Lyndhurst is a small town in Outback South Australia. For the purposes of this article, this also includes the places in nearby small towns, which are part of Greater Lyndhurst.
Founded in the mid-1800s when springs were discovered in the area, it boomed with the introduction of the railway in the 1880s. Cattle were droved to the town to be loaded on the train and transported to the coast in Adelaide. The famous passenger train The Ghan also stopped in the town on its journey to Alice Springs. After considerable decline, a new direct railway was eventually built far to the west and Lyndhurst along with Marree largely fell off the map. The last train to have past Lyndhurst was in 1980. Today, this town is mainly a tourist spot, and you could learn about the history at the Copley Tourist Information Area.
Today, with a population of only 70, the town is a ghost of its former self. It is home to a significant number of Indigenous Australians, making it an interesting experience for anyone who cares to visit.
Lyndhurst is at the crossroads of the Strzelecki Track, The Outback Highway and the Oodnadatta Track. It began as a railway siding in 1878.
The original inhabitants of the area were the Aboriginal nation of the Kuyani people.
The town is at the southern end of the Strzelecki Track, whose northern end is at Innamincka. It was once a station on the original train route north known as the Great Northern Railway that was planned to reach Darwin, but only ever made it to Alice Springs. This railway line became known as the Ghan, and the last train ran along it in 1980. The route was always subject to the weather and wash outs, and a more permanent route has been constructed some 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the west, and subsequently extended to Darwin in 2003. 80 km to the north is Marree, a small town that is at the junction of the Oodnadatta and Birdsville Tracks.
Lyndhurst was gazetted as a town in 1896, and initially served as a freight centre for the railways that were connected in 1882. Mount Lyndhurst, 30 kilometres (19 mi) east, was named after the British Lord Chancellor by the government surveyor Samuel Perry. In the 1860s, Thomas Elder took up vast areas in the northern Flinders Ranges region and called the property Mount Lyndhurst.
Visitor Information Centre
While Lyndhurst has no visitor information centre, the nearest one is at Port Augusta, about six hours away. However, while there's no one physically here, you could get some information at the Copley Tourist Information Area, especially about the old Ghan track, initially known as the Great Northern Railway.
- 1 Copley Tourist Information Area. 24/7.
From Adelaide, use the A32 Main North Road, B82 Horrocks Highway, B80 R.M Williams Way, and then B83. The journey takes seven hours non-stop. You could go to Melbourne quicker than this.
From Innamincka, use the D96 Strezy track. It should take about four to six hours.
From Birdsville, use the D83 Birdsville Track. This should take about nine hours to two days, depending on the season.
Lyndhurst and Marree were once served by the Great Northern Railway until 1980, where the railway closed for the better.
The entire town centre can be reached by walking however, to go outside the town centre, take some water with you.
- 1 Talc Alf Art Works, 4 Talc Town Road, Lyndhurst, ☏ .
- 2 Ochre Cliffs. About 50 km north of the town centre, its home to some remarkable outback colours. Historically, this place has also been used as a common meeting spot of the Aboriginals and this has also been used for painting bodies during ceremonies.
- Murtee Johnny’s grave. This is the grave of the last full-blood Yantruwanta/Yandruwandha Aboriginal man. He was born c.1888 and died in Adelaide in 1979. He was an accomplished stockman, working on Mount Hopeless in the Flinders Ranges.
- 3 Ochre Pits, Farina Road, Lyndhurst (From Lyndhurst, head north on B83 Outback Highway. Then turn left onto Farina Road. It is easy to miss the turnoff, so pay attention to the signs.). About 2 km north of the town. Has been significant, and has been a common spot for Aboriginal elders to tell the younger people in the group about the dreaming.
- 4 Marree Man. While not actually in Lyndhurst or Marree, this geoglyph put the town on the map for some time. Discovered first in 1998, this 2.7 km tall man was etched into the desert sand presumably only a few years prior. Its creator remains a mystery, but clues later pointed to it being funded by Americans. Some view it as a landmark to the Aboriginal culture and the outback, while most others call it 'environmental vandalism', including the locals. Either way, it is a sight worth seeing if you can afford the charter plane that will take you to see it.
- 5 Witchelina. The town's an hour away from Lyndhurst but a common spot for watching roos at sunset.
- 6 Farina War Memorial. A branch of the Australian War Memorial, but this to commemorate those who have fought in war and lived in the north eastern part of SA.
- 7 Ediacara Conservation Park (Ediacara Fossil Site, Nilpena). A national park, and home to a fossil site that is home to the largest early known animal; the Dickinsonia Rex. These discoveries were the first of their kind to be found in abundance anywhere in the world!
- Giles Expedition Monument. Can be seen along the Outback Highway.
- Hiking trails are there, even in the remotest of the remotest areas. Mountain hiking is a popular trend on the Flinders Ranges.
- Camel Treks Australia, Beltana. Camel riding trek company, which provides Camel Rides right next to the Flinders Ranges.
- 1 Lyndhurst Hotel, 3 Short Street (Strzelecki Track), ☏ .
- The Roadhouse.
- 2 Farina Bakery, Mulgaria Rd. 08AM-04PM. While not in the small Lyndhurst town centre, a great bakery for those who choose to camp in nearby Farina.
- 1 Lyndhurst Hotel, 3 Short Street (Strzelecki Track), ☏ . As with most outback South Australian towns, most only have one hotel, and this also applies to Lyndhurst.
If the Lyndhurst Hotel is full, then the nearest hotel within one hours reach is in Marree, Copley, Farina or in Leigh Creek. All roads to these places are paved, mostly with a 110km/h speed limit, making the journey a quick one. Hotels, Motels, and Resorts
Telstra has 4G in the town centres. Optus and Vodafone do not.
When travelling to remote Outback South Australian towns, always check the DPTI website before proceeding.
The speed limit of the town is 60km/h. Always stick to the speed limit, as if you speed, you might as well be in the minds of the locals for a while. For the other towns that are part of Greater Lyndhurst, nominally, the limit would be 50km/h, however, some are 60-70km/h. Always remember to go 25km/h at school zones, and this applies state wide. The penalties of speeding in a school zone are severe in South Australia and New South Wales.