Outback Maps: What We Use & Recommend

The maps we recommend on this page are either maps or map series that we actually use and trust.

As you might imagine, we’ve used a lot of different maps over the years.

Everything from 1: 125,000 topographic maps, through to Shonkymaps on our hand held GPSs to flash iPad apps.

We know what sucks and what doesn’t. Any map we’ve recommended here is something we own and have used.

Free Topographic Maps

Topographic maps (Aussies call them ‘topo’ maps for short), are what you’ll absolutely need if you’re hiking off track or driving off road.

Topo maps come in a range of scales. In some places, you can get them as detailed as 1:2500, but that won’t be anywhere in the outback.

Most of the topo mapsheets we use are 1:250 000 or 1:125 000.

free outback maps, outback Australia

The great news is that there is a way to get these maps for free.

–> You absolutely MUST read this post which will tell you how to get FREE, high quality maps for your iPad or tablet. <–

The link above will show you the EXACT method we use to get free outback maps which we can navigate with using the GPS built in to our iPads.

Please check out our FREE OUTBACK MAPS tutorial.

Commercial Maps

Maps-deckReally there’s only three map series that we can recommend: Westprint, Hema and the Outback Traveller’s Track Guides.

Yes, there’s also the Geoscience Australia topo maps, but we’ve talked about them above, so we won’t repeat that again.

So what’s the difference?

The biggest differences between Hema, Westprint and the Outback Traveller’s Guides series boil down to two things: map scale and thematic detail.

What do we mean by ‘thematic detail‘?

By thematic detail that we mean the kinds of topics or information that each map series focuses on.

When we travel, we usually have more than one map. We’ll nearly always have a Hema map, a Geoscience Australia topo map on the iPad. If we’re going somewhere new, we’ll also have either a Westprint map or an Outback Traveller’s Guide.

So depending on what you’re planning to do, you might find that you need more than one option.

Outback Travellers Guidesseries1-1

Best For: Anyone travelling on specific 4WD tracks/outback routes or those who need a lot of fine grain detail.

Read our detailed review of the Outback Travellers Guides here.


  • Lower scale, bigger detail (this means they give MUCH more detail than other maps mentioned here except the topo maps above)
  • Detailed track/route information such as locations of dips and bulldust ruts
  • Original photos
  • Regular updates by a very caring author (Greg Walker)


  • Very small print
  • They do not replace the detail found on a website such as this (compare our Alice Springs/Uluru/Oodnadatta Track guides)
  • They focus on particular routes, not on general areas
  • Booklet/strip map format may annoy some people

Price Range: $20-22

Complete range, purchase maps and more detailed review here.

Westprint MapsOodnadatta Track

Like the Outback Travellers Guides, Westprint Maps are another outfit operating out of Victoria.

Read our detailed review of Westprint Maps here.

If you’re looking for easy to read, largish scale maps with a lot of sightseeing and historical detail, then go for Westprint.

Best For: Sightseers, general tourists, 4WDers, and those who want detailed, easy to follow paper map.


  • Higher scale (1:1, 000,000)
  • GPS locations of location highlights
  • Pastoral station boundaries are shown
  • Lots of historic and location information on the flipside of the maps


  • Not updated as regularly as HEMA
  • They do not replace the detail found on a website such as this (compare our Alice Springs/Uluru/Oodnadatta Track guides)
  • Easy to tear

Price Range: $7.00-$12.95

Complete range and detailed review of Westprint Maps is here.

Hema MapsHema-desert-atlas

Hema the ‘big guns’ when it comes to outback maps in Australia. They’ve got maps, books of maps and now a comprehensive (and somewhat expensive) series of Ipad and Android apps.

They seem to send their Hema maps vehicles out into areas of the outback regularly, so their maps are also updated fairly often.

Read our detailed review of Hema maps here.


  • Various scales (1:500,000 – 1:1, 250,000)
  • GPS locations of sightseeing points & other highlights
  • The books contain some historic and location information, also vehicle & trip preparation tips
  • Lots of coverage – you can find Hema maps & guidebooks for just about everywhere in the outback


  • The scale is not as high (that means detailed) as the Outback Travellers Guides
  • They do not replace the detail found on a website such as this (compare our Alice Springs/Uluru/Oodnadatta Track guides)

Price range: $8 – $649 (yes, you did read that correctly!)

Check out our detailed review of Hema maps here.

I hope you’ve found this page useful for planning. I’d really welcome feedback or any advice on how I could improve this page, or any maps that you’ve found really helpful in your outback travels.

You can contact us here. We’d love to hear from you.