An Outback Gem

Just because an Outback road doesn’t have a fancy name (eg. the Gunbarrel Highway, the Birdsville Track) doesn’t mean there’s nothing interesting to see there. One of the gems of Outback South Australia is found on the road between Oodnadatta and Arckaringa Station (and you can continue on from there to Cadney Park Roadhouse on the Stuart Highway). As far as I know, the road has no particular name. From Oodnadatta, you follow the signs to Coober Pedy, but turn right about 50 km out, heading for the Painted Desert. About 30 km from that turn, you come into this extensive kaleidoscopically-coloured area. A photographer’s dream!

F1000012 (2)Of course, there are other not dissimilar features in the broad vicinity: the Painted Hills near William Creek (viewable only from the air), the Breakaways near Coober Pedy, and the Ochre Cliffs near Lyndhurst. But for my money, the Painted Desert takes the cake.

There’s a great lookout on the south side of the road, providing a panoramic view, and a richly rewarding walking area on the north side, allowing you to get right in amongst the strikingly coloured soils and rocks.

IMG_0859[1]By the way, there are basic camping facilities at Arckaringa Station (phone 08 8670 7992), where the resident cattle apparently get by living on rocks and fresh air.

If you’re continuing on south to Coober Pedy, turn left at Arckaringa Station onto the road to Mount Barry. The run from there down to Coober takes you across the dramatic Moon Plains. If you want to take in the Breakaways as well, turn right immediately after you cross the dog fence (about 15 km out of Coober).


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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6 Responses to An Outback Gem

  1. georgeroytersaustralia says:

    The road is called ‘The Painted Desert Road’ and is one of the most scenic roads in the South Australian outback. Quite isolated and little traffic.
    I am editing a video of the area at the moment for my next blog.

  2. Wow. That’s fabulous. Looks like something I need to add to my “next time” list.

  3. Ray. says:

    The Painted Desert is on my “to visit” list. A similar dramatic contrast occurs approaching Halligans Bay at Lake Eyre, the black volcanic rock isn’t seen anywhere else in that area and is nothing like
    the red soil and salt-sand around the lake.

  4. dazzlerplus says:

    Is that right? I’ve been to ABC Bay (some years ago), but never to Halligan’s. Next time!

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