Warburton Roadhouse - Frequently Asked Questions

How big are the Ngaanyatjarra Lands?

A typical desert breakaway - [Click for a Larger Image]
A typical desert breakaway

The Lands are 159,948 square kilometres in size (compare to the size of England, 130,439 square kilometres). While travelling along the Great Central Road from approximately 130 kms east of the Tjukayirla Roadhouse right through to the Northern Territory border, you are in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and you are subject to the by-laws.

How long will it take me to travel through the Ngaanyatjarra Lands?

That is dependent on a number of factors including road conditions and your luck with your tyres. Warburton is located 1020km west from Alice Springs and 560km from Yulara (Ayers Rock) and 560km east of Laverton and 930km west of Kalgoorlie.
Warburton is located in the centre of Ngaanyatjarra Lands and so makes an idea rest stop along the way.

Is Petrol available at Warburton Roadhouse?

Opal Fuel - [Click for a Larger Image]
Opal Fuel

Standard Unleaded Fuel is not available anywhere on the Great Central Road between Laverton (WA) and Yulara (NT).
BP has developed an alternative low-aromatic fuel called Opal Fuel, which is readily available at all Roadhouses.
Opal Fuel was developed to combat the rising use of petrol as an inhalant in remote indigenous communities, it contains less aromatics or solvents, which are what produces the 'high' when sniffed.

If you are bringing through extra quantities of unleaded petrol, we ask that you give it to roadhouse staff to store during your stay.
Diesel Fuel is widely available throughout the lands.
For more information on Opal Fuel click here

What is the price of Diesel / Fuel?

For our current prices view our Home Page.

What are the road conditions?

The Great Central Road is unsealed. 4WD recommended. Changing weather conditions & traffic volumes can adversely affect road surfaces, please drive carefully at all times.
For up-to-date information on the current state of our section of the Great Central Road, and current rainfall, view our Home Page.

What are the cultural protocols I should be aware of when travelling through Ngaanyatjarra Lands

To enjoy your visit please ensure that you familiarise yourself with some general principles for respectful interaction with local people and land. The Ngaanyatjarra people of the Central Desert are strongly committed to their society and culture. They are pleased to have other persons travel through their Lands (Aboriginal reserve). However they ask that you observe the following rules:

Is Alcohol permitted at Warburton Roadhouse?


Is there an Aboriginal Community at Warburton?

Warburton or Mirlirrtjarra is named after the range of hills (Warburton Ranges) to the north of the community. Warburton is the largest of the Ngaanyatjarra Communities and is considered the metropolis of the Lands. Warburton was the first Community to be established on the Lands.
Warburton arose as a direct result of the activities of the United Aboriginal Missionaries (UAM) Will and Iris Wade, who established a base at Warburton in the 1930’s. In 1973 the UAM relinquished control of the Warburton Mission to the incorporated Warburton Aboriginal Community with an elected Aboriginal council. In 1981 the Ngaanyatjarra Council was officially incorporated and Warburton was one of the founding members.

What days/hours are you open?

Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm (WST)
Saturday & Sunday 9am – 3pm (WST)
Closed Christmas Day, New Years Day and Good Friday.
Public Holidays – Open 9am to 12 noon (WST), unless otherwise advertised.

Important note:

No shop or fuel sales are made outside of trading hours.
(WST) = Western Standard Time.
NOTE that the Ngaanyatjarra Lands crosses three time zones, Central Standard Time (GMT + 9:30), Central Standard Time (Daylight Savings) (GMT + 10:30) and Western Standard Time (GMT + 8)
Daylight saving runs in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia from the end of October through to the end of March, Tasmania from the beginning of October through to the end of March.

Can I get fuel after hours?


Can I get water at the roadhouse

Yes, water is available for purchase during open hours.

Is EFTPOS Available

Yes, EFTPOS is Available in the store, however we are not able to offer a cash out facility. There is an ATM on site.

Are there artwork or souvenirs available to purchase?

There is artwork available for purchase as well as a range of books and education items at the Tjulyuru Regional Arts Gallery located less than 200m from the Warburton Roadhouse. There is a limited range of souvenirs also available directly from the Warburton Roadhouse Store

Is there mobile phone reception at Warburton?

Yes, there is Telstra mobile phone reception (including 3G) in Warburton only. We recommend carrying a Sat phone when travelling along the GCR..

Is there internet available at the Roadhouse?

Yes, there is Telstra 3G internet available at the roadhouse.

More about Opal Fuel

(reproduced from the pamphlet "Opal Fuel & Petrol Sniffing")

Opal Fuel is a variety of low-aromatic petrol developed in 2005 by BP Australia to combat the rising use of petrol as an inhalant in remote indigenous communities.


With Opal fuel, you will receive equivalent performance with your car compared to regular unleaded petrol. The fuel economy variation between a vehicle running on Opal compared to regular unleaded is no less than 0.3 litres per 100km but this can vary depending on vehicle maintenance and driving style.
Opal fuel is less harmful to the environment because it has practically no sulphur, benzene or aromatics.
Police have been working with the government and local communities to reduce the amount of 'normal' unleaded fuel that comes into remote communities. We have had great success by ensuring that the only petrol that can be bought in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands is Opal.
If you are travelling with normal unleaded petrol in the tank or you are carrying jerry cans which have unleaded petrol in them, we ask that you take great care to ensure that the petrol is not accessible whilst you are in the Lands.
We especially ask you to make sure that any jerry cans of unleaded are kept extremely secure. Roadhouse staff would be pleased to arrange safe storage of your unleaded fuel while you are staying at the roadhouse. Do not leave them on your trailer or in sight when you are camping.
Petty crime in the Lands increases when people who are susceptible to sniff petrol become aware that there are tourists in the area carrying petrol. Whilst you are travelling through the Lands we ask you to treat your fuel supplies like gold. This will help the people who live in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.
If you require more information on Opal Fuel, you can visit BP Australia

More about Alcohol in Ngaanyatjarra Lands.

Ngaanyatjarra Lands - [Click for a Larger Image]
Ngaanyatjarra Lands

The Ngaanyatjarra Council (Aboriginal Corporation) By-Laws, which apply to the whole of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, prohibit the possession and consumption of alcohol on the Lands. The by-laws allow you to convey any alcohol that you have with you through the Lands, but you cannot consume it.
Penalties for breaching the by-laws apply and fines up of to $5,000.00 can be imposed. In addition, any breach of the local by-laws will cause your permit to enter and remain on the Lands to be reviewed. Please enjoy your time on the Lands. Information provided by the Ngaanyatjarra Council.