The hydrological source of the Ashburton River is south of Newman on Weelarranna Station, 10 kilometres north-west of Weelarranna Hill at 23°58’S 119°48’E. It flows generally westwards, north-westwards and northwards for about 724 kilometres to the Indian Ocean west of Onslow where the townsite of old Onslow once stood.

Modern day travellers cross the Ashburton River when driving on the Ashburton Downs-Meekatharra Road (generally when approaching Mt Augustus from Tom Price or other points north).

It was named in 1861 by Frank Gregory after Baron Ashburton. Read more about the naming of the river here.