Marree

Marree railway, Ken Stepnell / Explore Australia Publishing

Marree is the perfect image of a tiny outback town. It is frequented by four-wheel-drive enthusiasts taking on the legendary Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks. The settlement was established in 1872 as a camp for the Overland Telegraph Line as it was being constructed, and also became a railhead for the Great Northern Railway (which was later known as the Ghan). The town soon serviced all travellers and workers heading north, including the famous Afghan traders who drove their camel trains into the desert and played a significant role in opening up the outback.

Visitor Information

Marree Outback Roadhouse and General Store; (08) 8675 8360.

Nearby national parks

  • Lake Eyre National Park

    Lake Eyre National Park encircles a desolate landscape of saltpans and waterless tracts of red desert. On rare occasions, the generally dry...more

  • Lake Torrens National Park

    The 250-kilometre-long ephemeral Lake Torrens is timeless, wild and starkly photogenic. Protected within Lake Torrens National Park, this is...more

  • Vulkathunha Gammon Ranges National Park

    At the northernmost end of the Flinders, the weathered Vulkathunha–Gammon Ranges are the last cluster of ancient mountains before the...more

Nearby towns

  • Leigh Creek

    Located in the Flinders Ranges, Leigh Creek is a modern coalmining town that services a huge open-cut mine to the north. The original...more

  • Andamooka

    If Queen Elizabeth II had ever been to Andamooka, perhaps she would have thought differently about the Andamooka Opal given to her as a gift...more

  • Arkaroola

    Arkaroola is set in an incredible landscape of ranges laced with precious minerals, waterholes nestled inside tall gorges and places with...more

In Town

Aboriginal Heritage Museum: features artefacts and cultural history; in Arabunna Aboriginal Community Centre.

Marree Heritage Park: includes Tom Kruse's truck that once carried out the famous outback mail run on the Birdsville Track in the 1950s.

Camel sculpture: made out of railway sleepers.

Scenic flights: including over Lake Eyre and the Marree Man, a 4 km long carving in a plateau of an Aboriginal hunter. The carving, visible only from the air, appeared mysteriously in 1998, and is slowly fading; contact visitor centre for details.

Nearby

Lake Eyre National Park Of international significance, Lake Eyre is dry for most of the time – it has filled to capacity on only 3 occasions in the last 150 years. When water does fill parts of the lake (usually due to heavy rains in Queensland funnelled south via creeks and rivers), birds flock to it. Avoid visiting in the hotter months (Nov–Mar). Lake Eyre North is accessed via the Oodnadatta Track, 195 km W of Maree. Lake Eyre South is accessed via the 94 km track north of Marree (along this track is Muloorina Station, which offers camping alongside the Frome River). Both access routes are 4WD only. Lake Eyre South also meets the Oodnadatta Track about 90 km W of Marree, where there are good views. A Desert Parks Pass is required for the park and is available from Marree Post Office or by contacting the Desert Parks Hotline on 1800 816 078. Scenic flights are perhaps the most rewarding option, from both Marree and William Creek.

Oodnadatta Track: a 600 km 4WD track from Marree to Marla. Highlights along the track include the Dog Fence (around 40 km W) and the railway-siding ruins at Curdimurka Siding and Bore (90 km W) from the original Great Northern Railway line to Alice Springs. A short distance beyond Curdimurka is Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park, with a series of springs – fed by water from the Great Artesian Basin – supporting a small ecosystem of plants and animals. Between Marree and Marla, fuel is available only at William Creek (202 km NW) and Oodnadatta (405 km NW).

Birdsville Track: famous 4WD track from Marree to Birdsville (in Queensland) of just over 500 km, once a major cattle run. Highlights on the track include the failed date palm plantation at Lake Harry Homestead (30 km N) and the meeting of the Tirari and Strzelecki deserts at Natterannie Sandhills (140 km N, after Cooper Creek crossing). Cooper Creek may have to be bypassed if flooded (with a 48 km detour to a ferry). Between Marree and Birdsville, fuel is available only at Mungerannie Roadhouse (204 km N).

Travellers note: Care must be taken when attempting the Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks. These tracks are unsealed, with sandy patches. Heavy rain in the area can cut access for several days. Motorists are advised to ring the Northern Roads Condition Hotline on 1300 361 033 before departure.

Campsites around town

Marree Oasis Town Centre Caravan Park

In the heart of Marree’s township, this central caravan park is 111 km north of Leigh Creek. Cabins are also available.... Find out more


Marree Caravan and Campers Park

You’ll find this basic caravan park just south of Marree, 111 km north of Leigh Creek. Bring your own drinking water.... Find out more


Muloorina Homestead camping area 47 km

This bore-fed billabong on the Frome River, 51 km north of Marree, is a handy staging point for 4WD visits to Lake Eyre and Lake Eyre South. Signposted access is provided along the Muloorina Station road from Marree.... Find out more


Clayton Station camping area 51 km

Birdsville Track. At this popular stopover on a well-known pastoral property 44 km north of Marree and 466 km south of Birdsville, there is an oasis-like wetland with diverse vegetation and an array of birdlife to enjoy.... Find out more


Farina Campground 51 km

A popular stopover for travellers on the Oodnadatta and Birdsville tracks, the campsites are close to the historic ruins of the one-time railway town of Farina, just off the Lyndhurst–Marree Rd, 27 km north of... Find out more


Lyndhurst Hotel camping area 76 km

Both the Oodnadatta and Strzelecki tracks kick off from the one-time railway town of Lyndhurst, where the bitumen ends and the fun begins. This camping area is right next to the hotel, and the vivid ochre pits just to... Find out more


Boolyeroo Goldfields camping area 100 km

The hill country of the northern Flinders Ranges has a long history of small-scale mining. These goldfields and the associated bush camping are located 29 km east of Leigh Creek along the Copley–Balcanoona Road.... Find out more


What's on around town

Australian Camel Cup: July.

comments powered by Disqus