Darwin car hire

Drive into the outback of Darwin and the Top End from as little as $19 a day.

Chances are, when you think of the great Aussie road trip, you imagine driving through Darwin and the Northern Territory. Hire a car and you can drink up breathtaking landmarks like Uluru and the beehive-shaped mountains of the Bungle Bungle Range.

Before you embark on your four-wheel adventure, read up on the best hire car deals, popular driving routes and top tips to keep you safe on the road.

Find your ride in Darwin

Compare hire cars and prices in Darwin

Darwin is a gateway into the vast outback and the natural wonders it beholds. With a car you can go far and wide. Price is always a consideration so we've worked out aproximately what it'll cost to hire a car to help you organise your budget.

Our figures are based on a quote from our engine for a rental car from Darwin Airport for 5 days, booked a month in advance for a driver aged 30+.

We've broken them down by car size. Don't forget to consider fuel consumption as well which will change depending on how many kilometres you plan to cover. Petrol stations are rare in the outback so remember to fill up when you can and consider that fuel prices will be higher in more remote areas.

Prices were retrieved on 8 October for hires starting 8 November.

Small, economy car

  • Car: Toyota Corolla Hatch
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag and 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Ace Rental Cars
  • Cost: $94.99 for 5 days or $18.99 per day
  • Good for: Local city drives around Darwin

Medium car

  • Car: Toyota Corolla Sedan
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 2 large bags and 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Ace Rental Cars
  • Cost: $104.50 for 5 days or $20.90 per day
  • Good for: Local drives and popular tourist routes

Large car

  • Car: Toyota Camry
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 2 large bags, 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Ace Rental Cars
  • Cost: $135.03 for 5 days or $27 per day
  • Good for: Longer drives and outback adventures


  • Car: Mitsubishi ASX
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 3 large bags
  • Rental company: Alpha
  • Cost: $166.80 for 5 days or $33.36 per day
  • Good for: Outback adventures

Prices mentioned above were retrieved on 8 October 2018 and change constantly. Get the latest prices for your car hire today.

Car hire locations in Darwin

Car rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty can be found around Darwin.

Popular locations to hire your vehicle include:

  • Darwin Airport
  • Mitchell Street, Darwin Downtown
  • Stuart Highway, Darwin Downtown

4 popular driving routes in Darwin

Nature's Way (Darwin to Kakadu, Katherine, Nitmiluk and Litchfield National Parks)

  • How long is the drive? 735 km
  • How long do I need? 1 week
  • Must-sees along the way: Katherine Gorge, Edith Falls, Territory Wildlife Park, Ubirr, Berry Springs Nature Park and Gunlom Plunge Pool
  • Recommended car: Sedan or 4WD

This route loops around the Northern Territory from Darwin, through the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and on to Nitmiluk and Litchfield national parks.

Nature has been let off the leash in this part of Australia and you can expect to see whitewater rivers, waterfalls and countless animal habitats, as well as the sites of Aboriginal cave paintings, as you travel.

Explorer's Way (Darwin to Adelaide)

  • How long is the drive? 4,828 km
  • How long do I need? 1–2 weeks
  • Must-sees along the way: Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Katherine Gorge, Litchfield National Park, Kings Canyon, Tennant Creek and Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles
  • Recommended vehicle type: SUV or 4WD

The course of this epic road trip wiggles all the way from Darwin to Adelaide, driving past historic outback towns and striking natural attractions.

One of the highlights of this itinerary is Uluru (Ayers Rock), which comes roughly around the middle of the trip.

The Savannah Way (Darwin to Broome)

  • How long is the drive? 1,800 km
  • How long do I need? 2 weeks
  • Must-sees along the way: Lake Argyle, Bungle Bungle Range, Judburra/Gregory National Park and Katherine Gorge
  • Recommended vehicle type: SUV or 4WD

The Savannah Way actually starts all the way east in Cairns, but you can pick the route up in Darwin and make the 1,800-kilometre journey to Broome in the west.

The journey takes you through some of Australia's most untouched lands. It's a serious drive, but those who do it will be rewarded with views of imposing gorges, an unusual beehive-shaped mountain range and crocodile-stalked plains.

Greater Litchfield Loop (Darwin to Litchfield National Park)

  • How long is the drive? 477 km
  • How long do I need? 3 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Berry Springs Nature Park, Territory Wildlife Park, Tabletop Track bushwalk, Adelaide River War Cemetery and Robin Falls
  • Recommended vehicle type: SUV or 4WD

A visit to Litchfield National Park is perfect for a quick getaway less than 90 minutes drive of Darwin. However, we recommend you spending at least three days on this itinerary to explore the park.

