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Ultimate Northern Territory Campervan Itinerary

The Northern Territory is full of natural wonders, rich culture, and stunning views, making it an iconic Australian road trip destination. Here you can immerse yourself in the sprawling wetlands of Kakadu, swim in the natural water holes of Litchfield, explore the red arid outback, and everything in between.

While some of the Northern Territory does require a four-wheel-drive, there is still plenty to explore while travelling in a van. That is why we have created this ultimate Northern Territory campervan itinerary so that you can see all the very best that the Northern Territory has to offer - without a 4WD.

This campervan-friendly itinerary traverses 3091 km of sealed roads from Alice Springs to Darwin. Spend your days navigating your way through the Red Centre, experiencing the magic of Uluru, to the waterholes of the MacDonnell Ranges, into the monsoonal forests of Kakadu and Litchfield National Park, and finishing in the top end city of Darwin. With so much to see and do, it is bound to be a trip to remember.

Travel

11 days


Route

Alice Springs to Darwin

3901km


Best Time of the Year

May to September

Highlights

  • Uluru
  • Alice Springs
  • Darwin
  • Kings Canyon
  • Hot springs
  • Litchfield National Park
Ultimate Northern Territory Campervan Itinerary

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Day 1
Alice Springs to Uluru

Distance 468km - Driving Time 5 hours

Pick up your campervan from Mighty Alice Springs and begin the drive south - but not before taking a detour to James Ranges Camels. Here you can enjoy a leisurely ride around the base of James Ranges by camel, enjoy the wildlife, and finish with a homemade meal at the Hoosh Cafe.

As you continue along the Lasseter Highway towards Uluru/Ayers Rock, you will see a 300-metre high monolith that many mistake for Uluru. This is Mount Conner - the Uluru look-alike. While a disappointment to many, Mount Conner Lookout is a great place to stretch your legs on this long drive to see the sacred monolith.

Once you arrive at Yulara, there is no missing Uluru/Ayers Rock. Standing at 348 metres above the surrounding plain, it is higher than the Eiffel Tower and a sight to behold from any vantage point. Choose between driving in and enjoying a self-guided walk around the base or from one of the many tour options. Some of the top tours include exploring by camel, segwaying around the base, and taking a scenic flight, but there is really nothing beating a self-drive tour to explore the magic of this park.

Return to Yulara to stay the night at Ayers Rock Resort. Hook up to a powered camping site or pitch a tent under the native desert oaks. Treat yourself to the full amenities on-site to cook up a campervan meal, or hop on the complimentary shuttle bus to access the resort's restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries.

Day 2
Uluru to Kings Canyon

Distance 326km - Driving Time 5 hours

Drive three hours north towards Watarrka National Park, spend the day exploring Kings Canyon with its majestic 300-metre high sandstone walls, and the popular Rim Walk offering 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding red desert. After ascending the 500 steep stairs, follow the arrows to walk around the 6 km circuit as it traverses around the top edge of the sandstone cliffs and down into the valley where you can find the palm-filled crevices of the Garden of Eden. This walk can take up to four hours, so start early before temperatures rise.

If you’re after a one-of-a-kind experience, join an Aboriginal Cultural Tour where you can learn about bush tucker and bush medicines used for spiritual and healing purposes. And if you’re looking to get off the beaten track, then head back and explore Kathleen Springs. Park up for the night at Kings Canyon Resort and enjoy the backdrop of rugged outback scenery.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 3
Kings Canyon to Gemtree

Distance 460km - Driving Time 5 hours 14 minutes

Driving back towards Alice Springs via Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park, plan a stop to appreciate the scenic beauty of the desert waterholes such as Ellery Creek, Ormiston Gorge, and Redbank Gorge. If you have more time in the area, there are several bushwalks that give a greater look into this ancient landscape revered by the local Aranda people.

As you pass through Alice Springs again, take a detour to explore Alice Springs Desert Park. Built around the surrounding desert, the Desert Park is an amazing place to come see all the flora and fauna that thrive in these desert conditions.

Drive the final stretch towards Gemtree; the home of Australia’s central gemfields and Australia’s most northerly vineyard. Grab a camping spot at the spacious Gemtree Caravan Roadhouse and Caravan Park and enjoy a restful night under the outback stars.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 4
Gemtree to Tennant Creek

Distance 510km - Driving Time 5 hours 36 minutes

Start the morning by trying your luck fossicking for red garnets on a fossicking tour. When you have rummaged to your heart's content, it's time to jump back on the Stuart Highway northbound. Love a good alien abduction story? Don’t miss a stop at Wycliff Well Roadhouse. Here you can stretch your legs while you learn all about this Australian ’Area-51’ from the newspaper clipping wall detailing the extraterrestrial history of this region.

A little further north, stop to check out the sacred and beautiful Karlu Karlu/Devil’s Marbles conservation reserve. Walk amongst these ancient granite boulders and learn about how these huge boulders came to be balanced along this wide-sweeping valley before driving the final stretch to Tennant Creek.

A stop at Tennant Creek wouldn’t be complete without an underground tour at the Battery Hill Mining Centre. Uncover the history and science of this era while exploring underground before making camp for the night at Tennant Creek Caravan Park.

