Paving the way to an unforgettable Outback adventure

Published: August 9, 2023

Australia’s longest short cut is becoming ever more accessible to grey nomads. Here, Mel Forbes, the General Manager of the Outback Highway Development Council, explains what they can expect.

The Outback Way is an epic transcontinental journey that, depending on where you are in Australia, is entered via Winton, Queensland, or Laverton, Western Australia. En route, it passes through central Australia, covering parts of the NT and WA.

The route is a combination of sealed and unsealed roads, ensuring an authentic Outback experience while maintaining accessibility for most vehicles, particularly during the dry season. The idea of creating the Outback Way project emerged in the 1990s, initially visioned by Patrick Hill, a former grader driver, now current President of the Shire of Laverton.

The Outback Highway Development Council Inc was formed to advocate for and lobby Government for the funds to complete the sealing of the entire route.

You may have heard about the Outback Way being successful in securing funding to complete the seal of the remaining 1,180 kilometres of gravel road of the 2,700-kilometre route. All going well, the entire route will be sealed by 2028.

Travelling the Outback Way is not merely about reaching the destination; it is about embracing the journey and experiencing the authentic Australian Outback lifestyle. As you traverse the vast expanses of this rugged land, you’ll encounter various remote towns and communities, each with its own distinct culture and story.

Camping is a quintessential part of the Outback Way experience. Caravan parks and camping spots are scattered along the route, allowing travellers to immerse themselves in the tranquil serenity of the Outback night skies.

As with any journey through remote and wild regions, there are challenges to be aware of when travelling the Outback Way. The most crucial consideration is the timing of your trip.

The best time to undertake this epic adventure is during the cooler months of April to September. A permit (free) is required when travelling on roads through Aboriginal land such as the Great Central Road, Tjukaruru Road and most of the roads/tracks leading off the Outback Way between Laverton and Yulara.

Additionally, it is essential to be well-prepared and equipped for the journey. Carry ample water, food supplies, and spare fuel, as fuel stations can be few and far between. It’s advisable to have a reliable 4WD vehicle and check road conditions and weather updates before embarking.

On some unsealed sections, a sense of adventure and caution are equally necessary.

More details of the trip can be found here.

  • Have you taken the Outback Way already … or are you looking forward to doing at some stage? Comment below.

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It’s a great trek with a properly prepared 4WD and communications. There are sections that require very low speed and travelling in table drain to avoid corrugations. Time and planning are an absolute must.

This is a great journey to see a great part of our continent. I’ve done it a couple times a few years back.
If you drive to the conditions the road is not too bad and a little rough along some stretches.
The sight or the Peterman Ranges appearing out of the flat arid country is amazing and unforgettable.
Travel safe, Cheers.

Such a shame, sealing the rest of the Outback Way. Remote outback towns and the Australian outback way of life will cease to exist. I don’t call this progress.

Having just spent 4 weeks being hammered on roads they call highways around outback Qld I suggest some money should be allocated to widening & fixing them. Anyone who has been around the Charleville, Cunnamulla area you would understand what I mean. Or even the Winton, Longreach areas.

If you think that once the road is sealed people will bother with a permit through the WA and NT you’re dreaming…

I agree ,it’s our taxes that pay for these road,permits are a joke .

Permits cost nothing. The joke is nobody checks if you have them.

The Western Australia part of the track is poorly signed.
Very easy to miss some of the sites.

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