Aroona Dam, Beltana and Parachilna

Our exit from Leigh Creek brought us to a beautiful spot just out of town, that we’d missed on our way in. We’d heard of Aroona Dam and thought it would be in the middle of town, so might have completely passed this gem by.

The road in is dirt, but would be ok if you were towing. I think it might be 5km and it was scenic. We were not expecting the size of the dam or the range of things to do and wildlife.

There’s an old concrete BBQ setting but I didn’t take a close look to see if it still worked. I’d definitely recommend taking food and spending some time here, as you could fill hours, easily. Don’t forget hat, sunscreen and some portable shade could be good.

We left and decided to make a stop at Beltana, as we had heard a tourist operator talking up the town, as having been rebuilt from ruin and the model upon which Furina was based. It wasn’t far from Leigh Creek, but the road from the highway was pretty rough at the meeting of waterways and if we had been towing it would have made for plenty of careful crossings. No water in sight, of course.

Beltana is occupied and we expected a shop or some signs of life, but there were none, so we ate our lunch, used the excellent facilities and drove on to Parachilna.

the Flinders Ranges in the background

What, you might ask, does the ediacara capital of the world, mean? Quoting from

” In 1946, geologist Reginald Sprigg discovered fossil imprints in rocks in the Flinders Ranges at the old Ediacara minefield. This discovery was the first time the fossilised remains of an entire community of soft-bodied creatures had been found in such abundance anywhere in the world. ”

The Ediacaran period is 94 million years between Cryogenian and Cambrian Periods.

There is an area just after Parachilna, heading north, called Nilpena, where it is very easy to pick up Ediacaran fossils. Had we known…

There is a great hotel at which to stop here and plenty of information.

From here, it’s still about 5 hours to Adelaide, so pace yourself and plan ahead where you’ll stop and for how long. We made several stops before home, including Orroroo and Auburn.

Safe travels.


    1. Another visitor at the time was there 20 years previous and said the level was a good 5m higher back then. However, they are in the middle of a 3 yr drought and you know Australia – we’re just one cycle away from the next drought.


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