Binns Track - Buchanan Hwy

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesStuart Hwy & Buchanan Hwy
FinishVictoria Hwy & Buchanan Hwy
DifficultyDifficulty 2/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance393.51 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed64.6 km/hr
Travel Time6 hrs 5 mins
Page Updated: 28 Mar 2023


Whilst the "true" Binns Track section between Top Springs & Timber Creek goes via the Judburra / Gregory National Park it is not suitable for towing trailers so anyone towing needs to take the Buchanan Highway and for this reason we have included the route here as it is indeed signed part of the "Binns Track".

From the Stuart Highway near Dunmarra, the Buchanan Highway stretches north-west 400km to the Victoria Highway, some 30km east of Timber Creek. Taking this route heading west provides a shortcut from the Stuart Highway through to Kununurra - instead of continuing to Katherine saving 175km. The highway is labelled as National Route 80.

The first section west of the Stuart Highway to Top Springs is a long graded gravel highway but it is recommended for 4WD vehicles and sturdy offroad vans/trailers. The section west of Top Springs however can become incredibly corrugated and rough and you must be suitably prepared for this.

The most scenic section of the trip is around Jasper Gorge where there is camping in the Stockers Range chasm on the edge of a permanent waterhole at Charlie's Crossing. You can also swim in the Victoria River. Helicopter tours from Victoria River Downs are also available.

Timber Creek is a historic locality and barramundi fishing destination. The main tourist attractions include the Police Museum, the Gregory Tree, and the Nackeroo memorial.

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The Binns Track begins at the southern border of NT/SA and is a series of outback tracks named about Bill Binns, a ranger who worked with NT Parks & Wildlife for 32 years. Bill's Dream was to help visitors explore more of Central Australia to discover its vivid colours, native wildlife, and might rock formations. There is an excellent contrast between open plains, mountain ranges and desert country that truly highlights the Outback in one complete package. 4WD skills and experience are advisable.


Nathaniel (Nat) Buchanan (1826 - 1901) was a pioneer pastoralist, drover and explorer, responsible for establishing the Barkly Stock Route and the Murranji Track. He led the largest, single, overland movement of cattle in Australian history in the 1880s and became noted for establishing a short cut that saved 600km off the droving distance between the Kimberley cattle runs and the Queensland markets. Nat Buchanan was born in Ireland and buried in Walcha NSW.

In 1966, the name Buchanan Highway was given to the route from the Stuart Highway near Dunmarra to Top Springs, then southwest to Wave Hill and onwards the Western Australian Border near Nicholson. The name was chosen in recognition of Nat Buchanan's role in pioneering the beef industry and cattle droving in the Northern Territory.

The road from Top Springs via Victoria River Downs to Timber Creek was simply known as 'Victoria River Downs Road' until 1996 (some 30 year later) when the Buntine Highway was built north of Top Springs and the Buchanan Highway was reproclaimed to extend from Stuart Highway to Victoria Highway (via Top Springs & Victoria River Downs).

The original droving track let the Stuart Highway to the west at Newcastle Waters (approx 80km south of Dunmarra) following Buckett Creek before turning north-west. The routes of the Murranji and the modern Buchanan Highway converge north west of Murranji Waterhole and proceed generally parallel to each other to Top Springs.

The modern highway alignment westward from the Stuart Highway built in 1966 was located to avoid a large area of flooded country during the wet seasons and provide a more convenient connection to the Carpentaria Highway.

TrekID: 28012


MUST READ: You are strongly encouraged to read the following articles prepared by the knowledge experts at ExplorOz for your safety and preparation before undertaking any published ExplorOz Trek - Outback Safety, Outback Driving Tips, Outback Communications, and Vehicle Setup for the Outback.


Please refer to Road Reports published by the local shire and/or main roads for the area you intend to visit. Road/Track conditions can change significantly after weather events. Travellers must be responsible for their own research on current conditions and track suitability.
4WD skills and experience are advisable.

Fuel Usage

The Dunmarra Roadhouse & Wayside Inn is just 8km south of the start of this trek on the Stuart Highway. This is the best place to get fuel before heading west along the Buchanan Highway. The distance to the next fuel at Top Springs is 190km. Then a further 240km to Timber Creek.
4cyl 55 litres4cyl 64 litres4cyl 79 litres
6cyl 60 litres6cyl 71 litres6cyl 69 litres
8cyl 60 litres8cyl 65 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Delamere Weapons Range
Distance from Trek Mid Point 49.99km N
Mean Max. °C34.434.
Mean Min. °C23.923.923.121.117.715.014.715.920.723.824.724.5
Mean Rain mm189.8224.6165.819.


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Stuart Hwy & Buchanan Hwy to Buchanan Hwy & Buntine Hwy
Driving: 181.1 km
Heading: 273°
Avg Speed: 64.6 km/hr
EST Time: 02:48:12
  • Drive west on Buchanan Highway/C80. Continue on Buchanan Highway. for: 181.1 km time: 02:48:12
Buchanan Hwy & Buntine Hwy to Yarralin Access Rd
Driving: 101.68 km
Heading: 281°
Avg Speed: 64.6 km/hr
EST Time: 01:34:26
  • Drive northwest on Buchanan Highway/C80. Continue on Buchanan Highway. for: 101.68 km time: 01:34:24
  • Turn left. for: 0 km time: 00:02
Yarralin Access Rd to Jasper Gorge
Driving: 54.67 km
Heading: 333°
Avg Speed: 64.6 km/hr
EST Time: 50:46
  • Drive northeast. for: 0 km time: 00:00
  • Turn left onto Buchanan Highway/80. for: 54.66 km time: 50:46
Jasper Gorge to Victoria Hwy & Buchanan Hwy
Driving: 56.06 km
Heading: 332°
Avg Speed: 64.6 km/hr
EST Time: 52:04
  • Drive northwest on Buchanan Highway/80. for: 56.06 km time: 52:02
  • Turn left at the end of the road, onto Victoria Highway for: 0 km time: 00:02
Distance is based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

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