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Marree
Marree
Flying over Lake Eyre
Marree Man

Lake Eyre Marree Man

Thursday, February 20, 2003
Welcome to the middle of nowhere and a genuine outback enigma! Are you curious yet?

Marree is at the junction of the Birdsville and Oodnadatta Tracks, and the tiny town has been through some ups and downs in its history. Once the base for large camel trains transporting wool and supplies to outlying stations and an important railway junction, it is now home to around 80 people.

Buildings from the 1800s remain and the grandest of all is the heritage-listed two-storey Great Northern Hotel. Other old buildings are the post office, railway building, police station, school house and hospital.

The town comes to life during the winter tourist season and every second July sees it really livened up when the Marree Australian Camel Cup is staged.

But Marree is also now famous for a new attraction — the Marree Man. Believed to be the world's largest geoglyph — a man-made figure or symbol cut into the earth — the Marree Man arrived in 1998 and just how or why it was placed there remains a mystery … It is a huge creation, measuring 4km from head to toe and 28km in circumference. To this day, no-one has laid claim to being the creator of this enormous figure on the landscape.

The famous dog fence, which stretches from Queensland to the Great Australian Bight in South Australia, also runs through the area. This amazing wire mesh fence protects sheep from dingoes and other feral animals. Some sections are more than 100 years old, but it wasn't completely joined until the 1940s. It is two metres high and is more than twice the length of the Great Wall of China.

The best way to get the real feel of the area and its dry vastness is from the air and Central Air Services fly regularly out of Marree. It is more than a joy flight and passengers are always amazed by the harshness of Australia's desert heart.

Lake Eyre is an enormous salt mass. It fills around every 30 years but when dry is covered by a salty crust.

For more than 80 years in the 1800s the Birdsville Track was the route taken by cattle drovers, moving huge herds from south-west Queensland to Marree where they were loaded onto trains for the last part of their journey.

The 427km Oodnadatta Track was an Aboriginal trade route following the line of water springs along the south-western edge of the Great Artesian Basin. European explorers also mapped it out for the route of the Overland Telegraph Line from Port Augusta to Darwin which opened in the 1870s. Camel caravans were replaced by the Ghan Railway in 1929. It was closed in 1980 and a new railway line opened hundreds of kilometres to the west.

The Oasis Caravan Park doesn't offer much shade but there are campsites with grass and self-contained cabins with air conditioning.

Location

380km north of Port Augusta

Cost

Central Air Services one-hour Lake Eyre scenic flights cost $140 per person for three or more people. They run from March 31 to October 15.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Lake Eyre Scenic Flight
C/- Oasis Town Centre Caravan Park
Ph: (08) 8675 8352

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