In the east, the road begins at an unnamed junction on the southern edge of Forty Mile Scrub National Park, 241 km south-west of Cairns. The Gulf Developmental Road runs west before terminating at its junction with the Burke Developmental Road 7 km south of Normanton, having travelled a total of 442 km. Towns along the route include Mt Surprise, Georgetown and Croydon. There are no other communities along the route.
The Gulf Developmental Road is designated Highway 1, however it is not part of the National Highway network.