Plenty Highway

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesAlice Springs
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable For4WD AWD Camper Bike 
Distance820.6 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed56.24 km/hr
Travel Time14 hrs 35 mins
Page Updated: 23 Aug 2017


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

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 (or an HN7 device) you can try downloading the route line data files via the Download Trek button shown below the map on this page (OR purchase EOTreks Route Files). Be aware that this doesn't include maps or text just the route line.


To purchase our maps for offline use, you will need to purchase an EOTopo map licence (available either in App Version, or Raster Version).

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.

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 144 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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Alice Springs to Tanami Rd & Stuart Hwy
Driving: 20.05 km
Heading: 353°
Avg Speed: 77.13 km/hr
EST Time: 15:35
  • Drive west. for: 0.11 km time: 00:44
  • Turn left at the end of the road, onto Wills Terrace for: 0.47 km time: 00:50
  • Bear right onto 87/Stuart Highway. Continue on Stuart Highway. for: 19.45 km time: 14:00
  • Turn left onto Tanami Road/5. for: 0.02 km time: 00:02
Tanami Rd & Stuart Hwy to Stuart Hwy & Plenty Hwy
Driving: 48.44 km
Heading: 340°
Avg Speed: 117.79 km/hr
EST Time: 24:40
  • Drive east on Tanami Road/5. for: 0.02 km time: 00:01
  • Turn left onto 87/Stuart Highway. Continue on Stuart Highway. for: 48.39 km time: 24:33
  • Turn right onto Plenty Highway/C12. for: 0.02 km time: 00:06
Stuart Hwy & Plenty Hwy to Gemtree
Driving: 70.26 km
Heading: 72°
Avg Speed: 72.15 km/hr
EST Time: 58:25
  • Drive northeast on Plenty Highway/C12. Continue on Plenty Highway. for: 69.83 km time: 56:12
  • Turn right. for: 0.43 km time: 02:14
Gemtree to Harts Range Police Station
Driving: 75.19 km
Heading: 91°
Avg Speed: 73.87 km/hr
EST Time: 01:01:04
  • Drive northwest. for: 0.43 km time: 02:08
  • Turn right onto Plenty Highway/12. for: 74.49 km time: 57:14
  • Turn right. for: 0.28 km time: 01:43
Harts Range Police Station to Atitjere
Driving: 3.51 km
Heading: 115°
Avg Speed: 29.37 km/hr
EST Time: 07:10
  • 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: 01:03
  • Turn left. for: 0.28 km time: 01:41
Atitjere to Jervois Station
Driving: 133.67 km
Heading: 88°
Avg Speed: 40.66 km/hr
EST Time: 03:17:15
  • Drive north on Mica Road. for: 1.42 km time: 04:27
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 131.36 km time: 03:08:16
  • Turn left. for: 0.78 km time: 03:56
  • Keep left at the fork. for: 0.12 km time: 00:35
Jervois Station to Injerrabonna Waterhole
Driving: 155.21 km
Heading: 67°
Avg Speed: 36.98 km/hr
EST Time: 04:11:49
  • Drive southeast. for: 0.89 km time: 04:28
  • Turn left at the end of the road, onto Plenty Highway for: 154.32 km time: 04:07:23
Injerrabonna Waterhole to Tobermorey
Driving: 64.05 km
Heading: 73°
Avg Speed: 40.24 km/hr
EST Time: 01:35:30
  • Drive east on Plenty Highway/12. for: 62.45 km time: 01:31:30
  • Turn left onto Urandangi Tobermorey Road. for: 1.55 km time: 03:46
  • Turn right. for: 0.05 km time: 00:15
Tobermorey to Plenty Highway, NT-QLD Border
Driving: 5.03 km
Heading: 124°
Avg Speed: 31.35 km/hr
EST Time: 09:37
  • Drive west on Plenty Highway/12. for: 3.43 km time: 05:33
  • Turn right onto Urandangi Tobermorey Road. for: 1.55 km time: 03:49
  • Turn right. for: 0.05 km time: 00:15
Plenty Highway, NT-QLD Border to Boulia
Driving: 245.19 km
Heading: 110°
Avg Speed: 42.9 km/hr
EST Time: 05:42:55
  • Drive east on Plenty Highway/12. for: 178.34 km time: 04:22:27
  • Bear right onto Donohue Highway. for: 59.28 km time: 01:14:14
  • Turn right at the end of the road, onto Diamantina Developmental Road for: 7.36 km time: 05:54
  • Turn left onto Herbert Street/83. for: 0.22 km time: 00:21
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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