Travelling to the Simpson Desert Ultra is one of the best parts, and while we may be remote we still like to think we are the centre of everywhere! Getting to Birdsville is no easy feat and in an attempt to make it as easy as possible, the team at SDU are working closely with travel providers to bring you some efficient options.
EDIT: OUR SDU GROUP BOOKING ON THE BRISBANE-BIRDSVILLE FLIGHT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. FLIGHTS FROM ADELAIDE ARE STILL AVAILABLE – SEE BELOW.
There is one commercial flight that operates to Birdsville from Brisbane twice a week. The flight is operated by Regional Express (Rex) and departs Brisbane at 8am, stopping 4 times on its way to Birdsville where it arrives at 2:30pm. These flights range from $700-$1300 return when booked online. To make the trip using this method SDU recommend you book to fly Brisbane to Birdsville on Thursday the 4th and back on Tuesday the 9th. All seats on the SDU group booking for these flights are currently sold out (as at 24th November, 2019). There are still seats available to book online via Rex for the Thursday flight only.
SDU has also successfully engaged a charter flight direct from Adelaide for our event. The flight will depart Adelaide at 2pm on Thursday the 4th of June, arriving in Birdsville around 5pm. The return flight will depart Birdsville at 10am on Monday the 8th of June (Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday), arriving in Adelaide around noon. The cost of this flight is $1000 per person return. We do hope that the departure times will allow for people to connect from major capital cities before and after to avoid the additional cost of accommodation en route. There are 4 seats remaining (as at 24th November, 2019) on this 30 seat aircraft, so if you want to take advantage of this option drop us a line at email@example.com or via the contact SDU page.
There is also a Regional Express flight that flies from Mount Isa to Birdsville which may suit anyone traveling from northern Queensland. The flight departs on Friday the 5th at approximately 8am and arrives into Birdsville at 10:30am. The return flight departs Birdsville on Monday the 8th at 2:30pm and arrives into Mt Isa at approximately 5pm. You can find more information and book via Rex’s website.
We recognise that for many the cost of these flights will seem excessive and we absolutely agree that you could fly overseas for the same amount. They are however the reality of flying remotely in Australia and we are so thankful for our supporters who have allowed us to cover part of the cost so that the Adelaide flight is only $1000 per person.
A road trip is always a good idea and certainly an entertaining way to make your way to SDU. Birdsville is around 1200km north of Adelaide, 1600km west of Brisbane and 700km south of Mount Isa. It lies close to the corner of Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland. No matter which direction you are coming from you will need to negotiate dirt roads, with approximately 250km of it from the east (Brisbane), 500km from the south (Adelaide) and 70km from the north (Mount Isa). With good weather the most important thing you need with your vehicle is good ground clearance. The dirt roads can get quite corrugated with deep wheel ruts in places, so while you’re unlikely to engage 4wd in your vehicle unless the heavens opens and you get caught in rain, it is important to make sure you’re not in a car that is likely to scrape on the road surface.
The team at SDU want you to arrive safely so you can enjoy all the fun and suggest that you take it easy on the roads and aim to leave after sunrise and be wherever you’re going by sunset. Kangaroos and cattle pose a real hazard on outback roads, as does driving into the sun in the early morning and evening, so it’s best to avoid times when animals are out grazing on the roadside and difficult to see.
We ask that you remain patient on the roads as much of the bitumen is single lane meaning it can take time to find a safe place to overtake, and in fact often you’ll find that people will slow down or pull over to let you pass. The dirt roads also pose the added risk of dust that can make visibility very poor. Never travel in the dust of a vehicle in front of you and never overtake when you do not have clear visibility ahead. SDU guarantees that at some point the road will bend favourably and the wind will blow the dust out of your field of vision long enough to allow for a clear view ahead. Just wait until you see that before making your move – did we mention don’t rush?
It’s also important to take into account accommodation options on the way and we strongly urge you to book ahead unless you are planning to camp. Rooms can be hard to come by in the small towns during the cooler months so it’s best to be prepared.
The last fuel options on the way to Birdsville are Windorah, around 400km to the east, Marree and Mungerannie, 500km & 340km respectively to the south, and Bedourie which is 200km to the north. Don’t get caught short so top up whenever you can in the outback. If you budget on $2/L you should have a few dollars extra in your budget for a cold beer at the Birdsville Hotel when you arrive.
There are no commercial bus services available to Birdsville and SDU does not have any plans to engage a road charter option.
There are no train services to Birdsville.
Nope – no boats.
SDU strongly recommends that potential participants follow Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest news. Creating an event in the remote Outback takes an extraordinary amount of planning and we will do everything we can to bring you the latest information as it comes to hand. SDU also strongly recommends that participants take out travel insurance.