Great Central Road

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesLaverton
DifficultyDifficulty 2/5
Suitable For4WD AWD Caravan Camper Motorhome Bike 
Distance1147.05 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed72.6 km/hr
Travel Time15 hrs 48 mins
Page Updated: 15 Jul 2021


The Great Central Road is the most accessible route linking the Red Centre to Western Australia and is well travelled by tourists throughout most of the year.

The area however, is remote and the road weaves through extremely remote desert scrub country with very limited facilities and attractions for travellers. This is predominantly land occupied by aboriginal communities. It is advisable to travel in a 4WD vehicle, although a 2WD vehicle will make the trip. The track section in WA has been dramatically upgraded right through to the border and is now good gravel with no sand or bulldust. However, the NT section is considerably worse and although generally ok for trailers including caravans the corrugations are unpleasant.

The route also passes directly into Aboriginal communities in the Central Reserves and it is a legal requirement for travellers to hold a valid Transit Permit at the time of travel. See preparation section for further details.

Outback Way

The Outback Way is made up of seven inter-connecting roads including The Great Central Road (WA); Tjukaruru Road, Lasseter Highway, Stuart Highway and Plenty Highway (NT); and Donohue Highway and Min Min Byway (QLD). Collectively these are called The Outback Way .

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Driving the Great Central Road section of the Outback Way traversing the middle of the Shire is a great eco-tourism experience passing through the Rawlinson Range, Walter James Ranges, and Gill Pinnacle. Other sites along the way are Beadell's Tree and Giles Meteorological Station. Tjulyuru Cultural & Civic Centre displays some of the finest Aboriginal art in Australia.


The Warburton Mission ran from 1933 to 1973, run by William Wade and his wife. In 1961 the Dormitories closed, but the school continued to run. In 1968, due to the large population from the clearing of the Woomera rocket range, Docker River was opened. In 1975, 4 more homeland communities were developed. Tjirrkarli and Tjukurla, although smaller communities opened in the late 1980's.

Len Beadell

Len Beadell worked as a surveyor in the Australian Army (Army Survey Corps). In 1947, Len was asked by the government to build a road across the interior of Australia as part of the search for a suitable site for weapons testing. The main reason was to establish the weapons testing facility at Woomera, and also the place where the British atomic bomb was tested - Maralinga, which is aboriginal for ‘thunder’. These sites were surveyed and selected by Len, and during the 1940s and 1950s, was responsible for opening up the last remaining isolated desert areas of some 2.5 million square kilometers of central Australia. The Great Central Road is part of a network of desert highways built under the leadership of the famous surveyor, to service Woomera and the Giles meteorological station. There are a number of waypoints dedicated to Len Beadell, who is often regarded as the last true Australian explorer. These include: Giles Meterological Station where Len’s original grader stands in a large cage, Len Beadell Plaques - which were setup by the Gunbarrel Crew, and Mount Beadell where a memorial has been raised on top of the hill. In recent times, the newer Great Central Road has superseded some of Len's original tracks, by taking a more direct route. However, all of Len's original roads still exist such as Anne Beadell Highway, Gunbarrel Highway, Connie Sue Hwy and Sandy Blight Junction Road. These roads are increasingly popular with 4WDrivers and adventurers alike. Many sections are difficult going and almost all of them lie in aboriginal lands and require travel permits, as well as a great deal of preparation.

TrekID: 79


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.


Whilst diesel fuel is readily available, travellers will find that standard unleaded fuel is not available anywhere on the Great Central Road between Laverton (WA) and Yulara (NT). Instead, you can obtain Opal, which is an alternative fuel developed to discourage petrol sniffing in remote indigenous communities. Opal contains less aromatics or solvents, which are what produces the 'high' when sniffed. OPAL unleaded fuel is available at all roadhouses along the Great Central Road, namely Warburton, Warakurna (Giles), and Docker River. For more information see FAQs


Part III of the AAPA Act, stipulates that transit permits are legally required for any person visiting or passing through an Aboriginal reserve unless they are of Aboriginal descent; a member of either House of Parliament of the State or of the Commonwealth; or is a person lawfully exercising a function under the AAPA Act or otherwise acting in pursuance of a duty imposed by law.

The Great Central Road actually requires 2 sets of Transit Permits because there are Aboriginal Communities on both sides of the border (NT/WA) and each state has its own Aboriginal Lands office and issues its own permits. These can easily be obtained online:

Ngaanyatjarra Council

For people travelling through Aboriginal Land in the Central Reserves of Western Australia to, or from the NT border to Laverton, the permit is obtained online from the the Ngaanyatjarra Council website Their contact email address is

Central Land Council (CLC)

For people travelling through Aboriginal Land in the Northern Territory to, or from the WA border to Yulara, you need to use the Central Land Council website to obtain your permit. Their contact email address is

Fuel Usage

Docker River, Warakurna Roadhouse, Warburton, Tjukayirla Roadhouse, Cosmo Newbery.
4cyl 129 litres *4cyl 186 litres4cyl 229 litres
6cyl 149 litres *6cyl 178 litres *6cyl 161 litres *
8cyl 176 litres8cyl 190 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Warburton Airfield
Distance from Trek Mid Point 97.99km N
Mean Max. °C38.036.533.929.324.320.720.723.127.931.634.336.6
Mean Min. °C22.922.119.915.
Mean Rain mm28.536.731.418.015.417.912.99.85.714.824.731.5
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended


