Tanami Desert

Alice Springs and Surrounds

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The Tanami Desert, one of the most isolated and arid areas on earth, wasn’t truly explored until well into the twentieth century.


Crossing the expanse of the Tanami Desert, the Tanami Road is actually a fairly well-formed earth/gravel road. It is, however, an isolated route, that is closed after rain. It is recommended that 4WD vehicles are used for the road and outlying areas and you will need to be well-prepared and self-sufficient. It is not recommended for on-road caravans or trailers. Rain can close parts of the road at short notice. Take ample supplies of fuel, food and water as various roadhouses along the track can be unreliable. You should also carry enough drinking water to last two trips, as all dams and bores along the route are classified as undrinkable.

The Tanami Road has some interesting features along the way.

The communities of Yuendumu, Balgo and Billiluna have Culture Centres. Thecommunity of Mulan, reached via Balgo, provides access to Lake Gregory, one of Australia's most important inland wetlands. There are some wonderful camping sites alongside the Lake, including Passover Site on the eastern shore, and Yunpu Site on the southern shore, near the Canning Stock Route. This area is a bird watcher's paradise, where over 73 varieties of waterbirds have been recorded. Permits can be obtained for the camps at Paruku IPA offices in Mulan and Billiluna.

At Stretch Lagoon, 18 kilometres south of Billiluna, at the top of the Canning Stock Route, is another great camp. Exceptional displays of Flora and Fauna can be seen, including large herds of wild Arabian thoroughbreds. The source stock for these horses were shipped up from Melbourne racing stables in the 1920's, for the Palletine Brothers at the Balgo Mission.

PLEASE NOTE: Rabbit Flat Roadhouse has permanently closed for business. The longest stretch on the road without fuel supplies is 597km.

Map & Directions

, Tanami, Northern Territory 0872 Australia


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