Barkly Highway

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesCloncurry
FinishThree Ways Roadhouse
DifficultyDifficulty 1/5
Suitable For4WD AWD 2WD Caravan Camper Motorhome Bike 
Distance755.5 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed83.74 km/hr
Travel Time9 hrs 1 min
Page Updated: 14 Mar 2017
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Description

The Barkly Highway, now also promoted as part of the Overlander's Way, is a sealed road connecting the states of Qld & NT. The road connects the Three Ways Roadhouse in the Northern Territory to the township of Cloncurry in Queensland.

The Barkly Highway forms the main transport route between Queensland and the Northern Territory, and consequently it is heavily used by road trains and tourists.

How to Use this Trek Note

If you'd like to download this Trek there are two options:
  • purchase our app ExplorOz Traveller. This will allow you to download all the ExplorOz Trek Notes to your GPS enabled smartphone/tablet/iPad or laptop and enable active route guidance along the route we provide as per the Directions. The app also allows you to edit/customise the route. In the app you will get all the words, images and POIs for each Trek exactly as on the website (excludes Wildflowers). For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage.

  • Alternatively, if you already have another mapping software program (or an HN7 device) you can try downloading the data files we provide via the Download Trek button at the top of this page (or purchase EOTreks Route Files). Be aware that this doesn't include maps or text just the route line.

TIP

To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase an EOTopo map licence (available either in App Version, or Raster Version).

Environment

Between Cloncurry to Mount Isa, the Barkly Highway winds through the spectacular Swelwyn Ranges. Around Camooweal you'll see wide expanses of Mitchell grass plains and spinifex woodland. Closer to Tennant Creek, the Barkly Tablelands are an enormous expanse of cattle stations and scrubby grasslands. These habitats do not support a great variety of wildlife with just a brushtail possum, the antechinus, and dunnart being the few mammals known to exist in small isolated pockets.

There are many grasslands birds however, such as bronzewing, night parrots, and seasonal wetlands birds may occasionally be seen during periods of flooding.

Snakes, reptiles and amphibians can adapt to the clay soils between the wet summer season to the dry winter season.

History

In 1861, William Landsborough explored the western regions of Queensland and named a wide section of scrubby grasslands to the north-east of Tennant Creek after Sir Henry Barkly, the then Governor of Victoria.

The route of today's Barkly Highway follows a stock route that was formerly used by drovers to herd their cattle through the Tablelands. It was put to use during wartime as a defence road and bitumen surfacing works commenced in 1943. The highway was named and registered in 1947.

An upgrade of the Queensland section of the highway between Mount Isa and Camooweal was completed in 2008.
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Preparation

MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.

The North West Outback Queensland Tourism Association recommend that travellers prepare alternative routes, especially during the Australian summer (Nov – Apr) when rain and storms can impede travel plans.

Be prepared to lose mobile phone coverage when travelling outside town boundaries. Most towns will have Telstra and Optus coverage for about a 20km radius around the town.

Be patient of stock and wary of kangaroos and emus, especially if driving near sunrise or sunset.

Permits

No permit required.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolThree Ways Roadhouse, Barkly Homestead Roadhouse.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 106 litres4cyl 122 litres4cyl 151 litres
6cyl 116 litres6cyl 137 litres6cyl 133 litres
8cyl 116 litres8cyl 125 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Travelling throughout Northern Australia in the dry cooler months from April to
October is very pleasant. Days are temperate and the nights cool. Summer is the wet season with higher temperatures and the chance of minor localised flooding.

Closest Climatic Station

Camooweal Township
Distance from Trek Mid Point 83.08km E
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C37.336.235.233.028.925.925.828.432.335.837.538.1
Mean Min. °C24.323.721.718.013.49.88.810.915.219.522.323.8
Mean Rain mm99.193.254.914.411.09.85.52.85.914.129.361.8
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Service points along this route are found at Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Camooweal, Barkly Roadhouse, and Three Ways Roadhouse.

Map

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What to See

Points of interest in between towns are limited to what you can find at roadside rest areas.

Mt Isa has many attractions and is outback Queensland's only city and is worth spending considerable time there to explore.

Camooweal Caves National Park features honeycombed sink holes.

Showing 1 Places

Where to Stay

The route consists of numerous free roadside rest areas suitable for caravanners however it is difficult to escape the road noise.

Commercial caravan parks and camp grounds are located at each of the towns along the route and at Barkly Roadhouse.

Showing 17 Places

Directions

Cloncurry to Corella River
Driving: 45.41 km
Heading: 259°
Avg Speed: 86.68 km/hr
EST Time: 31:25
Corella River to Clem Walton Park and Corella Dam
Driving: 8.82 km
Heading: 233°
Avg Speed: 86.68 km/hr
EST Time: 06:06
Clem Walton Park and Corella Dam to Fountain Springs Rest Area
Driving: 6.66 km
Heading: 298°
Avg Speed: 86.68 km/hr
EST Time: 04:36
Fountain Springs Rest Area to Mary Kathleen Rest Area
Driving: 9.4 km
Heading: 308°
Avg Speed: 86.68 km/hr
EST Time: 06:30
Mary Kathleen Rest Area to Lake Julius Turnoff Rest Area
Driving: 31.75 km
Heading: 281°
Avg Speed: 86.68 km/hr
EST Time: 21:58
Lake Julius Turnoff Rest Area to Outback at Isa Complex
Driving: 17.01 km
Heading: 261°
Outback at Isa Complex to Hilton
Driving: 18.57 km
Heading: 356°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 13:26
Hilton to WW2 Airfield
Driving: 35.69 km
Heading: 313°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 25:50
WW2 Airfield to David Hall Rest Area
Driving: 44.91 km
Heading: 298°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 32:30
David Hall Rest Area to Inca Creek Rest Area
Driving: 20.51 km
Heading: 314°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 14:50
Inca Creek Rest Area to Camooweal
Driving: 70.27 km
Heading: 283°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 50:52
Camooweal to Barkly Highway, NT-QLD Border
Driving: 13.11 km
Heading: 273°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 09:29
Barkly Highway, NT-QLD Border to Avon Downs Rest Area
Driving: 56.07 km
Heading: 257°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 40:35
Avon Downs Rest Area to Barkly Hwy & Ranken Rd
Driving: 29.64 km
Heading: 274°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 21:27
Barkly Hwy & Ranken Rd to Soudan
Driving: 20.73 km
Heading: 255°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 15:00
Soudan to Soudan Rest Area
Driving: 14.88 km
Heading: 261°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 10:46
Soudan Rest Area to Wunara Store
Driving: 30.62 km
Heading: 291°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 22:10
Wunara Store to Barkly Hwy & Murray Downs Rd
Driving: 83.69 km
Heading: 288°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 01:00:35
Barkly Hwy & Murray Downs Rd to Barkly Homestead
Driving: 10.94 km
Heading: 307°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 07:55
Barkly Homestead to Frewena Rest Area
Driving: 54.78 km
Heading: 305°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 39:39
Frewena Rest Area to 41 Mile Bore
Driving: 61.22 km
Heading: 282°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 44:19
41 Mile Bore to Waypoint
Driving: 48.78 km
Heading: 254°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 35:19
Waypoint to Three Ways Roadhouse
Driving: 22.04 km
Heading: 269°
Avg Speed: 82.87 km/hr
EST Time: 15:57
Distance is GPS recorded distance based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

Wildflowers

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