The Outback Way - Australia's Longest Shortcut

Key Stats & Facts

DISTANCES:  
From…….To……. Distance in Kilometres
Perth to Cairns 4,615km
Perth to Laverton 954km
Cairns to Winton 941km
Winton to Uluru (Ayers Rock) 1,622km
Winton to Alice Springs    1,179km
Laverton to Uluru (Ayers Rock) 1,098km
Laverton to Alice Springs 1,541km

FUEL
Unleaded petrol or unleaded substitute (OPAL) and diesel is available at roadhouses approximately 250-350km apart. Most are open during daylight hours only. LPG is only available at Yulara & Alice Springs. It is recommended vehicles carry sufficient fuel to travel 500-600km.

ACCOMMODATION
Motel rooms and cabins, some with ensuite, as well as caravan and tent / camper trailer sites are available at roadhouses.   Winton, Boulia and Laverton have motel, hotel and caravan park facilities. Yulara and Alice Springs have a wide variety of accommodation facilities.

TRAVEL TIMES
  • 35 hours Winton to Laverton (stopping for fuel only).
  • 42 hours Winton to Laverton (stopping for fuel & icon sites).
  • 21 hours Winton to Yulara (stopping for fuel only). 
  • 24 hours Winton to Yulara (stopping for fuel & icon sites). 
  • 14 hours Laverton to Yulara (stopping for fuel only).
  • 18 hours Laverton to Yulara (stopping for fuel & icon sites).

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO TRAVEL
April to October. Cooler and less chance of road closures due to rain.

ROAD CONDITIONS
Unsealed roads Laverton to Yulara and Gemtree to Boulia.  Unsealed roads are mostly dual lane limestone, sandy or gravely surfaces with occasional corrugated, rutted and bulldust sections (some excellent, others can be rough). Road conditions can change due to local flooding, creek crossings and road maintenance, and travellers should enquire at roadhouses before proceeding. Driving at night is not recommended due to wildlife, stock and unsealed road surface conditions. (Go to  The Road Conditions- 1.1 Front page)

VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS
Unsealed sections are traversable in 2WD vehicles at slow speeds or in small low-clearance 4WD’s, however, the route is best travelled in higher-clearance AWD’s. Suitable for off-road caravans and trailers but not recommended for low-clearance caravans and trailers especially during November to March. (People are doing it with care)  Repair services are very limited, often not available. Road conditions are improving continuously, however road closures in the wet are still occurring. (go to SAFE & SOUND) 1.1.5

MEALS, FOOD & PROVISIONS
Roadhouses stock snacks, drinks and essential food items. Community-based stores at Warburton, Warakurna, Docker River and Atitjere stock fresh produce and frozen foods.  Laverton, Boulia and Winton have general stores and/or supermarkets with a wide variety of groceries, fresh produce and essential foods.  Yulara and Alice Springs have a wide selection of stores offering meals, provisions and food items. Go to  EAT  &  SLEEP(1.1.4)

ACTIVITIES
Bird watching (i.e. at waterholes, wells, billabongs), nature walks (i.e. along/around ridges & breakaways, through mulga scrub / oak forest), wildlife spotting, geocaching (searching for hidden caches approximately 70-80km apart), viewing interpretive panels (located approximately 80-90km apart), viewing indigenous art galleries / workshops at select communities, 4WD side trips to known sites of interest, bush camping, picnic at roadside rest bays & river crossings, viewing panoramic landscapes from roadside crests and fossicking at gem fields. Go to  FUN IN THE SUN(1.1.6) 1

PERMITS
Permits are required to travel from:
  • Laverton to WA Border from the Department of Indigenous Affairs (Ph. 08 65518024);
  • Yulara to WA Border from the Central Land Council (Ph. 08 8951 6320). www.clc.org.au      
Special permit is required to venture off the Outback Way from Ngaanyatjarra Land Council (Ph. 08 8950 1711). Go to  THE PERMITS ( 1.3.1)

TRAVEL INFORMATION 
Available from visitor centres at Laverton, Alice Springs, Boulia and Winton; Outback Way Atlas and Guidebook available from visitor centres, online and wherever HEMA maps are sold; Outback Way brochure available FREE online and from select visitor centres. 

The Outback  Way  online Shop has- customised tyre covers, HEMA Guidebook & Atlas’s and our  Carbon Offset programme.

Email queries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There are five main sources of information on the Outback Way:
  1. This website. A selection of documents are available to view or download that help travellers with pre-trip and en-route information.
  2. Outback Way Brochure, downloadable from here or available from Outback Way visitor centres & Shire Offices .
  3. Outback Way Atlas & Guidebook, available wherever HEMA maps are sold, from visitor centres along the Outback Way or our online Shop ( needs link)
  4. Visitor centres along the Outback Way.

Trip Preparation  Detail
It is essential that traveller’s have maps of the Outback Way and the surrounding region to safely travel the route. Suitable maps and/or the Outback Way Atlas & Guidebook are available at most map shops. The Outback Way brochure has a map showing the relative location of sites / attractions, fuel stops, cache sites, accommodation, rest bays and interpretive panels. The brochure is an ideal source of information to familiarise with distances, sites of interest and pre-trip considerations but is not recommended as a navigational map for use along the route.

The Outback Way is best travelled during April to October, when warm, dry, sunny days are common and nights can be cold. Travelling the Outback Way during November to March the days are hot, nights are warm, bursts of moderate-heavy rain are possible, and daytime conditions can be harsh (i.e. extremely hot). During the hot summer months exposure to the elements can quickly lead to dehydration and exhaustion. The variation in temperatures along the Outback Way can require clothing for ‘all seasons’. Accessories such as hats, light-loose clothing, rain-spray jacket, thermal underwear and warm outerwear can be appreciated as the day-night conditions change (as shown in the table below).

Climate Along The Outbackway
   Laverton  Warakurna  Alice Springs  Winton
 Min. / Max. Temp. Range May-Oct 5-12º / 17-28ºC  6-17º / 20-31ºC  3-14º / 19-31ºC  8-18ºC / 24-34ºC
 Min. / Max. Temp. Range Nov-Apr 16-21º / 32-36ºC  16-23º / 33-37ºC  17-21º / 33-36ºC  17-23º / 32-38ºC
 Number of Rain Days May-Oct  14  10  10  8
 Number of Rain Days Nov-Apr  14  21  15  23

ATM’s can sometimes be inoperable or unavailable in the outback. Travellers should have sufficient cash to refuel their vehicle 2-3 times and/or pay for accommodation and provisions. Similarly, vehicle repairs, if required, might be more easily arranged with cash than a credit card.

Corrugations along unsealed roads can increase the wear and tear upon vehicles, contributing to breakdowns. Vehicle repair services are limited along the Outback Way and should not be relied upon except in emergencies. It is essential that your 4WD - car is in good working order before departing. This may require booking it in for a service and/or making repairs. Best to leave nothing to chance!

Travellers who wish to purchase a handheld GPS with many of the rest bays, interpretive sites, places of interest and Way-finder coordinates pre-installed can inquire at Johnny Appleseed - one of Australia’s leading retailers of GPS by phoning 1800 477 477 and ask for an Outback Way GPS (pre-loaded with all the essential sites, attractions and geocache coordinates!). This will certainly help avoid travelling past the less-obvious sites!