How to get there: Cordillo Downs

Reader Joe has suggested that it would be helpful to have instructions on “how the get there” for some of the out-of-the-way places mentioned in the Newsletter. Fair enough, Joe! So here’s the first one: Cordillo Downs.

But first a note about maps: the smart Outback driver will not head off without some reasonably detailed and up-to-date maps of the area where s/he is headed. These can be electronic or paper. Personally, I’ve found the paper variety very reliable — they’ve never given me any error messages or hardware problems. And even when falling apart due to incorrect folding by map-folding-challenged people, a bit of sticky tape gets them going again, even in the most remote places.

While I’m at it, let me give a plug for Westprint maps of the Outback. I’ve used them for years, and they’re not only consistently accurate, but also include a wealth of interesting information about the areas covered. The friendly and knowledgable Westprint people are based in Nhill in western Victoria. See Westprint maps are available at most places where good maps are sold, or give them a call on 03 5391 1466. Tell ’em Bobby Dazzler sent you!

I’m not going to provide a map here on this blog — you can go to the Westprint website or elsewhere for that.

Cordillo Downs is in the far north-east corner of South Australia, between Birdsville and Innamincka, so you’ll probably be heading to Cordillo from one of those two places. From Innamincka, take the Cordillo Downs Road north from the town for about 180 kms. If you’re starting from Birdsville, head east on the Birdsville Development Road towards Betoota for 115 kms, then turn south and 125 kms later, you’ll arrive at Cordillo.

Remember that these are isolated areas, and you need to take all the usual precautions. The condition of the road will vary, but in dry weather is usually not a problem for a 4wd. However, wet weather may make Cordillo unreachable by road, particularly from the north. The Cordillo Downs woolshed — Australia’s largest — is open for inspection, but no fuel or other services are available. No camping is permitted between the gates either side of the homestead.

For the Cordillo Downs weather report, see For road conditions, see

As you’re heading for Cordillo Downs, spare a thought for the shearers who rode their bicycles (without gears) from Innamincka. And by the way, note that as far as I know, Cordillo Downs no longer runs any sheep — it’s on the wrong side of the dog fence.


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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