Think spectacular landscapes, cascading waterfalls, world-class fishing and heaps of adventure activities to keep you occupied for a long weekend.

I'm ready to book my car hire!

Tips for driving

  • Avoid driving at night. Many of the roads surrounding Darwin are unlit at night and a lack of light pollution means that it becomes extremely difficult to see, even with your headlights on full beam. Kangaroos, wild pigs and cattle often venture onto the roads at night and lots of accidents happen because drivers fail to spot them in time. For this reason, some car hire insurance companies have a "dusk to dawn" rule where you won't be covered for damages caused after sundown from running into an animal.
  • Watch out for road trains. Road trains travel across the whole of the Northern Territory transporting freight. These huge trucks tow up to five trailers at a time. Finding yourself on the same stretch of road as one can be daunting, even for locals. If you spot one, try to keep out of its way and avoid slowing it down. Also, remember that it takes the average road train 70 metres to stop if it has to brake.
  • Watch the speed limit. Some roads along the routes of classic Darwin road trips have slightly higher speed limits than the rest of Australia. On sections of the Barkly, Stuart, Victoria and Arnhem highways, for example, you can drive at 130km/h.
  • Top up fuel regularly. It can be a long stretch between towns, for example, the drive between petrol stations from Katherine to Timber Creek is almost 4 hours, so keep an eye on your fuel gauge and fill up when you can.
  • Pack the right gear and enough water. It can get hot in this region, so make sure you always have plenty of water with you when you travel. If you're heading off on a long drive think about everything you might need in case of a breakdown or emergency.

Tips for hiring

  • Provisional licence platers (P-platers) should check their eligibility. Most of the big brand rental companies only rent cars to drivers will full licences. Redspot is an exception.
  • Get covered. All hire cars come with a standard level of insurance in Darwin. But look closely at your policy. Some companies operate a "dusk to dawn" rule, which says that drivers are responsible for any damage caused by running into an animal after dark.
  • Consider excess reduction. Basic insurance is standard with hire cars but the excess on these policies can be high. You can opt to take out additional cover that will reduce this in the event of an accident. You can compare your options here.

Car hire deals in Darwin

Europcar Europcar

Up to 20% off base rate

Valid for rentals until 16 December 2018 at participating locations across Australia and New Zealand. Must book 21 days in advance and for a minimum of 2 days to redeem offer. T&Cs apply.

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DriveNow DriveNow

Campervan hire from $5/day

Offers and validity dates updated daily. Available on select routes in Australia and New Zealand.

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Europcar Europcar

$1/day one-way car hire in Australia

Valid on select dates on select car hire relocations in Australia. Destinations updated regularly.

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Enterprise Rent a Car Enterprise Rent a Car

Up to 10% off Australia car hire

Valid until 31 December 2018. including over Christmas. Minimum of 3 days rental. T&Cs apply.

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Avis Avis

Fifth day free SUV car hire

Valid until 16 December 2018 across Australia. Must hire 5 consecutive days. T&Cs apply.

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Avis Avis

Earn double Qantas points on 4+ days car hire

Valid on until 16 December 2018 across Australia. Minimum rental of 4 days to redeem offer. T&Cs apply.

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Budget Car Rental Budget Car Rental

Free upgrade car hire

Valid from 1 October - 16 December 2018 across Australia. Minimum rental of three days. T&Cs apply.

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Avis Avis

7-day Australia car hire for the price of 5 days

Valid from 1 October - 16 December 2018. Minimum rental of seven days. T&Cs apply.

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Avis Avis

Double upgrade car hire

Valid for rentals from 28 January - 30 April 2019 across Australia. Minimum of three days rental. T&Cs apply.

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Europcar Europcar

15% off the 5+ day hires

Valid on select dates until 16 December 2018 in Australia or New Zealand. T&Cs apply.

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Hertz Hertz

20% off car hire

Valid until 15 December 2018. Minimum of 7 days rental in Australia.

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DriveMyCar DriveMyCar

Car hire from $23 per day

Hire cars across Australia from as little as $32 per day.

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Europcar Europcar

25% off premium hire insurance

Get up to 25% off on your car rental when you purchase GoZen Cover. Valid at participating locations across Australia and New Zealand. T&C's apply.

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal on hotels or a sale on flights, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too. Though probably not before she buys her own ticket.

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