Barkly Highway

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Barkly Highway[1]

Barkly Highway in Queensland
General information
Length754 km (469 mi)
Route number(s)
  • National Highway 66 (Tennant Creek – NT/Qld Border; future route B66)
  • National Highway A2 (NT/Qld Border – Cloncurry)
  • National Route 83 (Mount Isa – Cloncurry)
route number
National Highway 66 (Entire route)
National Highway A2 (NT/Qld Border – Cloncurry)
Major junctions
West end Stuart Highway, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory
East end Landsborough Highway, Cloncurry, Queensland, duplexed with
Flinders Highway
Major settlementsCamooweal, Mount Isa
Highway system

The Barkly Highway is a national highway in Queensland and the Northern Territory in Australia.[2] It is the only sealed road between Queensland and the Northern Territory.[3][4] The highway is named after the Barkly Tableland, which is turn was named by explorer William Landsborough on December 1861 after Henry Barkly, the then Governor of Victoria.[5]


Entering Queensland, 2019

The highway runs between Cloncurry via Mount Isa and Camooweal to the Stuart Highway north of Tennant Creek, at the junction known as the "Threeways". The entire highway is part of the National Highway system: in the Northern Territory it is assigned National Route 66; the Queensland portion is designated as National Route A2.

Entering the Northern Territory, 2019

The Northern Territory section has a speed limit of 130 kilometres per hour (81 mph) along most of its length.[6]

As the only sealed road linking Queensland and the Northern Territory, it is the main transport route between them, consequently many road trains use it.


An upgrade of the Queensland section of the highway between Mount Isa and Camooweal was completed in 2008 and despite floods of 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Queensland sections of road are in good condition (as of 2015).

The Northern Australia Roads Program announced in 2016 included the following project for the Barkly Highway.

Intersection upgrades[edit]

The project for intersection upgrades in Mount Isa urban area was completed in mid 2019 at a total cost of $8.3 million.[7]

Georgina River Bridge[edit]

Georgina River Bridge (from Camooweal heading west), 2019

Given the economic importance of transport on this route, a longstanding problem was the flooding of the Georgina River immediately west of Camooweal in Queensland. As the water levels in the Georgina River vary enormously from being completely dry to flooding, the Barkly Highway bridge over the Georgina River was often unusable for many days due to flooding, with road trains and other heavy vehicles having to wait weeks before it was safe to cross. To alleviate these problems, the Georgina River Bridge was officially opened on 20 December 2002 by Senator Ron Boswell and Steve Breadhauer, Minister for Transport in the Queensland Government. It replaced the previous bridge which was approximately 50 metres (160 ft) south, and is both higher and longer so traffic on the highway can continue to cross during floods. The bridge is 417 metres (1,368 ft) long and is accompanied by a 5.6-kilometre (3.5 mi) highway deviation west from Camooweal. The bridge uses an unusual curved design to avoid placing pylons into the river bed which is culturally significant to the local Dugalunji people, who call the new bridge Ilaga Thuwani meaning The Camping Ground of the Rainbow Serpent.[4][8][9][10]

Approximate road distances (in kilometres) from Mount Isa westwards

List of towns along the Barkly Highway[edit]

Major intersections[edit]

Northern TerritoryBarklyWarumungu00.0 Stuart Highway (National Highway 87) – north – Daly Waters
south – Alice Springs
Barkly Highway western terminus – continues east as National Highway 66
Tablelands186116 Tablelands Highway (State Route 11) – north – Cape Crawford
Northern Territory – Queensland
state border
433269Northern Territory – Queensland state borderBarkly Highway continues east as National Highway A2
QueenslandGeorgina River445277Georgina River Bridge (Ilaga Thuwani Bridge)
Mount IsaCamooweal446277Camooweal Urandangie Road – south – Urandangi
448278 Gregory Downs Camooweal Road – north–east – Gregory, Burketown
Mount Isa635395 Boulia Mount Isa Highway (Diamantina Developmental Road) (National Route 83) – south – Dajarra, BouliaBarkly Highway continues east as National Highway A2 duplexed with National Route 83.
Western concurrency terminus with National Route 83.
Leichhardt River635395Sir James Foots Bridge
CloncurryCloncurry754469 Burke Developmental Road (National Route 83) – north – Normanton
Flinders Highway (Queensland Highway A6), duplexed with
Landsborough Highway (National Highway A2) – Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Mckinlay
Eastern end of Barkly Highway. Eastern concurrency terminus with National Route 83.
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

icon Australian Roads portal


  1. ^ Driver, A.R. (1 May 1947). "THE NORTHERN TERRITORY OF AUSTRALIA, Nomenclature (Public Places) Ordinance 1945". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. No. 79. Australia. p. 1233. Archived from the original on 11 March 2024. Retrieved 22 May 2019 – via National Library of Australia. Barkly Highway.—The main road stretching from the Northern Territory Queensland Border in the vicinity of Camooweal in a westerly direction to join the Stuart Highway at a point about 15 miles north of Tennant Creek.
  2. ^ Hema, Maps (2005). Australia’s Great Desert Tracks NE Sheet (Map). Eight Mile Plains Queensland: Hema Maps. ISBN 978-1865005461.
  3. ^ "Road trip driving routes, car & 4WD | Northern Territory, Australia". Tourism Northern Territory. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b Boswell, Ron (9 April 2001). "Expressions of Interest sought for Georgina River Bridge construction". Australian Parliament. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Place Names Register". NT Place Names Register. Northern Territory Government. Archived from the original on 11 March 2024. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  6. ^ "Northern Territory Information". Gondwananet. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Barkly Highway (Cloncurry - Mount Isa) Intersection Upgrades in the Mount Isa Urban Area". Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. 13 September 2021. Archived from the original on 17 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  8. ^ Boswell, Ron (13 June 2002). "Georgina River Bridge underway". Australian Parliament. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  9. ^ TheBeanTeam (22 August 2012). "Ilaga Thuwani Bridge - 2002 - Camooweal, Queensland, Australia - Bridge Date Stones and Plaques on". Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  10. ^ Memmott, Paul. "On Generating Culturally Sustainable Enterprises and Demand-Responsive Services in Remote Aboriginal Settings: A case study from north-west Queensland". Indigenous Participation in Australian Economies II. Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  11. ^ Google (24 December 2017). "Barkly Highway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 24 December 2017.

Roswitha Soechtig: OVERLAND-BIKING AUSTRALIA auf roter Erde, 2021, ISBN 978–3–7534–1275–7, S. 251–256, German and English.

External links[edit]

Media related to Barkly Highway at Wikimedia Commons