The Outback Way is a 2,800km self-drive taking you from Winton, Queensland, through the depths of the desert in the Northern Territory, to Laverton in Western Australia. This road trip takes at least ten days, showcases landscapes spanning three Australian states, and is ideal for adventurers looking to travel to icons such as Uluru, Chambers Pillar, and the West Macs. It is recommended however that you take longer as you give yourself the chance to take a day out to completely experience areas like Alice Springs and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. A 4WD vehicle is needed to cross the terrains of this route. Vehicles like the Britz Outback or Britz Safari are able to do so, all while ensuring creature comforts are with you throughout the trip.
Winton to Laverton
Best Time of the Year
May to October
- Great Central Road
- Australian Desert
- Reptile Centre
- Dinosaur Museum
Winton to Boulia
Distance 362km - Driving Time 4 hours 10 mins
Begin this adventure in the Queensland town of Winton. Before hitting the road, see some attractions that the town is famous for including the Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History, and Combo Waterhole, believed to be the birthplace of Banjo Patterson's famous folk song, 'Waltzing Matilda'. Embark on the drive by taking Landsborough Highway, and continuing along Kennedy Development Road all the way to Boulia. Settle into either an underground bed-and-breakfast or a caravan park once in town. Take the chance to cheer alongside locals as you watch a local rodeo or campdraft.
Boulia to Jervois Station
Distance 648km - Driving Time 14 hours 30 mins
Get ready for a longer stretch of road after a good night's rest. Follow Diamantia Developmental Road for just under 200km before reaching Urandangi North Road. Follow this road until you hit Plenty Highway, which will take you the rest of the way to Jervois Station. This active cattle station across the Northern Territory border is perfect for an overnight pit stop. Enjoy the peace and quiet of this place. Collect and burn firewood to keep warm in the evening as you watch the sky full of stars appear overhead.
Jervois Station to Alice Springs
Distance 307km - Driving Time 5 hours 40 mins
Hit the road early once more, to journey to Alice Springs, the heart of the Northern Territory. Travel along Plenty Highway for around 240km before following the Stuart Highway (also known as the National Highway) right to Alice. Set up camp here in this famous outback destination, and then head out to experience what the town has to offer. Visit attractions like the Reptile Centre and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Grab a bite at the famous Overlanders Steakhouse. Also be sure to go on an Indigenous bush tour to not only get a chance to have a refreshing swim in nearby gorges, but to taste some bush tucker delights such as emu sausage and wattle seed bread.
Alice Springs to Uluru
Distance 467km - Driving Time 6 hours 30 mins
Follow Stuart Highway before turning onto Lasseter Highway. Travel along this for 260km to hit the iconic, big red rock that sits at the heart of the Central Australian Desert. While on Stuart Highway you will have the chance to pay a visit to Rainbow Valley. Stop to see the vibrant sandstone bluffs and cliffs. If you are here in the early morning or late afternoon, the colourful bands on the rocks that give the place its name will be easier to spot. Also pay the Curtin Springs Station and roadhouse along Lasseter Highway, a visit for a view of Mt. Connor which is often mistaken for Uluru. Once at Ayers Rock Resort, find accommodation, dining, and leisure options to suit any budget.
Uluru to Kata Tjuta
Distance 60km - Driving Time 1 hour
Take a day to experience the area around Uluru as well as Kata Tjuta. A must is the base walk around Uluru. Also go for a camel or quad bike ride around surrounding sand-dunes, meet local Indigenous people, and gain some cultural insights as to why Uluru is considered sacred. Driving about an hour west along Lasseter Highway will land you at the Kata Tjuta site. Hike and explore the trails around the large dome-like rocks. Before you leave, watch a desert sunset either from here or from Ayers Rock and marvel at the landscape radiating various vibrant glows.
Uluru to Warburton
Distance 562km - Driving Time 8 hours
Now begins the journey from the heart of the Northern Territory through to Western Australia. Follow the Lasseter Highway for around 15km, turn into Tjukaruru Road and follow this for about 550km. This becomes the Great Central Road once you have crossed the border and will take you through to Warburton. Following the self-drive through Australia's 'longest shortcut' into WA, settle down before exploring the friendly Indigenous community of Warburton. Pay a visit to the Tjulyuru Regional Art Gallery and find a souvenir to take home from the Warta Shop. Just be sure to respect the Ngaanyatjarra Council by-laws while passing through this Aboriginal Reserve.
Warburton to Laverton
Distance 565km - Driving Time 8 hours
Welcome to the last leg of the journey, ending you in Laverton after continuing along the Great Central Road. Take your time though and stop to enjoy the natural wonders along the way - from the vast salt lakes, to reserves, to caves, to natural pools and springs. Remember that in order to travel through this section to Laverton you will need to have a permit. The Outback Way is an unforgettable road trip, taking you through the dramatic natural landscapes of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. With spanning deserts, Indigenous cultural experiences, and famous natural icons to see first-hand, there is plenty to look forward to.