6 Things To Do In Leigh Creek
If you’ve reached Leigh Creek, it’s likely that you’re right in the midst of your Outback adventure through South Australia’s Far North. Nestled in the hills of the Northern Flinders Ranges, this friendly town welcomes adventurers, tempting them to spectacular views, great grub and plenty of potential for exploration. In this post we share six unique things you can do during your visit to Leigh Creek.
The gateway to the Outback
Once you’ve arrived in Leigh Creek, you’re officially knocking on the door of the vast Australian Outback. What a thrill! This Outback town only 40 minutes north of Parachilna is where intrepid travellers take a welcoming stop before venturing into the desert. And whilst you’re here, there’s a whole lot to uncover…
Once a thriving mining town and built solely to house workers from the nearby coal mine, Leigh Creek has certainly changed over the years. However, the town’s sense of courageous community spirit still stands.
With its mine closing in 2015, Leigh Creek is working towards a new exciting future which sees it evolving into a great Outback tourism hub! Visitors today admire with awe the sheer remoteness of the town which supports a friendly community and fascinating history. Meanwhile, its Aboriginal culture and spectacular Outback views make for unique drawcard experiences.
Things To Do In Leigh Creek
There’s no doubt that travellers will find lots of things to do in Leigh Creek. From lessons in ancient history, to fishing at the dam and bushwalking through remote bushland, there’s no shortage of activities. Read on to discover six things you can do during your stay!
1. Enjoy Aroona Dam
A stop in Leigh Creek is always elevated with a visit to the beautiful Aroona Dam. Featuring views of undulating hills and holding 5000 megalitres of water, this charming oasis is home to the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby amongst lots of other species of wildlife.
The best way to enjoy Aroona Dam is to take the 5.5 interpretive walk which traverses wetlands and weaves through rocky, red-gum lined creeks. Alternatively, you can simply bring a picnic, your swimmers, a canoe or kayak and spend a day here admiring the views. Don’t forget to bring your rod, because with a little luck you can also catch Cod and Perch!
2. Akurra Walking Trail
Connecting Aroona Dam and the town of Leigh Creek, the Akurra Walking Trail takes only a couple of hours and is the most popular option for bushwalking in the area. Leading walkers on a journey from the edge of the town, along the water of Aroona Dam and back to the town again (in a loop), the walk offers visitors a great opportunity to not only admire the region’s rich wildlife but to learn about Adnyamathanha language and culture. Rich information is provided with the help of signs along the way.
3. Go Birdwatching at Retention Dam
Retention Dam - once used to stop creek flow into the mining area - was created in 1981. Today, it is a complex wetland habitat, locally renowned for its incredible bird life. The blue-billed duck, elegant parrot, musk duck and Australasian darter are some of the rare birds amongst the 68 different species that call Retention Dam home.
Whether you’re a keen birdwatcher or simply seeking a place to enjoy some natural serenity, Retention Dam is a great spot - often quieter than neighbouring Aroona Dam.
4. Visit Neighbouring Beltana
A quick and easy 30 minute drive will see you in heritage listed Beltana. Slightly eery in its appearance, Beltana might seem uninhabited, with its old buildings and quiet atmosphere (it’s been referred to as a ‘living ghost town’). However, approximately 70 people actually live here.
Once you arrive in Beltana, park at the community park and wander through the historic town, where you’ll spot 14 informative plaques about the town’s past. Then, once you’ve explored enough, there’s also a lookout point at the edge of Beltana which boasts panoramic views of the Flinders Ranges.
5. Find Fossils in Nilpena
You might be shocked to hear that creatures which existed between 570 and 540 million years ago (much before dinosaurs) can be found in the form of fossils at nearby Nilpena. They’re considered the oldest fossils in the world! Similar to jellyfish, these creatures were soft-bodied and existed when Australia was partially under shallow, warm seas.
Only 40 minutes south of Leigh Creek, visitors to the region can drop into Nilpena Ediacara National Park to admire these impressive fossils. Book your tour through the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna and you’ll be transported back millions of years to the Ediacaran Period with the help of a knowledgeable guide.
6. Take a tour with Iga Warta
One of the most unique and inspiring things to do in Leigh Creek involves visiting Iga Warta. Primarily an Adnyamathanha cultural centre, Iga Warta offers fascinating Aboriginal cultural tours.
On your tour, you’ll learn about Adnyamathanha culture and history as you visit painting sites, taste bushtucker and learn about the significance of the local flora, fauna and landscape. With a new perspective on the environment, you’ll not only enjoy the views of the rugged mountains and contrasting colours of the landscape but will leave more informed about the Aboriginal context of the region.
Leigh Creek and much more–with the Outback Loop
Explore Australia’s Outback with the help of the Outback Loop. Spread across a vast region in the far northeast of South Australia and southwest Queensland, the Outback Loop invites adventurous travellers to experience the best of the Outback its towns, history, characters, stories and attractions.