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Explorer's Way

This epic journey from the Southern Ocean to the red heart of Australia and beyond remains one of the world's great adventure trails.

Running between the city of Adelaide in the South and Alice Springs at the centre, and on towards Darwin at the Top End, this is Australia's only transcontinental driving trail. En route, visitors can expect ancient mountain ranges, giant Outback cattle stations, fascinating Aboriginal culture and pioneer stories, plus wildlife in its natural state.

Touring routes

From the strategic crossroads of Port Augusta, you can head the 173km towards Pimba and from there, it's only 7km to Woomera - the site of the largest land-based missile and rocket range in the western world.

The Woomera Prohibited Area now hosts space activities for Australian and international defence and aerospace organisations - and highlights its history with its Woomera Heritage and Visitor Centre, which includes a rocket range museum.

Another more adventurous route to consider is Ceduna to Coober Pedy using some dirt roads.  From Ceduna on the coast, drive the bitumen to Wirrulla and then branch North on the dirt road to Kingoonya. Once there, take the Eastern road to Glendamo - where you meet up with the main Explorer's (Stuart) Highway to Coober Pedy.

Further down the road connects you with Roxby Downs, site of Olympic Dam - the world's fourth largest gold deposit and largest known uranium deposit. This large mining town is well provisioned and offers mine tours and a leisure precinct.

From here, it's only another 113km to Glendambo.

Glendambo is the only service centre between Pimba and Coober Pedy, with two roadhouses (providing food and fuel) and a hotel/ motel.

From Glendambo to Coober Pedy is 252km where the quirky town's frontier atmosphere is crowned by its fame as the world's opal capital. 

Cadney Homestead is some 150km from here and is a good starting point for drives to the Painted Desert or Oodnadatta Track. Cadney Homestead is open 24hrs a day, with hotel rooms, caravan and camping sites.

Marla Bore is 83km from Cadney Homestead and is near to Mintabie Opal Fields (entry permits essential - Phone: (08) 8954 8104 or via Police Station at Marla Bore.) Also nearby are the crafts of local Iwantja artists.

From Marla Bore, adventurers can connect with the Ooodnadatta Track - an ancient trail following the route of Aboriginal ochre traders and European explorers.

This all dirt road runs for 600km, taking in the shimmering salt crystal shoreline of Lake Eyre, the Old Ghan Railway Line abandoned in 1891 with the ruins of workers' cottages - and then running on to William Creek, site of Australia's smallest town (population less than 10) and the world's largest cattle station (Anna Creek, covering 24,000 square km).

The William Creek Hotel (pub) is famous as a giant visitor's book - its walls covered with everything from scribbled notes, foreign bank notes to bras and boxer shorts.

Nullarbor

This amazingly vast stretch of flat country runs 720km East to West and 320km from the coast to the Great Victorian Desert.

Taking its name from latin meaning ''no tree", it still has plenty of sights - some of the most spectacular being from the coast, where at the Head of Bight between May and October it’s possible to see from a soaring clifftop viewpoint the magnificent Southern Right Whales basking in the bays.

This route, from Ceduna to Port Augusta or Coober Pedy, uncovers some of Australia's natural wonders as well as a rugged pioneer history and Aboriginal culture - before reconnecting with the major highways and routes, such as the Explorer's Way.

Lake Eyre, Simpson Desert and Witjara national parks

Situated 500km North of Port Augusta, Lake Eyre is Australia's largest salt lake. For the majority of the time, the lake remains a dry bed of shimmering white salt crystals. When the lake occasionally fills with water, it transforms into a breeding ground for masses of waterbirds - such as Australian Pelican Banded Stilts, ducks and other waders.

The park is only accessible by 4WD or scenic flight.

The Simpson Desert provides a different colour on an equally grand scale - a seemingly endless ocean of red sand stretching into infinity.

Witjara offers a combination of similar arid beauty with the added attraction of natural springs. Located on the Western edge of the Simpson Desert, more than 900km North of Port Augusta, it has the largest complex of thermal springs in Australia. Dalhousie Springs is the most popular, with pleasant camping spots and visitor facilities.

Experience Coober Pedy

  • Opal Fossils of South Australia; Origin Energy Fossil Gallery stage one
    Called the Opal Fossils of South Australia, the gallery shows the mighty marine reptiles that roamed in the cold ...
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  • Golf Club
    The Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club has been offering a unique course for golfers since 1976.  The course ...
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  • Underground Living In “Dugouts”
    It is believed that the soldiers who returned from the trenches of France during the First World War introduced t...
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  • Riba's Underground Tours
    An on-site Opal mine tour is the highlight of your stay at Riba's. It is offered every evening for guests an...
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  • Tom's Working Mine
    Tom's Working Opal Mine has been around since '1988'.  1 hour tour with an experienced tour guid...
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  • Noble Tours Australia Pty Ltd
    Travel Coober Pedy and the Painted Desert with the professionals. Modern and well equipped vehicle with informati...
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  • The Great Breakaways Marathon
    The GREAT Breakaways Marathon travels from the Breakaways, along the Dog Fence, down Kempe Road (road to Oodnadat...
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  • Coober Pedy Gem Trade Show
    The Coober Pedy Gem Trade Show is a Great Outback Show held in the Opal Capital of the World and provides the opp...
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  • Coober Pedy Races & Gymkhana
    The Coober Pedy Racing Club was started up in 1969 with the aim of bringing together town and station people &nda...
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  • SERVICE STATION: Shell Roadhouse Coober Pedy
    Shell Roadhouse Coober Pedy. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...
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  • SERVICE STATION: Opal Miners Enterprise (OME)
    Fuel services......
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  • SUPERMARKET: Carter's Coober Pedy IGA Supermarket
    A Member of the Carter's Retail Group across SA. Trading Hours: 8am – 7pm Monday – Saturday 9a...
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The opal capital of the world

Around 150 million years ago, Coober Pedy was covered by ocean - and when the water receded, the sandy silica minerals from the seabed flowed into the rocky cracks and cavities and solidified over time into multi-coloured gem-stone - opal. Explore the opal capital!

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