ADELAIDE TO ALICE SPRINGS: The Stuart Highway (87)

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    The road between Adelaide and Alice Springs is now one of the easiest in the country. It was not always so. Until 1980 the 1,500 km. journey was mainly a dirt surface and subject to rains which often closed it down for long periods. Towns along the route are still sparse with major services only at the major centres like Coober Pedy, Port Augusta and Alice Springs. Accommodation is available at all centres along the way and is varied in availablility and standard.
    Most centres now offer 24 hour petrol and food services but you may want to ring ahead to confirm when these are open.
    There are motels at Port Augusta, Woomera, Coober Pedy, Glendambo, Erldunda, Yulara, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs. Pimba, Cadney Park, Kulgera, Mt Ebenezer, Curtin Springs, Kings Creek and Stuart Well all have cabin, camping and caravan facilities.

    The following summary of the road includes general information and links to some of the towns and attractions along the way
    Alice Springs was settled around a telegraph Station on the Overland Telegraph line between Adelaide and Darwin. It took its name from the wife of Charles Todd, then in charge of Posts and Telegraphs.
    90km south of Alice Springs, Stuart well offers meals, a bar, cabin and caravan accommodation and displays a broad history of the area. Jim's Place is run by Jim Cotterill who is one of the region's tourism pioneers. You will also see 'Dinky' the singing dingo here.
    The Uluru National Park is located some 250km. west of the Stuart Highway from Erldunda. KINGS CANYON:
    Kings Canyon is one of the most interesting features of Central Australia and is reached from the highway between Orange Creek and Erldunda.
    The trip from Erldunda to Coober Pedy takes you through some real desert country. In September the red sandy soil is alive with wildflowers, including the Sturt Desert Pea.
    Erldunda is a roadhouse, motel complex at the turm-off to Aysres Rock from the Stuart Hwy.
    Kulgera is the last (or first) stop in the Northern Territory and has a hotel, police station and a roadhouse.
    Marla is the last stop in South Australia before the Northern territory border and has motel accommodation and a caravan, camping park, a hotel, food and petrol. there is a police station and some services.
    Coober Pedy is situated in the vast Gibber Plains of Central Australia and is the country's largest opal producing town.
    Until the bitumen road went through Glendambo, Kingoonya was a popular stop along the dirt road. It is well worth a look to see the old town where there was frequently a cricket match going on in the main street.
    Woomera and Pimba are the last major stops from Alice Springs to Adelaide before the major towns of Port Augusta. Until 1980 the road from Pimba to the NT border was loose surface and 'Spud's" pub at Pimba was a popular watering hole for travellers. Woomera is the rocket range for Australia amd a prohibited area
    Port Augusta is at the head of Spencer Gulf and is the cross-roads to north-south and east-west in Australia. It is a major touring centre and there is plenty of accommodation and facilities.
    Port Pirie is just off the highway near Crystal Brook and is a large town with accommodation and all facilities.
    The road from Port Pirie to Adelaide follows the Flinders Ranges to the east and Spencer and then Gulf St Vincent to Adelaide. It passes through increasingly verdant countryside until it reaches the Mount Lofty Ranges and the City of Adelaide's northern suburbs.
    A pleasant diversion is into the Mount Remarkable National Park near Wilmington, to the Yorke Peninsula at Port Wakefield, or to the Clare Valley and wineries to the east of the Highway.

    Copyright Peter W. Wilkins 2006