Outback Way

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesWinton
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable For4WD AWD Camper Bike 
Distance2778.49 km
Minimum Days3
Average Speed65.81 km/hr
Travel Time1 day 18 hrs 13 mins
Page Updated: 16 Mar 2021


The Outback Way extends across three states for over 2,750kms; from Laverton in Western Australia, through Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, to Winton in Queensland. Seven interconnecting roads and highways make up the Outback Way route including the: Great Central Road, Tjukaruru Road, Lasseter Highway, Stuart Highway, Plenty Highway, Donohue Highway and Min Min Byway.

The trip itself is home to an impressive collection of sites and places of interest for travellers. These include iconic scenery such as Ayers Rock, the Olga’s, Peterman and MacDonnell Ranges. Travellers can also indulge in a range of activities like bird and wildlife watching in the numerous waterholes, nature walks through mulga scrub and oak forests, viewing indigenous art galleries at selected communities, gem fossicking, and geo-caching - a fun world-wide GPS activity, which involves finding hidden caches (34 in total, around 80kms apart) along the route.

There are many places where you can top-up on fuel or provisions, or even stay overnight. Yulara and Alice Springs have a variety of accommodation facilities; Winton, Boulia and Laverton have motel, hotel and caravan park facilities, whilst most roadhouses en-route provide campgrounds suitable for caravans and camper trailers. To travel the entire Outback Way requires no less than 3 to 4 days of daytime travel (travelling at night is not recommended), although typically 6 to 7 days of daytime travel is required to stop and enjoy a majority of the highlights of central Australia.

How to Use this Trek Note

If you'd like to download this Trek there are two options:
  • Purchase our app ExplorOz Traveller. This Australian-made GPS & Navigation app will allow you to download all the ExplorOz Treks to your GPS enabled smartphone/tablet/iPad or laptop and enable active route guidance along the route as per the Directions shown on this page. The app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. The app also allows you to edit/customise the route. Viewing the Trek in the Traveller app also includes all the words, images and POIs exactly as on the website (excludes Wildflowers). For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage.

  • Alternatively, if you already have another raster mapping software program you can Download this route in GPX format using the button shown below the map on this page .


To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase the EOTopo 2021 map licence. To install the maps you will need the ExplorOz Traveller app.


The interesting thing about the Outback Way is that the route passes through ten uniquely identified bioregions. Each of these regions are characterised with a unique combination of flora, fauna, geology and landscape characteristics. The ten bioregions are: Great Victoria Desert, Gibson Desert, Central Ranges, Great Sandy Desert, Finke, MacDonnell Ranges, Burt Plain, Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields, Channel Country, and Mitchell Grass Downs.

Laverton to the WA Border has been fully upgraded and is now a well formed, graded, gravel road. The WA Border to Kata Tjuta is unsealed with sections of rock-sand limestone or red desert sand with some occasionally rough corrugations, ruts and soft sections on dune rises. Some of the river and creek crossings have dry, soft surfaces that are susceptible to seasonal flooding, so exercise caution after rains or during the wet season.

The roads joining Kata Tjuta to Yulara, Yulara to Alice Springs, and the Alice to Gemtree are all sealed bitumen, dual lane, main road or highway standard. There are intermittent rest bays and 24hr overnight stops. Gemtree to Ongeva River is sealed, however further eastward to Boulia consists of unsealed road, varying from sandy, limestone, gravely-rock with sections of corrugations, occasional rutted-lanes and unformed surfaces. Again, some of the river and creek crossings have dry, soft surfaces that are susceptible to seasonal flooding, so exercise caution after rains or during the flooding season - November to March. The section of road approximately 100kms before and after the NT/QLD border can sometimes be badly corrugated as a result of truck traffic, the rocky substrate and dry conditions. Boulia to Winton is sealed bitumen, single lane, susceptible to flooding at major river crossings especially within the channel country. This section should not be driven at dusk, dawn or night due to the presence of wildlife.


The Outback Way was coined by five local Shire Councils, who in 1997 formed the Outback Highway Development Council (OHDC) to promote the development of a third strategic link across Australia. The main aim was to establish the Outback Way as a transcontinental route, whilst promoting social, economic and cultural interests. The roads within the WA section between Laverton and the WA/NT border (known as the Great Central Road) has now been significantly upgraded and is a fast gravel road suitable for caravans with no corrugations however the NT section is still significantly rough for caravans with heavy corrugations.

