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Q25 How much extra fuel will I need to carry to travel around Australia?  My tow vehicle only has a 75 litre fuel tank. 

Where are the longest distances without fuel outlets on the main highways?


Even on some of the more remote highways, the distances are under 300 kilometres. Click on the linked text for more on these routes.


Crossing the Nullarbor the longest span is  192 kilometres from Balladonia to Norseman.   


The longest span on the  Great Northern Highway in Western Australia it is between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek at 289 kilometres.


It is a similar distance at 287 kilometres between Sandfire Roadhouse and Roebuck Plains Roadhouse near Broome (although fuel can be obtained at Port Smith 23 kilometres from the highway in between).


From Kununurra in Western Australia to Timber Creek in the Northern Territory is 228 kilometres.  See also Katherine to Kununurra.


The longest stretch on the Stuart Highway from Port Augusta to Darwin is 252 kilometres between Glendambo and Coober Pedy. 


Fuel on the Barkly Highway can be obtained at Barkly Homestead Roadhouse which is the only fuel between Camooweal and Three Ways. With spans of 260 and 186 kilometres, distances are not daunting.


It is 386 kilometres from Barkly Homestead Roadhouse to Cape Crawford via the Tablelands Highway but this getting away from the main highways. 


Do you still need to carry extra fuel?


If you do need to take extra fuel, consider fitting an auxiliary tank to your vehicle rather than carrying jerry cans of fuel.  If there is insufficient room under you vehicle, you may be able to exchange the existing fuel tank for a larger capacity tank.   


Where to store cans of fuel when travelling can be a problem for many, particularly if you need petrol which is classified as Dangerous Goods for a reason.  The inconvenience of, and possible spillage while refuelling from cans, is another issue. 


Where to carry safely?  In the car or in the caravan is undesirable due to fumes.  On a roof rack will be awkward to get down and will raise your centre of gravity and could affect stability. 


On the rear of the caravan not only will increase the risk of a dangerous caravan sway or yaw, but could be dangerous in the case of a rear end collision.  Unless you have a utility or tray back vehicle, the best place to carry fuel is on the a-frame of a caravan, however this needs to be looked at carefully to keep the correct weight balance of the caravan and not to overload the carrying capacity of caravan, tow vehicle and tow hitch.   


If filling a jerry can with petrol ensure it is placed on the ground while filling, as static electricity sparks may cause a fire and explosion.  See Safety at Fuel Outlets


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At Kintore, a colourful shed keeps bowsers locked, and is only open at set times during specified days. 

Q 26 Visiting Chamber's Pillar.  We only have a conventional caravan so we would have to leave it in Alice Spring and probably take a tent to Chamber's Pillar.  We do not have much experience in four wheel driving so encountering sand dunes and loose sand has me somewhat concerned.  Our vehicle is a stock standard Prado and I wonder if we could manage the trip given our inexperience. How long will it take us to get there?

A.  You would have no trouble getting there with your Prado and a tent. Let the tyres down a bit when you go out the gate at Maryvale station for easy driving through the sand patch we encountered as well as a smoother ride on the corrugations.  Set your UHF to channel 10 as specified on the gate and announce your approach and direction of travel when you get to the dunes. Usually everyone is travelling in during the afternoon and leaving during the morning, but there may be station vehicles moving around as well.  When we were there all eight of us from the campground left at much the same time so the first only needed to announce for eight vehicles.  This 43 kilometre section took us some time.  Road improvements have occurred since the new campground was set up late in 2011 but the track is still ocnsidered only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles and dedicated off road trailers or caravans.


Taking a tent and being there for sunset and sunrise would be the ideal way to go and what most people do.  The sand dunes were not steep or difficult and had been hard capped with limestone; the only hazard being single car width and a crest with no vision, hence the need to announce.  Crossing the range looked steep for towing, but was not difficult, even towing a full caravan.  We have driven on steeper roads.  There are no specific four wheel drive skills needed.  We did engage four wheel drive to tow through the sandy patches, but they were not the worst we have towed through either.
An alternative place to leave your caravan would be at the campground at Stuarts Well Roadhouse on the Stuart Highway, taking the Hugh Stock Route through to the Old South Road (Old Ghan-Finke Road) and on to Chambers Pillar.  Not far north of Stuarts Well on the Stuart Highway is the road into Rainbow Valley, which is beautiful.   

One night at Chambers Pillar would be enough. If you leave the caravan in Alice Springs, you could take the Hugh Stock Route one way and the Old South Road the other way give a variety.  Thirty nine kilometres south of Alice Springs on the Old South Road there is a small Aboriginal petroglyphs site at Ewaninga Rock Carvings Conservation Reserve.  
Coming from Alice Springs, depending on the condition of the Old South Road, expect to take about four hours to the Maryvale turnoff.  For the road into Maryvale Homestead and Titjikala community and the track through to Chambers Pillar, allow around one and a half hours.  
Coming from Stuarts Well Roadhouse, the distance is similar and it would still take you three to four hours to the Maryvale turnoff, depending on road conditions. 
Read about our visit to Chambers Pillar
Ewaninga Conservation Reserve can be visited on the way to Chambers Pillar from Alice Springs
Visit Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve, near Stuarts Well Roadhouse, if travelling that way

Q27. We are going to the Cape.  Where canít we carry alcohol in northern Queensland?

