The Sandover Highway
Sandover Highway - Northern Territory to Mt Isa Queensland
Essentially this is a short cut from central Australia to the Gulf or
to northern Queensland.
This trip is from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to Mt Isa in
Queensland. Of course, as with all of these trips, you can simply
reverse the instructions if you are coming from the opposite direction.
This is a longish trip over very remote and little used tracks and is
very dry country in places. You shouldn't even think about it if
you don't have a decent, well prepared and well equipped
Much of the territory that you will cover is historical pioneering
country. The best time to go is spring or autumn, the longest run
between fuel stops is about 320 km and the total distance could be over
1000 km, depending on what trips you take of the main route.
The trip heads out of Alice along the Plenty Highway, about 70 km north
off the Stuart Highway.It is only a short distance along here that you
turn of north onto the Sandover Highway, where you will travel for some
distance through scrub and spinifex country. You will need to make
regular checks that spinifex hasn't blocked the airflow to your
radiator as it will lead to over-heating and mechanical failure if
Also check under your vehicle as spinifex collects around the exhaust
and you run a real risk of your vehicle catching on fire.
There are many tracks off to the left and right during this stretch but
they are into Aboriginal territory and you don't have any right of
access. The exception is Utopia, or Urapuntja where you are able to get
emergency supplies of basic food and fuel.</
At Alpara you can do the same and then, for some distance, the road
runs parallel to the Sandover River. You probably won't see much of it
unless you take one of the tracks off to the right, or south.
From here you head past the Amaroo Station and pass into, mainly,
cattle country. Once you have travelled some 650 km or so you will pass
Lake Nash, which is,
officially, the end of the Sandover Highway. From here you have a
choice of two routes, to the north via Camooweal, and somewhat better
countryside, or south via Urandagi.
South is shorter in kilometers, but a much harsher drive, and both end
up at Mt Isa.