TrekID: 185


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.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
It is paramount that your vehicle is in good working order before departing since the corrugations along unsealed roads can increase the wear and tear, thus contributing to breakdowns. Vehicle repair services are quite limited along the Outback Way and should not be relied upon.

Predominantly, there are towns and roadhouses every 250 to 350kms along the Outback Way that provide fuel supplies, with the exception of Jervois and Boulia, which is around 460kms. It is therefore precautionary to monitor your fuel usage, and/or carry enough fuel in reserve, such as in a long range fuel tank.


OPAL unleaded fuel is now available at Warburton, Warakurna (Giles), and Docker River. This replaces AvGas (which many travellers didn't like to use) as the only fuel available for petrol vehicles to combat petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities. Opal ULP has similar properties to AvGas to discourage sniffing and is a new product from BP.

Most of the roadhouses and community-owned fuel stops stock a range of frozen meat products, fresh produce and general groceries. Ensure you carry enough water supplies, especially since the days can get rather hot.

The variation in temperatures along the Outback Way can require clothing for ‘all seasons’. These can include; sun protection gear like hats; light loose clothing for the day, and warm clothing such as thermal underwear for the cold nights.

It is essential that traveller’s have good maps of the Outback Way and the surrounding region to safely travel the route. A sound idea is to plan ahead, consider the attractions you would like to visit, and where you would like to stay overnight.


Part III of the AAPA Act, stipulates that transit permits are legally required for any person visiting or passing through an Aboriginal reserve unless they are of Aboriginal descent; a member of either House of Parliament of the State or of the Commonwealth; or is a person lawfully exercising a function under the AAPA Act or otherwise acting in pursuance of a duty imposed by law.

Transit permits are required when travelling on roads over Aboriginal lands such as the Great Central Road, Tjukaruru Road and most of the roads-tracks leading off the Outback Way between Laverton and Yulara. The Great Central Road actually requires 2 sets of Transit Permits because there are Aboriginal Communities on both sides of the border (NT/WA) and each state has its own Aboriginal Lands office and issues its own permits.

Ngaanyatjarra Council

For people travelling through Aboriginal Land in the Central Reserves of Western Australia to, or from the NT border to Laverton, please contact Ngaanyatjarra Council, Alice Springs on: (08) 8950 1711 or Aboriginal Lands Trust, Perth on: (08) 9235 8000
Website: Ngaanyatjarra Council (Aboriginal Corporation)

Central Land Council (CLC)

For people travelling through Aboriginal Land in the Northern Territory to, or from the WA border to Yulara, please contact Central Land Council (CLC) in Alice Springs on: (08) 8951 6320
Website: Central Land Council - Permits

Permit Application Process

Permits are free, however you must complete a written application form and wait for it to be stamped and returned to you with an approval stamp. It is a legal requirement that each vehicle carries the permit during travel on Aboriginal Land.

The application forms will require the names of all persons entering the land, with a nominated principal applicant who must also give their address and phone contact details. You will also be required to provide vehicle make, model, rego number and state. Note, one permit per vehicle. You will also need to describe the specific route to be taken whilst on Aboriginal land (ie. Great Central Road) and give an estimate of dates (maximum 21 days). Finally you must provide a reason for requesting access to Aboriginal Land, eg. "holiday transit en-route from Alice Springs to Perth".

Generally, the ALT can process applications in 24 to 48 hrs and it is the experience of the ExplorOz Team that they can be processed on the same day if travel is on the Great Central Road with no deviations.

Fuel Usage

4cyl 390 litres4cyl 450 litres4cyl 556 litres
6cyl 426 litres6cyl 503 litres6cyl 489 litres
8cyl 426 litres8cyl 461 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

The Outback Way is best travelled during the cooler months from April to October. Warm, dry, sunny days are common during these months, although nights can be cold.

