Adelaide to Darwin - the best driving route!

September 20, 2016

If you’re in the stages of planning a holiday to travel this route, then this blog post will be perfect in helping you to decide when’s best to go and what the best driving route is.


Kings Canyon

The drive from Adelaide to Darwin (or vice versa) is roughly a 3,500km trip of a lifetime! This journey will provide a magnificent array of green rolling hills of the wine regions in the south, typical Outback Australia up through the red centre and finally ending up in the lush Top End.

It doesn’t matter which way you travel this route, what is important is to consider the seasons and when this route is best experienced.

As around 2/3rds of this route is in the Northern third of Australia, it’ll be best to visit in the ‘dry season’ which runs roughly from May to September (incl of the winter months). If you were to time your travels up in the northern Territories in ‘wet season’ you may find that some of the roads are impassable – so flexibility is key if you decide to travel outside of the ‘dry season’. This means if you’re starting earlier in the season, start from the south and if later in the season, reverse the route.

The central part of Australia is basically a desert so you’ll experience typical desert weather. Winter is still a great time, however you will find it is pretty cold overnight. Bring some layers, plus remember your motorhome has heating when you plug into 240 volts. The day time temperatures are much more pleasant at this time of the year than during the height of summer when you’ll experience very hot weather – a dry heat. Some people do like to travel this route near the start or end of the season, as being in the north so it is not quite so cold overnight.


Coober Pedy Opal Mine

  • From Adelaide, heading north up the Stuart Highway, you’ll be sure to pass by some interesting towns along the way which will be worthwhile stopping at
  • Take in the sights of Coober Pedy and check out its opal mining and the famous underground houses
  • We suggest allowing 7 days around the middle as there are lots to see. Did you know that the turn off for Uluru (Ayres Rock) is about 300km south of Alice Springs and is a 203km sealed road to actually get to Uluru?
  • Nearby Uluru it’s a worthwhile visit out to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) which is a short 53km hop on a sealed road where you’ll get to witness a set of impressive domes which are made up of 36 formations
  • Be sure to visit the Kings Canyon too and suggest an early wake-up call to set out and enjoy the rim walk, especially if you can make it a sunrise walk – you won’t be disappointed
  • Check out the west and east MacDonnell Ranges as these are some stunning land formations that include gorges, canyons and gaps as well as places to swim
  • Stretch your legs at the Devils Marbles


    Devils Marbles

  • Take a rest and stop at Daly Waters on your way for a fun night in the outback pub there, they have an adjacent campground
  • Further north you’ll be able to take a long hot soak and relax at Mataranka Thermals Springs. There are two separate springs there, both are free and both are worthwhile visiting
  • Take an interesting twist and stop over at Mt Bundy Station in Adelaide River where you can experience a working cattle station that also has heaps of WWII paraphernalia left over from the war
  • Before heading into the big smoke of Darwin you should also check out the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park and also Litchfield National Park (one of our fav’s!) – both worth the visit and quite different from each other

Florence Falls at Litchfield NP

This route really has so much diversity to offer and although it may be the least commercial route, it has so much to offer and it’s definitely worth experiencing the Red Centre and the magic it has to offer!

We have outlined more in-depth details of this route in our Travel Routes section of our website. We are also running an Escorted Motorhome Tour Adelaide to Darwin in 2017 so click here to find out more if you are interested.

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