Day 5
Tennant Creek to Elliott

Distance 254km - Driving Time 2 hours 38 minutes

Elliot is the official halfway point between Darwin and Alice Springs and is the perfect middle point to take advantage of this slower day to rest, recoup and recharge your batteries.

On this meandering day, take a walk back in time and visit Jones Store; an old building constructed of corrugated iron, bamboo, and earth, which is one of the oldest surviving structures in the former stock route junction town. Settle in for the afternoon at a caravan site at Midland Caravan Park - best booked by calling 08 8969 2037.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 6
Elliott to Borroloola

Distance 528km - Driving Time 6 hours 56 minutes

This is the biggest day of driving on the trip so have your music downloaded and your road trip snacks handy. Taking a detour off the Stuart Highway, head east to the gateway to the Gulf region; the remote fishing community of Borroloola. On the way, take in the views including a stop at Bullwaddy Conservation Reserve where you can try and spot some of the locals including a spectacled hare-wallaby and a bush stone-curlew.

Once you arrive, make your way to Limmen National Park where you can enjoy bird watching or take a dip at Butterfly Falls to cool off. If you’re chasing the barramundi that this region is famous for, cast a line and try your luck at grabbing dinner that you can cook up as the sunsets over the Gulf. Stay the night at Borooloola McArthur River Caravan Park.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 7
Borroloola to Daly Waters

Distance 390km - Driving Time 5 hours 37 minutes

On the return journey back to Daly Waters, plan a stop to stretch your legs at Caranbirini Conservation Reserve, where you can choose from three walks that wind their way through clusters of weathered sandstone pillars (some as high as 25 metres!).

When you arrive in Daly Waters, head to Daly Waters Aviation Complex to learn about the town's aviation history before parking up for the night at The Daly Waters Pub. Soak up the atmosphere of this iconic outback pub by treating yourself to a meal. It's bound to be a meal to remember with a menu spanning everything from once-in-a-lifetime crocodile slider to traditional chicken schnitzel.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 8
Daly Waters to Katherine

Wake up early and drive to Mataranka Thermal Pool for an early morning soak in the palm-fringed natural hot springs before continuing another hour north to Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park. Here you can take a tour to delve 15 metres beneath the surface to discover these amazing limestone caves.

When in Katherine, fasten your lifejacket and canoe between the dramatic cliffs on either side of the Katherine River at Nitmiluk Gorge. Then grab a spot at the boutique Boab Caravan Park located on the doorstep of the national park to unwind amongst the lush landscaped gardens.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 9
Katherine to Kakadu

Distance 305km - Driving Time 3 hours 7 minutes

Start the day with a drive north to the iconic and ancient landscape of Kakadu National Park. The first stop is at the monsoonal Maguk Waterfall, where a short hike through this monsoonal forest delivers you to a pristine natural pool. When in Kakadu, do not miss the Ubirr walk - one of Kakadu National Park’s most famous Aboriginal rock art galleries.

Set up camp for the night at the Aurora Kakadu Lodge and enjoy the landscaped tropical gardens and poolside bar and bistro in this rugged, remote centre of Kakadu National Park.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 10
Kakadu to Litchfield National Park

Distance 230km - Driving Time 3 hours

Driving west towards Litchfield National Park, join one of four Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruises that run each day, bringing you close and not-so-personal with Australia’s largest and most fierce reptile. As you carry on west, be sure to plan a stop at Batchelor Museum to see the exhibits outlining the evolution and history of these ‘Top End’ lands.

Once in Litchfield National Park, there is plenty to do. This park is home to stunning waterfalls, swimming holes, and scenic nature walks. Stay the night at the Litchfield Tourist Park and fall asleep to the sound of the native birds and wildlife that make their home in the Upper Finnis River flowing through the park.

Tourism NT Image Gallery

Day 11
Litchfield Park to Darwin

Distance 154km - Driving Time 2 hours

Soak up the last of Litchfield’s tropical beauty with the challenging but rewarding Tjaetaba Falls/Greenant Creek Walk. Continuing the drive north, take a dip in Berry Springs Waterhole before driving the final stretch into Darwin City. Spend the afternoon exploring the many things to do in Darwin, including seeing crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove, sampling the food at Mindil Markets and exploring the heritage of Darwin Aviation Museum.

To end the last day of this bucket list Northern Territory campervan trip, sit back and enjoy a legendary Darwin sunset with a Darwin Harbour Cruise before dropping your campervan off at the Mighty Campers Darwin branch.

Ready to experience the Northern Territory?

There you have it - the ultimate road trip travel itinerary and travel tips for travelling through the Northern Territory, Australia. It’s important to consider that there isn’t mobile coverage throughout remote areas of the Northern Territory, although there should be phone reception in most towns and cities. Because of this, renting a satellite phone for your trip could be something to consider. It’s also worthwhile considering the Australian weather conditions and wildlife safety so that you can prepare what to bring on your campervan trip.

If you’re ready to rent a van to travel this rugged top end 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 Road Trip App. This road trip itinerary planner is great companion for planning your trip. On it you can find campgrounds, free campsites, Australian attractions, and more. Helping you to get the most out of all the incredible things that an Australian road trip has to offer.

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