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Stunning at sunrise, sunset or during the day, the name says it all. And from the Arckaringa homestead…the changing looks of the desert hills are in full view all day long. So who is the artist of the Painted Desert you may ask? It is all thanks to Mother Nature who has taken 80 million years to create this master piece which is enjoyed by many tourists and photographers all year round.

The Painted Desert is an ancient Inland Sea bed where the hills are the result of rain, weather and erosion. The slopes and shapes include many different colours and shades of orange, yellow and white, and it is the coloured shale on the faces of the hills from which the name “Painted Desert” came. The various shapes are formed when the top layers of soil dry out and fall away to reveal the beautiful rich colours underneath.  

Views at sunrise and sunset are particularly amazing. The deep red, brown, orange, yellow and white colours blend together and by midday are transformed into brighter shades. Also among these spectacular hills is the Mirackina Range, a long dark line of mesas, which run about 5 to 10 kms to the west. It runs almost parallel to the Arckaringa Creek. This range is the ancient remains of another waterway, the Mirackina Paleochannel, which can be seen by satellite image.

The Painted Desert makes for an exciting outback experience for the whole family to explore. You can drive up to the Painted Desert or better yet, take a walk through the hills to get up close and personal to Mother Nature’s art piece.

See our photo gallery