Anne Beadell Highway

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesLaverton
FinishCoober Pedy
DifficultyDifficulty 4/5
Suitable for4WD Camper 
Distance1379.49 km
Minimum Days5
Average Speed53.93 km/hr
Driving Time1 day 1 hr 34 mins
Page Updated: 17 Aug 2016

Description

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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Environment

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.

History

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.

Preparation


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. See Permit Section.

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 has both Diesel and Unleaded fuel with Eftpos and Credit Card facilities. There is no need to order fuel.

Permits

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 Mumungari CP, however a full Desert Parks Pass is not necessary for this route.

Maralinga Tjarutja Land and Mumungari CP

As you will be passing through the Maralinga Tjarutja Aboriginal Lands, you will need to inform their office of your intended route. Maralinga Tjarutja Inc. 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 will be closed 3 March - 23 March 2014 and 19 May - 8 June 2014. During these noted dates, NO PERMITS will be issued. To see a map of exclusion zones, go to: www.defence.gov.au/woomera/zones.htm.

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 woomera.enquiries@defence.gov.au or phone (08) 8674 3370. More information on access zones, exclusion periods and permits for the WPA can be viewed at www.defence.gov.au/woomera.

Tallaringa CP

Entry & Camping Permit is covered by Desert Parks Pass (if you have one). If not, purchase a permit online http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/flinders-ranges-outback/tallaringa-conservation-park#fees.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolIlkurlka Roadhouse.Coober Pedy, Laverton
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 197 litres *4cyl 223 litres4cyl 276 litres
6cyl 212 litres *6cyl 265 litres *6cyl 243 litres
8cyl 194 litres *8cyl 229 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

During late autumn, winter and early spring, the weather is pleasant, but nights can be below freezing so take warm clothing and sleeping equipment. Early spring the wild flowers are in full bloom. Please be aware that there are 2 periods, during published dates in March and May, where WPA permit applications will be refused. See permit section within this page for specific dates and further details.

Closest Climatic Station

Forrest
Distance from Trek Mid Point 214.91km S
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C33.132.229.026.222.219.018.620.824.327.029.931.3
Mean Min. °C16.216.714.311.98.76.05.15.78.210.513.014.9
Mean Rain mm23.127.927.418.817.116.317.014.816.210.321.826.4
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Map

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What to See

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Where to Stay

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Directions

LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Laverton to Point Kidman41.18 kmE70° 32 min
Point Kidman to Yamarna HS Ruins102.38 kmNE67° 1 hr 22 min
Yamarna HS Ruins to Point Sunday43.34 kmE84° 50 min
Point Sunday to Yeo Lake Homestead24.36 kmE77° 28 min
Yeo Lake Homestead to Bishop Rileys Pulpit43 kmSE117° 45 min
Bishop Rileys Pulpit to Neale Junction123.35 kmE94° 2 hr 13 min
Neale Junction to Wrecked Caravan109.46 kmE92° 1 hr 35 min
Wrecked Caravan to Track Marker to Plane Wreck Site4.06 kmE84° 3 min
Track Marker to Plane Wreck Site to Light Plane Wreckage8.18 kmN18° 15 min
Light Plane Wreckage to Track Marker to Plane Wreck Site8.18 kmS198° 15 min
Track Marker to Plane Wreck Site to Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 1 Campsite)9.74 kmE88° 8 min
Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 1 Campsite) to Ilkurlka Campground48.92 kmE93° 46 min
Ilkurlka Campground to Ilkurlka Roadhouse3.42 kmS170° 3 min
Ilkurlka Roadhouse to Ilkurlka Campground3.42 kmN350° 3 min
Ilkurlka Campground to Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 3 Campsite Tjutatja Tank65.43 kmE98° 1 hr 3 min
Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 3 Campsite Tjutatja Tank to Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 4 Campsite)97.23 kmE99° 2 hr 9 min
Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 4 Campsite) to Anne Beadell Hwy, WA-SA Border13.78 kmE80° 27 min
Anne Beadell Hwy, WA-SA Border to Voakes Hill Corner171.23 kmE93° 3 hr 53 min
Voakes Hill Corner to Maralinga Lands, Western Boundary31.18 kmE90° 43 min
Maralinga Lands, Western Boundary to Woomera Prohibited Area, Western Boundary50.76 kmE86° 1 hr
Woomera Prohibited Area, Western Boundary to Anne's Corner24.92 kmE92° 36 min
Anne's Corner to Maralinga Lands, Eastern Boundary23.16 kmE97° 33 min
Maralinga Lands, Eastern Boundary to Emu27.31 kmE109° 39 min
Emu to Ground Zero Totem 123.84 kmSE113° 26 min
Ground Zero Totem 1 to Ground Zero Totem 21.63 kmS160° 2 min
Ground Zero Totem 2 to Anne Beadell Hwy, Tallaringa CP Boundary79.02 kmSE114° 1 hr 21 min
Anne Beadell Hwy, Tallaringa CP Boundary to Tallaringa Native Well31.33 kmE107° 29 min
Tallaringa Native Well to Anne Beadell Hwy, Dog Fence59.5 kmE84° 1 hr 2 min
Anne Beadell Hwy, Dog Fence to Mabel Creek56.72 kmE84° 50 min
Mabel Creek to Coober Pedy49.44 kmE100° 39 min
Laverton to Coober Pedy1379.49 km  1 day 1 hr 34 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

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