Example of National Route marking in Northern Territory - a distance sign for National Highway 1 heading south from Mataranka. Source: NT Government, Oct 2004.

Northern Territory’s contribution to the National Route Marking Scheme consists of five routes, each of which provides an important interstate function. A considerable length of the National Routes in Northern Territory (probably well over half) is part of the now defunct National Highway System, which means it is signed with a green-and-gold, rather than black-and-white, shield.

Aside from the National Highways, a considerable length of the National System is unsealed (i.e. the entire Buchanan Highway, the Buntine Highway west of Wave Hill and the Wollogorang Road) and the remainder generally has only a one-lane seal. While this may seem unusual when compared to other states, it should be noted that the Northern territory is very, very sparsely population and traffic volumes are low.

I have been advised by the NT Department of Planning and Infrastructure that the signposting of National Routes in Northern Territory began in 1971. However, the introduction of signage was undertaken on a selective basis - generally appearing when traffic volumes justified the provision of signage or when existing signage required replacing.

I believe that National Routes were first signed on a large scale in the Northern Territory in August 1987 - this is when the State Route system was first introduced, as well as being about the time that Northern Territory was actually connected to other states by sealed road links.

This means that, unlike most other states, Northern Territory does not have routes that were decommissioned and replaced by National Highways - all National Highways were National Highways from the beginning of route marking in the Territory.

Click on the links below to read more about each individual National Route and National Highway.

List of active Northern Territory National Routes and Highways

Carpentaria Highway & Wollogorang Road
Stuart Highway (Daly Waters to Darwin) & Victoria Highway
Barkly Highway
Stuart Highway (south of Daly Waters)
Buntine Highway
Last updated 2 September 2007
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