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Australian 4x4 Travel - Anne Beadell Highway

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The Anne Beadell Highway - Australia

This trip travels along the Anne Beadell Highway from Coober Pedy in South Australia to Laverton in Western Australia. Whilst the trip is about 1350 km across very remote desert country, The Anne Beadell Highway itself stretches for 1025km.

The 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 are 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 and 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 occasions.

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 Victoria Desert.

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 supplies 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 homestead.

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 prohibited 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 Corner that you will find the junction with the Mount Davies Road, that heads north west.

Mount Davies Road has restricted access as it heads into Aboriginal lands.

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 this 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 Western 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, before 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 caught.

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 travel 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 going.

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 junction.

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.

Permits 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) 8672 5056,  Laverton Police (08) 9031 1000.

Permit to enter the Maralinga Aboriginal lands contact - Maralinga-Tjarutja Council on (08) 8625 2946

Defence Support Centre 
(08) 8674 3370 to enter the Emu Junction area

South Australian Desert Parks Pass to access Tallaringa Conservation Park on 08 8648 5328

Access to the Mamungari Conservation Park - NPWS on (08) 8625 3144

To travel from Yamarna to Laverton - Aboriginal Lands Trust on (08) 9235 8000

Disclaimer

The information provided on this web page is for use as a guide only. If you are planning to undertake this trip you must seek out other authorative advice and information. Desert and Outback travel can be very hazardous and should only be undertaken after lengthy and careful planning. The owners of this website shall not be held responsible for any damage or injury that you may experience during any conventional vehicle or four wheel drive trip, desert or otherwise. Distances between places mentioned on this page are as a guide only. You must verify these details yourself using professional maps and/or mapping equipment before you set out on a the trip. Do not attempt to access desert or other remote regions in an ill-prepared vehicle and without adequate communications equipment. Do not under estimate the
limited supply of fuel, water and provisions in these areas as well as the possibility of encountering extremely harsh elements and conditions.


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