The Anne Beadell Highway, located in Western Australia, is a track carved through some of the most isolated and harsh areas in Australia.
|Grading||Low range and high ground clearance|
|Time||Minimum seven days|
|Distance||1324km, Laverton to Coober Pedy|
|779km, Ilkurlka Roadhouse to Coober Pedy|
|Facilities||Laverton, Ilkurlka Roadhouse, Coober Pedy|
|Best time of year||Avoid summer months as temperatures are extremely high. Remember that in other seasons, night temperatures can drop below freezing, so you will need a decent sleeping bag.|
|Warnings||This is an extremely remote track. Unless you are a hugely experienced desert traveller, solo travel is not recommended. Prepare your vehicle well, carry necessary fuel, take the right communications, with more than adequate food and water, and a sensible selection of spares, including two spare tyre assemblies. Put a red flag on your aerial and use your HF to alert other possible traffic to your presence. You should also consider a registered EPIRB. Alcohol restrictions apply on Aboriginal land.|
|Permits and fees||These days you require a number of permits to traverse the Anne Beadell Highway, depending on what you want to do. You don't need a Desert Parks Pass to camp Mamungari Conservation Park, but you'll need a camping permit. You'll also need a permit from Maralinga Tjarutja Incorporated. A Desert Parks Pass and camping permit are required for Tallaringa Conservation Park. You'll also need a permit from the Defence Support Centre for the Woomera Prohibited Area|
Maralinga Tjarutja Inc. Ph (08) 8625 2946
The track was the creation of Len Beadell, a surveyor who then named his work after his wife, and extends the length of about 1,325 km’s. This track is definitely not for newbies – it takes a certain level of skill to navigate and self-sufficiency is of the utmost importance. With that being said, the track is an extremely popular destination for the more adventurous 4WD enthusiasts.
The track extends from Laverton, located in Western Australia, and takes travellers all the way to Coober Pedy, which is situated in South Australia. Along the way, journeyers will get an up close and personal view of what draws people to some of the most remote areas of this country. Throughout the journey, visitors will see the landscape slowly altering from clay pans to the breathtaking red sand dunes. A 4WD trip is worthwhile and will test the abilities of a driver, taking them over scrub and sandy track at various stages of the journey.
The Yeo Homestead
The Yeo Homestead camping area gives visitors the chance to rest but it is important that travellers take note that this area only offers basic provisions, which includes toilets, drinking water and camping grounds. The grounds are situated about 213 km’s to the north-east of Laverton.
The Ilkurlka Roadhouse is the sole roadhouse along the Anne Beadell Highway between Laverton and Coober Pedy. The establishment is situated about 700 km’s to the north-east of Kalgoorlie and offers visitors toilets, a barbeque area, showers and a self contained studio accommodation. Currently, the roadhouse is considered to be one of the most remote roadhouses in the country and generally caters to the Aboriginal population in the area.
The Mamungari Conservation Park
The Mamungari Conservation Park is an area of protected land that did not receive a name until 2006. It has been named one of a total of fourteen world Biosphere Reserves within the country and it is still managed, in part, by its traditional owners. Permits are required in order to travel through this area.
Preparing for the Track
Anyone looking to venture out onto the Anne Beadell Highway will need to prepare for the length of the journey, owing to the limited supplies available along the way. Only high clearance 4WD vehicles will be able to access the entirety of the track and permits are required to allow visitors to pass through both Aboriginal and private lands. There are few signposts on the track, which means that 4WD enthusiasts will need to bring along maps and additional guides. Weather conditions, such as flash floods, can add to the potential hazards faced on the journey.
Points of Interest
Some places that visitors will want to look out for include Emu Field, which is the area formerly used by the British for atomic testing. A light aircraft wreck can be viewed along the way, as well as Mamungari Conservation Park, which is based in South Australia. The Anne Beadell High way is currently one of the only main roads that pass directly through this conservation park
The Anne Beadell Highway is a good reminder to travellers of what makes Australia such an appealing destination for 4WD enthusiasts and it is one that will continue to challenge experienced 4WDers for many years to come.