The Mereenie Loop

The Mereenie Loop, also known as the Mereenie Loop Tourist Drive, is an unsealed section of Red Centre Way, which links Alice Springs and Kings Canyon.

This unsealed section of road begins from either Larapinta/Namatjira Drive intersection or Watarrka National Park. Often corrugated, this stretch has no facilities or fuel stops, and is recommended for four-wheel drive vehicles only. You also need a permit to travel, as this road crosses Aboriginal land.

*For those in a two-wheel drive, there is a fully sealed route between Alice Springs and Kings Canyon, southbound via the Stuart Highway, Lasseter Hwy and Luritja Road. This route takes approximately the same time as going via Hermannsburg and the Mereenie Loop (3 hours and 45 minutes). Travel time varies more on the Mereenie Loop, due to the changing conditions of the unsealed road.

Mereenie Loop Road 2

What can be seen on a journey along the Mereenie Loop?

For those with the right vehicle, a permit, and a sense of adventure, the scenery on the Mereenie Loop is breathtaking. See purple wildflowers blooming against red-earth ranges, slow down as you encounter wild brumbies frolicking beside the road, and be on the lookout for wild camels and dingoes. Ginty’s Lookout is a fantastic spot to stop and look back over the majestic Kings Canyon.

Mereenie Loop Lookout

Ginty's Lookout

Wild Horses

Wild Brumbies (IG:

Booking a Permit

You must hold a valid permit to drive on the Mereenie Loop. Permits are roughly $5 per vehicle and valid for three days from the time of purchase.

Buy your Mereenie Loop Permit in person from:

  • Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre
    Corner of Todd Mall and Parsons Street, Alice Springs
  • Standley Chasm Shop
  • Glen Helen Reception - currently unavailable due to closure
  • Hermannsburg General Store
  • Kings Canyon Resort reception
  • Kings Creek Station reception
  • Alice Springs Central Lands Council office

There are a few rules to be aware of when planning a trip on the Mereenie Loop:

  • Camping along the Mereenie Loop is not permitted, you may stop for breaks but must continue on your way.
  • The consumption of alcohol is not permitted along the Mereenie Loop, you may carry sealed alcohol in the vehicle.
  • Cars should be four-wheel drive, or off road permitted all-wheel drives. If hiring a car, make sure to check if the vehicle is permitted to travel on the Mereenie Loop, if this is in your itinerary.
  • Any caravans or camper trailers should also be off road only.

The Mereenie Loop Map and Facilities

Petrol Stations and Stores

Fill-up your fuel tank and buy plenty of water and supplies at Alice Springs or Kings Canyon, before setting off on the Mereenie Loop. The journey from Alice Springs to Kings Canyon via the Mereenie Loop is approximately 332 kilometres. Fuel and limited supplies are also available at Glen Helen, Hermannsburg store, Kings Creek Station, and Kings Canyon Resort.

Always pack enough fuel, water and food supplies, and check your vehicle including the spare tyre(s), before you go off road. It is important to check and monitor road conditions before and during your trip at the Road Report NT website


Hiring a Four-wheel Drive

There are several car-hire companies that hire four-wheel drives in Central Australia. Ensure you book a vehicle that is permitted on unsealed roads and covered by insurance. Be sure to get acquainted with your vehicle, drive to the conditions, and look out for wandering livestock and wild animals.

Four-wheel drive hire companies in Alice Springs include:

  • Adventure Rentals 4WD Car Hire
  • Hertz
  • Britz
  • Budget Australia
  • Alice Car Rental


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