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Northern Territory selfdrive tourist guide
National Park, Katherine
Gorge, Tropical Darwin
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.
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.
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
• 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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• Tropical Darwin in Australia
- Over 500 photo's and 150 pages of great free useful travel guide
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National Park in Australia - Over 300 photo's and 100 pages of great
free useful travel guide tourist information
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