Mt Isa - Three Ways via the Barkly
Highway (Hwy 66 )
Total Distance 651km
All distances measured from Mt Isa
Leaving Mt Isa you pass by the modern airport and extensive rodeo ground and travel for a while on a very good, wide two-lane highway. Unfortunately at the time of writing this didn't last and at times the road deteriorates to a single lane of bitumen with passing vehicles needing to put their near side wheels on to the gravel verge. Care is needed as the edges can be rough - the best technique being to leave the sealed surface and rejoin it at a fairly wide angle as it can damage tyres if you don't. This can be a little frightening if you are towing a large trailer or caravan but with a little practise it becomes much easier.
The small town of Camooweal (192km) is the last settlement before the Northern Territory border and it's the last opportunity for some distance to stock up with fuel and supplies. There are two service stations and a hotel and two caravan parks.
Coming to the border is a pleasant surprise because the Territory roads are so good - rather amazing when you consider the vast distances and the number of people in the population to pay for them.
There is little change in the road conditions and scenery as you drive through the rich cattle country of the Barkly Tableland - an occasional flock of green budgies may wheel across the road, a few wallabies may be about in the early morning or evening and the grass or scrub stretches to the horizon.
The Tableland Highway meets the Barkly Highway at the Barkly Roadhouse (464km) and this is where you exit if you wish to go to Cape Crawford and the Heartbreak Hotel or Borrroloola.
Just 187km on and we reach the Stuart Highway (Hwy 87) at Three Ways (651km) and must make the choice of whether to turn north or south.