Dares Hill Tourist Drive

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesHallett
DifficultyDifficulty 2.5/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance128.38 km
Minimum Days1
Average Speed41.95 km/hr
Travel Time3 hrs 3 mins
Page Updated: 18 Mar 2010


This drive may be only short in distance, but is big in features, so do not under estimate the time taken to do this very enjoyable and historic drive. From the rolling hills of Mount Bryan to crossing that invisible barrier of Goyder’s Line of Rainfall, this will be a very rewarding drive and give you a chance to see what lies over the ranges as you travel down the Barrier Highway. Travelling during early spring can be very rewarding with the contrasting countryside - from various crops growing, through to wilds flowers further east in the trip.

See the Birth Place where one of Australia’s least known Arctic Explorers and aviators, Sir Hubert Wilkins was born and went to school, many historic old ruins from the 1800’s to Aboriginal Rock engravings and paintings that are hundreds of years old. The historic train platform where American General Douglas MacArthur gave is famous speaks “I came out of Bataan and I Shall Return”.

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The area that this drive covers is import for one reason, and that it covers two quite distinctive types of terrain and vegetation. The southern section, is typical of any rural area in Australia, which is a good cereal growing country, while once the invisible Goyder’s Line is crossed, you leave the reliable cropping and grazing land and into true pastoral country, which would dominate the rest of trip. Goyder’s Line of rainfall is an imaginary line marking off a very large area of rural South Australia that receives 254mm of rainfall a year or less. This line was named after the then South Australian Surveyor General, George Goyder, who in 1865 travelled nearly 5000 kilometres on horseback to distinguish a division between arable (guaranteed rainfall) and arid land. North of the Goyder’s Line was deemed Pastoral land and should not be cropped and was also the start of Saltbush and Blue bush country.


The complete area that this route traverses through was the home for thousands of years of the Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Aboriginal people. Just north of the old Ketchowla Homestead, can be found some of the best examples of Ngadjuri rock engravings, ceremonial markings and rare rock paintings in any of their areas of travel.

The first European to visit this area, was the then Governor of South Australia, George Gawler who named the largest hill in the area on the 12th December 1839 after a young visiting Englishman, Henry Bryan who was in Governor Gawler’s care and the youngest member of his exploration expedition.

Wanting to play a part in the field of exploration, Governor Gawler, proposed a voyage along part of the Murray River well before it was fashionable to do so. With his small team gathered, they set off and were guided by the then South Australian Surveyor General, Charles Sturt. At one point, a group of hills in the northern distance caught their attention, and with the possibility of finding good pastoral lands, and a spur of the moment decision, the group set out for these distant hills and the massive peak on the horizon. This large Peak was then named “Mount Bryan” by Governor Gawler after his young English guest. Nearing theses hills, the group separated and neither group then knew anything of how the others fared until they returned to the River. Charles Sturt and Henry Inman survived by killing and eating one of their horses while Governor Gawler returned in a state of exhaustion. Henry Bryan was lost and was never seen alive again. His death remained a mystery of the bush, as his body was never found, and the high peak in the vicinity became his memorial.

The ruins of William Dares “Piltimitiappa Homestead.” offer a lot of history. .” Born in London in 1824, William and his elder brother, George sailed to their new homeland of Australia in 1838. Undertaking various jobs, William headed from Adelaide to Victoria’s Eaglehawk gold diggings and returned in less than 12 months, with over £700 in his pocket, which in those days would have been a huge sum of money. Securing the lease of 80 square kilometres of land to the east of Hallett, William engaged local Aboriginals to guide him to his yet unvisited lands. Being led to the top of the largest hill on the way to his property, the very same hill that we had just previously visited, namely Dares Hill Summit, William noticed that the foot of the hill was a swathe of dark green vegetation across a narrow creek valley, and decided at once that that was going to be the location of his new homestead. William selected his head station close to the creek, fenced the property and stocked it with sheep. Over the years William built the stone homestead, stone woolshed and stone water tanks. For over 35 years, William and his family went through the ravages of Dingos and drought and the big job of taking his wool clip had to Kapunda by Bullock wagon, many days travel away back in the 1800’s. Over the years, much of William’s property was resumed and subdivided, but William retained his homestead at Piltimitiappa until the 1880’s and died in 1892 and was buried on a nearby property.

