ASCP - ALICE SPRINGS TO COOBER PEDY
14 days / 920 km Alice Springs to Coober Pedy
Minimum 8, maximum 12 participants (plus crew) with 2 support vehicles.
Rides commence in Alice Springs on a Sunday, arriving Coober Pedy on a Saturday
2025: 27 APR - 10 MAY / 11 - 31 MAY / 8 - 21 JUNE 2025
$5000 – 14 days / 14 nights
including most meals, camping, night underground in Coober Pedy, support as described and GST.
Riders will be required to purchase their own dinner on days 6, 11 and 14.
There is the opportunity for partners and friends of riders to volunteer to provide assistance to our support crew. Limit to two volunteers per ride.
We provide vehicles, catering supplies and equipment, and campsite gear and carry your luggage each day for you.
Our crew have First Aid qualifications and carry First Aid kits, satellite communications and UHF radio.
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and afternoon tea) are provided, except on days 6, 11 and 14 where riders are required to purchase their own dinner.
Limited bike spares (e.g. spokes, tubes) can be purchased from us for general maintenance and repairs. We will carry one or two spare MTBs.
2-person hiker tents or you can bring your own. Solo riders can have a tent to themselves. Let us know if you prefer a swag or hire one from us.
Self-inflating plus closed-cell mattress.
Bring your own sleeping bag (rated for 0C).
Days 1 to 4 - Alice Springs to Old Andado / 320 km
It is sealed the first 15km to Alice Springs Airport.
With only the occasional vehicle travelling the same way, a dirt road undulates south-east from Alice Airport toward Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) Aboriginal Community, a multiple winner in recent years of Australia's Tidy Towns Awards: sustainablecommunities.com.au/honour-roll/2019-winners/
We’ll bush camp further south, at around 90km, amidst the spectacular escarpment country south of the East MacDonnell Ranges. The second day continues along the Old Andado Track to the edge of the Simpson Desert and for the following two days, we traverse the desert in a north to south direction, riding parallel with the bright red dunes.
The first buildings to be seen in three days, Molly Clark’s Old Andado Station, is frozen in a past time. For some history information, see the website oldandado.com.au (but it looks dormant).
Days 5 to 8 - Old Andado to Dalhousie Hot Springs / 180 km
Day 5 alternates between sand dunes and cattle grazing country with views of distant ranges. The next day across the border and on to Mt Dare Pub is a surprise, riding through a forest that covers the Finke River flood plain.
Mt Dare Pub has a campsite, warm showers and cold beer! Buy your own dinner here tonight. It’s a day’s ride across a vast gibber stone landscape to Dalhousie Springs, an outback hot-spa oasis!
On Day 8, enjoy a very deserved day off, soaking in the 35C recuperative mineral waters.
Days 9 to 11 - Dalhousie to Oodnadatta / 180 km
Inspect the ruins of Mt Dare homestead and the old Central Australian Railway at Pedirka. The road to Oodnadatta bumps and grunts across gibber stones, sand dunes and clay pans.
Our schedule aims at a lunchtime arrival in ‘Oodna’, allowing half a day free to wander the rusty alleys or catch up with the rest of the world with mobile coverage.
Dine at the iconic Pink Roadhouse.
Days 12 to 14 - Oodnadatta to Coober Pedy / 240 km
The views become even greater now, uninterrupted by any substantive vegetation. Reach the Painted Desert for the late afternoon light, camping nearby at Ackaringa Station. Next day aims for Mt Barry Station and beyond to the aptly named Moon Plain.
The final day’s countdown brings us into view of the Breakaways, the opal mining landscape, and finally Coober Pedy itself.
We head out on the town for a well-earned dinner party!
We'll arrange an undergound house, mine and opal tour for the next morning.
Travel to Adelaide by Rex flight or Greyhound coach (or to Alice). Later we will advise regarding the onward travel of our support vehicles as we may also be able to offer transfers.
Your bike needs to be suitable for off-road riding. We recommend a good quality dual-suspension or hardtail mountain bike with front fork suspension. Gravel bikes can do the route but wider MTB tyres are more comfortable and make it easier to ride on sandy sections.
We may be able to offer hardtail MTB bikes, please advise if you prefer to hire. Hire would be $500.
Suggested tyre inflation 25-60 psi depending on road conditions.
Make sure that you are comfortable with your saddle.
Other items to bring include tyre levers, spare tubes, spare spokes, multi-tool, ‘dry’ lubricant and a mini-pump.
What to expect:
Average daily distances from Alice Springs to Oodnadatta are between 50-85 km/day and you’ll typically be riding anywhere between 10-16 km/hour. Distances for the Oodnadatta to Coober Pedy leg are between 80-90 km/day and usually a little faster.
The riding is on mostly reasonable dirt or compacted red sand. There are plenty of corrugated, softer sand and stony gibber sections too, with occasional bulldust holes. The occasional claypan gives a smooth break.
The terrain is mostly flat riding with slightly undulating scenery, often with views of low ranges or red sand dunes. There are minimal other vehicles on the route. Roads are generally easier from Hamilton Station to Coober Pedy (days 10-14).
Riders have a daily choice of riding either full distance or opting for a lift from a lunch or tea stop (every 15-20 km).
On a typical day, riders depart camp by 8:00am, reach lunch around 11:30-13:30, and arrive at camp 14:00-18:00. Front riders will not be able to leave lunch until a designated time to prevent the ride becoming spread out. Baking hot scones in camp ovens usually does the trick! Riders who fall behind too far will be picked up by the tail-end support vehicle.
Riders need to have a good level of fitness and endurance to ride the entire distance, with previous experience riding on unsealed roads and loose, sandy surfaces.
Daily maximum temperatures range from 15-30 degrees Celsius, minimums 0-15 degrees Celsius.
This is an area of low rainfall, so most days will be sunny and generally not very windy (expect light-medium breezes).
Itinerary may have to change in event of road closures due to rain or other circumstances.
What we eat:
Most meals are provided, except on days 6, 11 and 14 where riders are required to purchase their own dinner at Mt Dare Pub, Oodnadatta and Coober Pedy. The Outbike crew aim to provide meals which are nutritious, tasty and using the freshest possibly ingredients.
Meals typically consist of the following:
Breakfast: Cereals, yoghurt, toast, occasional bacon and eggs, fresh or tinned fruit, tea, filter coffee, Milo, fruit juice.
Lunch: Make-your-own sandwiches/rolls/wraps with salads, cold meats, cheese, etc., occasionally soups, camp oven scones or leftovers, fruit, tea & filter coffee, cordial and/or fruit juice, water.
AM & PM tea stops: Biscuits, fruitcake, muesli bars, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, tea & filter coffee, water.
Dinner: Soup, pasta, stir-fry, risotto, curries with rice, camp oven roasts, BBQ, baked potatoes, tinned fruit, custard and cake.
Vegetarian meals provided if required – please let us know at time of booking. Other dietary requests catered for if practicable.
We will have many dozens of 10lt spring water containers and water filters to keep up a plentiful supply of good safe drinking water.
Available at Mt Dare Homestead and Oodnadatta.
In the past, no alcohol could be carried through the lands of Santa Teresa Aboriginal Community on the first day; we understand this policy has been relaxed but the subject is still under discussion. Anyway, be preapared that the first six days may be 'dry'.
Please check your personal insurance cover. We require participants to sign a liability waiver. We recommend individual insurance policies for cyclists which are available through organisations such as Bicycle SA.
In case of medical emergency, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is renown for the lifeline it provides to remote areas. At Mt Dare and Oodnadatta there will be opportunities to make contributions.
Images - thanks to Helmut G from 2004-2006