Desert Sky Tours
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In This Issue........
Welcome Rain!
Lake Eyre Update
Birdsville Award
Leigh Creek opportunity
Mound Springs trip
Queen of the Desert
Departures 2016
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Issue: 36
January 2016
 Dear Subscriber,

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2016 - and we celebrate our 21st year on 26th July!

With much of the outback receiving some good rain earlier this year, we are looking forward to seeing the great country!

A list of all departures for 2016 is at the foot of this newsletter. You may notice an additional day has been added to the Longreach/Winton itinerary making it 12 days. This will allow more time in both Winton and Longreach to visit the many attractions.


Stay safe and happy travelling! 



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Welcome Rain!
There has been wonderful news of significant rainfall over the past few weeks in areas of the Outback which have been in drought conditions. Whilst more rain would be very welcome, particularly south west Queensland, it is a very good start to the year.

A great video of the Diamantina River starting to flow for the first time in four years was captured by the Birdsville grader driver and can be viewed here

Other great photos can be found on the Higgins Storm Chasing Facebook page, which has a number of contributions from Station people.
Lake Eyre update


The following information from the Lake Eyre Yacht Club website indicates:

  • Belt Bay has water 1.8 metres and rising.
  • Madigan Gulf water is 200mm.
  • water is flowing in the Warburton Groove, whilst the Warburton River is a trickle. The lower Warburton Lakes are full.
  • The Macumba and Neales Rivers are in moderate flood. In 1984 these two Rivers filled Lake Eyre south and partially filled Lake Eyre north from their discharge following heavy rains in central Australia.
  • Cooper Creek is below minor flood at Windorah

  Wrightsair at William Creeek  offer scenic flights over the         Lake, and their website Gallery and Facebook Timeline  

  have some great pics. 


 Top of page 


Winner Best Town Off the Beaten Track - Birdsville

The Australian Traveller recently announced it's "Best Getaways" and in the People's Choice category, the winner of The Best Town off the beaten track was BIRDSVILLE! 

"Most Australians won't make it to this minuscule oasis (population 115) in their lifetimes -and that's a travesty!

The sense of achievement in reaching Birdsville's classic outback pub (pictured) is overwhelming.
The 1500-kilometre drive from either Adelaide or Brisbane will give you a religious appreciation for just how pancake-esque this continent really is."   

The runners-up:
2. Broome, WA
3. Broken Hill, NSW
4. Mudgee, NSW
5. Coober Pedy, SA

New Hope for Leigh Creek
After redundancies stemming from the closure of Port Augusta's power station and the Leigh Creek coal mine, a new player in the gas sector has emerged with the promise of jobs.   

The Australian Newspaper reported on Leigh Creek Energy and their independent assessment of contingent gas resources in the Leigh Creek area with resultant employment.

A copy of the article can be viewed here.

A trip along the Oodnadatta Track
Along the edges of the Oodnadatta Track, The Great Artesian Basin squeezes to the surface creating oases of springs.
There are hundreds of springs along the Track and a trip last December visited eight of them between Marree and Oodnadatta.

A couple of these Springs will be familiar to many travellers because they are close to the Track and well signposted, for instance Hergott Springs at Marree, Blanche Cup and The Bubbler in Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park.

"The Bubbler" - Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park
We chose to visit eight of the Springs between Marree and William Creek, staying overnight at William Creek then heading back down the Track and along the Borefield Road to Woomera.

This allowed  opportunity to spend time visiting the Springs over the 2 days.
(A couple of the Springs were difficult to find despite our GPS references!). Two of the Springs, Frome and Jersey were dry.

Hergott, Elizabeth, Jersey, Blanche Cup, The Bubbler, Coward and Strangways Springs were visited the first day - the latter requiring additional time to inspect the ruins of Strangways Telegraph Repeater Station.

There are stone-walled stock pens, and a huge stone-walled water tank that looks more like a church until you find it has no door.!
At its peak, it was a small village with a number of buildings. The site was selected as it was next to a mound spring. The station was closed down in 1896 and moved to William Creek.

A highlight the following day was a visit to Emerald Spring.
Permission was obtained from Stuart Creek Station to drive the approx. 13kms on their property to the Spring. The Station is
is a mixture of land types including sandhills, breakaways, mound springs and gibber plains.

