The Gunbarrel Highway stretches some 3,500 kilometres from Victoria Downs Station near the Northern Territory/South Australian border to Carnegie Station in Western Australia. It was so named because it was constructed by Len Beadell & his 'Gunbarrel Construction Company' between the years 1956 to 1958 & sections of it run for many kilometres as straight as a 'gun barrel' without any deviation. The construction was part of opening up a network of desert highways in Central Australia to service the Woomera Rocket Range & Giles Meteorological Station. I had the good fortune of meeting Len when I was working at the Woomera Rocket Range in the early 1960's as an apprentice with the Weapons Research Establishment.
Today the highway runs from the Stuart Highway just south of Kulgara in the Northern Territory to Carnegie in Western Australia & takes up part of the Great Central Road which runs from Yulara (Uluru-Ayres Rock) in the Northern Territory to Laverton in Western Australia. Sections of the original Gunbarrel Highway are now on Aboriginal Reserves & require permits to traverse through. All enquiries for the Northern Territory sections can be made through the: Permits Officer, Central Land Council, 33 Stuart Hwy.(PO Box 3321), Alice Springs NT 0871. Telephone : (08) 8951 6320. For the Western Australian section : Aboriginal Affairs Department, 1st floor, 197 St Georges Tce, Perth W.A. 6005 (PO Box 7770, Cloisters Square, Perth W.A. 6850) telephone (08) 9235 8058 or visit its website at www.aad.wa.gov.au There are now heavy fines enforced if you are found on these lands without a permit. Also there are penalties for carrying & consumption of alcohol in these areas too!!!!!!!!
Since this is in a remote area (although it has been opened up considerably over the years), your vehicle (if proceeding through the sections off the Great Central Road) will need to be a robust 4WD which is in good mechanical condition & have a fuel range of at least 600km. It is also advisable to have a satellite telephone or H.F. communications as well. Sections are very rough with deep wash outs & good vehicle ground clearance is required. Extreme care in driving must be taken to avoid serious damage to your vehicle. Carry a good supply of water & provisions for the trip. For safety reasons it is requested that you register with the Police at Yulara (08) 8956 2166, & Wiluna (08) 9981 7024, prior the commencing your trek. Fuel is available at the following : Wiluna, Carnegie Homestead (350km east of Wiluna-(08) 9981 2991, Warburton (480km east of Carnegie-(08) 8956 7656, Warakuna Roadhouse (Giles) (08) 89567344, Docker River Store (08) 89567373 & Yulara (562km east of Warburton).
THIS TRIP WAS CARRIED OUT IN MY FIRST 4WD (1980 TOYOTA FJ45 PERSONNEL CARRIER) IN SEPTEMBER 1993 WHICH INCLUDED THE ABANDONED SECTION THROUGH TO GILES. THE TRACK WAS VERY CORRUGATED IN SECTIONS WHERE THE VEHICLE INCURRED A BROKEN FRONT LEAF SPRING WHICH I REPAIRED AT WARBURTON MISSION. OTHERWISE THE TRIP WENT OK.