in Western Australia
to Coober Pedy
in South Australia
, the Anne Beadell Highway extends over 1350kms. It was named after Len Beadell’s wife Anne and was built to support the Woomera
This trek features rarely used tracks that are often very narrow, twisty and sandy and there are times when the vegetation almost encroaches on the track so care needs to be taken. The tracks vary in conditions and will put the 4WD skills to the test. Travelling predominantly over red sand, the conditions vary from fairly hard and packed surfaces to very soft. There are some sections where the track is corrugates with some washouts.
There are a number of permits that must be obtained from different departments and organizations before you start off (See Pemits) and no traffic can pass through the Woomera
Protected Area Amber Zone 2 from 13 May - 2 June 2013 inclusive, 12 August - 25 August 2013 inclusive, 28 October - 10 November inclusive, 3 March 2014 - 23 March 2014 inclusive, or 19 May 2014 - 8 June 2014 inclusive.
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You will need to organise permits with the following before you travel. A South Australia
Desert Parks Pass will enable you to camp in the Unnamed Conservation Park, however a full Desert Parks Pass is not necessary for this route. Travellers without a full Desert Parks Pass need to contact the SA Department of Environment and Heritage
direct to obtain a camping permit (see contact information below). The permit cannot be obtained in the park as it is unmanned by rangers. If you have a Desert Parks Pass you still need to obtain written permits for the other areas listed below. During April - October you should apply up to 6 weeks in advance of your travel departure date.
Maralinga Tjarutja Land
As you will be passing through the Maralinga
Tjarutja Aboriginal Lands, you will need to inform their office of your intended route.
Please contact: Maralinga
P.O. Box 435, CEDUNA
, SA 5690
Phone: (08) 8625 2946
Fax: (08) 8625 3076
For the permit form, please click: Application for Maralinga Tjarutja Land
Woomera Prohibited Area
The Anne Beadell Hwy
includes a small section of track that traverses an Amber Zone 2 area of the WPA, which in 2013 will be closed 4 March - 24 March, and 13 May - 2 June 2013, during which time NO PERMITS will be issued.
A permit is required outside these dates and applications can be made to the Woomera
Test Range at least 14 days prior to travel via email email@example.com
or pone (08) 8674 3370. More information on access zones, exclusion periods and permits for the WPA can be viewed at www.defence.gov.au/woomera
Mamungari Conservation Park
Visitors are required to purchase a permit from the South Australia
Department For Environment, Heritage
and Aboriginal Affairs Office at Ceduna
Phone: (08) 8625 3144
Tallaringa Conservation Park and Unnamed Conservation Park
Transit Approval and Camping Permit is covered by Desert Parks Pass. Contact the South Australia
Department For Environment, Heritage
and Aboriginal Affairs.
P.O. Box 569, CEDUNA
, SA 5690
Phone: (08) 8625 3144
Fax: (08) 8625 3123
For the permit form, please click: Application for Tallaringa Conservation Park
Mabel Creek Station
When travelling through Mabel Creek
Station please observe the signs and remember to leave the gates how you found them, open or closed.
Things to See & Do
A major factor for preparing for this trip is ensuring you don't attempt to travel during the published closure dates through the Woomera
Prohibited Area (WPA), and the arrangement of permits. A total of 4 applications need to be lodged with different bodies. See permit information. The trip will take a minimum of five days if you are prepared to drive for about 7 hours a day. This does not allow much time for stopping at sights of interest or for unforeseen circumstances, so most people will take 6 - 7 days.
This track is no longer without fuel supplies. The Ilkurlka Roadhouse
located at the junction of the Madura Loongana Track (Aboriginal Business Road) and the Anne Beadell Highway, 172km east of Neale Junction
, or 165km west of the SA/WA border or 120km north of the Tjuntjuntjarra Aboriginal Community has both Diesel and Unleaded fuel and has just recently added Eftpos and Credit Card facilties. There is no need to order fuel however opening hours are strictly Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm. Weekends by appointment only.
Phone: (08) 9037 1147 or the Aboriginal Community on (08) 9037 1100.
Fax 08 9037 1101
Remote Desert Country
Temperatures can rise to 50°C in summer and it has been known to rise to 60°C. Travel during summer is not recommended. This is remote desert country, so be fully self-sufficient. Keep in mind that this is not a well travelled route and there are absolutely no facilities for travellers, not even stations or aboriginal communities.
Your vehicle will need to be extensively prepared for remote area travel, with all fuel, water, food and vehicle repair equipment and spare parts. All travellers should read the 4WDriving Topic for related articles and checklists for vehicle setup and driver awareness.
We advise that you refer to the latest information and advice about outback communications
in the Communications Topic. For any dune driving you should fly a dune flag from the front of your vehicle to avoid head on collisions on dune tops. Additionally, the lead vehicle in any direction should periodically make calls on Channel 10 from the top of large dunes on the UHF radio
to advise oncoming traffic of your position.
Fuel Supplies & Usage
|Laverton, Ilkurlka Roadhouse, Coober Pedy
||Diesel||4cyl 197 litres *
||ULP||4cyl 223 litres
||LPG||4cyl 276 litres|
|6cyl 212 litres *||6cyl 265 litres *||6cyl 243 litres|
|8cyl 194 litres *||8cyl 229 litres|
and Illkurlka Roadhouse (located at the junction of Madura Loongana Track and Anne Beadell Highway).
Camp Sites & Accommodation
Naming this trek a "highway" is very misleading because it is little more than a track passing through a vast wilderness of vegetated dunes and gibber rises. The entire length from Laverton
to the last 4 kms into Coober Pedy
is across a red sandy base. Generally, the sand is firm and hard, but in some sections it is heavily washed out and in others there it is a little corrugated whilst in some areas there are soft but gentle dunes to cross.
The Beadell name is well connected with the exploration of Australia
's remotest areas and the creation of outback tracks. Len Beadell was a famous Australian surveyor, explorer and author instrumental in the surveying and building of 6,000kms of lonely desert roads through the Great Victoria
, Gibson and Great Sandy Deserts of Australia
The Anne Beadell Highway was built by Len and his team in the late 1950's and early 1960's and was named after his wife, Anne. The highway intersects with the Connie Sue Highway Trek Note running South to North, in Western Australia
at Neale Junction
. The Connie Sue Highway is named after Len and Anne's daughter.
But why is the junction called "Neale Junction"? This bit of history took one of our readers significant research through the State Library of Qld and then the Department of Land Administration - Geographic Services in WA
to uncover...Neale Breakaways
run generally north-south along the Rawlinna
- Warburton track and extend for approximately 75 kilometres. The name Neale Breakaways
is recorded on Commander Harry Bennett's exploration plan 140 of 1935. The feature is named after Commander R.F.C. Neale, the pilot who flew the "Mackay Aerial Reconnaissance Survey Expedition" in 1935. Name approved on 22.6.1984. So it appears Len simply named the junction using the map showing the name of the surrounding breakaways.
Another point of interest is the intersection with the Woomera
area - notable as the first Australian atomic test site chosen by the British in 1946 due to its uninhabited land and clear skies. The now abandoned Emu
test base and runway can be visited plus the 2 test sites where the first atomic bombs ever to be released in Australia
were exploded. The radiation levels in the area are still considered to be unsafe for permanent occupation but visitors can safely go right up to the totems that mark the spot
where the bombs were exploded. The ripples in the ground are a stark reminder of the devastating effects of atomic power. There are no facilities for camping in the immediate area so time your visit to enable travel time to a another area.