Accommodation and dining in Oodnadatta SA are both provided at the Pink Roadhouse. They also sell fuel to keep you on the road, or in the air! The roadhouse is run by an enterprising couple who are eager to help everyone who arrives and who make excellent hamburgers and have plenty of supplies. They are a source of all knowledge regarding the condition of the roads and it is well worthwhile phoning (08) 8670 7822 before heading out on the infamous Oodnadatta Track.
The first European to pass through the Oodnadatta area was the remarkable explorer, John McDouall Stuart, who was so gifted and instinctively correct, that not only was he the first European to make the journey from north to south across the continent (he effectively beat Burke and Wills) but the route he mapped in his journeys from 1857 to 1862 was so sensible, efficient and practical that it was adopted as part of the Overland Telegraph Line route.
To the north of the town it is still possible to see some of the old telegraph posts which cut through the loneliness of the outback. Work on the Overland Telegraph Line began in September 1870 and by January 1872 this section was completed. On 22 May 1872 the first message was sent from Darwin to Adelaide. The contractor, E. M. Bagot, was responsible for the 800 km of telegraph line north from Port Augusta. He was paid £41 per mile.
Located on the Oodnadatta Track between Marree and Oodnadatta, the Mutonia Sculpture Park at Alberrie Creek is a collection of huge sculptures in the desert all of which were created by Robin ‘Mutoid’ Cooke who started with The Giant Ragweed, then Plane Henge, two planes standing erect on their tails, and followed with Dream Catcher, Spinning Car and Time Tree. Beside the Track is the ‘Dingo’.
The original concept was ‘Dottie the Dingo’, but since then the locals have dubbed it the ‘Big Dog’. The dog’s body is an old water tank from the days of the steam train, and its head is a classic Chrysler.