Barkly Highway

Submitted: Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 15:47
ThreadID: 102280 Views:3306 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived
Hi folks,

First post here, so please be gentle :)

My family (wife + 2 kids 9 and 4) are planning an 8 week trip from Budgewoi on the NSW Central Coast through to Adelaide, Flinders Rangers, Woomera, Ayres Rock, Alice, Katherine, Darwin, then back home along the Barkly Highway. We'll be leaving around this time in 2014.

We've been searching for a while now to see what we could do along the Barkly Highway to break up the trip. I know there's Camooweal and Mt Isa, but is there anything else worth seeing along this stretch of road? We're happy to make day/overnight trips off if there's stuff worth seeing.

We'll be towing an offroad camper behind a mildly modified Prado (lockers, 2" lift, winch etc) so it'd need to be something we could see in our fourby.

Any tips or advice would also be appreciated. We've done a fair bit of off road camping and driving, but this will be our first trip in these sorts of conditions.


Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Peterpan - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 16:29

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 16:29
Hi . While near Kakadu check Escarpement and Rock paintings near the border store at Ubbirr , Merle campsite nearby was reasonable when I was there in 05 and 06 Other places to check on computer are Adelaide R War cemetery ,Pine Ck , Katherine Gorge , Materanka , Never Never graves at Elsey ,Daley Waters pub , turn off to Borroloola and Bung Bong on the Gulf back to Cape Crawford to Barkly Homestead ,Cloncurry ,Blue Heeler Hotel at Kynuna , Combo Waterhole of Waltzing Matilda fame ,Winton , Longreach , Barcaldine , Blackall also Nindigully pub if travelling that way . I did not visit Walkabout Hotel at McKinlay . There are plenty of historic and scenic sites to see . have an enjoyable trip .
AnswerID: 511315

Follow Up By: Rooj - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 17:10

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 17:10
Thanks Peterpan,

I'll go and have a look at those places now. I lived in the NT for 13 years (1979-1992) and have done Kakadu already. I've done Katherine heaps as well, but am looking forward to returning there as I loved Katherine and its surrounds.

I'm not too sure which way we're heading once we leave Mt Isa - east to Townsville or head South-East and maybe go via Rocky or even through the guts and end up on the New England Highway to return home.

Thanks again!

FollowupID: 789519

Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 18:38

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 18:38
Have you been to Lawn Hill Stu? More than a day trip, but lovely for a couple of days or so. Nothing really special between Camooweal and the Stuart Highway. You have a lot to fit into eight weeks.


Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 511329

Follow Up By: Rooj - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:23

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:23
No, haven't been to lawn hill. I'll look into that as well. I'm actually thinking about heading out to McArthur and then join the Barkly from there (do this with in a day or two).

We do have a lot to fit in in 8 weeks, but we'll manage it. We'll do home to Adelaide in one days drive. And coming home we'll do some big driving days. We're all used to the long drives and take it in turns (2 hours each with an hours break every 4 hours).

Thanks for comments, Motherhen :)
FollowupID: 789540

Follow Up By: Rooj - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:31

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:31
Hi again, Motherhen.

I just had a look at Lawn Hill, and it might be just a bit too far out of the way. I'll keep it mind though, as the photos look spectacular!

Thanks again :)
FollowupID: 789542

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 20:02

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 20:02
Hi Stu

I have Blogs here on that area - click on My Blog by my rig photo. In 2009 we in toured Northern Territory north of Alice Springs, including the Tablelands Highway from Cape Crawford to Barkly Roadhouse which I think is what you mean in going via McArthur. In 2008 we toured around Alice Springs and to the south. One your children should enjoy in Alice Springs is the Desert Park.

We were very 'underwhelmed' by Cape Crawford Heartbreak Hotel and would not stop there again.

Your children must be absolute angels if they can sit still for long days driving.


Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

FollowupID: 789545

Reply By: Rockape - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:01

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:01
You can turn off at the Daly waters roadhouse and go through to Cape Crawford. If you stay there you can do a day trip up to the lost city. This is well worth the drive.

Then carry on down to the Barkley roadhouse. Distance wise it is about the same as going via the Stuart and along the Barkley.

The Heartbreak Hotel at Cape Crawford is a good spot for a cool drink and to stay.

Just be careful of the few K's to the west and a few K's to the south of Cape Crawford as the road is narrow and is used by roadtrains.

AnswerID: 511330

Follow Up By: Rooj - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:27

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:27
Hi Rockape :) (great name!)

I was JUST looking at that too. I figured if i went up the track from Tennant Ck, coming back again would be pointless. And it looks REALLY interesting east of Daly Waters. The road seems relatively good too. I think it only added in less than 100ks which is nothing really.

Strangely on Google Maps, Cape Crawford comes up as McArthur until you zoom right in, so I wasn't aware that's what it was called. Do you know if you can park a camper there for a night if we decided to stay for a bit?

Thanks again!

FollowupID: 789541

Follow Up By: Rockape - Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:38

Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 19:38
There is a creek to the east where you can camp but the pub has pick a your own van or camper spot on good grass. Good hot showers as well.

Just google Heartbreak Hotel and I am sure you will find some info on it.

You can also go out to Borroloola if you want and onto the mcarthur river mine port on the gulf. There is a national park on the way is good to have a look at.

FollowupID: 789543

Reply By: 410 - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 08:20

Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 08:20
Hi Stu
We are currently in Darwin and have driven from Newcastle 2 months ago travelling with 3 children (6,7,10) and have been to ; Barraba, St George, Roma, Charleville went to the Cosmos Centre, School of Air and the BOM ( weather info) Longreach went on the Kinnon Co coach ride excellent, Qantas museum, Stockmans Fame not really for children for any longer than an hour or so, Winton ,Matilda Centre good, went Hughenden, Richmond , Julia Creek all little towns then onto Mt Isa didn't like much, Barkly Homestead, Alice, Ayres Rock, Olgas, Kings Canyon big walk for little kids, back to Alice, Mataranka lovely, Katherine, Litchfield Ok, Katherine now if you want to do the 2 gorge trip $75/A $42/C ! Then here onto Jabiru then West Coast. All i can tell you that it is a bloody long way with lots of driving and not much to see in between, fuel prices $1.60- $2.35, caravan parks $40-$50/night they don't miss charging for the little ones. Stock up with food and beer in the towns with a Woolies or Coles and use your fuel vouchers. Think carefully about your trip with the kids, remember lots of time in the car. If you would like more info reply with email.
AnswerID: 511359

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 11:50

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 11:50

Unless you've got a thing for spinifex, snappy gum and blue skies, the Barkly Highway doesn't have a lot going for it - except the Camooweal Caves.

But there is one exception - Barry Caves. These are situated to the south of the highway, approximately 5 kms east of the Barry Caves truck parking bay. After passing the Wunara Community, and the now defunct store and toilets, you pass the parking bay, then the h'way swings to right, before sweeping to the left a few clicks further on. There is an unmarked parking bay here too. A few hundred metres past this spot, is a pair of wheel tracks, heading towards a dome shaped hill.The caves are on the southern side of the hill.

Would have been a popular spot for the Aboriginals during heavy rain events, the cave/s are quite large, and are, from memory, 5 or 6 metres deep.

Camooweal Caves are worth a look too, but are more like sink holes, rather then caves. there are deep, and quite impressive.

Safe travels,

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 511510

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (11)