When all you want to do is get your boots dusty and your tyres muddy, the Northern Territory is the place to be.
Sprawling national parks, wondrous rock formations, and sacred Aboriginal sites are everywhere in the Territory… and the best way to see it all is to get behind the wheel and drive. Here are five trips you’ve gotta do.
1. Darwin to Litchfield – 116 km
A simple day trip that will reward you with the sandstone slopes, waterfalls, and rainforests of Litchfield National Park. Set out in a 4WD and you can even access the ‘Lost City’ – a collection of natural sandstone marvels that look like they were carved by humans (but they weren’t).
Where to stay: There are plenty of camping options available at Litchfield Tourist Park, as well as cabins for those who prefer ‘glamping’.
2. Darwin to Kakadu – 253 km
No Northern Territory getaway would be complete without a trip to Kakadu National Park to see the many wetlands and wildlife wonders on offer. You could do this drive in a day, but don’t – you’ll miss out on way too much. Potential stops along the way include the mango plantations of Humpty Doo, the Adelaide River jumping crocodile cruise, and plenty more scenic attractions to light up your Instagram.
Where to stay: The Mary River Wilderness Retreat has camping spots, safari tents, and bungalows, as well as a restaurant and two pools to relax by.
3. Berry Springs – 47 km
Looking for a short daytrip out of Darwin? This little hop will take you to Berry Springs Nature Park, where you can hike, swim, or check out the local flora and fauna.
Where to stay: Rydges Palmerston – Darwin on the south-east side of Darwin offers 4.5-star luxury close to Berry Springs.
4. Arnhem Way – 730 km
If you’ve come to the NT with your 4WD and fishing rods at the ready, this is the trip for you. This drive through East Arnhem Land to the Gove Peninsula will take you through woodlands and over rivers, with plenty of spots for fishing along the way. Just remember that you’ll need a permit to enter many Arnhem Land sites. Check the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation and East Arnhem Land websites for more info.
Where to stay: Walkabout Lodge in Nhulunbuy is a top place to rest your muddy boots when you’re tired of camping.
5. Red Centre Way – 700 km
It wouldn’t a trip to the NT if you didn’t make it to the heart of the Red Centre – Uluru. Sure, you could take one of the easy ways from Alice Springs (a 445km drive on a sealed highway or a 55min flight), but where’s the adventure in that? Instead, the Red Centre Way lets you explore the West MacDonnell Ranges, Gosses Bluff, Glen Helen Gorge, and Kings Canyon for truly unique bush experience.
Where to stay: Kick back and relax after a busy day of Kings Canyon bushwalking at Kings Canyon Resort.
Heads up! Due to COVID-19, government restrictions are in constant review and travel guidelines may change. We strongly recommend that all travellers seek further information about destinations and attractions before scheduling trips or making bookings, take extra care and follow all rules.