The Plenty Highway
really doesn't begin until you reach the NT border, but to get there you travel from Boulia
in outback Queensland
along the Donohue Highway (just a track). Typically, the Queensland
section of the track is in the worst condition with long stretches of extreme bulldust and big holes (making it a dry weather road only) - the NT section is more regularly maintained and graded.
The countryside changes considerably along the track and although it lacks services
and "things to do" it is certainly one of the prettier shortcut tracks that you can do in this area. The overwhelming difference is that although the soil is the same red sandy stuff of the Simpson Desert
, the terrain is completely flat, the spinifex grass much greener, and if there's been recent rains then wildflowers
line the roadsides. Billy buttons, bush daisies, poached egg daisies, yellow tops and native violets carpet the sides of the road where water collects in the gutters.
As you approach the Harts (Hartz) Range you begin to see the first mountains you've probably seen in quite a while. If you've come from Birdsville
for long your senses seemed to be bombarded, a result of having been surrounded by gibber, sand and dust.
Just past the Harts Range Police Station (next door to an aboriginal community), turn left (south) down a track to the "Racecourse". Probably deserted for 363 days of the year this racetrack becomes a mecca for the outback racing enthusiasts with a crowd of a few thousand on the last weekend in August. Just behind the racecourse a track leads south for about 10km and finally reaches the base of a few impressive mountains, the highest being Mt Palmer
. Mt Palmer
is the highest in the Harts Range and is a fabulous climb. It will take about 2 hours to reach the summit
but on the way you can explore open gaps left by mica miners and soak up the impressive views. Black-footed rock wallabies live in the "Disputed" mine shaft (where 2 miners lost their lives in a collapse not long after it was opened) and many wildflowers
grow amongst the rocky outcrops on the climb up.
The Outback Way
is made up of seven inter-connecting roads including The Great Central Road
(WA); Tjukaruru Road, Lasseter Highway, Stuart Highway and Plenty Highway
(NT); and Donohue Highway and Min Min Byway (QLD). Collectively these are called The Outback Way
How to Use this Trek Note
Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places
on each POI page.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.