Anne Beadell Highway 4WD Guide | Everything You Need To Know

Do you have at least five days to spare for an off-road trip? Do you want to explore the outback and the remote bush? If both statements ring true for you, you should head to Anne Beadell Highway on your next trip.

The Anne Beadell Highway is an unsealed track in the outback that links Coober Pedy, SA, and Laverton, WA, with a total distance of 1,325 km. So, it is one of the longest roads that you can readily explore the country. It was built by Len Beadell, who named the highway after his wife. 

Do you want to explore this awe-inspiring outback route? Read this blog to know more about it!

How Do I Get to Anne Beadell Highway?

If you are from Perth, you can follow this route to reach Anne Beadell Highway:

  • Head southwest towards Roe St
  • Turn left at the 1st intersection onto Roe Street
  • After 250 m, Roe St becomes Stirling St
  • Turn right onto Newcastle St after 450 m
  • After 400 m, turn left onto Lord St/State Route 51
  • Turn right onto Tonkin Hwy S/State Rte 4 ramp to Airport after 6.7 km
  • Merge onto Tonkin Hwy/State Route 4
  • After 850 m, use the left lane to take the National Hwy 94/National Rte 1/Gt Eastern Hwy exit
  • Turn left onto National Highway 94 (look for signs leading to National Hwy 94/National Rte 1/Midland)
  • After 10 km, stay on the left lane to take the GT Eastern Hwy/National Hwy 94 slip road to Kalgoorlie
  • Merge onto National Highway 94 after 650 m
  • Continue straight onto Great Eastern Hwy/National Rte 94 Alternate
  • Turn left onto Throssell St after 35.8 km
  • After 800 m, turn right onto Piccadilly St
  • Turn left onto Goldfields Hwy/State Route 49 after 2.9 km
  • After 215 km, turn right onto Melita Rd
  • Turn left onto Kookynie-Malcolm Rd after 11.7 km
  • Turn right onto Laverton Leonora Rd after 14.8 km
  • Continue onto Beria Rd

What Should I Know About Anne Beadell Highway? 

The Environment

Naming this trek a “highway” is very deceptive because it is little more than a track going through a vast forest of vegetated dunes and gibber rises. The full length from Laverton to the last 4 km into Coober Pedy is, on the other side, a red sandy base. Usually, the sand is firm and hard, but in some parts, it is slowly washed out, and in others there, it is a few corrugated while in some areas, there are soft but gentle dunes to cross.

Temperatures can go above 50°C in summer, and it has been known to increase to 60°C. Travel during summer is not recommended.

The History

The Beadell name is intertwined with the exploration of Australia’s most isolated areas and the construction of outback tracks. Len Beadell was a renowned Australian surveyor, explorer, and author who was pivotal in the surveying and completion of around 6,000kms of remote desert roads. These pass through the Deserts of Gibson, Great Victoria, and Great Sandy.

The Anne Beadell Highway was constructed by Len and his team in the late 1950s and early 1960s and was named after Anne, his wife. The highway connects with the Connie Sue Highway running from south to north at the Neale Junction in Western Australia. Also, the Connie Sue Highway is named after the daughter of Len and Anne Beadell.

But why is the junction named “Neale Junction”? 

Neale Breakaways generally run north-south following the Rawlinna – Warburton track and stretch for around 75 kilometers. The name Neale Breakaways was written on Commander Harry Bennett’s exploration plan 140 back in 1935. The feature was named after Commander R.F.C. Neale, who piloted “Mackay Aerial Reconnaissance Survey Expedition” in the same year. Name accepted in 1984. So it appears Len only named the junction using the map that has the name of the neighboring breakaways.

Another interesting point is the intersection with Woomera – which gained notoriety as the first Australian atomic test site picked by the British in 1946 since it is uninhabited and has clear skies. The now-abandoned Emu test base and runway can be visited along with the two test sites where the first atomic bombs ever to reach Australia were detonated. The level of radiation here is still regarded as unsafe for long-term occupation, but visitors can safely go near the totems that mark the place where the bombs were blown up. The ripples in the ground are a visible reminder of the devastating effects of atomic power. There are no facilities for camping in the immediate area, so time your visit to enable travel time to another area.

Preparation

A significant factor for preparing for this trip is ensuring you don’t attempt to travel during the published closure dates through the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA), and the arrangement of permits. See Permit Section.

The trip will take a minimum of five days if you are prepared to drive for about 7 hours a day. It does not allow much time for stopping at sights of interest or for unforeseen circumstances, and most people will take 6 – 7 days.

This track is no longer without fuel supplies, and Ilkurlka Roadhouse has both diesel and unleaded fuel with Eftpos and Credit Card facilities. There is no need to order fuel.

Permits

You will need to obtain permits with the following before you travel. A South Australia Desert Parks Pass will enable you to camp in the Mumungari CP. However, a full Desert Parks Pass is not necessary for this route.

How Are The 4WD Tracks in Anne Beadell Highway?

The track was made by Len Beadell, a surveyor who then named his work after his wife, and has a length of around 1,325 km. This track is 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 a top-rated destination for the more thrill-seeking 4WD enthusiasts.

The track goes from Laverton, situated in Western Australia, and takes travelers to Coober Pedy, which is situated in South Australia. Along the way, journeyers will get an up-close and first-hand view of what attracts people to some of the most isolated areas of Australia. For the rest of the journey, visitors will see the landscape slowly altering from claypans to the breathtaking red dunes. A 4WD trip is worth it and will test the skills of a driver, taking them over sandy track and scrub at various sections of the trip

The Yeo Homestead

The Yeo Homestead camping area provides visitors with the chance to rest. Still, travelers must take note that this area only offers necessary provisions, which includes toilets, camping grounds, and drinking water. The grounds are situated about 213 km to the north-east of the town of Laverton.

Ilkurlka Roadhouse

The Ilkurlka Roadhouse is the only roadhouse along the Anne Beadell Highway in the middle of Laverton and Coober Pedy. The establishment is located about 700 km’s to the north-east of Kalgoorlie and provides visitors toilets, a barbeque area, showers, and self-contained studio accommodation. Currently, the roadhouse is recognized as one of the most isolated roadhouses in the country and mostly caters to the neighboring Aboriginal population.

The Mamungari Conservation Park

The Mamungari Conservation Park is a protected land that was unnamed until 2006. It has been considered as one out of fourteen world Biosphere Reserves in the country, and it is still partly managed by its traditional owners. But permits are needed to travel through this area.

What Are The Other Things That I Can Do in Anne Beadell Highway?

A few places that visitors will want to look out for are Emu Field, which is the area once 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 an excellent reminder to travelers 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.

What Do Other 4WD Enthusiasts Say About Anne Beadell Highway?

“Did it from Coober Pedy as far as Neale Junction, and then turned north on Connie Sue. The SA section was badly corrugated and shook us to pieces, breaking one of my radiator mounts. We got to Neale Jcn in 3 days – a bit faster than I would have preferred, but we were on a schedule to reach Giles and Surveyor General’s Corner on a specific date. Next time I’ll go much slower. Brilliant experience.” -User ID 24941 (https://tracks.4x4earth.com/4wd-track/anne-beadell-highway/173)

Where Should I Stay in Anne Beadell Highway?

There are six places where you can stay in Anne Beadell Highway:

  • Yeo Lake Homestead
  • Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 1 Campsite)
  • Ilkurlka Campground
  • Ilkurlka Roadhouse
  • No. 3 Campsite Tjutatja Tank
  • Anne Beadell Hwy (No. 4 Campsite)

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