Queen of the Desert Festival 
The Queen of the Desert Festival 23 March- 26 March 2016 will be a fun packed 720km outback 4WD adventure travelling along the iconic Oodnadatta Track from Marree to Coober Pedy stopping overnight at William Creek, Oodnadatta and Arckaringa Station in the Painted Desert.

The Festival is a celebration of the outback as a spectacular setting for many successful Australian Films and aims to
support communities living in the remote Far North of South Australia.

The Queen of the Desert Festival also proudly supports its charity partner - Blue September - the nationwide awareness initiative that raises funds to fight the many cancers that affect men.

A Poster and details for further information can be found here.
Departures 2016!
These trips are in a Toyota Landcruiser vehicle with a maximum of 4 passengers:

 CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW Itineraries 2016 !

(itinerary opens in .pdf file)
            Yorke Peninsula
           & Southern Flinders
         Friday 8th February  
                   (5 days)  
Ardrossan, Port Julia, Port Vincent, Edithburgh, and Wool Bay. Scenic drive to Troubridge Point and Marion Bay. Innes National Park includes Cable Bay, Cape Spencer and Pondalowie Bay. Corny Point, Warooka and Yorketown.
Moonta and Wallaroo.  Banking museum Kadina.
Southern Flinders Ranges, Alligator Gorge, Melrose and The Bridle Track to Port Germein. 
es Hill Circuit
                           on demand    
                        (2 days)  
Gilbert Valley, Terowie, Peterborough (overnight and we visit Steamtown's  Laser Light Show), Franklyn, Ketchowla, Dares Hill, Mt Bryan, Clare Valley.
          Kangaroo Island
       Monday 29th February  
       Wednesday 2nd  November   
                (4 days)
         (Includes Sealink ferry)
Penneshaw, Antechamber Bay, Cape Willoughby,    
American River, Kingscote, Flinders Chase National Park,  
Cape Borda, Admirals Arch, Cape De Coudic, Seal Bay, Emu Bay, Stokes Bay, Snelling Beach, Western River Cove.  
            Wilson's Promontory  
             Thursday 10th March 
                     (9 days)  
Grampians NP, Halls Gap, Penshurst, Mortlake, Colac, Queensciffe Ferry, Sorrento, Meeniyan, Tidal River, Waratah Bay, Walkerville, Agnes Falls, Strzelecki Ranges, Tara Bulga NP, Grand Ridge Road, Skenes Creek,
The Great Ocean Road,
Mt Gambier and The Coorong.         
            The Sapphire Coast
            Tuesday 26th April  
                      (8 days)

Portland, Great Ocean Road, Otway Tree Top Walk, Apollo Bay, Metung, Lakes Entrance, Eden, Twofold Bay, Pambula, Merimbula, Bega, Victorian coastal towns, Meeniyan, Camperdown, Dunkeld, The Coorong.    
          The Gawler Ranges
          Monday 10th October 
                   (5 days)          

Port Wakefield, Port Germein, Port Augusta, Iron Knob, Corunna, Siam, Nonning, Mt Ive, Lake Gairdner, Yardea, Hiltaba, Paney Station, The Organ Pipes, Pildappa Rock, Tcharkuldu Hill, Minnipa, Wudinna, Kimba, Wilmington, Melrose, Gladstone, The Clare Valley.

                Lake Eyre
                   on demand
                      (3 days)
      Includes Plane Flight!
Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, One and a half hour plane flight over Lake Eyre, Farina Ruins, Ochre Cliffs, Hawker, Orroroo, Terowie, Burra.               

               Back O'Bourke       
              Sunday 8th April  
                   (9 days)
Broken Hill, Mutawintji NP, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Tilpa, Louth, Bourke(accommodation Bourke Riverside Motel), Lightning Ridge, Gilgandra, Cobar, Balranald, Murrayville, Pinnaroo.


           The Painted Desert           
              Saturday 21st  May 
                       (9 days) 
Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, William Creek, Coober Pedy,
The Breakaways, Painted Desert, Woomera, Roxby Downs, Andamooka,
Port Augusta, Arid Lands Botanical Gardens, Horrock's Pass  to the Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.

            Mungo and Hattah  
             National Parks  
           Wednesday 30th March
                   (5 days)  

Pinnaroo, Kow Plains Homestead and Cowangie, Murrayville, Pink Lakes, Underbool, Mildura, Wentworth, Old Zanci Station, Mungo Woolshed, Walls of China, Grand Canyon, Vigar's Well, Perry Sandhills, Paddle Steamer through Lock 11 Mildura, Red Cliffs, Lake Hattah, Lake Victoria, Rufus River, The Riverland.  
           Coongie Lakes
               Coongie Lakes
               Friday      3rd June
               Monday 27th June
                   (7 days)

Old Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, Coongie Lakes, Cmp LXV, Cameron Corner, Sturt NP, Tibooburra, Broken Hill, Loch Lilly and Quandong Stations, Burra.


