Stuart Highway (NT) 

The Stuart Highway, one of the longest highways in Australia, provides the premier road link between South Australia and Northern Territory. The Northern Territory section starts at the SA/NT border near the roadhouse town of Kulgera, then heads north towards the Macdonnell Ranges and into Alice Springs. From Alice Springs, the highway continues north through dry, flat and arid countryside to the old mining town of Tennant Creek with little to offer on the way except for the services in the various roadhouses and small towns with the only standout being the Devils Marbles near Wauchope. Much of the same countryside is encountered as the highway continues north towards Katherine - note that the highway route number changes from 87 to 1 at the Carpentaria Highway junction near Daly Waters. Between the small town of Mataranka and Katherine, the countryside begins to change as it enters the monsoonal section of the Northern Territory with more notable river crossings and healthier surrounding vegetation, although the terrain remains flat to mildy undulating. From Katherine, since the highway's major upgrade, it heads north-west bypassing the small towns of Pine Creek and Adelaide River before reaching its terminus and the capital city of the Northern Territory, Darwin.

State: Northern Territory
Name Origin: Named after the explorer John McDouall Stuart who made the first return trip from the south to north coasts of Australia (Adelaide - Darwin). The route of the highway approximates the path Stuart made on his journey.
Start: SA/NT border (25km south of Kulgera)
Principal Towns: Kulgera, Alice Springs, Barrow Creek, Tennant Creek, Elliott, Daly Waters, Mataranka, Katherine, Pine Creek *, Adelaide River *, Palmerston *, Howard Springs *, Darwin
Finish: Darwin
Length: 1789km
Road Standard: All bitumen.
Road Quality: Generally good. The Northern Territory section of the Stuart Highway was fully sealed well before the South Australian section was, thus some of the original bitumen surface still remains with ongoing improvements being made. Major upgrades between Katherine and Darwin took place in the last 10 years which removed much of the original windy road and included the construction of various overtaking lanes. The highway is dual carriageway from Howard Springs through to Darwin. A general warning for motorists driving on the Stuart Highway as much of its entire length passes through very remote, dry country with great distances between homesteads and little to no services available. Ample signage on the highway reminds motorists of such hazards.
Road Continuation: Click here for the Stuart Highway in SA.
Speed Limit (outside built up areas): No speed limits, although it is unsure to limits that may have been set between Katherine and Darwin.
* - denotes towns bypassed by the Stuart Highway

Photos from the Stuart Highway (NT) - Photos are taken by Jamie Scuglia unless otherwise stated (Click on thumbnail for full sized image):

 
Heading north on the Stuart Highway from the SA/NT border (2001).
Heading south on the Stuart Highway between Erldunda and Kulgera (2001).
Directional sign at the Lassetter/Stuart Highway junction, Erldunda (2001).
Looking north, approaching the Stuart Highway from the Alice Springs Airport Road. Interesting that Adelaide appears on the sign as if its just down the road (2001).
Distance sign, heading south from Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway (2001).
Distance sign, heading north towards Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway near the Airport (2001).
Heading south on the Stuart Highway as it crosses the Tropic Of Capricorn. Thanks to Mees Roelofs for this pic (2004).
Heading south on the Stuart Highway between Ti Tree and Barrow Creek. Thanks to Mees Roelofs for this pic (2004).
And again, this time just outside of Wauchope. Thanks to Mees Roelofs for this pic (2004).
Heading south on the Stuart Highway, approaching Wauchope. Thanks to Mees Roelofs for this pic (2004).
Looking south along the Stuart Highway as it approaches the major junction of the Barkly Highway at Three Ways. Thanks to Mees Roelofs for this pic (2004).
Directional sign indicating the Stuart/Carpentaria Highway junction at Daly Waters Roadhouse. It is here where the Stuart Highway's route number changes from Hwy 87 to Hwy 1. Thanks to Mees Roelofs for this pic (2004).
Heading south on the Stuart Highway from the Roper Hwy junction, just south of Mataranka (2003).
Distance sign, heading south on the Stuart Highway from the Maranboy turnoff. How far to Alice Springs? (2003)
Heading south-east on the Stuart Highway approaching the Maranboy turnoff (2003).
Heading south-east along the Stuart Highway between Adelaide River and Palmerston (2003).
Heading south-east on the Stuart Highway approaching the Cox Peninsula Road junction (2003).
Distance sign, heading south on the Stuart Highway from Palmerston (2003).

Heading south on the Stuart Highway approaching the Palmerston turnoff (2003).

Heading south-east on the Stuart Highway between Darwin and Palmerston (2003).

Eastbound on the Stuart Highway within Darwin as it approaches the Airport turnoff (2003).
The Stuart Highway, heading south as it approaches the Darwin CBD (2003).


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Copyright MG 2005