See all of Darwin with these top car hire deals.
Darwin doesn’t do road trips by halves. Hire a car out here and you can clock up some serious miles and see one-of-a-kind sights like Uluru and the beehive-shaped mountains of the Bungle Range.
Before you embark on your four-wheel adventure, though, there are some important things you should know about driving in this part of Australia.
Top Darwin car hire deals
Road rules: What to know about driving in Darwin
In Darwin, cars drive on the left-hand side of the road. It can get hot in this region, so make sure you always have plenty of water with you when you travel. Plus, always take advantage of a gas station. There can be as much as 200 kilometres between petrol stations on some routes around the Northern Territory.
Try not to drive 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 county roads at night, too, and lots of accidents happen because drivers fail to spot the animals in time.
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 Darwin 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.
Speed limits. 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.
Popular Darwin driving routes
Nature’s Way. This route covers 457 kilometres 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 white-water rivers, waterfalls and countless animal habitats, as well as the sites of Aboriginal cave paintings, as you travel.
Explorer’s Way. The course of this epic road trip wiggles 4,828 kilometres from Darwin to Adelaide. Most travellers give themselves a week to cover the distance. One of the highlights of this itinerary is Uluru or Ayers Rock, which comes roughly around the middle of the trip.
The Savannah Way. 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.
Frequently asked questions about car hire
I'm on my provisional licence. Can I drive in Darwin? Most of the big brand rental companies will only lend a car to a driver with a full licence. Redspot is an exception.
How does car insurance work? All hire cars come with a standard level of insurance in Darwin. But look closely at your policy. Some companies operate a “dusk till dawn” rule, which says that drivers are responsible for any damage caused by running into an animal after dark.