Built in the 1980s to support the nearby Olympic Dam Mine (one of the world’s largest mines producing gold, silver, copper and uranium oxide); Roxby Downs provides a welcoming detour off the Stuart Highway. It is also a pleasant stop-off on the drive north to the Oodnadatta Track.
The mine, nine kilometres north of Roxby Downs, is perhaps the greatest attraction. Nine million tonnes of ore are mined annually, producing 350,000 tonnes of copper, 4,000 tonnes of uranium oxides, 80,000 ounces of gold and about one million ounces of silver. BHP Billiton operates surface tours, which are very popular and bookings are essential.
BHP Billiton fund an Arid Recovery Reserve, where rabbits, cats and foxes have been eradicated to make way for native animals, including the bilby, western barred bandicoot, burrowing bettong and sticknest rat. Tag along night tours are on offer.
Roxby Downs offers everything from swimming, golf and tennis to squash and bowls. Roxby Downs Cultural Precinct is a must, featuring the town’s visitor information centre, an outback cinema, art gallery, auditorium and the Dunes Café.
The Outback Fringe Festival, held every March, is rapidly gaining kudos and the local races take place in August.