Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do you sell newspapers?

No, sorry. We only get mail twice a week – a newspaper would be out of date by the time it reached us. 

  • Do you sell tent poles?

Again – no, sorry. Have you seen the size of Ray’s Tent City? Imagine how many types of poles we’d have to stock to fit all those different tents. You’re in luck if it’s only the pegs you’ve forgotten though. We can fit those in our storeroom. 

  • How many people come for the Birdsville Races?

Loads – somewhere between 5000 and 8000 usually. 

  • Is fuel expensive in Birdsville? And for that matter, is everything expensive?

At the Birdsville Roadhouse, we consciously try to keep our prices as low as possible. Due to our location, the cost of freight does make things more expensive than they are in cities, but not by a ridiculous amount considering that supplies are transported over 1200 kms. Some visitors are even surprised at the reasonable price of our fuel and groceries.

  • What are the roads like?

Check our road conditions page. It will give you all the necessary links to the state road conditions websites. Generally, all roads around Birdsville are unsealed but well-maintained outback highways.

  • When’s the best time to come to Birdsville?

Between April and October is the recommended time to visit due to the milder weather, but Birdsville is beautiful all year round. 

  • When are the Birdsville Races?

The Birdsville Cup is run on the first Saturday in September each year.  

  • Where can I stay in Birdsville?

There are free camping sites along the Diamantina river, between the racetrack and the town. The Birdsville Hotel offers serviced, air-conditioned rooms and the Birdsville Caravan Park has a number of cabins, rooms, powered and non-powered sites.

  • Can I bring a caravan or camper trailer?

Yes – most roads are suitable for towing caravans and trailers but check the road conditions and Barnes’y’s outback driving tips before setting off, just in case. Keep in mind that the roads are not sealed – if you’re not comfortable taking your caravan off road, don’t bring it. Parks SA don’t recommend towing anything through the Simpson Desert.

  • What’s the weather like?

Generally, summer temperatures hover in the mid-40s during the day and it doesn’t cool off too much at night. It’s usually a bearable ‘dry’ heat though. In winter, temperatures are milder, ranging from about 20 – 30 degrees and often dropping to below zero at night.

Specifically, it’s best to check the weather report – that’s all we’ll do when you ask us anyway.

  • Do you have mobile reception here?

Yes. Telstra and Optus both provide reception and may provide ‘roaming’ reception for other networks, depending on your plan. We stock cheap Telstra and Optus mobile phones and pre-paid credit, just in case your network isn’t supported. The same goes for internet access.

  • Which way to Big Red?

Head west along Adelaide Street (past the Police station on your right) and you’ll reach Little Red, which is the first sand dune past the information shelter. Turn right at the track at its base, drive for a couple of kilometres and you’ll reach Big Red, which is a higher area of the same dune.

  • What’s the deal with driving through the Simpson Desert?

You’ll need a Desert Parks Pass, which we sell, and a sand flag (we sell cool ‘Birdsville 4×4 Club’ flags). It will take you as long as you can withstand not showering, which seems to be an average of five days. The desert is very beautiful and it’s well worth the trip but it’s 4wd only and you’ll need to follow the designated tracks. We recommend you research your trip thoroughly before leaving home.

  • Where can I get a double-strength, decaf soy latte?

The pub serves espresso coffee during the busier months of May – September-ish. We believe they have both decaf coffee and soy milk. The Birdsville Bakery also serves coffee and they make a mean finger bun to accompany it. 

  • Speaking of coffee, how do you get your supplies?

Everything we need for life in Birdsville is delivered on a road train, either from Adelaide in the south or Quilpie in the east. Both trucks are supposed come every second week in alternate weeks but it doesn’t always work like this. 

  • I don’t drink UHT milk. Where can I get fresh milk?

If you’re lucky enough to be in Birdsville in the few days after a truck has brought supplies, congratulations – you may be able to buy fresh milk if we haven’t sold out already. Otherwise, UHT is our only option, sorry. It’s really not that bad and you get used to it pretty quickly.

  • Can I drink the water?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe. Although, occasionally you may come across a tap in an odd place that is connected to the river. If the water looks like a browny, rivery colour, it’s probably river water and best not to drink. Stick to the clear water.

  • Why does it taste funny?

Water tastes different everywhere you go. Ours is from an artesian bore and has slightly higher-than-usual calcium levels. Calcium is good for your bones.

  • Where’s the pub?

On the main street. 

  • Where’s the Bakery?

On the other side of the oval. 

  • Where can I buy postcards and souvenirs?

Here. We have the best postcards and souvenirs in town and we’ll probably be able to sell you stamps, too. We can also tell you where to post your postcard. 

  • How do you live out here?

By breathing in and out.

  • No, seriously, what do you all do around here?

The same as anywhere – almost everyone works. When we’re not working we’re watching telly, on facebook, grabbing a coffee or a beer, reading, fishing, swimming or having a barbie with our mates.

  • Do you like living here?

Of course! Why would we live here if we didn’t? It would be impossible to live somewhere so beautiful and so relaxed and not love it. We really hope you love it, too.

Anything we haven’t answered? Don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer any question, no matter how big or small.