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Self-drive Holidays 35
After Quorn, drive to Wilpena Pound in
the Flinders Ranges National Park. An
enormous natural amphitheatre, the pound
offers breathtaking scenery, rich Aboriginal
and European history, wildlife, and above
all, a great chance to unwind. A variety of
accommodation is available at Wilpena
Pound Resort and nearby Rawnsley Park
Station (see page 103 ).
Clare to Wilpena Pound: 382km/237miles,
Spend today exploring the area either by
walking trail or on a guided 4WD tour,
keeping an eye out for native animals and
wildflowers (in season). Scenic flights are
available (such as a 30 -minute flight over the
Pound), and are another great way to truly
appreciate the grandeur of this remarkable
area (see page 104).
This afternoon travel to Parachilna for
an overnight stay at the Prairie Hotel, an
Outback pub that offers a high standard
of accommodation and an award -winning
restaurant featuring Australian ‘native’ cuisine
and a colourful front bar (see pages 103-107).
Wilpena Pound to Parachilna: 77km/48miles,
This morning drive from Parachilna via
Blinman to the township of Arkaroola,
exploring areas such as Chambers Gorge if
Arkaroola is a private wilderness sanctuary
and one of Australia’s most spectacular
areas. Rich in history, the area features
rugged mountains, towering granite peaks,
magnificent gorges and waterholes,
and wildlife, including the shy Yellow-
footed Rock-wallaby. This afternoon, join
Arkaroola’s famous Ridgetop Tour, which
features breathtaking scenery from the back
of a 4WD. The pinnacle of the tour is Siller’s
Lookout, which gives visitors the impression
of being on top of the world.
Tonight, take a tour of the night skies
from Arkaroola Astronomical Observatory,
housing the largest privately owned
telescope in Australia. The skies are clear
and the view is simply stunning.
A variety of accommodation is available at
Arkaroola (see page 103).
Parachilna to Arkaroola: 197km/122miles,
2 hours 30 minute drive
Continue your journey into the Outback
driving from Arkaroola to William Creek, via
Copley, Lyndhurst and Marree.
Marree is the starting point for the Birdsville
and Oodnadatta Tracks. The journey to
William Creek is along the Oodnadatta
Track, once the track of the Ghan railway
to Alice Springs. It is now mostly used for
livestock transport and travellers wanting to
experience the real Outback.
At Coward Springs, there is an old railway
siding and a campground that has shaded
sites and the chance to soak in a natural
Continue along the Oodnadatta Track to
William Creek, which boasts the world’s
most isolated pub. Spend the evening here,
in basic cabin or hotel accommodation.
Arkaroola to William Creek: 450km/280miles,
Travel from William Creek to Coober Pedy,
Australia’s unique ‘underground town’.
Opal was discovered here in 1915 and
Coober Pedy now produces 95 per cent
of Australia’s opal. Miners who flocked
to the area quickly discovered that living
underground gave a cool escape from the
scorching summer. Visitors can share the
experience by choosing from a range of
accommodation, some offering underground
rooms (see page 131). There are several
good restaurants and cafés.
This afternoon, take a tour of the town and
get a fascinating insight into a completely
different lifestyle. Tours visit underground
churches, homes and shops, and the
spectacular landscapes of the Breakaways
and Moon Plain (see pages 131-132).
William Creek to Coober Pedy: 166km/103miles,
Depart Coober Pedy and travel along Stuart
Highway to Alice Springs. Just over 150
kilometres (93 miles) north of Coober
Pedy is Cadney Roadhouse, which has
good facilities and essential services for
visitors. Time permitting, take a detour
east from here to the stunning Copper
Hills and Arckaringa Hills, known as the
Painted Desert (allow an additional three
hours for this experience). Once back on
Stuart Highway, drive through Marla (also
recommended for a fuel stop) and begin the
last section of the drive, which takes you
into the Northern Territory and Alice Springs,
the heart of the Red Centre of Australia.
Coober Pedy to Alice Springs: 680km/422.5miles,
* Distances and times are approximate and
do not include detours or stops.
This publication is available
through the SATC’s international
representatives – see page
166 for contact details.
Available in English, French,
German and Italian. www.
near Coober Pedy
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