This is the most direct route from central Queensland across to
Alice Springs in central Australia. It is a wide stretch of very red
sandy soil that when wet can be impassible and is therefore a 4WD track
only. The Plenty Highway really doesn't begin until you reach the NT
border, but to get there you travel from Boulia in outback Queensland
along the Donohue Highway (just a track).
West of Boulia the Georgina River makes a wonderful camp. At times
this incredible river can be in full flood, flowing fast towards Eyre
Creek. Once you reach the Qld/NT border it is 569km to Alice Springs.
Other excellent camps are at the Marshall River (shade shelter and
picnic table) and then further on at the Plenty River.
What You Will See
The countryside changes considerably along the track and although it
lacks services and things to do it is certainly one of the prettier
shortcut tracks that you can do in this area. The overwhelming
difference is that although the soil is the same red sandy stuff of the
Simpson Desert, the terrain is completely flat, the spinifex grass much
greener, and if there's been recent rains then wildflowers line the
roadsides. Billy buttons, bush daisies, poached egg daisies, yellow
tops and native violets carpet the sides of the road where water
collects in the gutters.
As you approach the Harts Range you begin to see the first mountains
you've probably seen in quite a while. If you've come from Birdsville
or Boulia for long your senses seemed to be bombarded, a result of
having been surrounded by gibber, sand and dust.
Just past the Harts Range Police Station (next door to an aboriginal
community), turn left (south) down a track to the "Racecourse".
Probably deserted for 363 days of the year this racetrack becomes a
mecca for the outback racing enthusiasts with a crowd of a few thousand
on the last weekend in August.