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220px-Gibb River Rd-1

A road sign warning of potentially dangerous conditions ahead.


The outback is criss-crossed by historic tracks. Most of the major highways have an excellent bitumen surface and other major roads are usually well-maintained dirt roads. Tracks in very sandy or exceedingly rocky areas may require high-clearance four wheel drives and spare fuel, tires, food and water before attempting to travel them, however most outback roads are easily traversed in ordinary vehicles, provided care is taken. Drivers unused to dirt roads should be especially cautious – it is recommended that drivers reduce their speed, drive with extra care, and avoid driving at night because animals can stray on to roads. Travelling in remote areas in northern Australia is not advisable during the wet season (November to April), as heavy tropical downpours can quickly make dirt roads impassable. In the remotest parts of Australia fuel sellers are located hundreds of kilometres apart, so spare fuel must be carried or refuelling spots calculated carefully in order not to run out of fuel in between towns. In addition, multiple trailer trucks (known as Road Trains) traverse these roads and extreme care must be taken when around these vehicles, due to their weight, length (often three full trailers long) and amount of dust thrown up by 46+ tyres.

The Stuart Highway runs from north to south through the centre of the continent, roughly paralleled by the Adelaide–Darwin railway. There is a proposal to develop some of the roads running from the SW to the NE to create an all-weather road named the Outback Highway, crossing the continent diagonally from Laverton, Western Australia (north of Kalgoorlie, through the Northern Territory to Winton, in Queensland.

Air transport is relied on for mail delivery in some areas, owing to sparse settlement and wet-season road closures. Most outback mines have an airstrip and many have a fly-in fly-out workforce. Most outback sheep stations and cattle stations have an airstrip and quite a few have their own light plane. Medical and ambulance services are provided by theRoyal Flying Doctor Service. The School of the Air is a radio-based school using the RFDS radios.