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Kanku Breakaways Conservation Park – South Australia

Kanku Breakaways Conservation Park – South Australia

Located about 30km north of Coober Pedy, Kanku Breakaways Conservation Park is a fascinating site! This region, which is still very important in Aboriginal culture (the Antakirinja), with a landscape made up of arid, orange-coloured hills that stretch out over endless plains. Little known to the wider public, this natural park is definitely worth a visit. Here is all the information you need to discover this fascinating and historic place.

Kanku Breakaways Conservation Park; A short history

The Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park covers almost 15,000 hectares and offers a majestic and arid landscape. The area is home to almost 60 species of native flora and a wide variety of wildlife including; kangaroos, echidnas and many bird species.

The park is a spectacular landscape of unique geological formations in the form of domes, canyons and hills ranging in colour from white to dark red. These geological formations were formed millions of years ago and are an important site for the local Aboriginal people, the Antakirinja Matu-Yankunytjatjara.

The Kanku-Breakaways are of great cultural and spiritual significance to Aboriginal people. Many of the park’s features are part of the stories that criss-cross the landscape, stretching for thousands of kilometres.

The area is co-managed by the Antakirinja Matu-Yankuntjartjara Aboriginal Corporation (AMYAC), the traditional owners of the area, the Coober Pedy District Council and the Department of Environment and Water (DEW). The entire park is an Aboriginal site.

Aboriginal people continue to play an active role in the protection of the country, including in the parks of southern Australia.

How and when to visit?

How to get to the park

This landscape can give the impression that you have just landed on Mars – it has been formed by the evaporation of an ancient inland sea, showing some islands. The Satellite view on Google maps shows us that this site is like no other!

If you’re planning to drive through the Red Centre on your way to South Australia, you should definitely make a stop at this reserve. You can get a permit ($11/vehicle) from the Tourist office in Coober Pedy or at Underground Books (35km north of Coober Pedy).
From the Stuart Highway, a 10km unpaved road* (Kempe Road (Oodnnadatta Road)) will take you to two lookouts.

*Accessible with a conventional vehicle – In case of recent rain, check road conditions with the Coober Pedy Visitor Centre.

Best time to visit

The park is popular for its panoramic views of the surrounding desert and its breathtaking sunsets. Visitors can explore the park by car or by hiking, and there are several well-marked hiking trails that offer stunning views of the landscape. The park is very hot and dry in summer, so it is best to plan your visit during the winter months (May to September) when temperatures are milder. Always bring water with you if you go hiking.

Highlights of the park

Continuing along the main park track, you come across the Salt & Pepper Mountains, also known as “The Castle” (or “Pupa” to the Aboriginal people).

A little further on, the Dog Fence is a barrier of more than 5,000 km long – the longest in the world. It was built in the 1880s to prevent the spread of dingoes on the southern coast of Australia. On the map below, you can see quite how long it really is!

Famous movies filmed here

With such an incredible atmosphere and setting, it’s no wonder that many of Hollywood’s top producers have visited the area. Film buffs will recognise the setting that was used for the filming of Mad Max 3 and Priscilla Madness of the Desert!

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