Darwin to Perth

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.

This route has something for everyone.

Experience tropical national parks, drive through wide open spaces to the dramatic gorges and landscapes of the renowned Kimberley region. Discover the glistening turquoise waters of WA interspersed with resort towns.

DISTANCE: 4,500 kms
SUGGESTED TIME FRAME: 25 days minimum
BEST TIME OF YEAR: May to September

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

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Highlights of a driving holiday from Darwin to Perth

Heading South

  • Leaving Darwin the entire Top End is worth spending time – tropical and lush, red and rocky, waterfalls, walks and culture. Most travellers spend at least a day or two in the popular national parks of Kakadu, Litchfield and Nitmiluk. Nitmiluk National Park where you will see Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls.
  • If you have a little extra time, before turning west at Katherine, head south to enjoy the thermal springs at Mataranka and an excellent night at the iconic outback pub at Daly waters.
  • Heading west at Katherine towards the WA border via Gregory National Park with spectacular ranges and gorge scenery. Start to see your first taste of the boab trees. Restrictions apply for fruit and vegetables crossing the border into WA. There is also a 1.5 hour time difference when crossing the border into WA.
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  • Spend time at spectacular Lake Argyle. A boat cruise is the best way to see the magnificent scenery and wildlife.
  • Kununurra marks the gateway to the Kimberleys which has a good information centre if you are wanting to book any last minute day tours or scenic flights. Great scenery and opportunity for spotting wild and bird life around here.
  • If travelling in peak time it’s a good idea to book day tours in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • The sealed highway travels through the eastern kimberleys and the way the majority of travellers go, who also add in a couple of popular day tours to take you deeper into the remote Kimberley region. The majority of these can be taken from Broome, Derby or Kununurra, depending what area you’re wanting to explore further.
  • The Bungle Bungles is popular either by a 4WD day tour,or take a flight for a total different perspective of these beehive formations.
  • Another not to be missed is a scenic flight to the Horizontal Waterfall – land and transfer to a jet boat for a thrilling ride as the water gushes out through a small opening. Spend time experiencing the grandeur of this ancient and spectacular landscape and even try your hand at fishing. This can be taken from Broome or Derby.
  • For those more adventurous, the Gibb River Road cuts through the middle of the Kimberley region. This is a seasonal road, with winter being the time to experience this area. Extra planning required if you are travelling this route.
  • This trip does have a good mix of remoteness and the opportunity to enjoy cafes in resort towns like Broome, – where the red desert meets the white sandy beaches.
  • Enjoy sunset at Cable Beach and the pearling history.
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  • If time permits detouring to Karijini National Park is one of our favourite places with brilliant red and rugged landscapes, gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes.
  • Did you know, near Exmouth you can walk right off the beach to Ningaloo Reef where you can snorkel amongst the coral. At certain times of the year you can also take a cruise to see whale sharks; humpback whales; manta rays; dolphins and dugongs.
  • See the ancient stromatolites at Hamlin on the way (oldest living organism on planet) to Monkey Mia and an opportunity to hand feed dolphins.
  • You’ll want to visit Kalbarri National Park, with gorges, lookouts, walks and striking coastal scenery.
  • When you’re getting close to Perth there’s plenty to see like the Pinnacles.

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 Darwin to Perth.

Darwin to Perth route planning tips

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  • 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 Perth to Darwin direction, and vice versa if later in the season.
  • By adding a couple of day tours, you can really experience the magnitude of this region, and enjoy the comfort and convenience of travelling in a 2WD camper.

We’d recommend a minimum of 25 days for this trip, but most of our retired clients take a minimum of 35 - 42 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 Perth or Darwin; or for those with less time available, we also have depots in Broome. It is worth noting that there is a limited range of motorhome options to pick up or return to this depot, in addition to a remote location surcharge. If you can try and do the complete journey from Darwin to Perth (or vice versa).
  • You’ll find helpful information centres along your route. While this route is remote, it is also quite busy, so a good idea to book in advance key campsites and any specific activities you want to do. If you are travelling on a fairly tight timeframe, this is imperative to avoid disappointment.
  • There is quite a number of freedom camping, which is free and low-cost camping along this route in the more remote areas. Some days there will be longer km’s that you’ll need to drive, and you’ll see 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.
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We’d strongly recommend obtaining a national park pass for Western Australia. There is an entry fee for each NP – most travellers wish to visit some of these, so it is very easy to save money with the pass. In the Northern Territory, the only national park on this route there currently is an entry fee is for the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park which includes entrance to the cultural and interpretive centres. The other national parks such as Litchfield NP and Nitmiluk NP do not have an entry fee.

  • The main highway between Darwin and Perth 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.
  • See plenty of wildlife along this route also like Crocodiles (top third of Australia), Kangaroos, Wallabies, vast range of Birdlife including emus, various marine life and maybe even a camel.
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