Whatever the origins of its name, the Heartbreak Hotel turns on a good party for travellers in this colourful corner of the Territory.

Story & photos by Peter Solness

If Elvis Presley had made it to the Northern Territory, he’d have surely agreed that it’s a very lonely street that leads to the Heartbreak Hotel, some 115 kilometres south-west of Borroloola. Situated at the intersection of the Carpentaria and Tablelands highways at Cape Crawford – and often marked as the Cape Crawford Roadhouse on road maps – it is the only roadhouse for 373km to the south and 270km to the west.
The Heartbreak Hotel consists of an odd assortment of old dongas that once functioned as the supermarket at Jabiru, near Kakadu National Park, before being shifted to Cape Crawford in the early 1980s. While it may look architecturally challenged, it’s certainly a welcome sight for weary travellers who are looking for a grassy camp site, a cold beer and a tank of fuel for the car.

This story excerpt is from Issue #48

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2006