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Oodnadatta Track (depicted in blue)
|Length||617 km (383 mi)|
|NW end|| Stuart Highway,|
|SE end||Birdsville Track,|
|Fuel supply||Marla, Oodnadatta, William Creek, Marree|
|Facilities||Airstrips, charters at all towns, UHF Radio repeaters with 100 km range on various channels provide emergency contact with locals. Swimming pools and police stations at Oodnadatta and Marla|
The Oodnadatta Track is an unsealed 617 km (383 mi) outback road in the Australian state of South Australia passing from Marree in the south-east to Marla in the north-west via Oodnadatta. Along the way, the track passes the southern lake of the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park, the settlements of William Creek and Oodnadatta, and mound springs known as Freeling Springs, Strangways Springs, and The Bubbler and Blanche Cup (Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs).
The track follows a traditional Australian Aboriginal trading route. Along the Track are numerous springs feeding water from the Great Artesian Basin, the most accessible examples being the mound springs near Coward Springs (now in Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park). Later, because of the availability of water, the route was chosen for the steam-train powered Central Australia Railway, the original route of The Ghan.
It was also the route taken by the explorer John McDouall Stuart on his third expedition in 1859. Remnants of the many railway sidings and bridges, the ruins of railway buildings, and Overland Telegraph Line repeater stations are located along the track – some of the best preserved are the Coward Springs Campground – complete with natural artesian spa and the abandoned Curdimurka railway siding.
Angle Pole ( It is near the Peake cattle station, also known as "The Peake", or Freeling Springs. The ruins of Peake telegraph station exist on the station today. Nearby Peake Creek was named after Edward John Peake by John McDouall Stuart in June 1859, hence Peake Station, which was acquired by Kidman Holdings in 1898.) is the point near Oodnadatta where the direction of the Telegraph Line changed to a more northerly direction.
The Track was named by Adam Plate of the Oodnadatta Progress Association in about 1980 to form a trilogy of unsealed tourist routes with the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks nearby. This Road has no major intersections.
The Oodnadatta Track roughly follows the former railway line as far north as Oodnadatta, and then turns to the west, meeting the sealed Stuart Highway at Marla. The road's surface has been well maintained in recent years.[when?] In dry weather, the track is passable to most vehicles and caravans, but a four-wheel drive (4x4) vehicle gives a more comfortable journey, and is essential for driving the track during and after rain. Since the track is unsealed, the Government of South Australia recommends that users of the track check if the track is open before departure.
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