Closest Climatic Station

Distance from Trek Mid Point 31.16km E
Mean Max. °C36.935.532.127.922.618.918.922.026.930.233.235.0
Mean Min. °C22.021.518.
Mean Rain mm28.836.831.513.412.316.212.48.915.922.125.032.8
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Winton to Winton Jundah Rd & Landsborough Hwy
Driving: 1.03 km
Heading: 187°
Avg Speed: 35.49 km/hr
EST Time: 01:44
  • Drive north on Manuka Street/62. for: 0.03 km time: 00:06
  • Enter the roundabout and take the 2nd exit, onto Manuka Street for: 0.99 km time: 01:39
Winton Jundah Rd & Landsborough Hwy to Woodstock
Driving: 119.03 km
Heading: 277°
Avg Speed: 58.04 km/hr
EST Time: 02:03:02
Woodstock to Lillyvale Hills
Driving: 104.51 km
Heading: 242°
Avg Speed: 59.63 km/hr
EST Time: 01:45:09
Lillyvale Hills to Hamilton Hotel Ruins
Driving: 60.59 km
Heading: 256°
Avg Speed: 58.84 km/hr
EST Time: 01:01:47
Hamilton Hotel Ruins to Boulia
Driving: 77.29 km
Heading: 258°
Avg Speed: 43.77 km/hr
EST Time: 01:45:56
Boulia to Plenty Highway, NT-QLD Border
Driving: 245.29 km
Heading: 289°
Avg Speed: 42.87 km/hr
EST Time: 05:43:18
  • Drive east on Herbert Street/83. for: 0.02 km time: 00:02
  • Make a right U-turn at Wills Street to stay on Herbert Street/83. for: 0.27 km time: 00:34
  • Turn right onto Hamilton Street/83. Continue on 83. for: 7.38 km time: 06:01
  • Turn left onto Donohue Highway. for: 49.33 km time: 59:20
  • Bear left. for: 9.95 km time: 14:56
  • Bear left onto Donohue Highway. for: 178.34 km time: 04:22:27
Plenty Highway, NT-QLD Border to Tobermorey
Driving: 5.03 km
Heading: 304°
Avg Speed: 31.35 km/hr
EST Time: 09:37
  • Drive west on Plenty Highway/12. for: 3.43 km time: 05:33
  • Turn right onto Urandangi Tobermorey Road. for: 1.55 km time: 03:49
  • Turn right. for: 0.05 km time: 00:15
Tobermorey to Injerrabonna Waterhole
Driving: 64.05 km
Heading: 252°
Avg Speed: 40.22 km/hr
EST Time: 01:35:32
  • Drive west. for: 0.05 km time: 00:14
  • Turn left onto Urandangi Tobermorey Road. for: 1.55 km time: 03:44
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 62.45 km time: 01:31:35
Injerrabonna Waterhole to Jervois Station
Driving: 155.21 km
Heading: 246°
Avg Speed: 36.97 km/hr
EST Time: 04:11:53
  • Drive west on Plenty Highway/12. for: 154.32 km time: 04:07:22
  • Turn right. for: 0.78 km time: 03:58
  • Keep left at the fork. for: 0.12 km time: 00:35
Jervois Station to Atitjere
Driving: 133.67 km
Heading: 268°
Avg Speed: 41.27 km/hr
EST Time: 03:14:20
  • Drive southeast. for: 0.89 km time: 04:28
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 109.66 km time: 02:52:04
  • Keep left to stay on Plenty Highway/12. for: 21.69 km time: 13:20
  • Turn left onto Mica Road. for: 1.42 km time: 04:29
Atitjere to Harts Range Police Station
Driving: 3.51 km
Heading: 295°
Avg Speed: 29.37 km/hr
EST Time: 07:10
  • Drive north on Mica Road. for: 1.42 km time: 04:27
  • Turn left at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 1.82 km time: 01:03
  • Turn left. for: 0.28 km time: 01:41
Harts Range Police Station to Gemtree
Driving: 75.19 km
Heading: 271°
Avg Speed: 75.56 km/hr
EST Time: 59:42
  • Drive north. for: 0.28 km time: 01:38
  • Turn left at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 74.49 km time: 55:55
  • Turn left. for: 0.43 km time: 02:10
Gemtree to Stuart Hwy & Plenty Hwy
Driving: 70.26 km
Heading: 252°
Avg Speed: 72.21 km/hr