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Laverton to Euro Rockhole
Driving: 222.87 km
Heading: 59°
Avg Speed: 91.07 km/hr
EST Time: 02:26:50
Euro Rockhole to Great Central Road & David Carnegie Rd
Driving: 78.38 km
Heading: 34°
Avg Speed: 93.04 km/hr
EST Time: 50:32
Great Central Road & David Carnegie Rd to Tjukayirla Roadhouse
Driving: 15.58 km
Heading: 59°
Avg Speed: 70.39 km/hr
EST Time: 13:16
Tjukayirla Roadhouse to Terhan Rockhole
Driving: 26.81 km
Heading: 60°
Avg Speed: 83.94 km/hr
EST Time: 19:09
Terhan Rockhole to Babul Rockholes
Driving: 22.67 km
Heading: 84°
Avg Speed: 76.62 km/hr
EST Time: 17:45
Babul Rockholes to Wahlgu Rockholes
Driving: 22.32 km
Heading: 103°
Avg Speed: 65.34 km/hr
EST Time: 20:29
Wahlgu Rockholes to Muggun Rockholes
Driving: 15.91 km
Heading: 69°
Avg Speed: 83.71 km/hr
EST Time: 11:24
Muggun Rockholes to Great Central Road & Hunt Oil Road Intersection
Driving: 39.02 km
Heading: 60°
Avg Speed: 88.25 km/hr
EST Time: 26:31
Great Central Road & Hunt Oil Road Intersection to Great Central Rd & Heather Hwy
Driving: 89.9 km
Heading: 42°
Avg Speed: 89.92 km/hr
EST Time: 59:59
Great Central Rd & Heather Hwy to Blacks Lookout
Driving: 33.38 km
Heading: 67°
Avg Speed: 92.2 km/hr
EST Time: 21:43
Blacks Lookout to Warburton Roadhouse
Driving: 2.9 km
Heading: 53°
Avg Speed: 43.35 km/hr
EST Time: 04:00
Warburton Roadhouse to Palytjikata
Driving: 114.1 km
Heading: 50°
Avg Speed: 91.37 km/hr
EST Time: 01:14:55
Palytjikata to Warakurna Roadhouse
Driving: 113.72 km
Heading: 61°
Avg Speed: 90.87 km/hr
EST Time: 01:15:05
Warakurna Roadhouse to Giles Weather Station
Driving: 0.66 km
Avg Speed: 32.45 km/hr
EST Time: 01:13
Giles Weather Station to Great Central Rd - Gunbarrel Hwy & Giles Mulga Park Rd
Driving: 25.98 km
Heading: 122°
Avg Speed: 82.39 km/hr
EST Time: 18:55
Great Central Rd - Gunbarrel Hwy & Giles Mulga Park Rd to Schwerin Mural Crescent Sign
Driving: 36.29 km
Heading: 44°
Avg Speed: 84.16 km/hr
EST Time: 25:52
Schwerin Mural Crescent Sign to Len Beadell Blaze Tree
Driving: 3.53 km
Heading: 55°
Avg Speed: 53.42 km/hr
EST Time: 03:57
Len Beadell Blaze Tree to Great Central Rd & Sandy Blight Junction Rd
Driving: 9.21 km
Heading: 44°
Avg Speed: 70.09 km/hr
EST Time: 07:53
Great Central Rd & Sandy Blight Junction Rd to Docker River (Kaltukatjara) Access
Driving: 23.01 km
Heading: 93°
Avg Speed: 73.8 km/hr
EST Time: 18:42
Docker River (Kaltukatjara) Access to Docker River Campground
Driving: 1.93 km
Heading: 178°
Avg Speed: 51.88 km/hr
EST Time: 02:13
Docker River Campground to Docker River (Kaltukatjara)
Driving: 0.53 km
Heading: 114°
Avg Speed: 13.66 km/hr
EST Time: 02:19
Docker River (Kaltukatjara) to Lasseters Cave
Driving: 40.45 km
Heading: 117°
Avg Speed: 82.51 km/hr
EST Time: 29:24
Lasseters Cave to Tjunti
Driving: 0.75 km
Heading: 59°
Avg Speed: 19.3 km/hr
EST Time: 02:19
Tjunti to Puta Puta
Driving: 25.46 km
Heading: 104°
Avg Speed: 81.03 km/hr
EST Time: 18:51
Puta Puta to Tjukaruru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd
Driving: 116.24 km
Heading: 104°
Avg Speed: 77.03 km/hr
EST Time: 01:30:32
Tjukaruru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd to Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd
Driving: 39.67 km
Heading: 89°
Avg Speed: 80.33 km/hr
EST Time: 29:37
Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd to Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre
Driving: 7.86 km
Heading: 163°
Avg Speed: 92.13 km/hr
EST Time: 05:07
Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre to Mala Carpark (Uluru)
Driving: 1 km
Heading: 12°
Avg Speed: 65.58 km/hr
EST Time: 00:54
Mala Carpark (Uluru) to Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre
Driving: 1 km
Heading: 192°
Avg Speed: 65.58 km/hr
EST Time: 00:54
Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre to Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd
Driving: 7.86 km
Heading: 343°
Avg Speed: 92.13 km/hr
EST Time: 05:07
Lasseter Hwy/Uluru Rd & Kata Tjuta Rd to Yulara
Driving: 8.06 km
Heading: 344°
Avg Speed: 72.91 km/hr
EST Time: 06:37
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

What to See

Tour of the weather station at Giles, Lasseters Cave and the numerous rockholes in the area (if you can find them!).


Where to Stay

Services & Supplies


Nearby ExplorOz Treks

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