          Birdsville & Innamincka 
              Saturday 23rd July 
                       (9 days)  

Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,Innamincka, Cameron Corner, Sturt National Park, Tibooburra,Broken Hill,
 Old Pastoral route to Burra, Adelaide.

             Birdsville & Windorah
             Saturday 6th  August 
                    (9 days)
Clare Valley, Leigh Creek, Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville,
Betoota, Windorah, Quilpie, Toompine, Thargomindah, Cunnamulla, Bourke, Cobar, Broken Hill. 


            Flinders Ranges
       Wednesday 7th September     
                    (4 days)
Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Willow Springs Station, Skytrek, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Parachilna Gorge, Moralana Scenic Drive, Melrose, The Bridle Track. Port Germein, Laura, Orroroo, Burra, Eudunda, Kapunda. 

           Flinders R
     Saturday 17th  September
                  (5 days)
Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Arkaroola,  Ridgetop Tour,  Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole, Gammon Ranges, Moralana Scenic Drive.


             Flinders Ranges 
                    & Outback
                   on demand
                  (8 days) 
Rawnsley Park, Wilpena Pound, Bunyeroo Valley, Brachina Gorge, Blinman, Arkaroola,  Ridgetop Tour,  Nooldoonooldoona Waterhole, Gammon Ranges, Moralana Scenic Drive.
Marree, The Oodnadatta Track, William Creek, Coober Pedy,
The Painted Desert, Woomera, Roxby Downs.
 The Limestone Coast  
         Monday 26th September 
         (5 days)   

Coonalpyn, Naracoorte (Alexandra Cave and Bool Lagoon), Penola, Mount Gambier, Port MacDonnell, Nelson. Tantanoola, Millicent, Robe, Kingston. Return to Adelaide via the Coorong to Meningie, Wellington and Strathalbyn. 

                Tumby Bay  
               The Eyre Peninsula
           Saturday 22nd October
                     (5 days)                    
Port Germein, Arno Bay, Port Neill,Trinity Haven Scenic Drive, Poonindie, Port Lincoln, Sleaford Bay, Whaler's Way, Tod Reservoir, Cummins, Mt Hope, Point Drummond, Greenly Beach, Dutton Bay, Coffin Bay, Koppio Museum.
Enjoy a Clydesdale Horse and trolley ride!
Return is via Horrock's Pass 
to Flinders Ranges, Orroroo and Burra.

                 Head of Bight
The Eyre Peninsula        
Saturday 20th August
          (9 days)  

Port Germein, Arno Bay, Port Neill,Trinity Haven Scenic Drive, Poonindie , Port Lincoln, Sleaford Bay, Whaler's Way, Coffin Bay, Lock's Well, Elliston, Talia Caves, Venue Bay, Murphy's Haystacks, Point Labatt, Streaky Bay, Smoky Bay, Ceduna,
Penong, Cactus Beach, Fowlers Bay,Nullarbor Roadhouse,
Head of Bight Whale Centre, Minnipa, Wudinna, The Gawler Ranges National Park, Kimba, Iron Knob, Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, Wilmington, Melrose, The Bridle Track to Port Germein, Clare Valley.

       Legendary Longreach
                     & Winton
               Monday 4th July   
                   (12 days)                                            $4500pp
 The Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, Windorah,Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackway, Winton, Waltzing Matilda Centre, Longreach.

Visit the Stockman's Hall Of Fame, Qantas Founders Museum, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Thomson River.
Barcaldine, The Tree of Knowledge, Blackall Woolscour, Tambo, Charleville, Cunumulla, Currawinya National Park, Hungerford, The Darling Track to Yantbulla, Ford's Bridge and Bourke.

A day exploring Bourke visiting Mt Oxley and local attractions including a cruise aboard the Jandra paddle-steamer on the Darling River.

Wilcannia via The Darling River Run through Louth to Tilpa and on to Broken Hill.

We take an old pastoral route to Burra and World's End Highway to Adelaide.


Thanks for your continued interest in Desert Sky Tours

Howard Humby
Desert Sky Tours