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Ultimate Darwin to Perth Road Trip Itinerary

Keen to experience the best of things to do in Australia’s Top End and west coast on a road trip through Northern Territory and Western Australia? There’s no better way than with a Darwin to Perth road trip.

Discover the rugged beauty of outback towns, explore biodiverse national parks, drive along sparkling coastlines and soak in the incredible views along the way on this 14 day ultimate Darwin to Perth road trip.

Things to do in Darwin before you hit the road  

Once you arrive in town, pick up your campervan at Mighty’s Darwin branch. Then let the adventures begin! Darwin is the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and is rich with Aboriginal culture, art galleries and natural beauty. Some of the best Darwin attractions include:

Before you begin the journey west, it is also worthwhile organising your Western Australia parks pass before you head out into areas with little to no reception. You can choose from 14 days for $40 or a month for $60, which will give you access to all WA parks for the duration of the pass.

Travel

14 days


Route

Darwin to Perth

3901km


Best Time of the Year

May to September

Highlights

  • Kakadu
  • Exmouth
  • Karijiini

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 1
Darwin to Katherine

Distance 317 km - Driving Time 3 hours

Making your way south, take a drive on the wild side through Kakadu National Park. Discover the beauty of this untouched landscape filled with indigenous culture, outdoor adventure, and spectacular monsoonal rainforest-covered waterholes.

Continue the drive south to Katherine to unwind at Katherine Hot Springs before cooking up a storm with the campsite facilities at the Katherine BIG4 Breeze Holiday Park for the evening.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 2
Katherine to Kununurra

Distance 514 km - Driving Time 5 hours

On this leg of the drive, you will leave the Northern Territory and enter Western Australia. Remember to clear your camper of any fresh produce as you won’t be able to cross with it. This rugged outback region is best known for its pink diamonds and is the gateway to the Kimberly region. On the way, be sure to:

Settle in for the night at Kimberleyland Waterfront Holiday Park and enjoy their on-site rare finch aviary, outdoor dining area, and live entertainment.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 3
Kununurra to Halls Creek

Distance 358 kmkm - Driving Time 3 hours 44 minutes

Drive south to visit Cathedral Gorge inside Purnululu National Park. This astonishing natural amphitheatre geological formation of red rock is one of many natural attractions within the park. Please note that these are located 52 kilometres into the national park along a four-wheel-drive track. Park at the entrance and get on an early tour so you can spend your day exploring.

If you’re looking for somewhere to rest for the night, grab one of the powered camping sites at Halls Creek Caravan Park.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 4
Halls Creek to Derby

Distance 546km - Driving Time 5 hours 33 minutes

You are well and truly in the outback now. On this long stretch between Halls Creek and Derby, soak up the last of these red dirt views and plan a stop off at the river crossing just before Fitzroy Crossing to see if you can spot a saltwater crocodile, and visit the over 1,500-year-old Boab Prison Tree.

If you time it right, watch the sunset from the Derby Jetty and try to catch a glimpse of the incredible tidal fluctuations (ranging up to 12 metres). Stay the night at Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 5
Derby to Broome

Distance 222km - Driving Time 2 hours 16 minutes

Drive the final stretch of these outback roads as you make your way to Broome, where the red dirt meets the vivid blue of the ocean. You could easily spend a day or two roaming around this scenic coastal town. Here are some of the best things to do in this Australian region:

If you time your trip right, be sure to check out the Staircase to the Moon. This natural phenomenon occurs when the full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay and gives the impression of a staircase leading to the moon. This happens 2-3 days a month between March and October.

Grab one of the powered camping sites at Broome Vacation Village and wash away the red dirt of the desert using all the on-site facilities.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 6
Broome to Eighty Mile Beach

Distance 376km - Driving Time 3 hours 55 minutes

Eighty Mile Beach is 220 km - making it the longest uninterrupted beach in Western Australia. This stunning coastline is where the Great Sandy Desert meets the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean. This is the perfect place to go beach fishing, bird watching and enjoy the magnificent sunsets.

