The Anne Beadell Highway
longest stretch without fuel is about 750 km and is best travelled from
May through to September.
There are several permits
that you will have to obtain from a number of
different organizations before you start off. Their details
at the end of the page.
Advise the police before you leave and let them
know when you have arrived.
The name highway is a little misleading as the
trip traverses little used tracks that are often very narrow, twisty
sandy. There are times when the vegetation almost encroaches on the
track, so watch the paintwork. But isn't that what 4wd's are
for, having fun.
Whilst much of the trip is over red sand,
you will experience road surfaces from fairly hard and packed to very
soft and sometimes corrugated with the track being washed out on
The road was constructed by Len
Beadell over a period of about 9 years commencing in 1953. Len was also
responsible for building the Gunbarrel Highway and others, and named
this track after his wife, Anne. Several of the roads and tracks that
his team built were named after family members.
The Anne Beadell is considered to be the four wheel drivers alternative
to the Nullarbor Plain. The trip is interesting and there is a fair bit
to see and is regarded, in 4wd terms, as being not too hard. It is the
most direct route, east to west, or visa versa, across the Great
The trip will take you through several stations and Aboriginal Trust
areas. There are several places along the way that are suitable for
camping but little or no facilities are provided. Some stretches that
travel through private property have gates. Please remember that the
gates must be left as you found them. Most of them are there to control
stock, so do the right thing.
Water is not easily available along the trip and you will need to take
adequate supplies of food. The longest distance without fuel and other
is from Coober Pedy to the Ilkulka Roadhouse, about 750km.
From Coober Pedy head out of town on the Sturt Highway and after about
50km take the turnoff westwards to the Mabel Creek Homestead. The going
has been fairly easy so far but gets a little harder once you pass the
Some 50km from the homestead you will come across the dog fence as you
pass into The Tallaringa Conservation Park. 50 plus kilometers into the
park is the Tallaringa Well. This is a reasonable camping spot although
don't expect too much from the well.
Once you leave the Tallaringa Conservation Park and have travelled for
about 125 kilometers you will reach Emu Junction. You will now be a
total distance from Coober Pedy of about 290 km.
To the south of Emu Junction is Woomera and the Maralinga test
site, where the atomic tests took place. The site has
access. There would appear to be little left to see anyway except a few
depressions in the earth and pieces of metal lying around to the north
of Emu, as well as the old Claypan Airstrip. There are two obelisks
that have been erected, Totem 1 and Totem 2, to the east.
The next 160km to Vokes Hill Corner, passing through Anne's Corner
after about 50km, sees driving conditions get tougher and this stretch
can take up to a days driving to complete. It is at Anne's
that you will find the junction with the Mount Davies Road, that heads
Mount Davies Road has restricted access as it heads into Aboriginal
Having travelled around 130 kilometers from Emu Junction and through
the Maralinga Tjarutja Aboriginal Lands, you will enter the Unnamed
Conservation Park, also known as the Mamungari Conservation Park,
through which you will travel for about 30km to Vokes Hill Corner,
identified by a Len Beadell sign and a reasonable camping spot.
At Vokes Hill Corner there is a junction with a track leading off to
the south that leads to Cook. There are several wells down
track, the first of which is about 30km down, but don't rely on their
reliability to give you water. The track is not particularly good and
you still have a fair way to go before you can replenish your fuel
supplies so keep heading west.
Leaving Vokes Hill Corner sees you on the stretch to the
Australian border, about 175km away. Camping is limited to withing 50
metres of the track and prohibited altogether for the last 50
kilometers. (Check these restrictions with the local authorities,
setting out, for the latest information).
Towards the border you will cross the salt-encrusted Serpentine Lakes.
There is a Len Beadell sign at the border and remember that Western
Australia's quarantine laws prohibit the carrying of fresh produce over
the border with heavy penalties being dished out to those that are
Once across the border you are again allowed to camp within 50 metres
of the track.
This section of The Anne Beadell Highway is also known as the
Serpentine Lakes Road, the Aboriginal name for it as you
through the Spinifex Native Title Area.
Having travelled about 170km from the border you will arrive at the
Ilulka Roadhouse, which is owned and operated by the
Tjuntjuntjarra Aboriginal people, and fresh supplies of fuel, water and
provisions. Until recent times this roadhouse didn't exist which made
this trip fairly hard unless you could arrange a, probably very costly,
fuel and provisions drop along the way.
Travel north and south of Ilulka is restricted, and additional permits
required, so no trip diversions around here just keep going west.
Some 60 km further on from Ilulka and about 110km east of Neales
Junction, as you head out of the Spinifex Native Title Area, there is a
turnoff and track that leads to a light aircraft wreck about 10km off
the highway. As the track heads over sand dunes it can be a little hard
The plane belonged to the Goldfields Air Services that crash landed
here in 1993.
There is a camping area at this junction on the highway.
From here your journey will take you into the Neale Junction Nature
Reserve and Neale Junction. Before you get to Neale Junction and about
60 kilometers from where you entered the Nature Reserve is an old
airstrip. Just to the north of the airstrip you can observe, but no
touching please, Aboriginal rock art.
There is a camping area at the old airstrip as well.
25km past this point is Neale Junction , which is the junction with the
Connie Sue Highway. Connie Sue was Len Beadell's daughter and Neale his
son. Camping is allowed about half a kilometer to the west of the
Your next destination, passing through the Morton Craig Range, is the
abandoned Yamarna Station, a distance of around 240km and probably
nearly a days driving.
However you will come across the Yeo Homestead along the way, which is
also abandoned, within the Yeo Lake Nature Reserve, where camping is
also allowed. Some 25 or so kilometers past Yeo, near Point Sunday and
the junction with the Point Sandy Road, there is another camping area.
Around 40 km further and you are onto Yamarna Homestead and the
junction with White Cliffs Yamarna Road and Minnie Creek Road. This is
the end of the Anne Beadell Highway, and almost your trip.
From here you have two choices and about 150 kilometers to Laverton. Go
left down the White Cliffs Yamarna Road, via White Cliffs to Laverton.
Second choice turn right onto the Minnie Creek Road,
travel for about 7 kilometers and turn left and heading
towards the Great Central Road, about 30 or so kilometers further on.
At the Great Central Road turn left or head west.
and Access Information ( it is most important to remember
that some of these permits may take up to 8 weeks to get to you so
start preparing early)
|Coober Pedy Police (08)
||Laverton Police (08)
|Defence Support Centre
(08) 8674 3370 to enter the Emu Junction area
|Mabel Creek Station Manager
(08) 8672 5204
|Permit to enter the Maralinga Aboriginal
(08) 8625 2946
|South Australian Desert Parks Pass
to access Tallaringa Conservation Park
1800 816 078
|Access to the Mamungari Conservation Park -
(08) 8625 3144
|To travel from Yamarna to Laverton
Aboriginal Lands Trust
(08) 9235 8000
Go Back To The Top of the Anne Beadell Highway
visiting and have a safe 4wd trip,
Mobile 0408 245 892