The campsite and walking trails at Burke's Grave in Innamincka Regional Reserve, which is surrounded by the Strzelecki Desert, provides both of these, sitting as it does along Cooper Creek, with its memorial to the place at which Robert O'Hara Burke (of Burke & Wills fame) died of starvation in 1861. Additionally, the Yandruwandha and Yawarrawarrka nations called this region home for thousands of years and retain a strong presence in the area today.
Although the Burke & Wills expedition was successful in traversing Australia from Victoria in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, few of those who embarked on the expedition were experienced in bushcraft, and their return journey was made even more difficult by the monsoonal rains of the wet season. A number of their party had elected to wait at Cooper Creek while Burke, Wills, King, and Gray went on to reach the mangroves before attempting to return to the rest of their party at Cooper Creek. Gray died on the way back to Cooper Creek, while Burke, Wills, and King discovered that the party who had been waiting for them at Cooper Creek had given up and departed only 9 hours earlier on the 21 April 1861. While waiting to be rescued, Wills died of starvation and exhaustion, and Burke died soon afterward on approximately 28 June 1861. Aboriginal people in the region helped King survive until he was rescued that September.
An interpretive sign explaining some of the heritage along this section of Cooper Creek
Although Burke and Wills' bodies were disinterred from their original graves and taken to Melbourne for a State Funeral, Burke's original resting place is still marked beneath a large tree along Cooper Creek in Innamincka Regional Reserve.
Robert O'Hara Burke's original resting place is still marked today
There is a peaceful campsite nearby (the night we stayed, we were the only people there, although another couple arrived the following morning) that allows a maximum of 8 vehicles and is suitable for tents, camper trailers, and caravans.
Camping at Burke's Grave wasn't as spooky as we'd anticipated. In fact, the environment was peaceful and lovely
The site of Burke's Grave, with its mixture of natural beauty, interesting heritage, and peaceful location provides travellers with a welcome respite from the long and often dusty roads of Outback Australia.
Even the most adventurous appreciate an occasional rest from their travels!
Burke's Grave sits along the Strzelecki Track near to the Queensland border in South Australia. While people have completed this trip in 2 wheel drive vehicles, especially in the dry season, a four-wheel drive is recommended.
Some parts of the route to Burke's Grave, including parts of the Strzelecki Track, are sand tracks
The most direct route to reach Innamincka and Burke's Grave from Adelaide is to drive via Port Augusta to Lynhurst. From there you can follow the Outback Loop which will take you the rest of the way. Potential overnight stops include Marree, Birdsville, and the Coongie Lakes.
Follow the Adventure Way from Brisbane to Innamincka. Four recommended overnight stops along the way are Dalby, St George, Cunnamulla, Thargominda, with your fifth night at Burke's Grave Campsite.
Visiting Burke's Grave is a real opportunity to explore some of Australia's beautiful, remote areas