FROM the tropical Top End to the Red Centre, the Northern Territory is the ultimate state for a road trip.
Experience everything from World Heritage sites, native wildlife, sacred wonders and spectacular untouched landscapes, to immersive Aboriginal cultures, world-class fishing, crystal clear waterways and unforgettable getaways under the stars.
An NT road trip is a way to escape the hustle and bustle, shake off the ordinary, and connect to cultures, traditions and landscapes that are more than 60,000 years old.
Hit the open road and find expansive horizons with clear open skies, kaleidoscopic sunsets, hidden gems and landmarks that will renew a sense of wonder in the natural world.
Catch a flight and hire a vehicle or hitch up the van and embark on a long and winding road trip.
The NT has a range of short and long drive options to suit all tastes and timelines.
Here are some suggestions:
- Waterfall hopping around Litchfield National Park (2 days): From Darwin, head south to Berry Springs. Stop by locals’ favourite, Berry Springs Tavern, before continuing to Litchfield’s water holes such as Wangi Falls, Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole.
If time allows, check out nearby Dundee Beach or Crab Claw Island, both famous fishing spots in the Top End.
- Kakadu Explorer (4 days): A World Heritage-listed icon teeming with native wildlife, breathtaking landscapes and hidden gem trails, Kakadu is also the place to learn about the culture of the Bininj and Mungguy people. Stay at Jabiru and visit the famous Ubirr Aboriginal rock art sites and lookout, before watching the sun set over the sprawling floodplains.
Stop at Cooinda for a Yellow Water Cruise to get up-close to wild crocodiles, and visit Burrungkuy to explore more ancient Aboriginal rock art.
- Katherine + Nitmiluk Explorer (4 days): The spectacular Nitmiluk region has pristine swimming spots and unique wildlife. Lunch at the Lazy Lizard Tavern before heading to Katherine Hot Springs and Nitmiluk National Park for the Baruwei Loop Walk.
Climb to the top of the gorge for views of the Katherine River. Hire a kayak, take a river cruise or join a helicopter flight.
- Red Centre Way (5 days): Visit Alice Springs, Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. Watch the sun rise from a hot air balloon or ride a desert camel in Alice Springs, before hitting the road to cool off in the water holes along Tjoritja/West MacDonnell Ranges. Continue to spectacular Kings Canyon, then drive to Uluru, Australia’s spiritual heart. This is the road trip for red desert sands, cultural icons, spinifex and mulga forest, lush valleys and towering gorges.
- Nature’s Way (8 days): Road trip from Darwin to Kakadu and Nitmiluk, returning via Litchfield. From Darwin, take Arnhem Highway to the nature-lovers’ paradise of Kakadu. Cruise billabongs; spot sunbaking crocodiles on riverbanks and see ancient rock art at Ubirr and Burrungkuy. Continue to Katherine and Litchfield.
- Savannah Way: (14 days): From Queensland into the Northern Territory, this is the ultimate desert road adventure. Camp out under the stars, witness changing tropical and savannah landscapes and explore some of the 15 national parks and five World Heritage-listed areas in the NT. Visit the Daly Waters Pub and soak in thermal pools in Mataranka.
- Binns Track (10 Days): This four-wheel drive adventure takes road-trippers through lesser-known but equally remarkable sights of the NT. Starting at the South Australian border, travellers wind through remote national parks and stop overnight at stunning camping spots.
This trail follows the western fringe of the Simpson Desert through gold rush towns to fossick for semi-precious stones. Continue on to the granite boulders of the Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles before finishing at Timber Creek to unwind on a boat cruise or fishing trip.
- Arnhem Way: (7-10 days): Arnhem Land is a must-visit for the ultimate immersion into Aboriginal culture. This rare trip starts near Katherine and ends in Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula. Take an Aboriginal-led cultural tour or visit galleries showcasing local artists for a deeper understanding of traditional practices. This region is also home to some of Australia’s most pristine beaches, incredible fishing and stunning wetlands where travellers can spot native wildlife in all untouched beauty.