Heading north east from the wonderful, if dusty streets of Coober Pedy, along gibber roads through country made famous in the Mad Max movies, a detour via Arckaringa homestead will take you into surely the most spectacular country in South Australia
if not the entire outback.
The Painted Desert
, just a few kilometres from Arckaringa features fantastic mountainous mesas and formations composed of colourful sands, pebbles and rocks that simply defy description. Photographers and painters will delight in the show of colour at sunset and dawn.
The road via Mt Barry and Arckaringa is far from boring, though it travels through some of the most featureless terrain on earth. The area where the Mad Max movies were shot was chosen because nothing could be seen for 360 degrees.
Here are in fact many interesting things to see along the way including Lollipop Lane and great areas of ground covered in large sheets of gypsum. Interesting geological formations in the Painted Desert
and the country between there and Oodnadatta satisfy even the most jaded traveller.
Though it is possible to travel this route in a single day it would be a terrible shame to do so. The roads vary from well formed wide gravel to stony with occasional bulldust holes. The trek is relatively easy going even for 2 wheel drive vehicles but remote so carry sufficient water and spares.
Coober Pedy has all of the facilities of a modern centre, Oodnadatta is a good place to restock or do some repairs if necessary.
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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Around Coober Pedy
and along the tracks to Oodnadatta
the terrain is predominantly gibber plains intersected by Coolabah fringed creek bed. The moon like appearance of thee gibber plains were used to great effect in the Mad Max movies. The Painted Desert
describes the area of the Arckaringa
Hills which are composed of very soft and fragile but highly coloured rock-rock seems too harsh a word to describe these fragile soils.
During the summer months the temperatures may reach 45 to 50 degrees Celsius. Travel in the region between October and March is not recommended due to high temperatures
Fourteen year old Willie Hutchison, while searching for water, discovered opal on the 1st February 1915. The worst drought in the Statep@>s history, was responsible for Willies searching on behalf of an Adelaide Gold mining syndicate. Had it not been for the drought, the opal may not have been discovered until many years later.
Lack of water proved to be the main problem for Coober Pedy during itp@>s early history. The discovery of opal at the Eight Mile in 1945 by aboriginal woman Toddy Bryant, was a turning point that helped establish Coober Pedy's future prosperity.
The history of Oodnadatta is intertwined with the history of the great north-south connections, the Overland Telegraph Line and the railway line that came to be known as the Ghan. There is plenty of this history to explore at Oodnadatta and along the Oodnadatta track