Roxby Downs: A Gateway to the Outback

Nathan Beerkens - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Roxby Downs: A Gateway to the Outback

Roxby Downs is surrounded by outback wonders that are waiting to be explored. Arid Recovery intern Peta Zivec takes you on a virtual tour.

1. Andamooka

Andamooka is an opal mining town 30km east of Roxby Downs. Let’s put it this way, it’s a very different type of mining than what goes down in Roxby. The town developed from scattered miners’ camps in the 1930’s and certainly has a “Wild West” appeal. Nowadays it’s a sea of mullock heaps with dirt tracks to find your way around town, with scattered homes nestled into the hillsides. Highlights include the Andamooka Yacht Club, which is a trendy Melbourne-style café blonked into the middle of the desert, the public noodling area (aka opal fossicking) and the cemetery on top of the hill which features quirky grave stones of the forefathers of Andamooka.

2. Desert mound springs

Amongst the desolate desert in what appears to be a very hostile arid landscape, up pops a mound spring which is full of life, water and aquatic plants. Mound springs are created by the pressure from the Great Artisan Basin pushing water to the surface. Two mound springs (The Bubbler and the Blanche Cup) are located 190km North of Roxby Downs in the Wabma Kararbu Mound Spring national park. These arid wetlands are an astonishing feat of nature and worth a visit.

3. Lake Eyre

Words to describe Lake Eyre are; breathe taking, mind blowing and remarkable. Lake Eyre has always been very high on my bucket list and this giant expanse of shimmering salt did not disappoint. A chance to experience Australia’s lowest point and largest lake is something unforgettable. With or without water, the immense expanse of space and beauty is incredible. The different landscape types on the Oodnadatta track on the way to Lake Eyre are half the fun and in parts I was convinced we could have been on the moon.

4. William Creek

William Creek is surrounded by the world’s largest cattle station (6 million hectares and the size of Israel), has the world’s most remote pub and is South Australia’s smallest town. Isn’t that enough reason to want to go!? William Creek pub makes a mean beef burger, which is worth the drive alone, and you can also get scenic flights over Lake Eyre. The drive to William Creek along the Oodnadatta track is littered with relics of the Old Ghan railway line. Ruins of rail stations, the water filling tanks for the steam trains and bridges across creek crossing adds to the aesthetic of the outback experience.

5. Gammon Ranges and Arkaroola

The Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges are a bit more of a substantial drive from Roxby (approx. 400km), but the drive is well worth it. Head North from Roxby along the Borefield Rd and be sure to stop at the Lake Eyre Yacht club in Maree, check out the Farina Ruins and you MUST get a Quondong pie at the Coply Bakery. The Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges are the Northern Part of the Flinders Ranges and are a geological haven. Pushing of tectonic plates, erosion and a lot of time has created a spectacular landscape. There are fantastic hiking tracks at Arkaroola, plenty of yellow-footed rock wallabies to spot and beautiful vistas of arid mountain ranges.

6. Arid Recovery

Lastly, Arid Recovery is one hell of a place to check out. I invite you to come and join us for a sunset tour, listen and learn what we are all about and soak in the beautiful desert. The red sand dunes, the gibber plains and the fascinating mammals that emerge when the sun goes down are truly unique experiences. A glimpse of what Australia might have looked and felt like before feral foxes and cats roamed freely. To spot a Bettong hopping by or see a Bilby trotting in the distance, is a special thing, and it is a shame not many Australian have had the chance.

I encourage all of Arid Recovery’s followers to put Roxby Downs on top of their travel list and come play with some Bettongs!

By Peta Zivec

Arid Recovery intern


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Arid recovery is a conservation initiative supported by:
adelaide university