The ruins of Ketchowla also offer some very important history. In the 1850’s, Christopher Giles, father of the famous explorers, Ernest and Alfred Giles, acquired Ketchowla Station and originally established his head station approximately 3 kilometres north of the now derelict homestead, at a place known as “The Springs”. Because of its permanent water supply, it made the perfect place to establish the homestead in an otherwise waterless landscape. Like all parts of Australia, a permanent supply of water also meant that is was an important place for the local Ngadjuri Aboriginal people.

Another very important piece of Australian history also has its origins in this area as well. Australia’s least known Adventurers and Polar Explores was born here in Mount Bryan East. On the 31st October 1888, George Hubert Wilkins was the youngest and 13th child born to Harry and Louisa Wilkins. George was born in this now restored homestead and attended his schooling days at the nearby Mount Bryan East School. In search of adventure and something out of the ordinary, he was a stowaway on board of a ship from Port Adelaide hoping to make it to England. Being removed from the ship in Algiers, he was captured by gun runners and rescued by a young Moslem girl, and finally made it to London just after his 21st Birthday.

Learning how to fly in 1910, he was the first person to take moving pictures in a war zone in the Balkan’s in 1912. In 1914 he walked more that 300 kilometres to rescue Stefansson in the Arctic. With the outbreak of World War 1, he returned to Australia and joined the AIF and went to France as an Official photographer, was awarded the Military Cross twice and was described by Australian General Monash as the bravest man he had ever met. In 1928 his dreams were fulfilled when he became the first person to fly more than 3000 kilometres in just over 20 hours across the Arctic, for which he was knighted by King George V. By the end of 1928, he was the first to make flights over the Antarctic. In 1929 Sir Hubert became the first and probably the only Australian to circumnavigate the world by airship, the “Graf Zeppelin” in a 22 day journey. In 1931, in another world first, Sir Hubert purchased a submarine from the US Navy for $1 named the Nautilus, and made the first ever attempt for an under-ice voyage by submarine under the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole. From 1942, Sir Hubert was employed by the United States Army, as a consultant in their planning division and later as Arctic consultant. In February 1958 on his way back to Alaska from the Antarctic, Sir Hubert returned to his birthplace here at Mount Bryan East and spent several days in the area. On the 30th November 1958, Sir Hubert died from a heart attack and the British Government wanted to bury him in Westminster Abby. At the request of his wife, Lady Suzanne Wilkins, he was cremated and on the 17th March 1959, his ashes were scattered at the geographical North Pole by US Submarine Commander Colvert from the nuclear submarine “Skate”.

On Sunday 29th April 2001, over 300 people gathered to see the official opening of the restored cottage by Dick Smith.

As you pass over the grid and enter Collinsville Stud, you will be passing through Australia’s most important Merino Sheep Stud, which has been synonymous with the Australian Wool Industry for over 100 years, and which was responsible for up to one third of all sheep genetics in the Australian Sheep Industry. Collinsville had a massive impact on the quality of merino sheep, here in Australia and overseas and has scored dozens of world record prices paid for stud rams, with one ram being sold for an astronomical $400,000.00

TrekID: 177


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
This drive may only appear short in distance, but never the less this drive will take you into isolated areas. There will be little or no mobile phone reception depending on where you are in the drive and the only way of possibly making contact with any other person in the area would be UHF radio, Satellite Phone or HF Radio.

Providing that your vehicle has a near full tank of fuel, you should have no problem in completing this drive. It is important to note, that there are no fuel supplies to be obtained along the entire length of this trip, so if your fuel tanks are low, it is important to top up before you start. Depending where you start this drive from, you last fuel supplies will be either at Hallett or Terowie. These towns are both very small, with limited supplies of fuel and vehicle repairs. If starting this drive from the North, the largest major town closest to Terowie is Peterborough, just 22 kilometres to the North West on a good bitumen road. If you are going to start this drive from the south, then Burra is the largest major town, 32 kilometres south of Hallett.


The complete distance travelled for the Dares Hill Tourist Drive 21 is all Public Roads and no Permits of any type are required to travel this route. Listed below are some good contact details for this trek.

