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Exploring The Tanami Track-Part1

By: Oze Parrot

The Tanami Track heads northwest from Alice Springs and is the most adventurous and direct way to get from Alice Springs to the Kimberley's in Western Australia.


This legendary stock route travels through the remote Tanami desert region, and is an unsealed, earth formed road, apart from a 120 kilometre section of one lane of tar at the Alice Springs end. The Track is becoming an increasingly popular tourist route for those seeking to get off the beaten track.

As with any off-road travel, be sure to check road and weather conditions and fuel availability. During the Top End's tropical summer, the road in the north could be closed depending on seasonal rains. Also make sure that you carry plenty of water, even though there are several bores along the track you will find that mostly the water there is not suitable for drinking.

The Tanami Track extends for about 1100 kilometres and takes you through some of the least populated country in Australia, if not the world, and its ever changing arid scenery provides an awe inspiring introduction to the vastness of Australia, it’s Deserts, barren plains and remote areas.

The lure of gold in the early days, and the need for stock routes, were the origins of the trail that ventures across the Tanami dessert. The condition of the present route, only determined in the 1960s, has been improved but the area is still remote and can be extremely dangerous.

The Tanami Track provides the quickest access from the South Eastern States, via Alice Springs, to the Kimberley region. The famous stock route starts at the Stuart Highway just 20km north of Alice Springs and takes you all the way to Halls Creek in Western Australia.

The Tanami Desert is the traditional homeland of the Walpiri Aboriginal people, and the Tanami Track passes through Aboriginal land for much of its length. Permits are not required for travel along the Tanami Track or to visit the settlement of Yuendumu, however, permits are required before you can leave the track to explore the bush.

There is a turnoff to the Yuendumu Aboriginal Community and you are most welcome to enter for the purchase of fuel, food or general supplies. You shouldn't really need to enter the settlement unless you urgently need supplies. A permit is needed to visit other parts of the township. Yuendumu is a dry community - Alcohol is not permitted in the settlement.

The Territory's longest running festival is held at Yuendumu which is 300km north west of Alice Springs. This annual Aboriginal cultural event includes sports, athletics, spear and boomerang throwing, corroborees and a Battle of the Bands.

Visitors are most welcome provided they drink nothing stronger than tea!

Oze Parrot

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