus allocate time for rest stops you'll see that this is not a trip to be made in one day - we cannot stress this enough!

How to Use this Trek Note

  • To download this information and the route file for offline use on a phone, tablet, headunit or laptop, go to the app store and purchase ExplorOz Traveller. This app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage and the EOTopo webpage.


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The countryside along the Cordillo Downs track is a seemingly endless gibber plain and surprisingly these are the homes to large herds of cattle. The waterhole at Cadelga is important as a watering point for cattle. In recent years, we have seen a massive degradation to this waterhole with an increase in rubbish left by campers. Please take all your rubbish out with you - do not bury rubbish - dingoes will either dig it up and leave it to be blown about by the wind, or it will simply be exposed by the winds and rains in time.

The Cordillo Downs station remains an active part of an operational cattle empire and all stock and buildings are private property. The Cordillo Downs stone wooldshed (ruins) is State heritage listed and for this reason the owners generously invite passing travellers to look, however it is only the woolshed that has been made available to the public, so visitors should not walk past it to view other buildings or structures. Camping is not permitted here.

Be prepared for mozzies if there has been recent rain, and be watchful of snakes - Australia's most deadly snake, the inland Taipain is present in this region although rarely seen.

Road conditions are generally a little rough due to the gibber plains, although the only challenge is the stony, corrugations.


Cordillo Downs Station was first leased in 1875 and was originally known as Cardilla. Frazer only held ownership for 3 years with Edgar Chapman obtaining the lease in 1878. In 1883, the lease was taken over by the Beltana Pastoral Company, who owned it for almost a century and turned it into a major operation. By the turn of the century, Cordillo Downs was running more than 85,000 sheep.

The station survived droughts, flood and the extremes of isolation. However, it managed to produce quality wool that was exported to world markets for much of its history. During this period, the Afghan camel teams hauled the stores up the Strzelecki Track from Farina to Cordillo Downs and returned with wool. This 1,200 kilometre round trip often took two months to complete.

In 1981 the Brook family took over the lease of Cordillo Downs. Brooks Proprieters, who are the cattle kings of this region, also own Adria Downs Station, Cameron Downs, Mumpieowie & Alton Downs and live in Birdsville. Cordillo Downs now runs about 7,000 head of poll hereford cattle on the 7,900 sqaure kilometres of property.

The original stone shearing shed for Cordillo Downs is found about 250km along the track and can be visited by passing tourists - new information signboards will provide further information. Further on is the ruins of an outstation - CADELGA, which lies on the banks of a permanent waterhole.

TrekID: 36


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
This trek is suitable for camper trailers - but offroad models only.

All travellers are recommend to read the 4WDriving Topic for related articles and checklists for preparing your vehicle and ensuring you are aware of the necessary driving skills to tackle a trip of this nature.

All travellers should understand that mobile phones are not a reliable form of communication when driving in this region. We advise that you refer to the Communications Topic for related articles to help you decide what communications devices suit your budget and purpose.

NOTE: The Diamantina Shire (comprising the towns of Birdsville, Betoota and Bedourie) request that UHF Ch 8 and 38 are NOT to be used unless in an emergency - these channels are monitored by the Clinics, Police and station operators and must remain clear.


Camping permits are required if you intend to camp within the Innamincka Regional Reserve (covered by the SA Desert Parks Pass). A Desert Park Pass can be purchased online directly from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources SA here:

Fuel Usage

None in between towns
4cyl 60 litres4cyl 69 litres4cyl 85 litres
6cyl 94 litres *6cyl 85 litres *6cyl 75 litres
8cyl 65 litres8cyl 70 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Dry Season (always check local conditions). Generally Easter weekend - October.

