Come on a roadtrip along the historic Kingsford Smith Mail Run that journeys through the remote Gascoyne Region in WA. Discover mountain ranges, cattle stations and plenty of wildlife.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Yinggarda peoples who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

About Kingsford Smith Mail Run

From outback Meekatharra to coastal Carnarvon, the 834km Kingsford Smith Mail Run follows a dirt road across creek beds, past the biggest rock in the world, and the escarpment of the Kennedy Ranges. It’s a quiet road through outback cattle stations, fields of wildflowers and red rock.


Kingsford Smith Mail Run - A Five Day Road Trip in Outback WA, Jane Pulsey

Kingsford Smith Mail Run History

Back in 1924, Australian adventurer and aviator Charles Kingsford Smith raised money for his flying exploits by starting a transport company. It delivered mail to outback stations in the Gascoyne region. Today we can follow in his adventurous tyre tracks, taking in iconic outback landscapes along with relics from the past.

How To Get To Kingsford Smith Mail Run

To get to either end of Kingsford Smith Mail Run, drive to Meekatharra, 750km north of Perth inland or Carnarvon 890km north of Perth on the coast.


Places to Stay Along the Kingsford Smith Mail Run

Mt Augustus Tourist Park is part of a working cattle station. As well as camping and powered caravan sites, twin rooms and family units are also available. There’s a small shop, with fuel available and tyre repair. In winter and spring, the Mt View Cookhouse serves up beef and beer.

Junction Pub and Tourist Park is a relatively new establishment to replace an late 1800s pub that was washed away in a flood. It has camping, powered sites, single rooms, and cabins plus a pub, restaurant, shop, and beer garden. We had the best burgers by the pool on the way through Gascoyne Junction.

Temple Gorge Campground in the Kennedy Ranges National Park has long drop toilets. It’s a Department of Parks and Wildlife campground situated at the base of a red rock bluff.

Things to do on The Kingsford Smith Mail Run

Peace Gorge

Peace Gorge is a collection of red boulders just outside of Meekatharra. It’s a nice place for morning tea or a picnic.

Discover History

Explore Mount Gould Police station ruins were built in the 1880s for the police working in the area who were mainly policing for cattle and sheep stealing. The buildings have been restored to a certain degree so we can see what life was like back then.

Hike Mt Augustus

Mt Augustus is the biggest rock in the world and has 30km of walk trails ranging in difficulty including the hard Summit Trail. The best place to view sunset at Mt Augustus is from Emu Hill Lookout. Don’t forget to have a cold beer and Shorthorn beef straight from the station at the Mt View Cookhouse.


Kingsford Smith Mail Run - A Five Day Road Trip in Outback WA, Jane Pulsey


Explore The Kennedy Ranges

Kennedy Ranges is a lovely place for camping and hiking. Opposite to Mt Augustus, sunrise is the spectacular time to visit the Kennedy Ranges with the best views seen from the sunrise viewing spot.


Delight Your Senses

Gascoyne Junction is a tiny Outback town but they have great hamburgers at the Junction Pub.

Carnarvon is famous for its mangos and bananas, so grab a smoothie in Carnarvon at Bumbaks and stock up on fruit and veggies on the Carnarvon Fruit Loop Trail. Carnarvon is one of WA’s most prolific fruit and vegetable growing areas, fed by underground water.

If you visit in spring, you’ll find the red dirt is covered in fields of pink, yellow, and white everlastings and other flowering shrubs.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace

Skill Level

Kingsford Smith Mail Run is a good drive for beginner 4WDers. A 4WD is recommended because the road is corrugated and rough in places. An All-Wheel Drive is also suitable.

Mt Augustus and Kennedy Ranges have walking trails ranging from easy level 2 to difficult level 5. The Mt Augustus Summit Trail is for experienced hikers.

Read more: How To 4WD For Beginners

Essential Gear

  • 4WD or AWD
  • Camping equipment
  • Five days of food and water
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • First aid kit

Driving Distance / Time Spent Driving / Days

834km  / 4 days driving  / 5-6 days

Experience of Driving The Kingsford Smith Mail Run

Day 1 – Meekatharra to Mt Augustus

Distance: 352km
Time Driving: Approximately 5 hours

Leaving Meekatharra (756km north of Perth) we grab a coffee for the road from the little van on the town’s main road. We top up with fuel as there isn’t any until Mt Augustus where sometimes they run out while waiting deliveries. The first stop is just 3km out of Meekatharra at Peace Gorge, an area of red granite outcrops. There’s interpretation signage here and at 19 spots along the drive.

It’s not long before the bitumen road turns into the red dirt gravel, the surface we’ll drive on for much of the trip. Every now and then, we pass a small herd of Brahman cattle. They’re a tough breed that cope with the scant vegetation, dry hot conditions, while roaming wild. There are no fences out here. The cattle will be rounded up with helicopters.

In spring, the red dirt is covered by pink, yellow, and white everlastings. It depends on the autumn and winter rains as to how good the wildflower season is, and these last couple of seasons have been bumper.

In the flat desolate landscape one of the few elevations looms. Mt Gould is a station and iron ore rich mountain where mining takes place and was the location of the first police station in the Gascoyne region. The heritage-listed buildings still remain and have been restored. In the middle of what seems nowhere, it’s hard to imagine there was enough population to need a police station. I can’t imagine how hot it would’ve been in summer locked up in those cells.


