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Getting There

Birdsville is located in the heart of Australia, on the edge of the famous Simpson desert. It is not a leisurely 2-3 hours drive from the capital city, but that's the beauty… It is in the middle of bloody nowhere! Thousands make the journey every year for the Birdsville Big Red Bash and the Birdsville Races, so you have no excuses! Now let's run through your options:

1. Car

2. Plane

3. Bus

1. By Car

The following are some quick reference guides about the driving time and distance to Birdsville from capital cities along the south and eastern seaboards of the country.

  • Sydney - 1,900km, 2.5 to 3 days drive.
  • Melbourne - 1900km, 3 days drive.
  • Brisbane - 1,600km, 2 days drive.
  • Adelaide - 1,200km, 1.5 to 2 days drive.

Driving is a fantastic way to make the Big Red Run into a longer outback travel experience. 4WD vehicles are the preferred vehicle type for the roads and this is what most people traveling to Birdsville will drive, however 2WD with reasonable clearance would also be ok. Smaller 2WD vehicles are not recommended.  

It's a long trip so be sure to plan for plenty of breaks. Research the route you plan to take, and plan where you will spend your overnight stays. There are lots of outback driving tips at Stay On Track Out Back which we highly recommend reading before you travel.

Carpooling might be another option for you if you are traveling in a group, or you might find other participants through the Facebook group that you can connect with and share travel arrangements.

Another option is to hire a 4WD - double check that the vehicle has insurance when driven on unsealed roads.

2. By Plane

This is the quickest way to get in and out of Birdsville, however with only 2 flights in and out per week, and very small aircraft, this option is limited in capacity.

The only commercial flights into Birdsville are on the REX Airlines flights that service remote outback Queensland townships. The airplanes that service these towns are small 36 seater aircraft which fly only a couple of times each week, which is why availability is limited. The routes are designed to transport passengers and mail between the small townships to major regional centres like Brisbane and Mt Isa. For these reasons, the flights will land and take off at several different towns on the scheduled route, picking up and dropping off mail and passengers, and re-fuelling along the way. The flights are comfortable, and they are a great way to see some of outback Queensland from the air!

Brisbane to Birdsville Return
This is the quickest and most direct flight to get to Birdsville for Big Red Run. This flight will ensure that you are in Birdsville the day before registrations and race briefings for runners and volunteers begin. It will also ensure that you are able to attend the post race celebrations and presentation dinner, before flying out the following day.

Booking must be made direct at

Travel dates to suit Big Red Run:

Brisbane to Birdsville
Depart Brisbane Monday 25th June 2018, 7.55am, arrive Birdsville 2.25pm

Birdsville to Brisbane
Depart Birdsville Tuesday 3rd July 2018, 10.50am, arrive Brisbane 5.15pm

Once these flights are completely booked out, race organisers will contact REX Airlines and ask them to consider adding an additional flight to cope with the extra demand. We recommend runners book their airfares early - it's both cheaper, and will indicate to REX Airlines the high demand for flights on these dates.

Additional Advice
We recommend that passengers check baggage allowances, and details about the recommended transfer times between connecting flights. We highly recommend that travelers are in Brisbane the evening before their Birdsville flight - the slightest delay in connecting flights will mean you miss the transfer to the Rex flight. The Rex Airlines flights are not like your regular intercity flights, where a missed flight means you can just grab the next one. The next flight is not for days, meaning you will miss the event. Please take these transfer times seriously, and if you are booking connecting flights, ensure you are able to arrive at the Rex Airline terminal with plenty of time to check in. The baggage limits on these flights are usually strictly adhered to, especially when they are booked close to capacity as is expected of these flights. Excess baggage is not guaranteed to fly!

Further Assistance
Should you require further assistance with your travel options or flights to Big Red Run, please contact us, we will be more than happy to speak with you about various options available either via email or phone.

3. By Bus

A journey before the journey!

A charter bus from Adelaide is an option available to take people to and from Birdsville. The bus option ensures you arrive in Birdsville the afternoon of Monday 25th June. There will be time to relax and explore the town, before registrations and briefings take place on Tuesday 26th June. There is limited capacity on the bus, so passengers should book early to avoid disappointment. 

The return bus trip is $550 and includes 2 nights shared accommodation at Marree Hotel. A $200 non refundable deposit is required upon booking, the balance of $350 is due 6 weeks prior to departure. 

The bus itinerary is as follows:

Sunday 24th June 2018

  • Depart Adelaide Bus Terminal (Franklin Street, Adelaide) 7.30am
  • Travel Adelaide to Marree 
  • Overnight at Marree Hotel 
Monday 25th June 2018
  • Travel Marree to Birdsville, arriving in Birdsville mid to late afternoon
Tuesday 3rd July 2018
  • Depart Birdsville approx 8.00am.
  • Travel Birdsville to Marree
  • Overnight at Marree Hotel
Wednesday 4th July 2018
  • Travel Marree to Adelaide
  • Arrive in Adelaide approx 2pm. Drop offs will be made at both Adelaide Bus Terminal on Franklin Street, and Adelaide Domestic Terminal
Please note that if the Birdsville Track is closed, the bus will need to make a diversion, adding significant kms to the journey. This will mean a 24hr trip (traveling through the night), to ensure the bus arrives in Birdsville in time for the event. This is unlikely, but a possibility that passengers should be aware of. 


So all in all, there are plenty of options for you to get to Birdsville, so don’t let the distance put you off.

The Big Red Run is not just a race, it’s an outback adventure, and getting there is part of the adventure.

So keep in touch and don’t forget we are here to help you with any advice about the best transport options for getting to and from Birdsville for the Big Red Run! 

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