Tanami Road

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Tanami Road
Tanami Track / McGuire Track
Northern TerritoryWestern Australia
Map of the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia with Tanami Road highlighted in red
General information
Type Road
Length 1,035 km (643 mi)
Route number(s) State Route 5 (Northern Territory)
Major junctions
South-east end Stuart Highway (National Highway 87), Burt Plain
North-west end Great Northern Highway (National Highway 1), Mueller Ranges
Region Tanami desert
Fuel supply Tilmouth Well

The Tanami Road, also known as the Tanami Track and the McGuire Track, is a road in northern Australia.[1][2] It follows a cattle droving route northwest from the MacDonnell Ranges area of central Australia just north of Alice Springs to Halls Creek in the Kimberley.[3]

The Tanami Road is the most direct route from Alice Springs to the Kimberley, passing through the Tanami Desert. Along its route are Yuendumu[4] and the Granites 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.

Gravel section of the track

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.[5]

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.[6] Another roadhouse, Tilmouth Well, located 186 km (116 mi) from Alice Springs between Alice Springs and Rabbit Flat,[7] provides fuel service 7 days a week.[6] Carrying adequate fuel and water supplies is essential.

The astronomer Eugene Shoemaker, best known for his co-discovery of the comet Shoemaker–Levy 9, died in a car accident while travelling along the Tanami Road in 1997.

Road train on the Tanami. When approaching a road train it is advisable to move off the road and stop, in anticipation of poor visibility in dust.

See also[edit]

Australia road sign W5-29.svg Australian roads portal


  1. ^ Design Interaction (Firm) & Walker, Greg & Walker, Josie (2007). In Tanami Road with regional roads and public access routes : Alice Springs, Tilmouth Well Roadhouse, Yuendumu, Rabbit Flat, Balgo, Billiluna, Halls Creek, Old Halls Creek, Bungle Bungle. Design Interaction, Bundoora, Vic
  2. ^ Walker, Greg (2007). In Tanami Road. Design Interaction Eight Mile Plains : Hema Maps Pty, Limited [Distributor], Bundoora
  3. ^ Hema, Maps (2006). Australia’s Great Desert Tracks NC Sheet (Map). Eight Mile Plains Queensland: Hema Maps. ISBN 978-1-86500-163-0. 
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Cathy Van Extel (2013-05-28). "Is the Tanami Road the worst highway in Australia?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  6. ^ a b "The Tanami Desert, Australia". Outback Australia Travel Guide. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  7. ^ http://www.tilmouthwell.com/ Tilmouth Well

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]