Best time to visit Australia

Stuart Highway in Australia

A legendary historic route that runs through several climate zones of Australia

Best time: May–October

Stuart Highway
Stuart Highway

The Stuart Highway also called "The Explorer's Way" is one of the major highways in Australia, traversing the country from north to south. Get ready for a long drive through 2,834 km (1,761 mi) of magnificent landscapes, ranging from desert to tropics. The highway links Darwin, Northern Territory, to Port Augusta, South Australia, passing Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.

Stuart Highway starts from the Darwin Central Business District at Daly Street and continues to the Arnhem Highway in Howard Springs. Then it goes south through the Kakadu Highway to the Victoria Highway at Katherine. At Daly Waters, the highway changes the number from 1 to 87. It passes Alice Springs, the Macdonnell Ranges and finally crosses the border between South Australia and Northern Territory near Kulgera. The majority of the Northern Territory's population not living in Darwin is concentrated along Stuart Highway. In South Australia, the highway passes through the Woomera Prohibited Area where visitors are not allowed to leave the road.

The asphalted road was named after Scottish explorer John McDouall Stuart. In 1862 he was the first man to traverse Australia from south to north through the center of the continent. In 1872 the Australian Overland Telegraph Line was constructed along Stuart's route. Later, the road along Stuart's route was build to connect Darwin to Port Augusta.

Stuart Highway is one of the major attractions in Australia going through many interesting towns like Woomera, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs, and Katherine. Visitors can stop by its big cities Adelaide and Darwin to explore them further. Interestingly, Stuart Highway is used by The Royal Flying Doctor Service as an emergency landing. A landing of an aircraft takes place after the police close the specific section of the road for traffic.

Bear in mind that during the summer (December–February) is not a very good time to travel due to extreme temperatures. In some sections of the highway temperatures overnight can drop to near freezing. Most people choose the season between May and October due to the most comfortable weather conditions.

Practical info

When is the optimal period to travel via Stuart Highway?

The most suitable time to travel via Stuart Highway is during the period between May and October. The weather conditions are ideal during this time of the year. Due to intense heat, the summer months of December to February are not favorable for transport. Moreover, winter may not be ideal since several segments of the road can experience near-freezing temperatures overnight. Show more

What is the path of Stuart Highway and its two extreme points?

Extending through 2,834 kilometers, Stuart Highway traverses from Darwin, the capital of Northern Territory to Port Augusta located in South Australia. Various significant locations such as Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, and Katherine can be reached using this highway. It originates from Darwin Central Business District and passes via Howard Springs, Kakadu Highway, Victoria Highway, Macdonnell Ranges, and culminates at the border between South Australia and Northern Territory near Kulgera. Show more

What unique features can a visitor encounter along Stuart Highway?

Stuart Highway offers visitors an opportunity to witness the Australian culture and heritage by crossing through several landmarks and towns like the opal mines of Coober Pedy, the Woomera Prohibited Region, and the Macdonnell Ranges. Also, the highway connects major cities like Darwin and Adelaide. Furthermore, some sections of the highway serve as emergency landing for The Royal Flying Doctor Service. Show more

Why and when did Stuart Highway receive its name?

Stuart Highway is named in memory of Scottish explorer, John McDouall Stuart, who was the first person to cross Australia from south to north through the continent's middle in 1862. Subsequently, the Australian Overland Telegraph Line was established alongside Stuart's course, and the road was constructed to link Darwin and Port Augusta, following Stuart's original path. The path received its official name to honor the explorer and commemorate his accomplishments. Show more

Which measures should tourists take into account when traveling along Stuart Highway?

Tourists visiting Stuart Highway should consider weather conditions when planning their journey. The summer months are quite hot and not advisable for transport. In addition, specific parts of the road experience near-freezing temperatures during the winter. For visitors to remain safe and avoid risking law enforcement action, they must refrain from leaving the asphalt roads, such as Woomera Prohibited Area. Also, tourists should always have a stock of food, water, and fuel due to prolonged stretches between populated areas. Show more

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