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March 82 minute read

The QAA Line starts with a buzz, and after a few trips up Big Red it’s hard not to head off into the desert with a smile.

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But the real excitement begins when you head back down Big Red, over the horizon, and towards the desert beyond.

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The QAA Line runs from Birdsville west to Poepel Corner, the isolated junction of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland.

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For many travellers the QAA Line is the start or finish of a longer trip like the French Line or Hay River Track. But it’s a great short trip in itself. For those travelling around Australia, or simply looking for a taste of desert life, any big campers or caravans can be left behind in Birdsville for a return trip that will likely whet your appetite for more.

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With endless dunes, this is a place that’s hard to imagine water, yet Cooper Creek and the surrounding lake systems all drain south to Lake Eyre in heavy rain, a rare event which just occurred last month.

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The track can be soft, steep and bumpy but that’s all part of the fun. The days are filled with adventurous travel, the nights spent beside the campfire under wide open skies. Many first time visitors to Birdsville only venture to Big Red, but with some preparation the QAA Line is a great track to go a little further, and get a true taste of desert travel.

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Mike Collister

Mike Collister

Mike has spent his life outdoors - he has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait, and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.
Mike Collister

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