Gunbarrel Hwy / Great Central Road - Fuel availability

by Peter - Submitted May 2009
(Lakes Entrance Vic)

Gunbarrel Highway

Gunbarrel Highway

I am hoping to travel from the Stuart Highway west to Carnarvon along the Great Western Road.

Where can I find out distances I will have to travel between fuel outlets? I run unleaded petrol and LPG.

Thank you

Reply to Gunbarrel Hwy/Great Central Road fuel supplies

Hi Peter,

Wow, this is a great trip you are planning there.
I am a bit confused about the term "Great Western Road", I have never heard of that one.

From the Stuart Highway you have two choices to go to Carnarvon, the Great Central Road and the Gunbarrel Highway.

The Great Central Road - Yulara to Laverton

This route is part of the Outback Way, the shortcut from Winton, Qld. to Laverton, WA.

The Great Central Road is the easier route, although quite a bit longer to Carnarvon, as it is going slightly to the south. The road can be done with a sturdy conventional car, although a 4 WD is definitely better.

The Great Central Road is well used by travellers and trucks, however, this is very remote desert country, and you should be well prepared.

Fuel supplies are at Yulara, Docker River (Kaltukatjara) Aboriginal Community, Warakurna Roadhouse, Warburton Roadhouse, Tjukayirla Roadhouse and Laverton.

The total distance is 1100 km, the longest part between fuel supply is from Tjukayirla Roadhouse to Laverton (303 km).

The Gunbarrel Highway - Yulara to Wiluna

This is the route to take if you really look for a desert adventure. Although called highway, it is a very rough track with washaways and heavy corrugations. The total distance is 1400 km.
The first 560 km from Yulara to Warburton are the same as the Great Central Road.

The Gunbarrel Highway leaves the Great Central Road 40 km west of Warburton going north-west to Wiluna. The first section from Warburton to Carnegie (490 km) is the most difficult part, and there is no fuel along the way. Carnegie station has fuel.

It is not recommended to drive the Gunbarrel Highway if this is your first 4WD adventure.
All fuel outlets mentioned have unleaded and diesel, although one map indicates that Warburton roadhouse has only diesel. You'll better check out before you leave.

Both routes cross Aboriginal Lands and permits are required from WA Department of Indigenous Affairs and the Central Land Council in the NT.

Sorry, I don't know anything about the route from Wiluna to Carnavon.

Have fun with your trip preparations. Don't forget to check the Outback safety and driving sections, especially how to prepare your car accordingly.

Don't hesitate to ask more questions.
For more info on the Great Central Road check the Outback Way website.

See ya, Rita

Comments for Gunbarrel Hwy / Great Central Road - Fuel availability

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Jan 24, 2010
Great tips
by: Rita

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the tips and update on fuel availability on the Gunbarrel Hwy.


Jan 23, 2010
Fuel in the WA Outback
by: Tony

It's best to carry at least a couple of 20-litre Jerrycans of extra fuel. Speaking of fuel, I'd recommend you drive a diesel 4WD, but if you have a petrol-burner, it's quite likely you will be purchasing "Opal" fuel in that part of the world. Opal was developed by BP to combat the incidence of petrol-sniffing, and has a much lower aromatic quality than the usual. It is roughly the same as ordinary Unleaded, so if your engine runs on Premium Unleaded, it won't like Opal very much and will probably use a lot more litres per 100KM.

Good luck with your trip. I was living in Alice Springs all those years ago when Len Beadell set off to cut the Gunbarrel Highway with a Grader, an ex-Army "Blitz-wagon" and a couple of Land Rovers.

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