Great Central Road

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Great Central Road
Western AustraliaNorthern Territory
Great Central Road 0216.svg
Great Central Road (blue and white)
General information
Type Track
Length 1,126 km (700 mi)
Major junctions
WSW end Laverton
ENE end Yulara
Restrictions
Permits 2 required
Fuel supply Laverton
(28°37′S 122°24′E / 28.617°S 122.400°E / -28.617; 122.400),
Cosmo Newberry,
Tjukayirla Roadhouse,
Warburton
(26°13′S 126°39′E / 26.217°S 126.650°E / -26.217; 126.650),
Warakurna Roadhouse,
Docker River
and Yulara
(25°14′S 130°59′E / 25.233°S 130.983°E / -25.233; 130.983)

The Great Central Road is a mostly unsealed Australian outback highway that runs 1126 km from Laverton, Western Australia to Yulara, Northern Territory (near Uluru/Ayers Rock).[1][2] It passes through a number of small communities on the way.

History[edit]

The Great Central Road has its origins in the early 1930s when Warburton was established as a missionary settlement, and supplies were delivered from Laverton via a rough bush track.[3][4]

By the mid 1950s, the track from Laverton had become graded dirt. In 1958 during survey for the Gunbarrel Highway as part of the Woomera rocket range project, Len Beadell visited Warburton and built a new road from Giles via the Rawlinson Range to Warburton. At Jackie Junction 69 km north of Warburton, the Gunbarrel Highway branched from this road towards Carnegie Station further west. Beadell returned to Giles via a different bush track which passed east through the Blackstone Range towards Docker River.[5]

In January 1978 funds were provided to Warburton council by the Western Australian Government to construct a more direct road from Warburton to Docker River which bypassed part of the twenty-year-old Gunbarrel Highway.[6] The Great Central Road and original Gunbarrel Highway are coincident for 45 km near Giles.

Present conditions[edit]

Though still recommended only for four wheel drive vehicles, the road is now graded to a standard suitable for two wheel drive vehicles and caravans. It is on the most direct route from Perth to Uluru (Ayers Rock), and the number of vehicles travelling the route each year is around 10,000.[clarification needed] When heading from the Northern Territory to Laverton there is an Amnesty Bin for Quarantine WA 20 km outside of Laverton. All passenger vehicles are to stop and dispose of all Quarantine Risk Material that is stated on the sign, including all fresh fruit, vegetables, honey, seed, potatoes, onions and other such plants, etc. This area has a mobile inspector from time to time and there is risk of fines if travellers are stopped and Quarantine Risk Material is found.

There are fuel supplies at the following locations along the route (distances east from Laverton) : Cosmo Newbery (85 km), Tjukayirla Roadhouse (300 km), Warburton (560 km), Warakurna Roadhouse (786 km), Docker River (890 km) and Yulara (1126 km).

It is recommended that communications equipment be carried while driving on this road. The route also passes directly into Aboriginal reserves and it is a legal requirement for travellers to hold a valid transit permit at the time of travel, even when staying on the Great Central Road. Two permits are required and they are available from the West Australian Department of Indigenous Affairs.[7] The permits are free.

Gallery[edit]

Attractions[edit]

The two most notable attractions on this road are Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Uluru (Ayers Rock), both within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory.

Other attractions include Tjukayirla Roadhouse, which takes its name from the Tjukayirla Rockholes, situated at the southwest end of the campground. Adjacent to the rockholes is the Paine and Barclay Surveyor marker which was placed by the surveyors in early 1930s during the original survey route to Warburton.

There is a large variety of wildlife in the area; at times dingos, emus, kangaroos and camels as well as a large variety of birds can be seen around the roadhouse. A breakaway on the southern side of the Roadhouse is known as 'The Zoo', due to the animals that can be seen in the shapes of the rocks, including an elephant. There are also escarpment caves within 5 km of the Roadhouse.

Empress Springs are located 60 km north along the David Carnegie Rd, the junction of which is along the Great Central Rd 15 km west of the roadhouse. The road is marked as 4WD only. The springs are inside a cave, access is via a chain ladder and there is a visitors book near the cave.

Lasseter's Cave, the Petermann Ranges, Giles Weather Station, the ochre bluff of Giles Breakaway, Lake Throssell, Lake Yeo Nature Reserve for wildflowers in spring, Peegull Waterhole and Caves, and Empress Spring.

Junctions[edit]

State/Territory LGA Location km[8] mi Destinations Notes
Western Australia Laverton Laverton 0 0.0
Cosmo Newbery 85 53
Ngaanyatjarraku Tjukayirla Roadhouse 307 191
Warburton 554 344 Great Central Road is sometimes considered concurrent with Gunbarrel Highway between Warburton and Warakurna
Warakurna 781 485 Old Gunbarrel Highway Also Giles Weather Station, Giles Airport
Warakurna 807 501 Gunbarrel HighwayPipalyatjara, South Australia
Giles 854 531 Sandy Blight Junction RoadKintore, Northern Territory
Northern Territory Central Land Council Kaltukatjara 870 540 (Formerly Docker River) Great Central Road in Western Australia; Tjukaruru Road in Northern Territory
unincorporated area Yulara 1,110 690 Lasseter HighwayAlice Springs, Darwin
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

Australia road sign W5-29.svg Australian Roads portal

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hema, Maps (2005). Australia’s Great Desert Tracks SW Sheet (Map). Eight Mile Plains Queensland: Hema Maps. ISBN 978-1-86500-161-6. 
  2. ^ Hema, Maps (2005). Australia’s Great Desert Tracks SC Sheet (Map). Eight Mile Plains Queensland: Hema Maps. ISBN 978-1-86500-164-7. 
  3. ^ Walker, Greg (2012), Great Central Road : The Outback Travellers Track Guide, Design Interaction, ISBN 978-0-9874125-2-2 
  4. ^ Royal Automobile Club of W.A; Royal Automobile Club of W.A. Mapping Section (1996), Perth - Alice Springs via "Gunbarrel Highway" or Great Central Road (9th ed.), RACWA, retrieved 10 July 2015 
  5. ^ Beadell, Len (1965). Too Long in the Bush. New Holland Publishers (Australia). ISBN 1864367199. 
  6. ^ State Records Office Western Australia
  7. ^ http://www.daa.wa.gov.au/ West Australian Department of Indigenous Affairs
  8. ^ Google (20 January 2017). "Great Central Road" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 20 January 2017. 

External links[edit]