A. The following Queensland communities have bans or restrictions on travellers carrying alcohol.





        Hope Vale


         Lockhart River


         Mornington Island


         Northern Peninsula Area

        Palm Island



         Wujal Wujal



Which roads are exempt from alcohol bans when transiting?


ĎBona fide travellerí exemption - specific roads and facilities (Doomadgee, Lockhart River, Wujal Wujal)


Certain roads and public areas which are included in the restricted areas of Doomadgee, Lockhart River and Wujal Wujal have been declared as "specific roads and public facilities".


A bona fide traveller exemption applies to specified roads and facilities in these three communities whereby someone passing through can carry more than the prescribed amount of alcohol allowed in the restricted area, provided they meet the following criteria:


        A reverse onus of proof applies and travellers will have to provide evidence their destination is not within the restricted area. If you choose to carry alcohol on the specified roads, you must be able to prove on the balance of probabilities that your final destination is not the restricted area. Your trip itinerary, valid camping permits, drivers licence showing your home address is not within the restricted area and accommodation bookings in destinations outside the restricted area can all be used to demonstrate your intended destination

         Alcohol is secured in the vehicle, is not externally visible and is not removed from the vehicle while travelling on a specified road or using a specified public facility. You must not consume the alcohol whilst within the restricted area

         If you have more than the prescribed limit in your possession, you cannot stop within the community other than in an emergency situation, or if you are stopping at the prescribed public facilities subject to the bona fide traveller exemption.


The exemption only applies to bona fide travellers passing through Doomadgee, Lockhart River or Wujal Wujal on the following roads or while using the specified public facilities noted hereunder:




        The Savannah Way

         The public facilities within Doomadgee include the Doomadgee Roadhouse area.


Lockhart River


         Frenchmenís Road

        Portland Roads Road.


Wujal Wujal


         The Bloomfield Track (including Douglas Street and the Rossville-Bloomfield Road as they pass through the community) and the Bloomfield Crossing

        The public facilities within Wujal Wujal include the car park near the Bloomfield Falls and the car park for the Wujal Wujal Arts and Cultural Centre.


All other roads and facilities within these three communities are subject to the restrictions, there are no exemptions for anyone.  You may check the maps of roads through and within these communities on Travelling in Alcochol Restricted Areas


The bona fide traveller exemption does not apply in any other community. 


Alcohol limits where specified are per person not per car.   


This map gives an outline of restrictions and quantity limits on the Cape York Peninsula


See this and more about alcohol restrictions and bans in Queensland on Alcohol Restricitons



See also Q23 about permits.


For more specific information about travelling on the Cape York Peninsula, incuding where the locals go, where to drive, camp, fish and swim, see all about and where to purchase  Destination Cape York Travel Guide.


Updated January 2015


A. If you stay on the main highways and popular tourist routes, and you can safely travel 300 kilometres between refills, you will not need to carry extra fuel.
Even travelling of the beaten track, there are few long distances without fuel outlets. Even through the desert many of the Aboriginal communities sell fuel, but it pays to phone first in case there are delays with supply and to let them know that you are coming.  In addition to diesel, they do sell unleaded petrol but in many areas it will be Opal; a product unsuitable for petrol sniffing which is a health issue in some communities.  For closed communities you need to obtain permission to enter.
In some remote areas, fuel deliveries may not keep up with needs and you may find you need to wait a few days.  Although this is unusual, it does happen so be aware of the possibility.  It is better to keep your fuel fairly well topped up rather than wait until you are really in need just to try to save a few dollars.
Fuel and distances, including roads for those that get off the beaten track, see Questions
Q1 The Gary Junction Road - Marble Bar to Alice Springs where to get fuel?
Q14 Crossing the Nullarbor - How far between fuel outlets?  Also camping, winds, safety and what to see.
Q21 Travelling the Tanami - Where to get fuel.  On the Tanami at minimum you will have 561 kilometres without a fuel outlet. 
Q24 The Stuart Highway - Fuel and distances Port Augusta to Darwin
Q29 Katherine to Kununurra - Fuel, distances and camping.
Q31 Doing the Gibb River Road - How far between fuel outlets?  
Q32 The Great Central Road - Where to camp and where to get fuel.
Q45 The Savannah Way - How far between fuel outlets?  What to see?
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In addition to the longest span on the Tanami Road being 561 kilometres Balgo to Yunendumu, and on the alternative deviation on the Savannah Way of 560 kilometres Chillagoe to Normanton, for those taking the 4WD Anne Beadell Highway (not suitable for caravans), there is 779 kilometres (from Hema maps) between Ilkurlka Roadhouse and Coober Pedy.