Following on from my route map for the World Solar Challenge – all 3,000 km or 1,900 miles of it – here are some personal route notes (revised from 2015). The graph below (click to zoom) shows approximate altitudes (calculated by overlaying the route on an altitude raster). The highest point on the route (about 730 m) is 20 km north of Alice Springs, although the steepest hill (Hayes Creek Hill, summit 203 m) is about 170 km from Darwin.
Darwin – Start
The city of Darwin marks the start of the race.
Katherine – 322 km – Control Stop 1
Daly Waters – 588 km – Control Stop 2
Dunmarra – 633 km
University of Toronto’s Blue Sky Solar team leaves the Dunmarra control stop in 2013 (photo: Blue Sky Solar)
Dunmarra once served the Overland Telegraph Line. Today it is little more than a roadhouse, motel, and caravan park. In previous races, this was a control stop.
Tennant Creek – 988 km – Control Stop 3
Tennant Creek (population about 3,500) is a small town serving nearby mines, cattle stations, and tourist attractions.
Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve
The 1,802 hectare Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve lies along both sides of the Stuart Highway about 100 km south of Tennant Creek. It is home to a variety of reptiles and birds, including the fairy martin (Petrochelidon ariel) and the sand goanna (Varanus gouldii). Race participants, of course, don’t have time to look (unless, by chance, this is where they stop for the night).
Barrow Creek – 1,211 km – Control Stop 4
Ti Tree – 1,300 km
Nuon Solar Team’s Nuna6 drives by a fire between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs in 2011 (photo: Hans Peter van Velthoven)
Alice Springs – 1,496 km – Control Stop 5
Alice Springs is roughly the half-way point of the race.
Kulgera – 1,766 km – Control Stop 6
Kulgera is a tiny settlement 20 km from the NT / SA Border. The “pub” is Kulgera’s main feature.
NT / SA Border – 1,786 km
The sign at the Northern Territory / South Australia border shows Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa), the floral emblem of the state of South Australia.
Coober Pedy – 2,178 km – Control Stop 7
Glendambo – 2,432 km – Control Stop 8
The Belgian team’s Indupol One leaves Glendambo control stop in 2013 (photo: Punch Powertrain Solar Team / Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Glendambo is another small outback settlement.
Port Augusta – 2,719 km – Control Stop 9
Adelaide – Finish
Adelaide, the “City of Churches,” is the end of the race. The official finish line marks 3,022 km from Darwin.