Tucked away in a remote corner of South Australia is Innamincka, a wild, unforgiving environment that is harbouring surprising ties to Australia's explorer history.
Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Innamincka, or find and book accommodation near Innamincka today.
When it comes to the great Aussie adventure, only a few places really earn the title of an absolute must-see location in my books.
If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m proud to say that the district of Innamincka is one such place, or it was for me, at least. You see, for many people, this place is just a dot on the road map, but it has also become an iconic location for many travellers exploring outback Australia.
Why? Well, that’s because Innamincka (or very close to Innamincka) is the final resting place of the Burke and Wills expedition team. That’s right; this is the place that claimed the lives of some of Australia’s most famous explorers, which were also some of the hardiest, most resilient men of all time.
The area is infamous for its remote, rugged and isolated attributes, but also patches of startling beauty. The roads in and out are very much dirt highways, thanks to the road being made and re-made so many times it’s not funny. Innamincka is also surrounded by the Strzelecki, Tirari and Sturt Stony deserts.
With one pub, a general store and an airstrip, there might not seem like much to do out in Innamincka, but that’s where much of the romance of this region lies. The sheer remoteness of Innamincka is what attracts many of its visitors, all keen to experience the overwhelming vastness of this outback area.
That’s not to say there’s absolutely nothing to do around the Innamincka region. Camps like Policemans Waterhole, Cullyamurra Waterhole and Minkie Waterhole are all great spots to spend the night. Fishing is popular, and there’s plenty of yellowbelly and a few massive yabbies around, too. While you’re out that way, an overnight stop at the Montecollina Bore is well worth it. It’s a haven for both birds and bird watchers alike around here too, with water welling up from the Great Artesian Basin.
The Strzelecki Track runs through the Strzelecki Desert and stretches some 450km from the north of Flinders Ranges to Innamincka. Charles Sturt was first to pioneer through here in the mid-1800s, but this track was actually made famous when cattle rustler Harry Redford stole 1000 head of cattle in Queensland and drove them down the Strzelecki Track, which was unheard of back then. He became somewhat a folk hero for his pioneering spirit and, despite being charged and tried for the theft with overwhelming evidence against him, he was found not-guilty. Not only did he become a very popular drover in the area, but the route became a well-used stock track until cattle started being transported by truck.
On the banks of Coopers Creek you’ll find an ageing Coolabah tree of great historical significance. ‘The Dig Tree’ as it is formally known, is a memorial to the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, but also a reminder of the pioneering spirit and extreme harshness of the outback. The story goes that Burke and Wills, on return to Coopers Creek, found the camp abandoned by the rest of their expedition team. Little did they know, supplies had been buried close by The Dig Tree, and an inscription that would lead them to those much needed supplies was engraved on the tree. Burke and Wills never did discover that inscription, and perished not long after.
Coopers Creek is one of the most famous outback waterways; after all, it basically waters the desert! When the water levels are up, this place absolutely bursts with life. Flocks of pelicans and other birdlife offer a tranquil feel, and if you don’t have a hammock on board, I highly recommend you get one! While we’re talking about what to bring, a canoe will come in handy if you’re sticking around for a few days, too!
Innamincka is a remote settlement in the north-east pocket of South Australia.
Innamincka is 1065km north-east of Adelaide via the Barrier and Silver City Highway, and 459km from Lyndhurst up the Strzelecki Track.
The climate out in the Innamincka region is much like the environment: harsh and unforgiving. Summer is extremely hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C,while visitors might be surprised at how quickly the temperature can drop during winter. April through to October is the recommended time to visit Innamincka, but no matter what time of the year you travel, it's important to be well prepared, well stocked, and aware of the ever-changing road and weather conditions.
Discover more accommodation options close to Innamincka.