Highway 1 (Australia)
|Map of Highway 1, which is a ring road around Australia. A separate section in Tasmania connects Hobart to Burnie.|
|Length||14,500 km (9,010 mi)|
|History||Highway 1 was established in 1955|
|Highways in Australia
National Highway • Freeways in Australia
Australia's Highway 1 is a network of highways that circumnavigate the Australian continent, joining all mainland state capitals. At a total length of approximately 14,500 km (9,000 mi) it is the longest national highway in the world, longer than the Trans-Siberian Highway (over 11,000 km or 6,800 mi) and the Trans-Canada Highway (8,030 km or 4,990 mi). Every day more than a million people travel on a part of it.
Highway 1 was created as part of the National Route Numbering system, adopted in 1955. The route was compiled from an existing network of state and local roads and tracks. Highway 1 was and still is the only route to reach across all Australian states. Many of the other national routes are tributaries of Highway 1.
With the introduction of the National Highway system in 1974, the significance of Highway 1 diminished, as large sections were not included in the new system. In the 1990s, Victoria and South Australia adopted alphanumeric route numbering, but retained the number 1 along the length of the highway in both states, with the letters M, A or B denoting the grade of the road.
Under the original Highway 1 scheme, certain major traffic routes that ran parallel to the main route were designated National Route Alternative 1. Most of these route designations have been replaced by either a state route designation, or an alpha-numeric route designation, depending on which state the section is in. An example of the Alternative 1 designation remaining is on the old Princes Highway route from Dandenong to South Melbourne in Victoria.
Sections of Highway 1 that were part of the federally funded National Highway network, that existed prior to the Auslink funding program, are indicated by the national green and gold route markers on roadside directional signs. Other sections are indicated by the either the original black on white National Route 1 marker, or by an alphanumeric marker (M1, A1 or B1) in the states using the alphanumeric route numbering system. In Sydney, the highway followed Metroad 1, which was marked with a hexagonal blue and white shield. In 2013, the Metroad 1 and National Highway 1 designations in New South Wales were replaced by various M1 and A1 sections.
From Sydney, it heads southwards to Melbourne and then on to Adelaide via Princes Highway. From then on to Perth via Port Wakefield Road and the Eyre Highway, Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, South Coast Highway, South Western Highway. It then heads to Darwin via Brand Highway, North West Coastal Highway, Great Northern Highway, Victoria Highway, and Stuart Highway.
From Darwin, Highway 1 follows the Stuart Highway to Daly Waters, and thereafter the Carpentaria Highway to Borroloola. The Savannah Way is the largely unsignposted route for Highway 1 between the QLD/NT Border, east of Borroloola, and Normanton, Queensland.
In Tasmania it starts at the Brooker Highway in Hobart and heads towards Launceston via the Midland Highway. At Launceston it becomes the Bass Highway to Burnie. Highway 1 ends at Burnie; the Bass Highway continues to Marrawah on the west coast as Highway A2.
Large sections of Highway 1 are shared with the Australian National Highway, though the two are not synonymous. For instance, the Princes Highway from Sydney to Melbourne is part of Highway 1, but is not part of the National Highway, which follows the Hume Highway and Freeway.
With such a vast and incomparable length, road conditions vary greatly; from multi-lane freeways in populous urban and rural areas, to sealed two-laners in remote areas, such as the Nullarbor Plain, to single lane roads, such as in northern Queensland.
Some stretches are very isolated, such as the Eyre Highway, which crosses the Nullarbor Plain, and the Great Northern Highway, which runs close to the north-western coastline. Isolated roadhouses serving the small amount of passing traffic are often the only signs of human activity for hundreds of kilometres.
Highway 1 has been described as a "death trap", particularly two-lane sections in northern Queensland, due to driver fatigue. The vast distances between destinations and limited rest areas, especially those suitable to trucks, contribute to the problem.
Highway 1 covers practically every major inhabited part of Australia. Large capital cities, busy holiday resorts, dramatic coastlines, forests ranging from tropical to temperate gum forests, giant karri stands, scrubland, deserts, and huge tropical swamps are some of the variety of landscapes that can be found along en route.
Stretches of Highway 1 are very popular with interstate and overseas tourists. A drive around Highway 1 with a major detour to Uluru and back again practically covers most of Australia. The number 1 shield became part of the bush landscape to many travellers, truckers, and country people.
- Highway 1 (New South Wales)
- Highway 1 (Northern Territory)
- Highway 1 (Queensland)
- Highway 1 (South Australia)
- Highway 1 (Tasmania)
- Highway 1 (Victoria)
- Highway 1 (Western Australia)
- Highways in Australia
- List of A1 roads
- List of highways numbered 1
- "Journeys" (PDF). Tourism Australia. December 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- Taylor, David (2012). The Highway One travel companion. Volume 1, Melbourne to Tweed Heads. Salisbury, Queensland: Boolarong Press. p. 9. ISBN 9780987218902.
- Distance book (12 ed.). Main Roads Western Australia. 2012. pp. 4–5. ISBN 0 7309 7657 2. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- Doyle, John (31 December 2012). "Australia's Highway 1" (MP3). Radio National Breakfast. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 January 2013.