Pildappa Rock, Minnipa: Everything You Need to Know

pildappa rock

Smack bang in the heart of remote South Australia lies Pildappa Rock. A truly remarkable sight, the impressive granite outcrop commands attention with its sheer size and distinctive formations. A massive draw for tourists to this extraordinary geological wonder is the mesmerising wave-like formation that gives Western Australia’s Wave Rock a run for its money. If you’re planning on visiting or camping at Pildappa Rock look no further, we’re going to share everything you need to know to help you prepare for an amazing trip.

In this guide we cover everything you need to know about Pildappa Rock, such as: how much it costs to camp at Pildappa Rock, whether dogs are allowed at Pildappa Rock, whether 2WD vehicles can get to Pildappa Rock and more. Prepare for an unforgettable journey to this incredible natural wonder.

Where is Pildappa Rock Located?

Pildappa Rock is located in Minnipa in South Australia, approximately 15km off the Eyre Highway. Pildappa Rock is within the Eyre Peninsula region.

Is Camping Allowed at Pildappa Rock?

Yes, camping is allowed at Pildappa Rock.

Prior to our stay in February 2023, we saw some conflicting information online as to whether camping was still allowed at Pildappa Rock. To clarify, we reached out to the Wudinna District Council who confirmed that it is available for camping.

From what we have seen online the Wudinna District Council have, for years, considered upgrades to Pildappa Rock that will also see camping prohibited. The council put together the ‘Pildappa Rock Recreation Reserve Draft Masterplan’ in March 2022 with one of the proposed features of the plan being ‘The primary focus for the reserve to be as a day visitation destination only with camping being available on privately owned land immediately advanced to the reserve’. A tender request for these proposed works was made by the Wudinna District Council in June 2023 so it’s only a matter of time before camping at Pildappa Rock is eventually stopped completely. From then on, it seems camping will only be available on a nearby block of land.

pildappa rock campsite

Where Can You Camp at Pildappa Rock?

There are no designated camping bays at Pildappa Rock however the on-site map and signage give guidelines on where not to camp. We’ve explained these further below.

Firstly, the on-site map highlights no camping symbols at the access points to Pildappa Rock, where both the picnic areas are. The sign states that this is for allowing visitors to still get prime photos of Pildappa Rock without being disrupted or blocked by camping setups. It also allows visitors to use the picnic areas and access the rock easily. Remember, Pildappa Rock is a pretty spectacular tourist attraction, not just a place to camp, so make sure to treat it as such and ensure everyone gets to enjoy it. There are plenty of other camping spots around the rock.

Secondly, there is signage at Pildappa Rock that asks visitors not to camp within 30 metres of the rock. This one is a little more difficult to abide by as majority of the suitable camping areas are closer than 30 metres to Pildappa Rock. Just make sure to stay as far away from the rock as possible to still allow visitors to get good photos of it.

How Much does it Cost to Camp at Pildappa Rock?

Camping is free at Pildappa Rock however there is a donation box at the picnic area upon entry. We highly recommend donating what you can to assist with the upkeep of the facilities and to keep incredible places like this open.

What are Some Other Campsites that are Near Pildappa Rock?

There are a number of other campsites in the area, near Pildappa Rock. We’ve listed a few of these below:

  • Tcharkuldu Rock (donation)
  • Minnipa Hotel (free with meal purchase)
  • Minnipa Apex Park (donation)

Can you Climb on Pildappa Rock?

Yes you can climb on Pildappa Rock. There are two access points on either side of the rock (near the picnic areas) that provide easy access to walk up Pildappa Rock. The rock is relatively low and flat in these access areas allowing you to start the climb pretty easily.

The climb to the top of Pildappa Rock is easy and short, taking just a few minutes and making it a suitable walk for most. However there is no set path, sections of the rock are steep and the surface is uneven so you will need to have reasonable agility and balance.

Once you get to the top the rock is quite flat and easy to walk around, just make sure to watch your step (for ridges and holes) and be cautious around steeper cliff edges. At the top you’ll have fantastic views of the Gawler Ranges and Blue Sturts.

Can you Hike around Pildappa Rock?

Yes, the driving/walking trail that circumnavigates Pildappa Rock is suitable for hikers who wish to see the rock from all angles. The trail is approximately 1.2km long.

Even if you don’t do the full walking trail we’d recommend at least walking around the top half of Pildappa Rock (near the picnic areas), here you can see the massive ‘head’ of Pildappa Rock and the iconic wave formations that Pildappa Rock is famous for.

pildappa rock walk drive trail
The driving/walking trail that circumnavigates Pildappa Rock can be seen clearly here

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Pildappa Rock?

Pildappa Rock can be visited all year round. The best time to visit largely depends on your preferences and the type of experience you’re seeking. If you’re sensitive to heat you may prefer to visit outside of summer during the spring or autumn months when the weather is milder. Minnipa has a semi-arid climate so summers are often hot and dry.

We’d recommend checking local weather forecasts before making your trip, as temperatures and conditions can vary.

We visited in summer and unfortunately South Australia was experiencing a heatwave at the time. This made for the day to be pretty uncomfortable but by late afternoon the weather was perfect for exploring Pildappa Rock and making the climb up to watch sunset.

van driving around pildappa rock

Are Dogs Allowed at Pildappa Rock?

Yes, dogs are allowed at Pildappa Rock. Make sure to keep your dog contained or on a leash during your visit to keep your dog and the wildlife in the area safe.

Is the Road to Pildappa Rock Sealed?

