Tuesday, May 3, 2011
The Plenty/ Donohue Highway - all 750 kms
The Plenty Highway is plenty of nothing. The gravel road stretches from the Stuart Highway 68 kms north of Alice Springs, to the Queensland border some 500 kms to the east. From the Qld border, the Donohue Highway continues for another 250 kms to Boulia.
It is a desolate stretch of road. Not desolate in the sense of not seeing any other vehicles – you see about 8 a day - but desolate in the sense of not seeing any other human form of life. Not much animal life either for that matter judging by the very low number of road kills. You do see the occasional dead cow as the vast cattle properties are unfenced and the odd cow wonders onto the road from time to time.
Fuel stops are few and far between and no official camping spots for 500 kms. It makes crossing the Nullarbor, with its bitumen sealed road surface, seem like a picnic. West Australia too has vast distances but the scenery generally makes it interesting there. And you do meet other people on the road and there are roadside stops along the WA highways. The Plenty Highway is in really outback country and links fairly remote parts where not that many people venture. This was the least enjoyable part of this inland journey for me. I do love the Northern Territory but I do not wish to traverse the Plenty Highway again if I can help it. Andrew of course has done it before at least once. No this is his third time, he tells me. Once is enough for me.