Will bitumen road spark Marree grey nomad influx?

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Bitumen reaches Marree
Drone footage of the road being sealed on the way to Marree. PIC: Marree Hotel/Advertiser

While it may be not be happening fast enough for some, and it’s happening way too fast for others, the march of the bitumen is continuing to open up parts of the Outback.

In South Australia, the final section of entire 82-kilometre stretch of road between Marree and Lyndhurst has just been sealed and locals hope it will bring with it more grey nomads and other travellers.

Marree publican Phil Turner told the Advertiser newspaper the impact would be huge.

“We had some 42-and-a-half kilometres of dirt, which was notoriously chopped up and chewed,” he said. “The significance of this is just overwhelming for the region … it enables a completely different market to access the region on a sealed road.”

Mr Turner said many tourists went as far north as Parachilna or Hawker but the new road would drive people to explore other Outback areas.

“It puts them in very easy reach of Kati Thanda — Lake Eyre and the Marree Man,” he told the Advertiser.

And he said it was not uncommon for tourists to be injured in accidents on the road.

“They have never driven on the dirt and all of a sudden they hit a patch of dirt and get into trouble,” Mr Turner said.

The town is holding a ‘Bitumen Party’ today to celebrate the roadworks’ completion.

But this could be just the start.

The State Government is also said to be measuring the economic impact of sealing the Strzelecki Track, which stretches between Lyndhurst, north of Leigh Creek, and Innamincka. The project would cost about $450 million.

“They could be using this section of Lyndhurst to Marree as a test for the big job of sealing the Strzelecki Track,” Mr Turner said.

  • Will this new bitumen stretch to Marree make a difference to your Big Lap? Would you be happy to see iconic tracks like the Strzelecki bitumenised? Comment below.

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13 Responses to Will bitumen road spark Marree grey nomad influx?

  1. That’s fantastic as our caravan is not off road but we have the 4×4 and the tent as well.

  2. When younger, I used to love driving the corrugated, pot holed, mud to the axles – pioneer tracks. Particular delight was jumping cattle grids in an attempt to clear the great puddles on the other side.
    They were dangerous roads to the uninitiated and locals alike – better gone and filed in the memories of us old farts. I sincerely hope that bitumen brings prosperity to those that live the other side of the black stump. further the roads don’t cause over-speed situations and increase road kill.

  3. We thought they were goi g to do this when we were there in April as the road had been graded as as,oath as a baby’s bum…
    Yes we would definitely travel and feel so much more comfortable (no more sore necks n backs) if they bitumised the Strzelecki track …

  4. Whilst I know that the adventurers want the land to stay the same and to be able to use their off road vehicles to access these areas but, for safety and other reasons what a great idea. The sooner that all roads and tracks in Australia are sealed the better, consider the possibility for people who would normally never have the opportunity to visit these areas for whatever reason, to be able to get out to these wonderful areas and experience what the rest of us can, absolutely brilliant idea.

  5. This will be a godsend for people living in and around the area no more dirt roads to get groceries and doctors etc , and for those upset Australia is a big place find somewhere else to clean out the cobwebs and enjoy the outback , from a country bumpkin from out west

  6. The more sealing the better, not just for Grey nomads but for town economies.

  7. If you asphalt it I will come…..

  8. The Bride is not happy with corrugations and ,while we have a semi off road rig,bitumen would make it much more likely that I would take her to the destinations of my single travelling years.

  9. For me,the adventure really began at Port Augusta, regardless of whether I was going to the west coast on a fishing trip, or up to the Flinders Ranges,Marree and beyond. I remember when I first saw the Algebuckina railway bridge over the Neales River up near Oodnadatta 30 years ago it blew me away. A long way from Marree I know, but there’s so much history up there, Old Ghan Railway, Overland Telegraph Line,and much more.Sealing the road to Marree can make it a base camp for those who don’t want to drive on unsealed roads. There must be 4WD tours up there to show them the good stuff. Paul.

  10. We towed our van from Newcastle to Leigh Creek with two of our grandchildren(school holidays so on a schedule, bugger) intending to fly over Lake Eyre. Unfortunately a three day weather front grounded all flights so we drove from Leigh Creek to Maree then out through a huge cattle property to Lake Eyre National Park, 100 odd kms of rough as guts dirt road. Loved every minute of it though the Pajero got a workout. This time around we’ll take our van to Maree.

  11. Nothing like sealing a road to increase towns economies. I’ll bet not too many that live up around Maree want the road to stay dirt. One day before I go to God, I’d like to drive up to Birdsville from the south. Hate the dust and corrugations. How many travelled the Eyre highway before it was sealed. Went over the first time late 77, it was dirt from Madura to Ceduna.

  12. Great news as a fly/drive couple from Brisbane. We had to hire a 4wd last time we went there to see Lake Eyre. This year we will go for a cheaper, smaller SUV to see the Australian Water Tank art at Maree & the rest of S.A. in the same vehicle. Thanks for the info.

  13. I suppose the BUSH has to get Civilised sooner or later,ME I like a bit of dirt as a Challenge,but that”s Progress I guess?

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