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4 Northern Territory road trip itineraries for epic outback adventures

It’s time to take to the open road and discover everything that the Top End has to offer.

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Are you itching to see the Northern Territory? Are you in Darwin and have a few days to spare? Well, look no further because we've brought together all the must-do road trip itineraries for the picturesque red centre. We've got your destinations covered, so all you have to do is pick the playlist.

Darwin to Alice Springs

Alice Springs is the heart of the Northern Territory as well as the country. Your red centre adventure starts off driving from Darwin to Katherine, where you'll then spend the day exploring the incredible gorge. As your final destination is quite a drive from Darwin, Tennant Creek is where you'll spend your next night. From there, you'll hit Alice Springs where you can hot air balloon, tour Uluru and hike through the West MacDonnell Ranges.

darwin


Darwin to Berry Springs

Are you in Darwin and need a quick weekend away? Why not head to Berry Springs? Just over half an hour south of Darwin's city centre, it's conveniently close and jam-packed with outdoor activities.

We recommend picking a warmer weekend where you can spend the day immersed in the waters of the Berry Springs Waterhole. Best of all, with no long drive home, there's no rush to leave.

berry springs

  • Distance: 105km, 1 hour and 20 minutes round trip.
  • Itinerary length: 2 days.
  • Route: Darwin to Berry Springs via Tiger Brennan Drive.
  • Highlights: Territory Wildlife Park, Berry Springs Waterhole.
  • Best time to drive: March and April offer cooler temperatures so you can escape the heat, and it's also when native flowers bloom.
  • Things to do: Territory Wildlife Park, Berry Springs Waterhole, Crazy Acres, Blackmore River Conservation Reserve.
  • Stay at: AAOK Lake Resort and Caravan Park or Noonamah Tourist Park.
  • Eat at: Berry Springs Tavern or Johnny's Dine-In Takeaway.

Darwin to Litchfield (and the Greater Litchfield Loop)

Situated just an hour south of Darwin's city centre, Litchfield National Park offers a close escape from the busyness of city life. From adrenaline-packed activities to the soft calm of a hike, this road trip is perfect for a few days off the grid.

Spend your first couple of days exploring the ins and outs of Batchelor and the picturesque Litchfield parklands, and stop for a break in Berry Springs on your way home. Cool off at the local watering hole before heading back home.

litchfield

  • Distance: 369km, 4.5 hours round trip.
  • Itinerary length: 3 days.
  • Route: Darwin to Litchfield via Batchelor and Berry Springs.
  • Highlights: Litchfield National Park, Batchelor, Berry Springs.
  • Best time to drive: From March to September is recommended, as this is when the humidity is at its lowest. Keep in mind that this is peak season.
  • Things to do: Batchelor Butterfly Farm and Pet Garden, Nina's Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, NT Adventure Park, Swim in Buley Hole and visit Wangi Falls, Berry Springs Waterhole.
  • Stay at: Litchfield Motel, Litchfield Tourist Park or Banyan Tree Batchelor.
  • Eat at: Rum Jungle Tavern, Batchelor Butterfly Farm or Berry Springs Tavern.

Darwin to Kakadu and Nitmiluk

Pack up the car and set the GPS for Kakadu and Nitmiluk. Just three hours south east of Darwin, get ready to immerse yourself in the natural wonder of these national parks. You'll kick things off in Nitmiluk with a serene self-guided tour of the gorge, then you'll head north east to Kakadu.

The experiences here are endless, with Aboriginal cultural tours as well as a look into how things run in the outback. In Kakadu, you can also see the local waterfalls, before slowly making your way back home to Darwin.

nitmiluk


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Frequently asked questions

What kind of car do I need?

To play it safe, you'll want to take a 4WD. Road tripping across the Northern Territory may require you to take unsealed, dirt roads or possibly take a route through national parks. In these instances, you'll want a vehicle that can take on the conditions.

If you're hiring a car, make sure the company allows you to take the rented vehicle down unsealed roads. Many companies don't as a standard, and if anything happens to your vehicle on unsealed roads, you may be liable for any repair costs, even if you do have insurance. Some companies do let you pay a premium that will cover you on unsealed roads.

What are the best campsites in the Northern Territory?

Some of our favourite campgrounds include:

  • Wangi Falls Camping Area, Litchfield National Park
  • Gunlom Campground, Kakadu National Park
  • Jatbula Trail, Katherine
  • Palm Valley Campground, Namatjira
  • Lorella Springs Wilderness Park, Limmen National Park
  • Walker Creek, Litchfield National Park
  • Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs Park, Douglas-Daly
  • Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, near Davenport Ranges National Park

When is the best time to visit the Northern Territory?

The Northern Territory is split into two climates. The northern end of the territory, which includes Darwin and Kakadu, is a tropical climate. In this case, you'll want to travel between June and September to avoid high heat and humidity.

The southern portion of the Northern Territory, where you'll find Alice Springs and Uluru, has a desert climate. This means that the days are hot and the nights can reach 0 degrees. The best time to visit Alice Springs is in September when the temperatures are the most comfortable.


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