Adelaide to Darwin

Planning your next motorhome road trip along this iconic and popular route?
Use our travel resource to be inspired and plan your next dream motorhome holiday.

Feel the magic of Uluru.

Journey through the heart of Australia experiencing the iconic outback, stunning flora and fauna, topped off with the tropical and lush top end and world renowned food and wide destinations.

DISTANCE: 3,500 - 4,500 kms
SUGGESTED TIME FRAME: 14 days minimum
BEST TIME OF YEAR: May to September

Watch this video for a quick taste of the Adelaide to Darwin route:

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Highlights of a driving holiday from Adelaide to Darwin

Heading North

  • Enjoy Adelaide in style with wineries and gourmet food.
  • Heading north up the Stuart Highway experience Coober Pedy. This is where they mine for opals and famous for its underground houses. We recommend the Old Times Mine Tour – gives you a good taste of what life was like underground and also the mining aspect.
  • Allow at least a week around the middle as there is a lot to see. The turn off to Uluru is about 300km south of Alice Springs, with a further 203km to see Uluru. Nearby you have Kata Tjuta the Olgas), which is also accessible by a sealed road. There is an entrance fee into the National Park to see both of these.
  • Make sure you visit Kings Canyon – we recommend getting up early and enjoying the rim walk. Very rewarding and picturesque – aim to be walking by sunrise.
Adelaide Darwin Highlights 1
Adelaide Darwin Highlights 2
  • Don’t forget about visiting both the west and east MacDonnell Ranges. There’s a number of national park camping and walks to see stunning land formations including gorges, canyons and gaps, plus some places to swim.
  • Enjoy the culture around Alice Springs with this also being a good place to pick up some Aboriginal Art.
  • Continuing north, you can stretch your legs at the Devil's Marbles – you’ll also continue to see a number of rest areas that allow overnight camping.
  • For a fun night, stop at the popular outback pub at Daly Waters with an adjacent campground.
  • Relax in the thermal springs at Mataranka – there’s two separate springs, enjoy both at no cost.
  • For those looking to spend a night at a working cattle station, there is camping available at Mt Bundy Station at the Adelaide River.
  • World Heritage Kakadu NP is a must see with its contrasting scenery of tropical and lush in some places and red and rocky in others, great opportunity to learn more about the Aboriginal culture (there is an entrance fee to the park), plus both commercial camps and national park style camping available.
  • One of our favourite national parks is on the other side of the Stuart Highway and is the beautiful Litchfield National Park. Lots to see plus swimming opportunities in the dry season. There are some 4WD tracks in this park, however plenty is accessible via 2WD too.
  • Explore the wetlands.
  • Enjoy a thousand-star accommodation – stunning freedom camps.
Adelaide Darwin Highlights 3

Learn more details and useful planning tips about this route.

Grab yourself a drink, sit back and relax while you watch this 8-minute video providing more insight to help your road trip planning from Adelaide to Darwin.

Adelaide to Darwin route planning tips

Adelaide Darwin Tips 1
  • As you’ll be travelling in the northern third of Australia, it’s important to understand the seasons and best time to experience. This area is best visited in what is known as the 'dry season' which is roughly May to September, and through the winter months
  • It doesn’t matter which direction you travel this route; it is more important you consider the time of the year. If you’re starting early in the ‘dry season’, for example in May, it is better to go from the south to north direction, and vice versa if later in the season
  • You’ll find while in the centre of Australia, that it will be cool at night-time, but the daytime temperatures are much more bearable. Pack a jacket.

We’d recommend a minimum of 14 days for this trip, but most of our retired clients take a minimum of 21 – 28 days to experience this route. Some also include this iconic route as part of a circuit via Broome, Perth and back to Adelaide – most commonly allowing about 3 months for something like that.

  • To experience this route, you can pick up your camper in Adelaide or Darwin; or for those with less time available, we also have depots in Alice Springs.
  • You’ll find helpful information centres along your route, and generally there is no need to book campsites in advance – except around Darwin. Darwin can be very busy in the Dry season, so great even if you can book a few days ahead to avoid disappointment.
  • There is plenty of freedom camping, which is free and low-cost camping along this route. Some days there will be longer km’s that you’ll need to drive, and you’ll see a number of rest areas that allow overnight parking – perfect while you’re travelling in a self-contained camper. Often with these, you’ll see an area ‘in behind’ the rest area where you can be further away from the highway.
Adelaide Darwin Tips 2
Adelaide Darwin Tips 3
  • The Stuart Highway is a two lane sealed highway and while it does go through very remote parts of Australia you will see Roadhouses which is where you can get your fuel, basic grocery items and some also have an adjacent campground, if you prefer powered sites.
  • During some sections there will be longer distances between the roadhouses where you can get fuel, however there is no need to carry extra fuel inside your vehicle when travelling this sealed road.
  • Refer to the Camps Australia Wide Guide book for locations for freedom camps which can be purchased along your route at some information centres, book or camping stores. You can also purchase an app called ‘Wiki Camps’ if you use a smart phone or tablet, plus the information centres en-route are a gold mine for local information.
  • As a traveller along this route, please do note some areas have alcohol restrictions.

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