Kingsford Smith Mail Run - A Five Day Road Trip in Outback WA, Jane Pulsey


The road crosses a few dry creek beds. Rivers around here are seasonal flowing after heavy rain or cyclones. When we reach the Gascoyne River, there’s evidence of Kingsford Smith and his mail run. If the river was up, no one could cross so they put the mail in a 44 gallon drum and winched it over the river along steel cables to people waiting on the other side.

Just after the river crossing is Landor Station. It’s famous for its outback races at the end of September each year. People fly in from surrounding stations and camp under their Cessna plane wings. There’s fashion on the field, two up, and a ball each year.

The Wajarri name for Mt Augustus is Burringurrah. The Wajarri community known as Burringurrah is 52km south of the rock itself. The Wajarri Dreaming story describes how a boy called Burringurrah ran away from tribal initiation. He was breaking tribal law so was tracked down and speared in the leg. He died lying face down and at some angles you can see his shape and the spear stump in his leg in the rock. Much celebrated Uluru in the Northern Territory is considered the world’s biggest monolith or single rock. But as a single rock, Mt Augustus is larger and in geological terms is called a monocline or folded rock strata.

Mt Augustus Tourist Park is also a running cattle station with caravan and camping spots plus rooms in dongas. They have an outback bar and small shop with limited supplies. Having a beer while watching the sunset is certainly a special experience.

Day 2  – Explore Mt Augustus

The drive around Mt Augustus is 54km. There are around 30km of walking trails on and around Mt Augustus, with the pinnacle being the summit trail which is a difficult full day hike. All the other trails are on the National Park map and the Parks and Wildlife website.


Kingsford Smith Mail Run - A Five Day Road Trip in Outback WA, Jane Pulsey


Be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife, as we saw many birds including the majestic wedgetail eagle. They can be seen soaring around the rock on the warm thermals. Lizards are found in abundance, laying in the sun and darting around on red rocks. We saw all kinds, from small red dragons to huge monitors.

Cattle Pool is a lovely place to relax under shady rivergums on the banks of a permanent billabong in the Lyons River. Bring your binoculars as there are many birds around this oasis.

Day 3 – Mt Augustus to Gascoyne Junction

Distance: 295km
Time Driving: About 4.5 hours

Day three starts with a short 46km drive to Cobra Station and Bangemall Inn. This heritage listed homestead and inn were built in 1897 and used to be open to the public. These days, we have to peer over the fence and imagine what life was like back then.

Next, there’s 163km of corrugated road before turning right onto the Carnarvon Mullewa Road and another 77km to Gascoyne Junction. Built on the confluence of the Gascoyne and Lyons Rivers, it’s no wonder the town is flood prone. Unfortunately, floods destroyed the historic hotel. The new joint fuel station, hotel, and general store still serves cold beer and great hamburgers in the beer garden. The Junction Pub & Tourist Park is also great for camping and has cabins.

Fuel up the vehicle and yourselves before heading out to the remote Kennedy Ranges the next day..

Day 4 – Gascoyne Junction to Kennedy Ranges

Distance: 60km one way
Time Driving: 1.5 hours

After crossing the Gascoyne River over the usually dry causeway, it’s 48km to the Kennedy Ranges turnoff. Temple Gorge is the only place to camp, another 12km west. Kennedy Ranges is an escarpment facing east with a series of red rock buttresses and corresponding gorges.


Walking is the main activity here. The Escapement Trail gives you a great view over the arid landscape. Honeycomb Gorge is an interesting geological formation of pink honeycombed rock. The Sunrise Lookout spot is, as its description suggests, a great spot to watch the rocks light up at sunrise.

The only facility at Temple Gorge is a drop toilet so you need to be self-sufficient with water and food.

Day 5 – Honeycomb Gorge, Kennedy Ranges to Carnarvon

Distance: 240km
Time Driving: 2.5 hours

Drive back to Gascoyne Junction and head towards Carnarvon. It’s a simple drive into town but worth stopping off at Rocky Pool, a permanent billabong of the Gascoyne River. The flat rocks on the river banks are a nice place to sit and watch the birdlife.


Kingsford Smith Mail Run - A Five Day Road Trip in Outback WA, Jane Pulsey


Carnarvon is the food bowl of Western Australia, producing massive amounts of fruit and vegetables plus a thriving seafood industry. The Fruit Loop Trail circles around the vegetable growers that have street stalls or sell produce to the public. You haven’t been to Carnarvon without stopping in for a banana or mango smoothie. Although the river seems dry most of the year, underground water is pumped up to irrigate the crops.

Space is another famous aspect of Carnarvon. During the 1960s and 1970s, the tracking station was integral in the manned space program. Along with Parkes Observatory, Carnarvon relayed the vision of the first man on the moon. Today it’s the Space and Technology Museum, the most visited attraction in Carnarvon.

As for Kingsford Smith and his mail run, the end of the trail is at the Old Post Office in Carnarvon where he’d deliver and pick up the mail. The building was a cafe and pizzeria but has now been closed for a few years.

Kingsford Smith Mail Run FAQs

Where is Kingsford Smith Mail Run located?

Kingsford Smith Mail Run is located between Meekatharra and Carvarvon in the Gascoyne Region of Western Australia.

How do you get to the start of Kingsford Smith Mail Run?

Drive to Meekatharra or Carnarvon north of Perth.

When is the Kingsford Smith Mail Run open?

Kingsford Smith Mail Run is open all year round although it can be closed due to very wet weather. The summer months are extremely hot and temperatures can nudge 50 celsius. Climbing Mt Augustus in hot weather is dangerous and lives have been lost.

How long is the Kingsford Smith Mail Run?

The Kingsford Smith Mail Run is 843km long (plus a 60km and return side trip to Kennedy)