Arckaringa Hills is north of Coober Pedy in the region known as the Painted Desert. It is geologically significant as it illustrates the effects of prolonged weathering.
The rugged landscape, the result of an ancient inland sea, is a South Australian example of terrain known as Badlands or Breakaway topography. It is an area of striking scenic value, with a range of red, brown and yellow bands in the cliff formations.
The region is also of biological significance, noted for a number of rare plant species and as the southern most point that Australia's largest monitor lizard can be found.
Access to this privately-leased region is restricted. The area is extremely fragile, susceptible to both erosion and to irreparable damage from destructive activities.
The boundary of the Arckaringa Hills state heritage area encompasses 880 km2 of the most scenic region of the Hills. It is approximately 65 km west-south-west of Oodnadatta and includes Mount Arckaringa and a section of the Arckaringa Creek.