Named after Bill Binns, a former buffalo and crocodile hunter who served a 32-year stretch as a ranger with Northern Territory Parks, the Binns Track begins at Mt Dare near the South Australia–Northern Territory border, running 2191 kilometres to Timber Creek in the Northern Territory subtropics.
Completing the entire Binns Track can take anywhere from five to 10 days, but you can easily access shorter sections where the route intersects highways,. As Bill said in 2008 when the route opened, ‘It highlights some of the most untouched parts and unused parks in the Territory’. There are tough off-road sections, snaking dirt tracks through outback stations, river crossings and long stretches of highway.
The track is broken into five manageable driving legs, with stopovers at places of natural and cultural significance. The first leg starts from Mt Dare, covering 421 kilometres along the Old Andado Track to Alice Springs. Flanking the western fringe of the Simpson Desert, the track passes sand ridges (that are up to eight metres high) and rambles through the Finke River flood-out.
The second leg of the track covers the 287 kilometres between Alice and Gemtree. Along this part of the journey, you’ll find Ruby Gap Nature Park just out of Alice, a two-hour easterly detour. To reach the little-visited nature park, a high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed. The third leg continues for 692 kilometres to Tennant Creek. The 400-kilometre stretch between here and Iytwelepenty/Davenport Ranges National Park includes a sandy stretch along the Bundey River.
Out of Tennant Creek, a historic goldrush town where you can fossick and tour old mines, the fourth leg is an easy 287 kilometres along Stuart Highway, passing sprawling cattle stations to Dunmarra.
The fifth leg heads west to Judbarra/Gregory National Park along the Buchanan Highway. It’s an easy 350-kilometre that stretches through Top Springs and Victoria River Downs Station (one of the largest cattle stations in Australia).
Pictured: Binns Track sign. Image © Tourism NT; Stuart Ord