EST Time: 58:22
  • Drive northwest. for: 0.43 km time: 02:08
  • Turn left onto Plenty Highway/12. Continue on Plenty Highway. for: 69.83 km time: 56:15
Stuart Hwy & Plenty Hwy to Tanami Rd & Stuart Hwy
Driving: 48.44 km
Heading: 160°
Avg Speed: 118.86 km/hr
EST Time: 24:27
  • Drive southwest on Plenty Highway/C12. for: 0.02 km time: 00:01
  • Turn left onto A87/Stuart Highway. Continue on Stuart Highway. for: 48.39 km time: 24:19
  • Turn right onto Tanami Road/5. for: 0.02 km time: 00:07
Tanami Rd & Stuart Hwy to Alice Springs
Driving: 20.18 km
Heading: 173°
Avg Speed: 78.88 km/hr
EST Time: 15:20
  • Drive east on Tanami Road/5. for: 0.02 km time: 00:01
  • Turn right onto 87/Stuart Highway. Continue on Stuart Highway. for: 19.41 km time: 13:35
  • Bear left onto Wills Terrace. for: 0.56 km time: 00:57
  • Make a right U-turn to stay on Wills Terrace. for: 0.08 km time: 00:20
  • Turn left. for: 0.11 km time: 00:29
Alice Springs to Mt Polhill Rest Area
Driving: 65.16 km
Heading: 216°
Avg Speed: 88.9 km/hr
EST Time: 43:58
Mt Polhill Rest Area to Stuart Highway & Owen Springs Access Tk
Driving: 6.89 km
Heading: 223°
Avg Speed: 105.19 km/hr
EST Time: 03:55
Stuart Highway & Owen Springs Access Tk to Stuarts Well Roadhouse
Driving: 25.07 km
Heading: 194°
Avg Speed: 97.59 km/hr
EST Time: 15:24
Stuarts Well Roadhouse to Finke River Rest Area
Driving: 33.55 km
Heading: 223°
Avg Speed: 119.61 km/hr
EST Time: 16:49
Finke River Rest Area to Stuart Hwy & Ernest Giles Rd
Driving: 5.28 km
Heading: 197°
Avg Speed: 119.61 km/hr
EST Time: 02:38
Stuart Hwy & Ernest Giles Rd to Desert Oaks Rest Area
Driving: 35.22 km
Heading: 185°
Desert Oaks Rest Area to Erldunda Roadhouse
Driving: 32.41 km
Heading: 179°
Avg Speed: 64.01 km/hr
EST Time: 30:22
Erldunda Roadhouse to Mount Ebenezer
Driving: 56.64 km
Heading: 272°
Avg Speed: 1.74 km/hr
EST Time: 32:33:06
Mount Ebenezer to Mount Ebenezer Roadhouse
Driving: 0.46 km
Heading: 176°
Avg Speed: 1.74 km/hr
EST Time: 15:51
Mount Ebenezer Roadhouse to Curtin Springs East Rest Area
Driving: 76.6 km
Heading: 262°
Avg Speed: 1.74 km/hr
EST Time: 44:01:22
Curtin Springs East Rest Area to Mt Connor Lookout
Driving: 5.76 km
Heading: 221°
Avg Speed: 1.74 km/hr
EST Time: 03:18:37
Mt Connor Lookout to Lasseter Hwy & Mulga Park Rd
Driving: 10.08 km
Heading: 236°
Avg Speed: 1.74 km/hr
EST Time: 05:47:35
Lasseter Hwy & Mulga Park Rd to Curtin Springs
Driving: 11.44 km
Heading: 293°
Avg Speed: 102.83 km/hr
EST Time: 06:40
Curtin Springs to Yulara
Driving: 83.6 km
Heading: 275°
Avg Speed: 102.83 km/hr
EST Time: 48:46
Yulara to Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd
Driving: 8.06 km
Heading: 164°
Avg Speed: 72.91 km/hr
EST Time: 06:37
Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd to Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre
Driving: 7.86 km
Heading: 163°
Avg Speed: 92.13 km/hr
EST Time: 05:07
Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre to Mala Carpark (Uluru)
Driving: 1 km
Heading: 12°
Avg Speed: 65.58 km/hr
EST Time: 00:54
Mala Carpark (Uluru) to Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre
Driving: 1 km
Heading: 192°
Avg Speed: 65.58 km/hr
EST Time: 00:54
Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre to Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd
Driving: 7.86 km
Heading: 343°
Avg Speed: 92.13 km/hr
EST Time: 05:07
Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd to Tjukaruru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd
Driving: 39.67 km
Heading: 269°
Avg Speed: 80.33 km/hr
EST Time: 29:37
Tjukaruru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd to Puta Puta
Driving: 116.24 km
Heading: 283°
Avg Speed: 77.03 km/hr
EST Time: 01:30:32
Puta Puta to Tjunti
Driving: 25.46 km
Heading: 284°
Avg Speed: 81.03 km/hr
EST Time: 18:51
Tjunti to Lasseters Cave
Driving: 0.75 km
Heading: 239°
Avg Speed: 19.3 km/hr
EST Time: 02:19
Lasseters Cave to Docker River (Kaltukatjara)
Driving: 40.45 km
Heading: 297°
Avg Speed: 82.51 km/hr
EST Time: 29:24
Docker River (Kaltukatjara) to Docker River Campground
Driving: 0.53 km
Heading: 294°
Avg Speed: 13.66 km/hr
EST Time: 02:19
Docker River Campground to Docker River (Kaltukatjara) Access
Driving: 1.93 km
Heading: 358°
Avg Speed: 51.88 km/hr
EST Time: 02:13
Docker River (Kaltukatjara) Access to Great Central Rd & Sandy Blight Junction Rd
Driving: 23.01 km
Heading: 273°
Avg Speed: 73.8 km/hr
EST Time: 18:42
Great Central Rd & Sandy Blight Junction Rd to Len Beadell Blaze Tree
Driving: 9.21 km
Heading: 224°
Avg Speed: 70.09 km/hr
EST Time: 07:53
Len Beadell Blaze Tree to Schwerin Mural Crescent Sign
Driving: 3.53 km
Heading: 235°
Avg Speed: 53.42 km/hr
EST Time: 03:57
Schwerin Mural Crescent Sign to Great Central Rd - Gunbarrel Hwy & Giles Mulga Park Rd
Driving: 36.29 km
Heading: 223°
Avg Speed: 84.16 km/hr
EST Time: 25:52
Great Central Rd - Gunbarrel Hwy & Giles Mulga Park Rd to Giles Weather Station
Driving: 25.98 km
Heading: 302°
Avg Speed: 82.39 km/hr
EST Time: 18:55
Giles Weather Station to Warakurna Roadhouse
Driving: 0.66 km
Heading: 181°
Avg Speed: 32.45 km/hr
EST Time: 01:13
Warakurna Roadhouse to Palytjikata
Driving: 113.72 km
Heading: 240°
Avg Speed: 90.87 km/hr
EST Time: 01:15:05
Palytjikata to Warburton Roadhouse
Driving: 114.1 km
Heading: 230°
Avg Speed: 91.37 km/hr
EST Time: 01:14:55
Warburton Roadhouse to Blacks Lookout
Driving: 2.9 km
Heading: 233°
Avg Speed: 43.35 km/hr
EST Time: 04:00
Blacks Lookout to Great Central Rd & Heather Hwy
Driving: 33.38 km
Heading: 247°
Avg Speed: 92.2 km/hr
EST Time: 21:43
Great Central Rd & Heather Hwy to Great Central Road & Hunt Oil Road Intersection
Driving: 89.9 km
Heading: 222°
Avg Speed: 89.92 km/hr
EST Time: 59:59
Great Central Road & Hunt Oil Road Intersection to Muggun Rockholes
Driving: 39.02 km
Heading: 240°
Avg Speed: 88.25 km/hr
EST Time: 26:31
Muggun Rockholes to Wahlgu Rockholes
Driving: 15.91 km
Heading: 249°
Avg Speed: 83.71 km/hr
EST Time: 11:24
Wahlgu Rockholes to Babul Rockholes
Driving: 22.32 km
Heading: 283°
Avg Speed: 65.34 km/hr
EST Time: 20:29
Babul Rockholes to Terhan Rockhole
Driving: 22.67 km
Heading: 263°
Avg Speed: 76.62 km/hr
EST Time: 17:45
Terhan Rockhole to Tjukayirla Roadhouse
Driving: 26.81 km
Heading: 240°
Avg Speed: 83.94 km/hr
EST Time: 19:09
Tjukayirla Roadhouse to Great Central Road & David Carnegie Rd
Driving: 15.58 km
Heading: 239°
Avg Speed: 70.39 km/hr
EST Time: 13:16
Great Central Road & David Carnegie Rd to Euro Rockhole
Driving: 78.38 km
Heading: 214°
Avg Speed: 93.04 km/hr
EST Time: 50:32
Euro Rockhole to Laverton
Driving: 222.87 km
Heading: 238°
Avg Speed: 91.07 km/hr
EST Time: 02:26:50
Distance is 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.

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