From Laverton 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 rocket range.
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. Note: dates can vary. Always check for latest reports.
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
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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.
Temperatures can rise to 50°C in summer and it has been known to rise to 60°C. Travel during summer is not recommended.
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
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.