A motorhome rental selfdrive 7 day Alice Springs to Darwin itinerary from Darwin in Northern Territory Australia

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    Northern Territory selfdrive tourist guide
    Kakdau National Park, Litchfield National Park, Katherine Gorge, Tropical Darwin City

    7 Day Selfdrive Route from Alice Springs to Darwin

    Access: 2 Wheel Drive on sealed roads access
    Start: From Alice Springs
    Finish: To Darwin in Northern Territory Australia
    Total Distance: 1639 kms
    Highlights: West MacDonnell Ranges, Aboriginal Art & Culture Centre, Alice Springs, Devil’s Marbles ancient rock formations, Mataranka Hot Springs, Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park.

    Day 1: Alice Springs

    Alice Springs has plenty of interesting Outback history. Include a visit to the historic Old Telegraph Station, the Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre (daily tours), the Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre, and other historic buildings; or for the more adventurous, take a ride on a camel. Just west of Alice Springs detour to explore the stunning landscapes and magnificent gorges of the surrounding McDonnell Ranges, including Simpsons Gap and Angkerle (Standley Chasm).

    Day 2: Alice Springs to Tennant Creek

    Travelling north from Alice, you have several hours of driving (approx 400 kms) to the Devils Marbles. Head off early. The Devils Marbles have been formed over millions of years, a great spot for photos. After departing the Devils Marbles continue on to Tennant Creek, the modern outback gold mining town, where you stay the night. Tennant Creek has a very strong Aboriginal heritage, and you can learn about the culture from murals around the town, by visiting the Aboriginal art gallery or watch the locals as they create their paintings and objects. More information on the local area is available at the Information Centre. Local attractions include the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre and Battery Hill Mining Centre.

    Daly Waters Pub in Northern Territory  south of Darwin

    Day 3: Tennant Creek to Mataranka

    A big day of driving is ahead to Mataranka, so it is recommended to get on the road early. Make a short stop, lunch and refuel at Hi-Way Inn (proper roadhouse) lunch at Daly Waters Pub about 5km has limited fuel options, but is worth a stop for lunch and to check out it’s history.

    Day 4: Mataranka to Katherine

    The best feature of Mataranka, is the Mataranka Hot Springs. This incredible sight is a crystal clear pool that maintains a continuous temperature of 34 degrees Celsius and bubbles from an underground spring at a stunning rate of around 30.5 million litres each day to feed the rivulet and water holes. Head off just before lunch to Katherine (approx 112 kms). Enjoy the afternoon in Katherine or the nearby Nitmiluk National Park.

    Nitmiluk National Park in Northern Territory 3.5 hours south of Darwin

    Day 5: Katherine

    The most significant tourist attraction near Katherine is the 180,000 hectare Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park, located 32 kms northeast of Katherine. The Katherine Gorge is actually made up of 13 separate gorges. The park offers a range of activities, so you can spend the day swimming, bushwalking, boating canoeing, helicopter joy flights etc.

    Day 6: Katherine to Litchfield National Park

    Head off early to travel the approximate 200 kms to the Township of Adelaide River. Take some time to visit the beautifully maintained World War II cemetery in a peaceful location by the banks of the river. 434 servicemen and 54 civilians killed during the Japanese air raids on Darwin are buried here. The Adelaide River itself flows north and reaches the Timor Sea approximately 50 kilometres north-east of Darwin. It is best known for its large population of saltwater crocodiles that are the focus for cruises on the river. (The Jumping Crocodile Adelaide River Queen Cruise departs from Adelaide River Bridge on the Arnhem Highway via Humpty Doo). Continue north and take the left-turn to Litchfield National Park, just west off the highway. Litchfield is popular for spectacular waterfalls, intriguing ‘magnetic’ termite mounds and beautiful pools for year-round swimming. Camp the night in the National Park or stay nearby in the township of Batchelor.

    Day 7: Litchfield National Park to Darwin

    Enjoy the morning in Litchfield National Park before the final drive to Darwin. On the way, don’t miss the Territory Wildlife Park, where you can see native fauna, a nocturnal house, aquarium and huge walk-through aviary.

    Also worth a visit is the Berry Springs Nature Park. Both are located just west of the highway as you head towards Darwin, your final destination and capital of Northern Territory.

    • Fatigue causes many crashes in Australia.
    • When driving long distances, stop and rest every 1-2 hours.
    • Try to have someone sit beside you to keep you company driving as our NT roads can be long and straight.
    • Alcohol and driving don’t mix.
    • For experienced drivers the blood alcohol level is 0.05.
    • Provisional drivers and young drivers may not have any alcohol before driving.
    • Seat belts and child restraints must be worn by all vehicle occupants.
    • Always carry a copy of your driver’s license in English.

    • Take plenty of water on all Outback trips;
    • check distances and driving conditions;
    • and ensure you have adequate petrol at all times.
    • Remember, rule ‘Number 1’ in the Outback: if your car breaks down you MUST stay with your vehicle for safety reasons.
    • Don’t drive after dark.
    • Parks & Wildlife Commission Northern Territory provides information on camping, National Parks, and permits.
    • Ensure you are informed re the safety of swimming in the ‘Top End’ – many areas are not safe to swim due to crocodiles.
    • Call +61 (0) 8 8999 4401 for information.

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    Minimum rental is 5 days return or 7 days minimum one way.

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