Plenty Highway

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesBoulia
FinishAlice Springs
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable ForAWD Motorbike 
Distance821.93 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed57.63 km/hr
Travel Time14 hrs 15 mins
Page Updated: 23 Jun 2024


The Plenty Highway really doesn't begin until you reach the NT border, but to get there you travel from Boulia in outback Queensland along the Donohue Highway (just a track). Typically, the Queensland section of the track is in the worst condition with long stretches of extreme bulldust and big holes (making it a dry weather road only) - the NT section is more regularly maintained and graded.

The countryside changes considerably along the track and although it lacks services and "things to do" it is certainly one of the prettier shortcut tracks that you can do in this area. The overwhelming difference is that although the soil is the same red sandy stuff of the Simpson Desert, the terrain is completely flat, the spinifex grass much greener, and if there's been recent rains then wildflowers line the roadsides. Billy buttons, bush daisies, poached egg daisies, yellow tops and native violets carpet the sides of the road where water collects in the gutters.

As you approach the Harts (Hartz) Range you begin to see the first mountains you've probably seen in quite a while. If you've come from Birdsville or Boulia for long your senses seemed to be bombarded, a result of having been surrounded by gibber, sand and dust.

Just past the Harts Range Police Station (next door to an aboriginal community), turn left (south) down a track to the "Racecourse". Probably deserted for 363 days of the year this racetrack becomes a mecca for the outback racing enthusiasts with a crowd of a few thousand on the last weekend in August. Just behind the racecourse a track leads south for about 10km and finally reaches the base of a few impressive mountains, the highest being Mt Palmer. Mt Palmer is the highest in the Harts Range and is a fabulous climb. It will take about 2 hours to reach the summit but on the way you can explore open gaps left by mica miners and soak up the impressive views. Black-footed rock wallabies live in the "Disputed" mine shaft (where 2 miners lost their lives in a collapse not long after it was opened) and many wildflowers grow amongst the rocky outcrops on the climb up.

Outback Way

The Outback Way is made up of seven inter-connecting roads including The Great Central Road (WA); Tjukaruru Road, Lasseter Highway, Stuart Highway and Plenty Highway (NT); and Donohue Highway and Min Min Byway (QLD). Collectively these are called The Outback Way.

How to Use this Trek Note

  • To download this information and the route file for offline use on a phone, tablet, headunit or laptop, go to the app store and purchase ExplorOz Traveller. This app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage and the EOTopo webpage.


ExplorOz Traveller now features the NEW EOTopo 2024 mapset!

TrekID: 39


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
The minimum requirements would be to carry good communications and navigation equipment (along with being proficient with it's usage).

Safety Note - in case of an emergency, please note that a hospital complete with ambulance is located at Bonya (Orrtipa Thurra) which is north of Jervois on the Bonya Creek along the Mt Isa-Urangdangi Track.



Fuel Usage

4cyl 115 litres4cyl 133 litres4cyl 164 litres
6cyl 125 litres *6cyl 102 litres *6cyl 145 litres
8cyl 126 litres8cyl 136 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Dry season is best as it may be impassible when wet.

