The Northern Territory is top of the list for many when it comes to Australian road trips.
Whether you’re travelling by campervan, or flying in to Darwin or Alice Springs, there’s only one way to explore the expansive countryside: by car.
Here’s one, two and three week Northern Territory itineraries to whet your appetite for adventure.
One Week Itineraries
Do you have 5 to 7 days to spend driving the Northern Territory? Start here:
Red Centre National Parks Tour
Day One – Alice Springs
We recommend starting from Alice Springs. Fly in, pick up a car and drive to your hotel. Spend your first afternoon on an Alice Springs town tour which typically includes a visit to the historic Telegraph Station, Royal Flying Doctor Service, School of the Air, the Alice Springs Reptile Centre and panoramic views from Anzac Hill.
Day Two – West MacDonnell Ranges – Alice Springs Desert Park
Travel to and through the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges. Visit Simpsons Gap, Standley Chasm, Ormiston Gorge for swimming and (our tip: a picnic lunch). Save to time in the afternoon to spend at the Alice Springs Desert Park.
Day Three – 3 Palm Valley
Time to test your 4WD by travelling through rugged countryside to the historical township of Hermannsburg. Continue along the rocky and sandy course of the Finke River into Palm Valley where you will see a unique desert oasis.
Day Four – Uluru- The Olgas
Travelling south, stop at a camel farm and later view Mt. Conner before arriving at Ayers Rock Resort. Afternoon visit to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) before witnessing sunset over Uluru (plan ahead and pack yourself a nice bottle of wine.
Recommended Accommodation: Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort.
Day Five- Uluru – Kings Canyon
Early start for those who wish to view sunrise over Uluru. Note: It is no longer possible to climb Uluru. After exploring the base, stop at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre.
Day Six – Kings Canyon – Alice Springs
The rocky climb to the rim of the canyon is for the energetic. Alternatively, you may wish to explore the boulder-strewn Canyon floor. Return to Alice Springs in the early evening.
Day Seven – Aboriginal Cultural Experience
Why not join the local Aboriginal people for an entertaining and educational experience.
Alice Springs to Darwin Itinerary
There is a lot of scope for tailoring your trip to your interests. So here’s a hit list of the most popular attractions between Alice Springs and Darwin.
- the Olgas
- Kings Canyon
- Alice Springs
- Tennant Creek
- Devils Marbles
- Daly Waters
- Mataranka Thermal Springs
- Katherine Gorge
- Fogg Dam
- Mary River Wetlands
- Crocs & Wildlife
- Ubirr Rock
- Jim Jim & Twin Falls
Suggested itinerary: Explore Kakadu for 2 days then take in all the highlights in between Alice Springs and Darwin in a further 3 days. Finally explore the Red Centre, Uluru, the Olgas and Kings Canyon in 2 days.
Two Week Northern Territory Itineraries
This is a great itinerary for a complete Northern Territory experience:
Melbourne to Darwin Drive Itinerary
Day One – Melbourne
Day Two – Riverina
Today continue across the open farmland plains to Renmark.
Day Three – Barossa Valley
This morning travel through the Barossa Valley. This afternoon explore Adelaide.
Day Four – Flinders Ranges
Today journey through the Flinders Ranges National Park to Wilpena Pound.
Day Five- Wilpena Pound
After a walk around Wilpena Pound, travel north through Leigh Creek and Lyndhurst.
Day Six – Coober Pedy
Travel along the Oodnadatta Track to Coober Pedy. See how the locals live underground, inspect a mine and browse through opal displays.
Accommodation idea: Sleep underground in a dugout.
Day Seven – Uluru
Travel to Uluru. Tip: enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles as we watch the sunset over Uluru.
Day Eight – Uluru – Olgas
Climbing to the summit is no longer permitted but consider taking a guided walk around the base. Visit the dome shaped Kata Tjuta (the Olgas).
Day Nine- Kings Canyon
Travel to Kings Canyon and climb the rim for spectacular views.
Day Ten – West MacDonnell Ranges
Today visit Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm.
Day Eleven – Alice Springs
Explore the unique remote town of Alice Springs.
Day Twelve – Devils Marbles
Enjoy a short town tour of Alice Springs and explore the Devils Marbles, before arriving in the gold mining town of Tennant Creek.
