Canning Stock Route is a 4wd track that runs from Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia to Wiluna in the mid-west region of Western Australia. It has a total distance of around 1,850 km (1,150 mi) which is also the longest historic stock route in the world.
A stock route was proposed. This was a way of breaking a hold that west Kimberley cattlemen had on the beef trade at the beginning of the 20th century. The Western Australian Government in 1906 appointed Alfred Canning to survey the route. Canning was appointed to lead the construction party between March 1908 and April 1910. The route had 48 wells completed. By 1910 Commercial droving began, but the stock route did not prove popular. It was rarely used for the next twenty years. These wells made it difficult for Aborigines to access water so in reprisal they vandalised or dismantled many of the wells.
In 1928 a Royal Commission into the price of beef in Western Australia led to the repair of the wells and the re-opening of the stock route. Between 1931 and 1959 about 20 cattle droves took place. The building of the stock route impacted on the cultural and social life of the more than 15 Aboriginal language groups. The Aboriginal history of the track, is being recorded through oral and artistic traditions.
The Canning Stock Route is now a popular but challenging four-wheel drive adventure. Some people have traversed the track on foot, by bicycle, and in two-wheel drive vehicles.
When is the best time to travel the CSR?
The recommended time to travel the Canning Stock Route is between May and September. This time of year has relatively mild temperatures during the day and evenings.
Caution: Some evenings may drop to zero degrees so make sure you pack your jacket, beanie, gloves and a warm sleeping bag. Travelling outside this time frame is not recommended. This is due to extreme heat and possible wet and boggy conditions. In addition, travelling outside the main travel season will mean that you are more isolated from other CSR users in this unforgiving terrain. If there is the potential for a large amount of rain, it is advisable to postpone the journey due to boggy conditions. Also you have to remember driving through some areas of the Canning Stock Route at these times can affect the track for the rest of the travellers, so think of others using the CSR.
It is strongly advised that you check with the local authorities on road closures and conditions before you set out on your journey. Preparation is also important to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable journey on the Canning Stock Route. There are numerous books available which can assist you in your planning process such as The Canning Stock Route. A travellers’ guide by Eric and Ronelle Gard offers information regarding distances between wells, facilities / services available. It also has car preparation and recommended car and camping equipment detailed in the Information Booklet. This is issued as part of your permit pack.
Please be aware: While drinking water is available at Wiluna this does not include the ability to fill caravans, camper trailers or to be taken in large quantities. There is a standpipe in the town and can be accessed for a charge at the Shire Office. Please contact the Wiluna Shire for further information 08 9981 8000. Parts of the CSR track are only suitable for high clearance four wheel drive vehicles. Driving the track should only be attempted by confident drivers. Supplies and services very limited. Road conditions can vary, so plan ahead. Stock up on food, water and also fuel. Contact the local visitor centre for up-to-date track information. Before heading off into the remote desert areas of Australia, you will need to obtain permits, enabling you to travel through private and Aboriginal Lands.
Canning Stock Route Map with Well Locations
Contact Details for Permits etc
Permits and Access Cunyu Station (no access): 08 9981 2934 Granite Peak Station: 08 9981 2983
Glenayle Station: 08 9981 2989
Billiluna IPA Office: 08 9168 8988
Mulan-Paruku IPA Office: 08 9168 8260 or email email@example.com
General Permissions and Enquiries Kuju Wangka: firstname.lastname@example.org
Canning Stock Route Info Line: 08 9425 2099
Australian 4WD Club: www.anfwdc.asn.au/canning_stock_route.php
Facilities and Services Wiluna Shire Council: 08 9981 8000 email@example.com
Jigalong Community: 08 9175 7647
Parnngurr Community: 08 9176 9009 firstname.lastname@example.org
Punmu Community: 08 9176 9110 www.punmu.com.au/new/
Kunawarritji Community: 08 9176 9040 email@example.com
Billiluna Community: 08 9168 8076 firstname.lastname@example.org
Halls Creek Shire Council: 08 9168 6007 email@example.com
Halls Creek Visitor Centre: 08 9168 6262 www.hallscreektourism.com.au
Carnegie Station: 08 9981 2291
Balgo Community: 08 9168 8900
Capricorn Roadhouse: 08 9175 1535
Royal Auto Club of WA: 08 9421 4444
Art Centres Tjukurba Art Gallery: 08 9981 8001 www.wiluna.wa.gov.au
Martumili Artists: 08 9175 8000 www.martumili.com.au
Warlayirti Artists: 08 9168 8960 www.balgoart.org.au
Mangkaja Artists: 08 91915833 www.mangkaja.com
Prescribed Body Corporates
Mungarlu Ngurrarankatja Rirranunkaja (MNR) Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC): 08 9486 9797 www.wdlac.com.au
Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation (RNTBC): 08 9194 0100
Tjurabalan Native Title Lands Aboriginal Corporation (TNTLAC)
Supporting Organisations Central Desert Native Title Services: 08 9425 2000 www.centraldesert.org.au
Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa: 08 9175 9700 www.kj.org.au
Kimberley Land Council: 08 9194 0100 www.klc.org.au
Police – Halls Creek: 08 9168 6000
Police – Newman: 08 9175 1201 Police – Jigalong: 08 9175 7143
Wiluna – Police: 08 9981 7024
Western Operations (24 Hour Medical & Emergency calls) Statewide number (All WA bases): 1800 625 800
Satellite phone calls: 08 9417 6389
Emergency Number – Satellite Phones: 000 Emergency Number – Telstra / Vodaphone: 112
Main Roads WA (Road Report): 1800 013 314
Australian National 4WD Radio Network inc (VKS-737): 08 8287 6222