Alice Springs - Three Ways via
Stuart Highway (Hwy 87)
Total distance 540km)
All distances measured from Alice Springs
Leaving Alice Springs behind we soon come to the Tanami Road (7km) on our left to Halls Creek through the Tanami Desert. This an unsealed road and best travelled in a 4x4 .
The next turn off is on the right (78km)and is the Plenty Highway (Hwy 12) and if you are interested in fossicking, an interesting diversion is to go out on this good sealed road to the Gemtree Caravan Park about 40km east of the Stuart Hwy. The park runs guided fossicking trips with equipment supplied and you could easily collect some stones that can be cut and mounted. The road continues through the Harts Range on its way to Boulia but is unsealed after Gemtree. The Sandover Highway (Hwy 74) is also accessible from this turnoff.
Many people believe Alice Springs to be at the centre of Australia but that honour belongs to Aileron - a roadhouse (130km) further ëup the trackí from The Alice.
There are no large settlements on this stretch of the road and the roadhouses at Aileron, Ti Tree (205km) and Barrow Creek (294km) provide welcome breaks in the journey. Barrow Creek is the site of one of the original telegraph stations and the building can be seen next to the Hotel/fuel stop. Like most ëpubsí in the Territory, this one has lots of character and it is worth spending a little time relaxing there with a cool drink and soaking up the atmosphere.
The next roadhouse comes at Wycliffe Well (387km) and you could be forgiven if you feel you have stepped into another world - local tales of UFO sightings near here have inspired owner, Lew Farcas, to turn his roadhouse/caravan park into a unique attraction. Huge murals decorate every flat surface and little green Martians peer at you while you refuel. There is a lovely cool, under cover, swimming pool and on a hot day this is a wonderful refresher.
Not far past here and you come to the next roadhouse at Wauchope (400km) and just north of that you come to the world-famous Devils Marbles - a huge collection of enormous weathered
granite boulders scattered over both sides of the highway. There is a primitive campground here so you can overnight for a nominal fee and explore the area at your leisure. Make sure you have plenty of film for you camera as the urge to take lots of shots of these unique formations is irresistible.
The only settlement of any size on this stretch of the Stuart Highway comes into sight as we approach Tennant Creek (514km). This is a thriving town - one of the largest in the Territory - with ample facilities for tourists. Gold has been mined here since the 1930ís and a gold mine is still operating today.
Just north of the town on the right is the road leading to the water storage for the district and the lake is surrounded by a lovely park with picnic facilities. This is an ideal place to stop for a cuppa or a bite to eat.
A further 21km north from Tennant Creek brings us to Three Ways (540km) - the junction of the Stuart (Hwy 87) and Barkly (Hwy 66) Highways and the end of this section.