No, Pildappa Road (the road that leads directly to Pildappa Rock) is not sealed, it’s a gravel road. Some sections are quite corrugated but overall the gravel road is in decent condition so is fine for 2WDs to drive on. We managed to get to Pildappa Rock easily in our 2WD LWB Mercedes Sprinter van.

The Eyre Highway that leads to Minnipa is sealed road, the roads through the town are also sealed. Once you turn onto McKenzie Road, it’s sealed for approximately 2km before it turns into a gravel road. McKenzie Road eventually turns into Pildappa Road which is also gravel.

pildappa rock road

Do you Need a 4WD to get to Pildappa Rock?

No, you do not need a 4WD vehicle to get to and camp at Pildappa Rock. As mentioned previously, 2WD vehicles are fine driving to and camping at Pildappa Rock.

Can a 2WD Vehicle Reach Pildappa Rock?

Yes, a 2WD vehicle can drive to Pildappa Rock. The gravel road in is decent condition, just make sure you drive to the conditions. We got there easily with our 2WD LWB Mercedes Sprinter van.

van driving pildappa rock

Is there Phone Signal at Pildappa Rock?

Yes, there is phone signal at Pildappa Rock. We had Telstra signal during our whole stay, WikiCamps users have also reported having Optus signal there also.

Are there Toilets at Pildappa Rock?

Yes there are two toilets available at Pildappa Rock, these are drop toilets.

pildappa rock toilet

What Facilities are at Pildappa Rock?

Pildappa Rock has shelters, picnic benches, toilets, rubbish bins, a small rainwater tank for non drinking water and gas barbecues.

Is there Parking at Pildappa Rock?

There are no designated parking bays at Pildappa Rock however there are multiple open spots for parking at both of the picnic and access areas near the entrance of Pildappa Rock. There are also multiple open spots for parking around Pildappa Rock.

Where Can I Get a Map for Pildappa Rock?

There is a map of Pildappa Rock on a sign as you’re driving in to Pildappa Rock. We’ve put a picture of the map below. We recommend saving this picture or taking a picture of the map as you drive in, to refer back to later.

Additionally the Wudinna District Council has uploaded the same map onto their website however the quality is poor so the map is a little blurry.

pildappa rock map

What is Pildappa Rock Made Of?

Pildappa Rock is made of pink granite. More specifically, orthoclase rich pink granite (according to Nullarbor Net).

How Big is Pildappa Rock?

The surface area of Pildappa Rock is approximately 4ha, the perimeter of Pildappa Rock is approximately 1.4km and the length of Pildappa Rock is approximately 425m.

people scale pildappa rock height

How Tall is Pildappa Rock?

The main wave section of Pildappa Rock reaches up to 10 metres high. The tallest part of Pildappa Rock extends much higher than this point, as it gets taller towards the middle of the rock.

pildappa rock wave

How Old is Pildappa Rock?

Pildappa Rock was formed approximately 1500 million years ago, 5-7 kilometres below the earth’s surface. Over time the rock was gradually exposed and shaped by erosion and weathering processes.

What is the History of Pildappa Rock?

After rain the deep gnamma holes on Pildappa Rock fill with fresh water. This was crucial for the First Nations people who were living in the area. The gnamma holes were essential for gathering their main water supply in an otherwise very dry and arid environment.

Early European settlers also recognised the value of Pildappa Rock as a water supply. They built a gutter system (that can still be seen today) to catch all of the rain flow that came off the rock, this would lead to an underground tank that stored their water supply.

pildappa rock gutter system

What are Some Other Interesting Facts about Pildappa Rock?

  • The surface of Pildappa Rock is covered in pits, pans, gnamma holes and rillen, giving it a unique ‘bumpy’ appearance.
  • The iconic wave shape of Pildappa Rock was formed because moist soil that was up against the rock would weather the rock and break it down. When the soil levels lowered over time and more granite was exposed that weathering of the rock was removed leaving the concave surface you see today.
  • People often say that from above Pildappa Rock looks like a huge goanna lying down.
  • In contrast to Pildappa Rock which was formed as a granite dome beneath the earth’s surface, the nearby Gawler Ranges were formed as a result of volcanic action.
pildappa rock surface gnamma holes

How Far is Pildappa Rock from Minnipa?

Pildappa Rock is approximately 15.2km from Minnipa, which is about a 15 minute drive away.

How Far is Pildappa Rock from Streaky Bay?

Pildappa Rock is approximately 109km from Streaky Bay, which is about a 1 hour and 10 minute drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).

How Far is Pildappa Rock from Adelaide?

Pildappa Rock is approximately 619km from Adelaide, which is about a 6 hour and 45 minute drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).

What are Other Nearby Attractions to Pildappa Rock?

  • Tcharkuldu Rock
  • Gawler Ranges
  • The Australian Farmer Granite Sculpture
  • Mount Wudinna
tcharkuldu rock

Enjoy Your Visit to Pildappa Rock

That’s the end of our guide on everything you need to know about Pildappa Rock. We hope we’ve helped you prepare for an upcoming trip to visit or spend the night camping at Pildappa Rock. We also hope we’ve provided you with some interesting insights about the rock’s formation and its historical significance to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of this amazing location.

Watch Our Experience Camping at Pildappa Rock

If you’d like to you can watch our YouTube video where we head out to Minnipa and visit Pildappa Rock. We show us arriving at Pildappa Rock, checking out the ‘wave’ feature, climbing to the top of Pildappa Rock, explaining the history of Pildappa Rock and how it was formed and spending the night there. While we had a few disasters along the way (and were staying there during an extreme state-wide heatwave) we had an amazing time.

Lydia
Lydia

Hey! I’m Lydia.

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