The Burketown Visitor Centre is located on the corner of Musgrave and Burke Streets in Burketown. This historic building, built in 1887, was originally the combined Post and Telegraph Office.
The Burketown Visitor Centre is managed by the Gangalidda Garawa Services Pty Ltd. It is open Monday to Friday (9:00am - 4:00pm) during the tourist season from March to October and after hours and weekends by appointment. The Burketown Visitor Centre is the one-stop-shop for tourist and visitor information in the Burke Shire.
Camping and fishing / access permits around Burketown
If you are camping or want to access private property around Burketown that is managed by Gangalidda Garawa traditional owners, you will need a permit.
To protect our local environment, please camp only at approved locations.
There's more at the Burketown Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre also has articles and photographs about the amazing 'Morning Glory' cloud formation. The Gulf of Carpentaria is one of the few places in the world where this meteorological phenomenon occurs, usually between August and October. Depending on meteorological conditions, the Morning Glory Cloud may also appear at other times of the year.
To contact the Burketown Visitor Centre please phone (07) 4745 5111 between 9:00am and 4:00pm Monday to Friday during the April to October tourist season. During the off-season, contact the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation on (07) 4745 5132.
Camping at Gregory Downs
Burke Shire Council operates a free, low impact camping area in the township of Gregory Downs. Due to safety and environmental concerns, the Council does not encourage camping within the banks of the Gregory River.
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, Adels Grove & the Riversleigh World Heritage Fossil fields
Other camping opportunities in the Burke Shire can be found at the iconic Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park and Adels Grove. Both offer an 'oasis in the outback' experience and are only a short drive from the World Heritage listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields. Read more about Riversleigh and why it is valued so highly by palaeontologists from around the world.
Please refer to the relevant websites for the Boodjamulla (Lawn HIll) National Park and Adels Grove for information on camping permits and fees.
Driving to Burketown and Road Condition Reports
Please note, the driving times detailed below are conservative. They allow for rest breaks and possible delays due to other traffic or road works. Avoid driving at night due to cattle, horses and wildlife being on roads. Sunrise and sunset are also higher risk times for driving, therefore you should always adjust your speed to the conditions. Please observe all speed limits, including lower speeds at roadworks.
Road condition reports for Burke Shire and neighbouring shires
At critical times of the year, particularly in the wet season, the Burke Shire publishes a daily Road Report that gives you information about road closures and road works in the shire. The Road Report is also published on the Burke Shire Facebook page.
Road Reports from neighbouring shires include those listed below. Please note that some Shires have specific web pages for their Road Reports. For others, we have provided their 'contact us' pages:
Road condition reports for other shires in Queensland's Gulf Country
- Carpentaria Shire (Normanton and Karumba)
- Croydon Shire (Main office in Croydon)
- Cloncurry Shire (Main office in Cloncurry)
- Mount Isa City Council (Main office in Mount Isa)
- McKinlay Shire Council (Main office in Julia Creek)
Road condition reports for the Northern Territory (from Queensland border travelling west)
- McArthur River Caravan Park Borroloola. See Facebook page also.
- Savannah Way Motel Borroloola. See Facebook page also.
- Heartbreak Hotel Cape Crawford. See Facebook page also.
- Roper Gulf Regional Council. See Facebook page also.
Other sources of information if you are driving in the Gulf region
The Guide to Queensland Roads is a useful tool for people travelling to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The tourism organisation Savannah Way Ltd also provides useful information about travelling in northern Australia, including the Burke Shire.
QLDTraffic (also known as 131940) is Queensland's official source of traffic and travel information. This website helps you check traffic conditions and plan your journey before you drive. View the map to find out about current road conditions, roadworks or other alerts in the Gulf region and other parts of Queensland.
We recommend that you use the RACQ Journey Planner when preparing for a driving trip to the Burke Shire.
Get more tips from our Roads Information page.
Road distances and travel times to Burketown
- From Cairns (via Savannah Way) - 878km (allow 12 hours) - sections of single lane and unsealed road
- From Townsville (via Julia Creek - Burke and Wills Roadhouse) - 1,250km - sealed with single lane sections (14 hours)
- From Townsville (via Cloncurry - Burke and Wills Roadhouse - Gregory Downs) - 1,300km (16 hours)
- From Cloncurry (via Burke Development Road) - 450km sealed road (allow 6 hours)
- From Mount Isa (via Camooweal) mostly unsealed sections in the 257km stretch from Camooweal to Gregory - not recommended for caravans or conventional vehicles - 400km total (allow 5 hours)
- From Mount Isa (via Cloncurry) - 565km - sealed road with some single lane sections (allow 6 hours)
- From Darwin (via Mount Isa) - 2,025km (allow 21 hours - not including rest stops)
- If you have a UHF radio, you can communicate with truck drivers on UHF 40.
- Mobile phone reception is limited in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Most towns have localised mobile reception but check with your service provider about reception before you travel.
- Please give way to road trains and other large vehicles. If it is safe to do so, reduce speed and move off the road when approaching larger vehicles coming in the opposite direction.
- Do not overtake in dusty conditions or on bends or rises.
- Ensure you have necessary equipment to change tyres. A digital or dial tyre pressure gauge is also recommended as some service station gauges may not be correctly calibrated.
- Do not go off-road to explore unless someone else knows where you are going and what time you are expected to return.
- Carry plenty of water and fuel.
- Keep an eye on the weather. The Bureau of Meteorology radar shows the location of rain.
Within mobile range call 000. Give your location and do not hang up until the operator tells you to do so.
Burketown Police: (07) 4745 5120 (this number will divert when the station is unattended)
Burketown Health Clinic: (07) 4745 5133. This clinic is staffed on a permanent basis Monday to Friday from 8:00am - midday and 2:00pm - 5:00pm. The clinic operates with support from the Mount Isa Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Gregory Downs Clinic: Operates every second Wednesday through the Mount Isa Royal Flying Doctor Service. This clinic is not staffed on a permanent basis.
There's more to the Burke Shire than you thought
Watch the Burke Shire video that gives you more information about experiences to add to your bucket list when you visit us.
Listen to locals Kylie Camp from Floraville Station and Bob Marshall from Burketown talk about living in the Burke Shire. The audio is courtesty of ABC Radio.
Find out more to make your stay with us safe and enjoyable.
Tourism research in the Gulf region
You can find out more about tourism statistics in the Gulf region by taking a look at the Gulf Savannah Tourism Research Project (2013). This project was a joint initiative of regional tourism body Savannah Way Ltd and the local government representative organisation Gulf Savannah Development (GSD).