Barkly Highway

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesThree Ways Roadhouse
DifficultyDifficulty 1/5
Suitable For2WD Motorhome/Van Motorbike 
Distance325.22 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed103.56 km/hr
Travel Time3 hrs 8 mins
Page Updated: 21 Oct 2021


The Barkly Highway, now also promoted as part of the Overlander's Way, is a sealed road connecting the states of Qld & NT. The road connects the Three Ways Roadhouse in the Northern Territory to the township of Cloncurry in Queensland.

The Barkly Highway forms the main transport route between Queensland and the Northern Territory, and consequently it is heavily used by road trains and tourists.

How to Use this Trek Note

If you'd like to download this Trek there are two options:
  • Purchase our app ExplorOz Traveller. This Australian-made GPS & Navigation app will allow you to download all the ExplorOz Treks to your GPS enabled smartphone/tablet/iPad or laptop and enable active route guidance along the route as per the Directions shown on this page. The app enables offline navigation and mapping and will show where you are as you travel along the route. The app also allows you to edit/customise the route. Viewing the Trek in the Traveller app also includes all the words, images and POIs exactly as on the website (excludes Wildflowers). For more info see the ExplorOz Traveller webpage.

  • Alternatively, if you already have another raster mapping software program you can Download this route in GPX format using the button shown below the map on this page .


To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase the EOTopo 2021 map licence. To install the maps you will need the ExplorOz Traveller app.


Between Cloncurry to Mount Isa, the Barkly Highway winds through the spectacular Swelwyn Ranges. Around Camooweal you'll see wide expanses of Mitchell grass plains and spinifex woodland. Closer to Tennant Creek, the Barkly Tablelands are an enormous expanse of cattle stations and scrubby grasslands. These habitats do not support a great variety of wildlife with just a brushtail possum, the antechinus, and dunnart being the few mammals known to exist in small isolated pockets.

There are many grasslands birds however, such as bronzewing, night parrots, and seasonal wetlands birds may occasionally be seen during periods of flooding.

Snakes, reptiles and amphibians can adapt to the clay soils between the wet summer season to the dry winter season.


In 1861, William Landsborough explored the western regions of Queensland and named a wide section of scrubby grasslands to the north-east of Tennant Creek after Sir Henry Barkly, the then Governor of Victoria.

The route of today's Barkly Highway follows a stock route that was formerly used by drovers to herd their cattle through the Tablelands. It was put to use during wartime as a defence road and bitumen surfacing works commenced in 1943. The highway was named and registered in 1947.

An upgrade of the Queensland section of the highway between Mount Isa and Camooweal was completed in 2008.

TrekID: 225


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 North West Outback Queensland Tourism Association recommend that travellers prepare alternative routes, especially during the Australian summer (Nov – Apr) when rain and storms can impede travel plans.

Be prepared to lose mobile phone coverage when travelling outside town boundaries. Most towns will have Telstra and Optus coverage for about a 20km radius around the town.

Be patient of stock and wary of kangaroos and emus, especially if driving near sunrise or sunset.


No permit required.

Fuel Usage

4cyl 46 litres4cyl 53 litres4cyl 65 litres
6cyl 50 litres6cyl 59 litres6cyl 57 litres
8cyl 50 litres8cyl 54 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Travelling throughout Northern Australia in the dry cooler months from April to
October is very pleasant. Days are temperate and the nights cool. Summer is the wet season with higher temperatures and the chance of minor localised flooding.

Closest Climatic Station

Camooweal Township
Distance from Trek Mid Point 83.08km E
Mean Max. °C37.336.
Mean Min. °C24.323.721.718.
Mean Rain mm99.193.254.914.411.
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Three Ways Roadhouse to 41 Mile Rest Area
Driving: 70.98 km
Heading: 79°
Avg Speed: 112.67 km/hr
EST Time: 37:47
  • Drive north. for: 0.06 km time: 00:18
  • Turn left onto 66/Barkly Highway. for: 70.41 km time: 36:31
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Stuart Highway for: 0.3 km time: 00:13
  • Bear right. for: 0.04 km time: 00:10
  • Bear right. for: 0.16 km time: 00:36
41 Mile Rest Area to Frewena Rest Area
Driving: 61.58 km
Heading: 102°
Avg Speed: 112.83 km/hr
EST Time: 32:44
  • Drive north. for: 0.06 km time: 00:18
  • Turn right onto 66/Barkly Highway. for: 61.4 km time: 31:53
  • Bear left. for: 0.11 km time: 00:33
Frewena Rest Area to Barkly Homestead
Driving: 55.33 km
Heading: 125°
Avg Speed: 122.67 km/hr
EST Time: 27:03
  • Drive southwest. for: 0.11 km time: 00:33
  • Make a sharp left onto 66/Barkly Highway. for: 55.08 km time: 26:00
  • Turn right. for: 0.09 km time: 00:22
  • Bear left. for: 0.05 km time: 00:09
Camooweal to Inca Creek Rest Area
Driving: 70.52 km
Heading: 104°
Avg Speed: 106.25 km/hr
EST Time: 39:49
  • Drive south on Thorntonia-Yelvertoft Road. for: 0.11 km time: 00:08
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Barkly Highway for: 70.4 km time: 39:41
Inca Creek Rest Area to David Hall Rest Area
Driving: 20.68 km
Heading: 134°
Avg Speed: 104.21 km/hr
EST Time: 11:54
  • Drive northwest on A2/Barkly Highway. for: 20.57 km time: 11:43
  • Turn right onto Thorntonia-Yelvertoft Road. for: 0.11 km time: 00:12
David Hall Rest Area to Rest Area
Driving: 46.13 km
Heading: 118°
Avg Speed: 62.74 km/hr
EST Time: 44:06
  • Drive east. for: 0.59 km time: 17:39
  • Turn left at the end of the road, onto Barkly Highway for: 45.54 km time: 26:28
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


Where to Stay

The route consists of numerous free roadside rest areas suitable for caravanners however it is difficult to escape the road noise.

Services & Supplies


Related Travel Journals

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