Multiple Truck Crashes in Australia Cause 76-Hour Detour

Not that anyone would take it, but this was the only route connecting Perth and Karratha, Western Australia.

byJustin Hughes|


The two major highways between the cities of Perth and Karratha in Western Australia were shut down simultaneously by truck crashes, reports Pilbara News. This effectively isolated the northern and southern areas of the state of Western Australia from each other.

This may not seem like a big deal to people like us in the rest of the world, who often have an endless variety of back roads we can take from one place to another. I've even given up using highways completely on my evening commute because the back roads are faster at that time of day. But such is not the case in Australia. For one thing, Australia is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. No, wait, that's what Douglas Adams wrote about space, but Australia is almost that big.

Pilbara News determined that with both highways shut down, the only way to travel between Perth and Karratha by road was a 76-hour, 7,113 kilometers (4,420 miles) detour across the center of Australia. That's roughly equal to the driving distance between Boston, Massachusetts and Anchorage, Alaska, give or take an hour. It would be faster to either find a boat and travel around Australia's west coast or pick up a case of Foster's and wait for one highway or the other to reopen. Not to mention that although the route does take official highways, they are desolate and dirt across much of central Australia's outback. Contrary to the name, there are no steakhouses to be found here.

Google Maps

Having spent some time working as a delivery driver, I put my skills to finding a quicker way for Australians to make the trek up and down the west coast. And sure enough, I found a better way than Pilbara News did. This side route cuts northeast across Western Australia and avoids the state of South Australia entirely. Avoiding the Adelaide area is bound to cut travel time. The routes merge near Alice Springs, Northern Territory, and continue north, then west back to Karratha. My route takes only 71 hours and covers 5,991 kilometers (3,722 miles.)

On second thought, pass me a Foster's. I'll wait for the road to reopen, too. It's probably melted anyway.