Mt Dare to Oodnadatta via Dalhousie

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMount Dare Hotel
DifficultyDifficulty 2.5/5
Suitable For4WD AWD Camper Bike 
Distance251.44 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed50.22 km/hr
Travel Time5 hrs
Page Updated: 28 May 2021


The attraction of the Dalhousie mound springs, combined with some delightful ruins of old stations and railway sidings make this a must-do trek if travelling in this vicinity.

This trek note paves a typical route for travellers either commencing or ending a trip across the Simpson Desert but also enables those of us that are less adventurous to soak up the outback ambiance without venturing too far into the red desert.

This trek involves numerous small creek crossings and terrain varies from stoney to sandy in patches but does not involve the crossing of any major sand dunes.

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Dalhousie Springs form the largest complex of artesian springs in Australia and the rehabilitation and protection of this internationally significant area was one of the main reasons for the establishment of the Witjara National Park, named with the aboriginal word for the paperbark trees "Melaleuca glomerata" fringing the springs.

The origin of the date palms in the area surrounding the Dalhousie Ruins is still being debated. Romantics believe the trees were planted by Afghan cameleers, but there is firm evidence that dates were planted by the Lewis family who took over the lease of Dalhousie in 1896.


For thousands of years before Europeans discovered them, Dalhousie Springs provided water, shelter, food and medicines for the desert Aborigines. The ancient springs had a mythological significance too for the Aborigines and are featured in many tribal myths and songs. The Park also has an extensive European history. Dalhousie Springs served as a refuge and base camp for Simpson Desert crossings by early explorers, as well as today's many adventurous 4WD travellers.

The first pastoral lease in the area, which later became part of the Mount Dare property, was taken up by Ned Bagot in 1872 with the Dalhousie Homestead, stockyards and outbuildings constructed in the following decade. Sheep were the initial mainstay of pastoralism, but the focus shifted to cattle by the turn of the century. Although many bores were sunk on Mount Dare station, Dalhousie Springs remained vital for the survival of stock.

The land was marginal pastoral country and, during the brief history of the industry, various leases were abandoned, particularly from the start of the century until just prior to the First World War. Evidence of white habitation remain at the Dalhousie ruins and in the form of old stockyards and agricultural equipment in the area.

More than a century of grazing by sheep and cattle ceased in 1985 with the declaration of Witjira National Park. Mount Dare Homestead now operates as a private enterprise and provides fuel, meals, supplies and accommodation for visitors.

TrekID: 139


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.


To visit or camp at Dalhousie Springs, which is located within the Witjara National Park, visitors must hold a Desert Parks Permit. If Dalhousie Springs is the only location in the desert where you wish to visit, then a special 24 hour permit is available from the onsite Ranger. A 24 hour pass is not required if you hold a current 12 month Desert Parks Pass. A Desert Park Pass can be purchased online directly from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources SA here:

Fuel Usage

4cyl 35 litres4cyl 41 litres4cyl 50 litres
6cyl 39 litres6cyl 46 litres6cyl 44 litres
8cyl 39 litres8cyl 42 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Oodnadatta Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 83.46km S
Mean Max. °C37.936.633.728.523.219.919.622.126.630.333.736.3
Mean Min. °C23.022.319.
Mean Rain mm22.932.214.310.912.711.710.08.19.913.913.017.1
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Mount Dare Hotel to Mt Dare Road & Dalhousie Road
Driving: 10.98 km
Heading: 214°
Avg Speed: 45.09 km/hr
EST Time: 14:36
Mt Dare Road & Dalhousie Road to Dalhousie Rd & Bloods Creek Rd
Driving: 23.03 km
Heading: 168°
Avg Speed: 52.46 km/hr
EST Time: 26:20
Dalhousie Rd & Bloods Creek Rd to 3 O'clock Creek
Driving: 23.89 km
Heading: 130°
Avg Speed: 55.07 km/hr
EST Time: 26:01
3 O'clock Creek to Spring Creek Delta Track & Pedirka Track
Driving: 8.02 km
Heading: 76°
Avg Speed: 53.36 km/hr
EST Time: 09:01
Spring Creek Delta Track & Pedirka Track to Dalhousie Springs
Driving: 3.41 km
Heading: 41°
Avg Speed: 36.43 km/hr
EST Time: 05:36
Dalhousie Springs to Spring Creek Delta Track & Pedirka Track
Driving: 3.41 km
Heading: 221°
Avg Speed: 36.43 km/hr
EST Time: 05:36
Spring Creek Delta Track & Pedirka Track to Dalhousie (Ruins)
Driving: 8.53 km
Heading: 189°
Avg Speed: 47.76 km/hr
EST Time: 10:42
Dalhousie (Ruins) to Witjira NP, Western Boundary
Driving: 15.7 km
Heading: 198°
Avg Speed: 53.07 km/hr
EST Time: 17:45
Witjira NP, Western Boundary to Pedirka Siding Ruins
Driving: 26.88 km
Heading: 258°
Avg Speed: 55.83 km/hr
EST Time: 28:53
Pedirka Siding Ruins to Hamilton Creek
Driving: 16.98 km
Heading: 247°
Avg Speed: 57.87 km/hr
EST Time: 17:36
Hamilton Creek to Fogartys Claypan
Driving: 46.09 km
Heading: 156°
Avg Speed: 55.09 km/hr
EST Time: 50:11
Fogartys Claypan to Alberga River & Oodnadatta - Hamilton Tk
Driving: 14.07 km
Heading: 166°
Avg Speed: 56.71 km/hr
EST Time: 14:53
Alberga River & Oodnadatta - Hamilton Tk to Oodnadatta Tk & Mt Dare Rd
Driving: 31.51 km
Heading: 166°
Avg Speed: 57.01 km/hr
EST Time: 33:09
Oodnadatta Tk & Mt Dare Rd to The Angle Pole Memorial
Driving: 10.53 km
Heading: 145°
Avg Speed: 48.03 km/hr
EST Time: 13:09
The Angle Pole Memorial to Oodnadatta
Driving: 8.41 km
Heading: 150°
Avg Speed: 43.04 km/hr
EST Time: 11:43
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.

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