The Canning Stock Route: Western Australia’s Outback Glory

View from Pondoks on granite hills in Spitzkoppe area (Namibia)

The first thing to know about WA’s Canning Stock Route is that it is the longest stock route in the world. So, suck on that you Texans and all you cowboys everywhere else in this wide world. The Canning Stock Route: Western Australia’s outback glory gazumps all comers. Try and visualise that  1, 850km (1, 150 miles) snaking along from Halls Creek in the Kimberley to Wiluna. Hot, dry and dusty in the great tradition of the north-west region of Australia this stock route demands more than most. Even the cattle get sore feet on this humungous journey across the vast expanse of Western Australia. Imagine the broken bottoms of the accompanying cowboys aboard their horses after such a travail? Talk about Brokeback Mountain!

Crack that Whip Cause Alfred Canning is Coming

Alfred Canning was the bloke charged with surveying the route in 1906. And, in the great white colonial tradition he was accused of mistreating his Aboriginal guides so badly that a Royal Commission was called upon his return to Perth. Of course, he was exonerated by an all-white judge and legal system, and the expedition cook, who had made the complaint against Canning, was sacked instead and Canning was sent back to finish the survey. Such is life in the wild west for the indigenous population and the rich plaudits for important white folk.

White Elephants & 48 Wells Worth of Scarce Water

The Canning Stock Route: Western Australia’s Outback Glory can be accessed via a 4-wheel-drive Canning Stock Route tag-along tour.  Imagine yourself humping and bumping along this historic measure of white Australian greatness. There were some 48 wells constructed to sustain the cattle throughout their arduous journey. Commercial droving kicked off in 1910 but the stock route proved unpopular with the local denizens. The wells took water from the Aboriginal people and they vandalised them in return. Only about 20 droves ever took place on this longest stock route in the world. The last drove took place in 1959. Did someone say, “white elephant?”


Smart cookies are witnessing the boom of the travel industry marketing itself by digital means. Aussies are casting their gaze within this vast island continent to fill their penchant for travel. The international borders may be closed but there are plenty of interesting spots to visit right here in Oz. The Canning Stock Route is one such place to discover across this great southern land. Get thee a 4-wheel-drive and put the pedal to the metal and fly down the highway to somewhere far away.