Our region: Far North
Started in 2016, the Far North Regional Science Hub covers almost 800,000 square km of sparsely populated arid and semi-arid country in northern South Australia. The region covers 80% of the state and has a population of 28,600 people.
Port Augusta is the main population centre, with other townships including Coober Pedy, Roxby Downs, Woomera, Andamooka and small towns and settlements in the Flinders Ranges and along the Oodnadatta Track.
The region is broken into three subregions: Flinders Ranges, Central Corridor (Pimba, Roxby Downs, Woomera, Andamooka) and Coober Pedy and Far North subregion including large pastoral properties and the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.
The main industries are mining, pastoral, tourism, defence and service. The region is rich in mineral resources, producing 70% of South Australia’s mining outputs. Tourism is rapidly expanding, with growing numbers of visitors travelling to the Flinders Ranges and Outback. The RAAF operates a base at Woomera alongside the rocket testing range there.
The region is undergoing changes in industries. In 2016 the township of Leigh Creek was closed with the cessation of the nearby coal mine, which also resulted in the shutdown of a large coal-fired power plant in Port Augusta. New industries are developing in the region, particularly tourism, but also innovative sustainable agriculture.
The region contains some of the driest parts of South Australia, with irregular rainfall driving unpredictable cycles in the landscape. Landscapes within the region include sandy deserts, stony plains, saltbush plains and the Flinders Ranges, all of which are home to a unique range of fauna and flora. Significant national parks include Ikara – Flinders Ranges, Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre and the Simpson Desert.