The Mallee Highway runs in a mostly east-west direction. It starts from the Sturt Highway 3.5 kilometres south of Balranald in New South Wales, through Victoria, to the Dukes Highway 5 kilometres south of Tailem Bend, in South Australia. It is 427 kilometres long and a 5.45 hour drive. The New South Wales section is 56 kilometres and a 1 hour drive, the Victorian section is 226 kilometres and a 3 hour drive and the South Australian section is 145 kilometres and a 1.45 hour drive. The route is constructed generally as a high-standard rural two-lane highway (one lane each way) which passes through a number of small hamlets dotted along the railway line.