Day Thirteen- Katherine
Today travel to Katherine. Why not try alternative accommodation: set up camp at a Northern Territory Homestead.
Day Fourteen – Kakadu National Park
This morning cruise on the magnificent waters of Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge). This afternoon travel to Cooinda.
Day Fifteen – Yellow Water Cruise
This morning enjoy a cruise on Yellow Water Billabong. Visit Jabiru and the Bowali Visitor Centre. Travel to Ubirr to see Aboriginal rock art.
Day Sixteen – Depart Darwin
Enjoy sunny Darwin!
Three Week Itinerary
This itinerary is great for those who want to experience the more “untouched” areas in the country.
Day One – Alice Springs
Fly into Alice Springs. Before leaving town, take a guided tour visiting the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, and take in the panoramic view of Alice Springs from Anzac Hill.
Day Two – Tanami Track
Traverse the ever changing scenery of the Tanami Desert. Pass The Granites and Rabbit Flat, Australia’s most remote roadhouse. Then camp under the star filled skies.
Day Three – Wolfe Creek – Old Halls Creek
Cross into Western Australia, visit Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater and see the remnants of Old Halls Creek.
Day Four – Fitzroy Crossing
Today the red rock formations of the Kimberley become apparent as you journey to Fitzroy River where you can cruise through Geikie Gorge.
Day Five- Broome
Continue westward to the historic pearling port of Broome. Try to jump in on a free walking tour to introduce you to this cosmopolitan seaport.
Day Six – Broome
Enjoy Brrome and make sure to end the day at famous Cable Beach to watch a breathtaking sunset.
Day Seven – Derby
Travel to Derby to see the Boab Prison Tree, then deep into the Kimberley. Inspect the unusual formation at Tunnel Creek (conditions permitting) where a stream flows through a natural subterranean passage in the Napier Range.
Day Eight – Kimberley Gorges
Enjoy an early morning walk along impressive Windjana Gorge. Crossing the Leopold Range travel along the Gibb River Road. Explore a gorge, with time for a refreshing swim.
Day Nine- Kununurra
Observe the magnificent scenery of the Cockburn Ranges as you traverse Home Valley Station. Reach Kununurra, centre of the Ord River Irrigation System and East Kimberley region.
Day Ten – Lake Argyle Cruise
Tour the Kununurra region and travel to Lake Argyle for a wildlife spotting cruise on this huge inland sea.
Day Eleven – Katherine
Cross the border into the Northern Territory to Katherine. In the afternoon cruise through the magnificent Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge).
Day Twelve – Litchfield National Park – Darwin
Today travel through Litchfield National park and view waterfalls cascading off the Tabletop Range. Enjoy a tour of the points of interest in Darwin.
Day Thirteen- Darwin
Spend a more relaxing day enjoying the sights of this unique city. In the evening enjoy the excitement and atmosphere of the renowned Mindal Beach Sunset Markets.
Day Fourteen – Kakadu – Rock Art
Travel to Kakadu National Park. Visit the Bowali Visitor Centre and journey to Ubirr to view ancient Aboriginal rock art. A walk to the top of this rocky outcrop will bring rewarding views. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon cruise on Yellow Water Billabong with an experienced local guide.
Day Fifteen – Mataranka
Travel via Pine Creek to Mataranka. There is time for a swim in the renowned thermal pools set amidst lush tropical rainforest.
Day Sixteen – Tennant Creek
Journey through Daly Waters, see the John Flynn Memorial at Three Ways and then travel on to Tennant Creek.
Day Seventeen – Devils Marbles – Alice Springs
Explore the giant granite boulders known as the Devils Marbles. Spend the afternoon enjoying the desert town of Alice Springs.
Day Eighteen- Kings Canyon
Travel out to Kings Canyon and climb the canyon rim.
Day Nineteen – The Olgas
Travel to Uluru, visit the dome-shaped Olgas. Make sure to pack a bottle of vino and nibbles to watch the changing colours of Uluru at sunset.
Day Twenty – Uluru
Do take a guided walk with locals to the caves and waterholes at the base of Uluru.
Northern Territory Packing Guide
Bring: Sturdy walking shoes, Casual clothes, Warm clothing for night, Wet weather gear, Swimming gear, Towel & toiletries, Hat & sunscreen, Insect repellent, Camera & film, Water bottle, Sleeping bag (can be hired), Pillow, Torch.