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Driving from Mount Isa to Birdsville’s Big Red Bash

Driving from Mount Isa to Birdsville's Big Red Bash
on 09 May 2021 in Events & Entertainment

The Big Red Bash is happening this 6 July to 8 July 2021, in the eastern edge on the big red dune of the Simpson Desert. Located 35 kilometres of Birdsville, Queensland, the Big Red Bash is the world’s most remote music festival.

An annual event that happens every July, and drawing massive hordes of friends and families from all over Australia, you will find that the Big Red Bash is on the bucket list of many enthusiastic Aussies. 

After all, with amazing line ups featuring iconic Australian musicians complemented with a classic Outback Queensland surrounding, the experience is nothing short of amazing. Gaze upon the starry night sky while rocking out to the likes of Midnight Oil, Missy Higgins, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, all of whom have played at the Big Red Bash since its beginnings in 2013. 

Getting from Mount Isa to Birdsville

Both Mount Isa and Birdsville are iconic Outback Queensland destinations that attract Australians from all around. Making your way from Mount Isa to Birdsville is an outback road trip adventure that offers excitement and a true Aussie experience. 

But before embarking on your journey from Mount Isa, it is advised that you get a good night’s rest and a great meal to kickstart the journey. A cosy night at the Isa Hotel followed by a hearty meal at the Rodeo Bar and Grill will get you in the right physical state and frame of mind for the journey that lies ahead.

For some, it will be the first time experiencing Australian desert conditions, driving on Outback roads, and setting up camp on red desert dirt. Needless to say, the experience is incredibly exciting as your memory will never falter at remembering the first night lying beneath the Milky Way of a thousand stars. 

Approximately an eight hour journey on the road, you will want to prepare yourself for it. 

Although positioned right on the edge of the Simpson desert, the Bash happens during winter, so the weather may not be as hot as you anticipate. You will still need to prepare for sunny days so a hat and light clothes will be necessary during daylight. Nights out in the desert do get chilly, so be sure to pack for the cold as well. 

Driving on the Outback roads to get to the Big Red Bash will be unforgettable. The landscape is magnificent, with wide open vistas filled with endless skies, but the single lane roads with loose surfaces can be bewildering for a first time driver. 

To get from Mount Isa to Birdsville, there are many good unsealed roads such as the legendary Birdsville Track, and the main road south, which is the Donohoe Highway. 

When travelling, you need to take your time ensuring safety always and plan for unexpected delays. From traffic queues related to the Big Red Bash event to undesirable weather conditions, try to cater for an extra day or two at both ends of your journey.

Plenty of food and water is essential for your trip, and having a first aid kit at hand is always advised.

From Birdsville, the journey to the Big Red Bash site won’t be smooth and can take up to 3 hours to get there. While most 2WD cars can access the location, driving a 4WD provides further assurance while giving you the option to explore the desert yourself. Most people who visit Birdsville’s Big Red Bash often do so in a 4WD vehicle.

It’s always wise and advised to be aware of road conditions of your route, as you may have to plan for alternate routes just in case your main one doesn’t work out. Outback roads are susceptible to road closures as a result of weather conditions, however, they do tend to re-open quite efficiently. When travelling to the outback, it is important to evaluate all of your options and to work out extra travelling time as a result of delays and hiccups.

From checking relevant councils that impact your route to road reports issued by reliable sources, continual due diligence will make your journey from Mount Isa to the Big Red Bash that much more enjoyable. 

When driving, it is advised that you plan your road time to be completed by sunset as there are increased risks of road accidents (especially with animals) when night falls. Scheduled breaks to help rejuvenate your eyes and energy is always recommended, giving you the chance to explore and enjoy local towns during your journey. 

Outback travelling often comes with dusty roads and conditions, which means that caution should be taken and avoidance of overtaking vehicles during these conditions should be made. Be aware that outback roads will mean that the road conditions may be run down and poor, often leading to rocky roads with loose surfaces. A slow drive to help look out for dips will help you avoid getting stuck, while also giving you the opportunity to soak in the outback beauty.

Banner Image Credit: Big Red Bash