Clifton Hills Station Birdsville Track South Australia

Thirty six days the Drill Team stayed on the property for the time it took to drill 1528 meters to find the sandstone bed of the Artesian Basin where the water was. Then the pump was attached and the boiling water gushed out at a rate of 60 liters a second.

Pipes transferred the water to a holding dam above the property, and cooled it before it was piped to the Homestead and around the areas for watering the cattle and horses.

Then the camp packed up, and moved to where the old bore was located and that was filled in and sealed closed.

This took another day and it was 2.30 in the afternoon, in temperatures of 45 degrees heat that the team finally started off to Birdsville in a convoy of 6 Road Trains and 3 4WD Utes. I had packed a box of 24 chicken loaf and Salt beef sandwiches, a box of caramel slices, some cookies and 16 pieces of fruit for a 12 man team lunch.

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Just out of Mungerannie, on the gibber plain, you’ll see the turnoff to the distant Cowarie Homestead and Kalamurina Homestead and further on, the highest point on the route, the 150m Mungerannie Gap. About 28km from here is Mirra Mitta bore, which gushes hot water; further up the track lies another bore, Mt Gason, which is 5km north of its namesake and 27km south of the Rig Road(a 4WD-only track). A short track will take you to the bore which, with its boiling water and sulphurous stench, is pretty to watch but not very palatable!

The next feature of note is Clifton Hills Homestead, the largest holding on the track. Beyond this, you’ll begin to skirt the edge of the Sturt Stony Desert, an expanse of rocks and stones with very little by way of vegetation. There are a number of minor creek crossings around here, some of which provide a bit of shade in which to set up camp, but there aren’t any particularly attractive options here as far as this goes.

North of here, the track crosses the tip of the Koonchera Sandhill, a massive landmark that stretches for miles away to the north. About 95 km from here, you’ll pass the turnoff to historic Pandie Pandie Homestead and start to travel along the Diamantina River. The Diamantina never really dries up, usually flowing during February and March and sometimes even into April and May depending on the monsoons, with regular floods on the Queensland side. From the turnoff, it’s around 32km into Birdsville.

Published by Ladymaggic

Artist, Traveller, Researcher and Writer, currently living in Australia where I photograph and share experiences and events as I travel. Travel photos and videos about many places in Australia​ and the world

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