Closest Climatic Station

Birdsville Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 123.99km NW
Mean Max. °C40.
Mean Min. °C26.424.721.717.
Mean Rain mm20.933.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Birdsville to Birdsville Tk & Birdsville Dev Rd
Driving: 3.91 km
Heading: 131°
Avg Speed: 49.39 km/hr
EST Time: 04:44
Birdsville Tk & Birdsville Dev Rd to Birdsville Dev Rd & Roseberth Access
Driving: 29.49 km
Heading: 64°
Avg Speed: 65.14 km/hr
EST Time: 27:09
Birdsville Dev Rd & Roseberth Access to Birdsville Dev Rd & Durrie Cacoory Rd
Driving: 29.8 km
Heading: 70°
Avg Speed: 73.04 km/hr
EST Time: 24:28
Birdsville Dev Rd & Durrie Cacoory Rd to Cuppa Creek, Birdsville Developmental Rd
Driving: 20.51 km
Heading: 68°
Avg Speed: 64.38 km/hr
EST Time: 19:06
Cuppa Creek, Birdsville Developmental Rd to Durrie Station Access
Driving: 19.82 km
Heading: 109°
Avg Speed: 90.21 km/hr
EST Time: 13:10
Durrie Station Access to Birdsville Dev Rd & Cordillo Downs Rd
Driving: 13.54 km
Heading: 119°
Avg Speed: 85.58 km/hr
EST Time: 09:29
Birdsville Dev Rd & Cordillo Downs Rd to Cordillo Downs Rd, QLD-SA Border
Driving: 26.08 km
Heading: 175°
Avg Speed: 72.32 km/hr
EST Time: 21:38
Cordillo Downs Rd, QLD-SA Border to Cadelga Outstation Ruins
Driving: 11.61 km
Heading: 158°
Avg Speed: 64.37 km/hr
EST Time: 10:49
Cadelga Outstation Ruins to Cadelga Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd
Driving: 0.14 km
Heading: 176°
Avg Speed: 31.65 km/hr
EST Time: 00:15
Cadelga Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Providence Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd
Driving: 53.07 km
Heading: 178°
Avg Speed: 47.98 km/hr
EST Time: 01:06:21
Providence Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Bull Hole Waterhole
Driving: 15.9 km
Heading: 162°
Avg Speed: 53.08 km/hr
EST Time: 17:58
Bull Hole Waterhole to Cordillo Downs
Driving: 19 km
Heading: 116°
Avg Speed: 47.6 km/hr
EST Time: 23:56
Cordillo Downs to Montkeleary Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd
Driving: 36.63 km
Heading: 109°
Avg Speed: 47.4 km/hr
EST Time: 46:22
Montkeleary Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Cordillo Downs Rd & Arrabury Tk
Driving: 0.38 km
Heading: 139°
Avg Speed: 36.96 km/hr
EST Time: 00:37
Cordillo Downs Rd & Arrabury Tk to Innamincka Regional Reserve, Northern Boundary
Driving: 10.99 km
Heading: 164°
Avg Speed: 25.98 km/hr
EST Time: 25:22
Innamincka Regional Reserve, Northern Boundary to Dripie Creek
Driving: 38.76 km
Heading: 194°
Avg Speed: 59.63 km/hr
EST Time: 39:00
Dripie Creek to Mulga Bore
Driving: 6.47 km
Heading: 180°
Avg Speed: 65.4 km/hr
EST Time: 05:56
Mulga Bore to Candradecka Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd
Driving: 7.07 km
Heading: 203°
Avg Speed: 63.53 km/hr
EST Time: 06:40
Candradecka Creek, Cordillo Downs Rd to Patchawarra Bore
Driving: 23.52 km
Heading: 230°
Avg Speed: 75.22 km/hr
EST Time: 18:45
Patchawarra Bore to Cordillo Downs Rd & Dig Tree Circuit
Driving: 52.12 km
Heading: 173°
Avg Speed: 65.8 km/hr
EST Time: 47:31
Cordillo Downs Rd & Dig Tree Circuit to Innamincka
Driving: 4.91 km
Heading: 182°
Avg Speed: 39.05 km/hr
EST Time: 07:32
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

There are two main points of interest along the Cordillo Downs track - Cordillo Downs old shearing shed, and the Cadelga outstation, both part of the Cordillo Downs Station, which is still operational.


Where to Stay

No Places To Stay available for this trek

Services & Supplies

Innamincka, Birdsville


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