Burra Tourist Information Centre

2 Market Square
Burra SA 5417
Phone (08) 88922 154

Terowie Information Centre

22 Main Street
Terowie SA 5421
Phone (08) 8659 1039

Department of Environment and Heritage

Northern and Yorke Region
Burra Office
2 Kingston Street
Burra SA 5417
Phone (08) 88923 025

Fuel Usage

4cyl 18 litres4cyl 21 litres4cyl 26 litres
6cyl 20 litres6cyl 23 litres6cyl 23 litres
8cyl 20 litres8cyl 21 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

This area can be safely visited any time of the year, but would be unwise to travel this route in times of extremely hot weather or the complete opposite, very wet weather.

Closest Climatic Station

Distance from Trek Mid Point 31.74km NW
Mean Max. °C30.830.
Mean Min. °C13.413.410.
Mean Rain mm22.221.216.524.634.939.639.543.538.233.828.024.4
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Hallett to Pianoleche Homestead
Driving: 2.76 km
Avg Speed: 28.13 km/hr
EST Time: 05:53
Pianoleche Homestead to Scrub Rd & Mount Bryan East Rd
Driving: 0.68 km
Heading: 27°
Avg Speed: 30.99 km/hr
EST Time: 01:18
Scrub Rd & Mount Bryan East Rd to Banbury Historic Marker
Driving: 7.18 km
Heading: 85°
Avg Speed: 50.28 km/hr
EST Time: 08:34
Banbury Historic Marker to Mount Bryan East Rd & Ned Webber's Rd
Driving: 2.16 km
Heading: 85°
Avg Speed: 47.83 km/hr
EST Time: 02:42
Mount Bryan East Rd & Ned Webber's Rd to Peppermint Gully
Driving: 0.07 km
Heading: 74°
Avg Speed: 20.65 km/hr
EST Time: N/A
Peppermint Gully to Mount Bryan East Rd & Wilkens Dve
Driving: 5.06 km
Heading: 140°
Avg Speed: 49.61 km/hr
EST Time: 06:07
Mount Bryan East Rd & Wilkens Dve to Sir Hubert Wilkins Homestead
Driving: 3.25 km
Heading: 24°
Avg Speed: 51.01 km/hr
EST Time: 03:49
Sir Hubert Wilkins Homestead to Mount Bryan East Rd & Wilkens Dve
Driving: 3.25 km
Heading: 204°
Avg Speed: 51.01 km/hr
EST Time: 03:49
Mount Bryan East Rd & Wilkens Dve to Mount Bryan East Rd & Dares Hill Summit Rd
Driving: 0.72 km
Heading: 178°
Avg Speed: 47.71 km/hr
EST Time: 00:54
Mount Bryan East Rd & Dares Hill Summit Rd to Mount Bryan East
Driving: 1.15 km
Heading: 74°
Avg Speed: 29.84 km/hr
EST Time: 02:18
Mount Bryan East to Dust Hole Creek
Driving: 0.54 km
Heading: 117°
Avg Speed: 57.58 km/hr
EST Time: 00:33
Dust Hole Creek to Dares Hill Summit Rd & Mawson Trail
Driving: 1.58 km
Heading: 107°
Avg Speed: 40.01 km/hr
EST Time: 02:22
Dares Hill Summit Rd & Mawson Trail to Wallinga
Driving: 0.45 km
Heading: 154°
Avg Speed: 52.18 km/hr
EST Time: 00:31
Wallinga to Dare Road & Mawson Trail
Driving: 0.28 km
Heading: 219°
Avg Speed: 37.73 km/hr
EST Time: 00:26
Dare Road & Mawson Trail to Caroona Creek Park Boundary
Driving: 4.03 km
Heading: 126°
Avg Speed: 30.07 km/hr
EST Time: 08:02
Caroona Creek Park Boundary to Park Information Sign and Lookout
Driving: 2.55 km
Heading: 99°
Avg Speed: 19.9 km/hr
EST Time: 07:41
Park Information Sign and Lookout to Track Junction & Thomas Hut Ruins Access
Driving: 2.83 km
Heading: 97°
Avg Speed: 30.16 km/hr
EST Time: 05:37
Track Junction & Thomas Hut Ruins Access to Thomas Hut Ruins
Driving: 4.51 km
Heading: 356°
Avg Speed: 35.86 km/hr
EST Time: 07:32
Thomas Hut Ruins to Track Junction & Thomas Hut Ruins Access
