The Outback Way - Australia's Longest Shortcut

The Project

The Outback Way links Laverton in WA through to Winton in Qld through the heart of the nation, providing a trans-national link from Perth to Cairns.
The Outback Way, 2,800 kilometres in length from Laverton to Winton, is currently a combination of 1700km of unsealed gravel road and 1100km of bitumen. This unique project is in partnership with Local, State and Federal jurisdictions to provide the third strategic road link. This strategic link provides access and creates opportunities for the mining, tourism, pastoral sectors, linking transport hubs, reducing the east and west connection by 1600km. In addition, the Outback Way offers unprecedented access and continuity of education, health and policing services for our indigenous, remote and rural communities.  
The Outback Highway Development Council Inc (OHDC Inc) has been in existence since 1997, working on the development of the Outback Way. In this time, the OHDC Inc. has finalised the expenditure of $20million provided by Roads to Recovery strategic component, which has been matched by state and local governments. The upgrade that has been started with these funds includes, taking sections of road 5 feet below ground level to a grade 3 formed road, and lifting and sealing flood prone areas in the channel country in western Queensland- a total of 170km.

In 2014, the Australian Government provided matching funding from NT, Qld & WA totalling  $75million to seal and upgarde the Outback Way. 220km will be selaed with this funding. Currently 1500km needs sealling. The Main Roads/ Infrastructure departments in each state and Territory have jointly identified the next priority sections, based on what section, if improved, would enhance connectivity.

The Outback Way is contributing to the economic and social well being of inland and isolated communities-

  • World’s longest  Geocache trail
  • Traveller numbers are increasing annually  from the west 45 vehicles /day and from the east  35 vehicles/day.
  • Camping & Motor-home Club of Australia forecast that Grey nomads will double in the next  5years and spend 10 yrs travelling doing a lap of Australia every 2 yrs looking for a new route.
  • Tour companies are starting to use the route from Perth and Longreach

  • Significant mining areas would be opted up with the Outback  Way in the West Musgrave Ranges.  The Outback Way provides access to greenfield mine sites, currently being explored and for companies with exploration licenses along the Outback Way
  • With the east west link mining companies that have interests in WA & Qld will be able to share equipment more realistically, saving  $16,000 one way / mining movement and $1million/ shift for emergency equipment replacement, the Outback  way saves 2 days travel from east  to west.

  • The route links with 3 main rail hubs- Kalgoorlie, Alice Springs and Winton- opening up freight capacity from east to west and importantly providing an east/west feeder line to the Adelaide to Darwin railway to take products north to Darwin for export or to the southern states.
  • Saves 1600km of the current trip across Australia.
  • An upgraded highway will provides a valuable trans-national crossing particularly in times of flood.

  • Provides an excellent infrastructure corridor from east to west for future water, gas or defence needs.

The Outback Way completed an integrated tourism plan and implementation in November 2008- launching Australia’s longest shortcut. The Outback Way is a new adventure route for Australian International tourists to experience- a truly unique experience which captures our quintessential outback, providing a new product for the market place.
The Outback Way opens up central Australia and offers new ways to see Australia- someone can land in Cairns and hire a 4WD and drive to Perth or Alice Springs then fly out to Sydney. The travel routes are numerous now people can go east to west across the centre- by car, train or air to complete their trip in inland Australia.

The Outback Way is also the world’s longest geo-cache trail which is a new adventure tourism activity, with personal satellite navigation systems people find the 34 cache’s which are hidden along the Outback Way. The interest in the Outback Way is increasing as we have seen a tripling of road usage in 3 years. The growth of the people caravanning and ‘doing Australia’ is expected to double in 5yrs and although fuel prices are higher, people are staying longer in each place helping the economies of rural and remote communities.

INDIGENOUS OPPORTUNITIES- the integrated tourism plan identified enormous tourism potential, so much so it was recommended we initiate an indigenous tourism project as there is so much to encompass and package. The Outback Way sees this as an opportunity to support the 13 indigenous communities along the route, encouraging the development of indigenous arts & crafts, cultural awareness, bush foods and tourism businesses.

The indigenous operators along the Outback Way are well positioned to capitalise on the interest in indigenous culture from the film ‘Australia’ and the thoughtful Tourism Australia advertisements referring to a more spiritual and meaningful tourism experience.

The Outback Way provides the purpose for the journey, the cultural experiences on offer en route, add substance and depth to what would otherwise be just another adventure route. There is wonderful synergy between indigenous tourism and the Outback Way- helping each other to expand and raise awareness of the richness of indigenous culture and the value of the Outback Way to Australia.
The business development opportunities for indigenous communities is evident, enabling communities and families to share their culture with interested people, ensuring it lives on for eternity, fostering a greater understanding of culture and country with Australian and international travellers who are truly taking a journey through the heart of our nation.

. From 2014- 2017 a massive improvement in road quality and traversability  will be developed. The OHDC Inc has also made a submission for the Northenr Australia Beef Roads Project
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If you would like to contribute to the project - you can become a Friend of the Outback Way - for $2750. Contact:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

icon Metals X Aug 2011 (1.82 MB)

icon NT Benefits OW (810 kB)

icon Qld Benefits OW (813.01 kB)

icon WA Benefits OW (320.57 kB)

icon J2494 IA The Outback Way Submission_04.12 (4.74 MB)

icon The Outback Way Addendum 4 percent disc rate (279.51 kB)