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The Plenty Highway

The Plenty Highway connects Boulia in Western Queensland with the Stuart Highway, just 60 kilometres north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. ‘The Plenty’ offers an adventurous, partly unsealed shortcut.

At just over 850-kilometres long, the journey can be completed in one day of driving; however, there is so much to see and do that it is well worth planning in a few stops along the way. 

 

Things to See and Do

Along the Plenty Highway are some remarkable historic sites, breathtaking scenery and access to some challenging and famous four-wheel drive tracks. 

Fossicking

Once a part of the Central Australian gold rush era, Gemtree (just two hours out of Alice Springs) is a good stop for fuel, food, accomodation and your very own treasure hunt. Have your find cut and polished on site for a sparkling reminder of your trip.

Four-wheel driving 

There are three bucket-list four-wheel drive tracks that are accessible via the Plenty Highway. Beginning at Jervois Station and ending at Birdsville is the Hay River Track, crossing the Simpson Desert into Queensland. The Binns Track is an epic journey that briefly intersects with the Plenty Highway as it traverses from the desert to the tropics. Head north on the Sandover Highway, which connects Ampiliwatja with Camoweel, Queensland.

Art 

Along the Plenty Highway, you’ll be treated to the Outback Way Outdoor Gallery, stunning art immersed in the natural beauty near the East MacDonnell Ranges. Take a detour to Engawala or Utopia Art Centre and support Indigenous Artists in their own studios.

Nature 

The desert in bloom is an almost unbeatable sight to behold; however, the striking contrast of green foliage and bright desert flowers against the red sand is only seen after recent rains. Admire the enduring landscape, broken up by formations such as Harts Range.

Plenty Highway Accommodation

From east to west, these are some of the accommodation and campground choices you’ll have. 

Tobermorey Station 

Just inside the Northern Territory border, Tobermorey is an operating cattle station, roadhouse and caravan park. Campers can enjoy grassed sites with full amenities or book a cabin and barbecue pack ahead of your visit.

Batton Hill Camp

Closed in the summer months and requiring a permit to visit, you must plan ahead to camp here. On arrival, you’ll be rewarded with a shady bush camp with excellent facilities. Traditional Owners are the campground hosts and offer the My Country Tour, a chance to hear the story of the land and learn about local bush tucker.

Jervois

The Station and Homestead provide food, fuel and camping on the banks of the often dry Marshall River. Perfect for a night of camping under the stars and enjoying being in the outback, booking is not required so you can roll in and roll your swag out under any tree you choose.

Harts Range

This area is open to fossicking and exploring all year round, just be mindful of the operating cattle stations. At the Mount Palmer area entrance is the Spotted Tiger campground, with minimal camping facilities. Fuel, groceries and supplies are available at Atitjere Community Store. Time your travel to experience the Harts Range Races, generally held over the August long weekend, for three days of family fun, bushie activities, and a horse race.

Gemtree

Bookings are essential if you’d like to stay, but the roadhouse is open to all travellers. Enjoy dinner from a camp oven or order food delivered to your campsite, so you don’t miss a thing as the sun sets and lights up the nearby Harts Range. 

Plenty Highway Conditions

A tender was awarded in March 2022 for the remainder of the Plenty Highway to be sealed, from the Stuart Highway to Winton (Queensland). Currently Stuart Highway to Harts Range, roughly 140 kilometres is sealed on the NT side. Winton to Boulia is also sealed on the Queensland side, leaving almost 730 kilometres unsealed between Harts Range and Boulia.

It is best to check Road Report NT for up-to-date information on road conditions. A few of the roadhouses also post updates for visitors. 

Plan your trip now

Whether you are making the crossing from east to west or vice versa, spend some time exploring along this section of the Outback Way.

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