The Tanami Road, also known as the Tanami Track and the McGuire Track, runs between the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory and the Great Northern Highway in Western Australia. It is also known as State Route 5 in the Northern Territory. Its southern junction is 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of Alice Springs and the northern junction is 17 kilometres (11 mi) south-west of Halls Creek. It follows a cattle droving route northwest from the MacDonnell Ranges area of central Australia to Halls Creek in the Kimberley.
Tanami Track / McGuire Track
Map of the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia with Tanami Road highlighted in red
|Length||1,035 km (643 mi)|
|Route number(s)||State Route 5 (Northern Territory)|
|South-east end||Stuart Highway (National Highway 87), Burt Plain|
|North-west end||Great Northern Highway (National Highway 1), Mueller Ranges|
|Region||Alice Springs Region|
|Fuel supply||Tilmouth Well|
The Tanami Road is the most direct route from Alice Springs to the Kimberley, passing through the Tanami Desert. Along its route are Yuendumu and The Granites gold mine owned by Newmont Mining. In the Northern Territory it passes through land owned by the Aboriginal Warlpiri people, and in Western Australia it passes through pastoral land.
About 20% of the road is bitumen, the remainder is dirt and gravel and, although it is navigable by two-wheel drive vehicles, a four-wheel drive is recommended. Some parts of the road are prone to severe corrugations, making for an uncomfortable and slow drive at times. In January 2020, the federal government committed $235 million to upgrade and seal the road.
The mid-way point, Rabbit Flat, formerly a public roadhouse, was closed indefinitely at the end of 2010, so planning for this journey must take the lack of fuel and supplies into account. Tilmouth Well, located 186 km (116 mi) from Alice Springs between Alice Springs and Rabbit Flat, provides fuel service seven days a week. Carrying adequate fuel and water supplies is essential.
- Hema, Maps (2006). Australia's Great Desert Tracks NC Sheet (Map). Eight Mile Plains Queensland: Hema Maps. ISBN 978-1-86500-163-0.
- Yuendumu Mining Company N.L (1980). In The Tanami road : the Aboriginal-owned Yuendumu Mining Company N.L. submission to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. Yuendumu Mining Company N.L, Darwin
- Cathy Van Extel (28 May 2013). "Is the Tanami Road the worst highway in Australia?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
- Bamford, Matt (4 January 2020). "Outback adventure track Tanami Road on a $235 million path to being sealed". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
- "The Tanami Desert, Australia". Outback Australia Travel Guide. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
- Tilmouth Well