Get in early and snag a million-dollar view waterfront property for the night at Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park - only 50 metres from the beach.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 7
Eighty Mile Beach to Port Hedland

Distance 251km - Driving Time 2 hours 42 minutes

Continuing south, spend the day exploring the dynamic town of Port Hedland. As the world’s largest bulk export port, it has a rich industrial area, but it is also a great spot for fishing, whale watching and turtle nesting. Here are some of the highlights of Port Hedland:

  • Learn about the town’s rich history by taking a tour of Port Hedland
  • Explore the tidal creeks of Pretty Pool. This is generally safe to swim in, but before you do, it’s worthwhile checking with the locals if there have been any recent crocodile sightings
  • Grab your camera and head to Redback Bridge Lookout to capture an incredible sunset

Then settle in for the night at Discovery Parks Port Hedland.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 8
Port Hedland to Karijini

Distance 336km - Driving Time 3 hour 39 minutes

Often referred to as Mother Nature’s adventure park, Karijini National Park is filled with natural springs, cascading waterfalls, hiking trails and cavernous gorges to explore. While many of the areas of this park are tucked away down corrugated unsealed roads, Fern Pool is easily accessible by campervan and has plenty to explore.

Stay at Karijini Eco Retreat, where you can treat yourself to an outback-style dinner at the on-site alfresco restaurant.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 9
Karijini to Exmouth

Distance 640km - Driving Time 7 hours 48 minutes

This is one of the longest drives of the trip, so get an early start. Better yet, if you have the time, it is worth splitting this up over a few days, so you have time to explore the spectacular scenery and underwater worlds awaiting in Exmouth.

Exmouth is a laid-back town where shoes are optional, and water sports are a way of life. As the northern gateway to the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, it is the perfect base to explore this coastal paradise. There are so many things to do in Australia’s coral coast, including:

Stay at RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park for the night.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 10
Exmouth to Coral Bay

Distance 153km - Driving Time 1 hour 34minutes

If you need additional supplies, stock up in Exmouth before driving down to Coral Bay. This sleepy little town comes alive in the busy season with plenty of tours and activities to check out, including:

Stay at Coral Bay Caravan Park for the night.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 11
Coral Bay to Monkey Mia

Distance 581 km - Driving Time 5 hours 49 minutes

Enjoy the rugged inland views as you make your way toward Shark Bay. Here you can see the world’s oldest ‘living fossils’, and visit Shell Beach - one of two beaches in the entire world made entirely of shells! Stay the night at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 12
Monkey Mia to Kalbarri

Distance 398km - Driving Time 3 hours 59 minutes

Wake up early and start your morning with a dolphin watching experience in Monkey Mia. Stand on the beach edge and watch resident wild dolphins up close as they come to shore for their daily feedings between 7:30-12 noon every day - just as they have done for the last 50 years.

Continuing the drive south, stop by Kalbarri National Park to brave the 100-metre-high Kalbarri Skywalk to see the panoramic views of Murchison Gorge. Then enjoy the short hike down to see the gorge through the iconic rocky portal of Natures Window. It can get hot so start early and bring plenty of water.

Stay at Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park for the night.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 13
Kalbarri to Cervantes

Distance 378km - Driving Time 4 hours 5 minutes

Take the scenic route south along the coastal road to see the vivid pink salt lake Hutt Lagoon. Australian pink salt lakes are such a unique experience and can make it feel like you have stepped onto another planet. Hutt Lagoon is one of only a few places to visit in Western Australia where you can see these pink lakes, so it is worth the detour! Once you’re finished, head south and enjoy a few of the highlights of this region:

Have a factory tour at the Lobster Shack and then enjoy a bite to eat Drive through Cervantes Pinnacles Desert and admire the unique landscape of limestone spires of all shapes and sizes jutting out from the desert floor

Park up for the evening at RAC Cervantes Holiday Park.

Tourism Western Australia Image Library

Day 14
Cervantes to Perth

Distance 199km - Driving Time 2 hours 19 minutes

Begin the day by driving the final stretch of this Darwin to Perth road trip. While Perth is relatively low-key compared to many Australian cities, prepare yourself for a little culture shock after 14 days in remote Western Australia and Northern Territory. Ease your way into the vibrance and pace of city life with some of Perth’s best places to visit:

Once you drop your campervan at the Mighty Perth branch, it’s time to head home.

Ready for your next Australian adventure?

And there you have it! The ultimate Darwin to Perth road trip. We have broken this trip up over 14 days, but if you have more time, then you will be able to explore more of the incredible natural Australian attractions between Darwin and Perth. If you are fully self-contained, you could also try a mix of holiday parks and free camping, as there are some great free camping sites available between Darwin and Perth for self-contained vehicles.

If you’re ready to rent a van to explore Australia’s top end and west coast for yourself, be sure to check out all our latest deals and book your Mighty camper today. If you’re looking for other ways to get the most out of your Australian road trip, then be sure to check out our blog and download the thl Roadtrip app.

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