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Cooper Creek, which runs through Innamincka, is best known for the misadventures of explorers Burke and Wills, who ended their tragic 1861 expedition by dying here. INNAMINCKA was later founded on much the same spot before the town was abandoned in 1952. Now the area falls within the three-million-acre Innamincka Regional Reserve and Coongie Lakes National Park and the increase in popularity of recreational four-wheel driving has led to a renaissance.

With a vehicle you could strike out 20km west to Wills’ grave or 8km east to where Burke was buried (both bodies were removed to Adelaide in 1862). Another 8km beyond Burke’s cairn is Cullyamurra waterhole, the largest permanent body of water in central Australia, and a footpath to rock engravings of crosses, rainbow patterns and bird tracks. If the roads are open, you can also tackle the 110km 4WD track north to the shallow Coongie Lakes, where you can swim and watch the abundant birdlife. An hour’s drive east of Innamincka along a rather poor track is Queensland, the Dig Tree and a fuelless route to Quilpie.

 

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