Driving: 4.51 km
Heading: 176°
Avg Speed: 35.86 km/hr
EST Time: 07:32
Track Junction & Thomas Hut Ruins Access to Park Information Sign and Lookout
Driving: 2.83 km
Heading: 277°
Avg Speed: 30.16 km/hr
EST Time: 05:37
Park Information Sign and Lookout to Caroona Creek Park Boundary
Driving: 2.55 km
Heading: 279°
Avg Speed: 19.9 km/hr
EST Time: 07:41
Caroona Creek Park Boundary to Dare Road & Mawson Trail
Driving: 4.03 km
Heading: 306°
Avg Speed: 30.07 km/hr
EST Time: 08:02
Dare Road & Mawson Trail to Wallinga
Driving: 0.28 km
Heading: 39°
Avg Speed: 37.73 km/hr
EST Time: 00:26
Wallinga to Dares Hill Summit Rd & Mawson Trail
Driving: 0.45 km
Heading: 334°
Avg Speed: 52.18 km/hr
EST Time: 00:31
Dares Hill Summit Rd & Mawson Trail to Wooded Area and Creek Erosion
Driving: 1.13 km
Heading: 53°
Avg Speed: 38.83 km/hr
EST Time: 01:44
Wooded Area and Creek Erosion to Dares Hill Summit
Driving: 5.31 km
Heading: 14°
Avg Speed: 53.88 km/hr
EST Time: 05:54
Dares Hill Summit to Grid on Dares Hill Summit Rd
Driving: 0.79 km
Heading: 333°
Avg Speed: 40.09 km/hr
EST Time: 01:10
Grid on Dares Hill Summit Rd to Grid and Property Boundary
Driving: 1.81 km
Heading: 57°
Avg Speed: 50.43 km/hr
EST Time: 02:09
Grid and Property Boundary to Piltimitiappa Homestead Ruins
Driving: 2.73 km
Heading: 97°
Avg Speed: 49.46 km/hr
EST Time: 03:18
Piltimitiappa Homestead Ruins to Tourist Sign 21
Driving: 4.93 km
Heading: 53°
Avg Speed: 55.35 km/hr
EST Time: 05:20
Tourist Sign 21 to Wonna Creek
Driving: 3.27 km
Heading: 357°
Avg Speed: 53.05 km/hr
EST Time: 03:41
Wonna Creek to Gate on Dares Hill Summit Rd
Driving: 0.26 km
Heading: 19°
Avg Speed: 25.03 km/hr
EST Time: 00:37
Gate on Dares Hill Summit Rd to Mallett Homestead
Driving: 1.25 km
Avg Speed: 46.15 km/hr
EST Time: 01:37
Mallett Homestead to Mallett Rd & Ketchowla Rd
Driving: 0.29 km
Heading: 71°
Avg Speed: 25.97 km/hr
EST Time: 00:40
Mallett Rd & Ketchowla Rd to Ketchowla Property Boundary
Driving: 1.37 km
Heading: 117°
Avg Speed: 51.91 km/hr
EST Time: 01:35
Ketchowla Property Boundary to Old Stone Tank
Driving: 5.01 km
Heading: 105°
Avg Speed: 52.08 km/hr
EST Time: 05:46
Old Stone Tank to Ketchowla Homestead
Driving: 2.1 km
Heading: 47°
Avg Speed: 48.92 km/hr
EST Time: 02:34
Ketchowla Homestead to Ketchowla Rd & Pulpara Rd
Driving: 0.31 km
Avg Speed: 24.38 km/hr
EST Time: 00:45
Ketchowla Rd & Pulpara Rd to Aboriginal Art Site
Driving: 3.02 km
Heading: 321°
Avg Speed: 44.3 km/hr
EST Time: 04:05
Aboriginal Art Site to Old Stone Tank and windmill
Driving: 0.02 km
Avg Speed: 44.3 km/hr
EST Time: N/A
Old Stone Tank and windmill to Old Telegraph Lines & Rabbit Proof Fence
Driving: 17.04 km
Heading: 330°
Avg Speed: 61.44 km/hr
EST Time: 16:38
Old Telegraph Lines & Rabbit Proof Fence to Franklyn Rd & Pandappa Rd
Driving: 7.44 km
Heading: 286°
Avg Speed: 58.89 km/hr
EST Time: 07:34
Franklyn Rd & Pandappa Rd to Terowie
Driving: 12.6 km
Heading: 265°
Avg Speed: 62.9 km/hr
EST Time: 12:01
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See


Where to Stay

No Places To Stay available for this trek

Services & Supplies

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