Closest Climatic Station

Distance from Trek Mid Point 88.71km NW
Mean Max. °C38.536.934.530.525.322.021.925.029.733.235.937.7
Mean Min. °C22.722.
Mean Rain mm50.058.732.817.518.510.614.37.68.815.424.838.4
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Boulia to Plenty Highway, NT-QLD Border
Driving: 246.39 km
Heading: 289°
Avg Speed: 55.46 km/hr
EST Time: 04:26:33
  • Drive east on Herbert Street/83. for: 0.02 km time: 00:02
  • Turn left onto Wills Street. for: 0.14 km time: 00:15
  • Turn left onto Moonah Street. for: 0.25 km time: 00:25
  • Turn right onto Hamilton Street/83. Continue on 83. for: 7.21 km time: 05:32
  • Turn left onto Donohue Highway. for: 238.77 km time: 04:20:19
Plenty Highway, NT-QLD Border to Tobermorey
Driving: 5.04 km
Heading: 304°
Avg Speed: 31.34 km/hr
EST Time: 09:38
  • Drive west on Plenty Highway/12. for: 3.43 km time: 05:33
  • Turn right onto Urandangi Tobermorey Road. for: 1.56 km time: 03:50
  • Turn right. for: 0.05 km time: 00:15
Tobermorey to Injerrabonna Waterhole
Driving: 64.06 km
Heading: 252°
Avg Speed: 45.63 km/hr
EST Time: 01:24:14
  • Drive west. for: 0.05 km time: 00:14
  • Turn left onto Urandangi Tobermorey Road. for: 1.56 km time: 03:45
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 62.45 km time: 01:20:15
Injerrabonna Waterhole to Jervois Station
Driving: 155.21 km
Heading: 246°
Avg Speed: 36.55 km/hr
EST Time: 04:14:47
  • Drive west on Plenty Highway/12. for: 154.32 km time: 04:10:15
  • Turn right. for: 0.89 km time: 04:32
Jervois Station to Atitjere
Driving: 133.67 km
Heading: 268°
Avg Speed: 36.63 km/hr
EST Time: 03:38:57
  • Drive north. for: 0.89 km time: 04:28
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 109.66 km time: 02:57:43
  • Keep left to stay on Plenty Highway/12. for: 21.69 km time: 32:16
  • Turn left onto Mica Road. for: 1.42 km time: 04:29
Atitjere to Harts Range Police Station
Driving: 3.5 km
Heading: 295°
Avg Speed: 27.75 km/hr
EST Time: 07:34
  • Drive north on Mica Road. for: 1.42 km time: 04:27
  • Turn left at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 1.82 km time: 01:44
  • Turn left. for: 0.27 km time: 01:23
Harts Range Police Station to Gemtree Camp 7 30th May 2024
Driving: 75.18 km
Heading: 271°
Avg Speed: 71.87 km/hr
EST Time: 01:02:45
  • Drive north. for: 0.27 km time: 01:20
  • Turn left onto Plenty Highway/12. for: 74.49 km time: 59:16
  • Turn left. for: 0.43 km time: 02:10
Gemtree Camp 7 30th May 2024 to Stuart Hwy & Plenty Hwy
Driving: 70.26 km
Heading: 252°
Avg Speed: 71.38 km/hr
EST Time: 59:03
  • Drive northwest. for: 0.43 km time: 02:08
  • Turn left onto Plenty Highway/12. Continue on Plenty Highway. for: 69.83 km time: 56:55
Stuart Hwy & Plenty Hwy to Tanami Rd & Stuart Hwy
Driving: 48.44 km
Heading: 160°
Avg Speed: 120.43 km/hr
EST Time: 24:08
  • Drive southwest on Plenty Highway/C12. for: 0.02 km time: 00:01
  • Turn left onto A87/Stuart Highway. Continue on Stuart Highway. for: 48.39 km time: 24:00
  • Turn right onto Tanami Road/5. for: 0.02 km time: 00:07
Tanami Rd & Stuart Hwy to Alice Springs
Driving: 20.18 km
Heading: 173°
Avg Speed: 79.27 km/hr
EST Time: 15:16
  • Drive east on Tanami Road/5. for: 0.02 km time: 00:01
  • Turn right onto 87/Stuart Highway. Continue on Stuart Highway. for: 19.41 km time: 13:32
  • Bear left onto Wills Terrace. for: 0.56 km time: 00:58
  • Make a right U-turn to stay on Wills Terrace. for: 0.08 km time: 00:19
  • Turn left. for: 0.11 km time: 00:27
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

Gem fossicking, abandoned mica mines, remote country, bush camping, great alternative east-west crossing, faster and easier than Simpson Desert


Where to Stay

West of Boulia the Georgina River makes a wonderful camp. At times this incredible river can be in full flood, flowing fast towards Eyre Creek. Once you reach the Qld/NT border its 569km to Alice Springs. Other excellent camps are at the Marshall River (shade shelter and picnic table) and then further on at the Plenty River.

Services & Supplies


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