Wet and wild is the Northern Territory summer

By Darwin / Northern Territory /

The NT is stunning all year round, yet when the wet season rolls in like clockwork every November, it adds a certain vibrancy to the landscape as floodplains fill and spill into surrounding waterways and the green foliage thickens and deepens in colour. Touring the Top End in your Darwin car rental in the green season also means you’ll be visiting out of peak, so your Territory trip-of-a-lifetime won’t break the budget as hotels and tour operators offer generous discounts.

If you’re ready for a cool change this summer, here are Tourism NT’s picks to whet your appetite for travel in the green season.


The tropical capital is treated to vivid sunsets, spectacular light shows and refreshing rains, which bring a cool change during the summer months. Darwin’s famous Sailing Club at Fannie Bay or the Darwin Waterfront are the perfect places to watch the show unfold.

A visit to modern-day Darwin is also a journey back through Australia’s war time history. East Point Reserve, just 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre, is home to a cool collection of artillery that’s housed in the original concrete bunker used by the army to plan the strategy for the wartime defense of Australia’s northern shores.

The Territory’s famous ‘build up’ and run-off from monsoonal rains also make for great fishing from January to mid–March and the Territory’s famous Million Dollar Fish competition provides a million extra incentives for anglers to stay, play and fish in and around the Top End.  For those that prefer to feed their fish rather than catch them, Aquascene offers a daily fish feeding experience in the heart of Darwin that’s perfect for families. Expect to see inquisitive mullet, milkfish, catfish, bream, batfish and barramundi coming in to feed. For more visit


The swell of wet-season waterfalls, like popular Wangi Falls, makes for epic Instagram-worthy images when taken from the lower viewing platforms at Litchfield National Park, just a short 90-minute drive from Darwin’s CBD.

While the 4WD tracks and some walking tracks close during the green season, most of the park remains open year-round as do the popular gin-coloured Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole.

If you’re heading to these parts, then a trip to the Tolmer plunge waterfall really showcases the power of Mother Nature and it’s easily accessible in green season.  A quick dip in the infinity pool at Greenant Creek offers unbelievable views from the escarpment and, if you are lucky, you’ll have the place to yourself during the wet. In fact, this spot is so good, that Litchfield Park Rangers rate it as one of small must-do experiences in life.

For those that love their camping, it’s also much easier to nab a great camping spot at this time of year and soak up the quiet.  Outdoor types can roll up your swags and join Territory Expeditions’ Three day Kakadu/Litchfield small group camping expedition every November to April.


Uluru aside, a visit to World Heritage-listed Kakadu is one of the most spiritual experiences a traveller can experience on home soil.

In the green season, a scenic flight is one of the best ways to fully appreciate this ancient and rugged landscape as water buffalo roam with free abandon, green spear trees reach their full height, billabongs swell and fill and waterfalls are in full-flow. Operators like Kakadu Air take in the park show-stoppers – Jim Jim and Twin Falls – the sight of which guarantees to make your cameras whir as fast as the helicopter’s rotors as the drama unfolds below.

On the ground, sealed roads make exploring a breeze and Nourlangie Rock (or Burrunggui as it is known to the Gun-djeihmi speakers) is one of the most impressive ancient galleries in Kakadu. This open-air gallery was the wet season home for generations of Aboriginal people and Park Rangers stress it’s important to look and not touch to preserve the site for future generations.

A cruise on Yellow Water – a lush, tropical billabong that’s home to wild buffalo, crocs, 120 species of reptiles and flocks of native birds (some 300 species in total) and all manner of flora – is a must-do on any Kakadu trip.  Kakadu Tourism offers a 90-minute trip through the wetlands – complete with expert commentary from super-enthusiastic guides and the occasional trumpeting of brolgas (which can be heard up to 2km away) – which brings visitors nose to snout with the region’s famous salties.

A range of discounted cruise options and accommodation packages are available during the green season including a Sunset and Sunrise cruise package, with overnight stay at Cooinda Lodge, or slip into safari life or embrace the emblem of the NT and stay in the park’s famous croc-shaped hotel, Mercure Crocodile Hotel.

For a touch of understated bush luxury, treat yourself to a night or two at Bamurru Plains lodge, perfectly plonked on a privately-owned buffalo station right on the fringes of Kakadu National Park. Surrounded by savannah woodland, you’ll wake to birdsong, feast on bush-inspired gourmet meals and fall asleep to the sounds of nature. The property is closed during the early months of the wet season (Nov to Feb), operates as an exclusive fishing lodge from February to April and reopens in May.


Stretching from Queensland to Western Australia, the Katherine Region is where the outback meets the tropics in a region that’s filled to the brim with dramatic gorges, river ways, thermal springs and waterfalls.

In country as beautiful as this, it’s always a good idea to take to the skies and soar over the Z-shaped lands to really appreciate the diversity, so make sure your camera is fully charged. No less than thirteen dramatic gorges dot the landscape and names like Biddlecombe Cascades, Crystal Falls and 17 Mile Falls roll off the tongue as you fly low along the escarpment towards Arnhem Land.


A little closer to terra firma, Nitmiluk Tours run their Nit Nit Dreaming Two Gorge Cultural Cruise through the lands of the Jawoyn people and continue during the green season until the water levels rise too high. For water babies, Mataranka Hot Springs and its neighbour, beautiful Bitter Springs, are located just a 50 minute drive south.

Immerse yourself in nature with a hike through the Nitmiluk National Park to the Southern Rockhole – one of the few places where you can swim in park during the wet season. The walk is more hike than stroll as you clamber over the rocky escarpment so BYO good walking shoes. And, at day’s end, retire to your Safari Tent in the National Park campground, complete with resident wallabies and a side of fresh NT air.

Some call it the green season; we just call it a summer well spent in the NT.

SCOTT PODMORE (with Tourism NT)


Party time in the Northern Territory over winter months

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

COOLER temperature and the dry season up north usually means there’s a party going on in the Northern Territory, so jump in your Darwin car rental or Alice Springs car hire and get ready to enjoy one of these great events. Tourism Northern Territory gives us the heads up for coming months:

Beer Can Regatta (Darwin), July 9

See boats built of beer cans, plastic soft drink bottles and cartons put to the test! Get involved in some of the silly competitions that take place at this unique Top End festival. Thousands gather for this annual Darwin family event on Mindil Beach, taking full advantage of the balmy dry season weather in the Northern Territory.

Apex Camel Cup (Alice Springs), July 15

The quirky, annual Apex Camel Cup attracts visitors to Alice Springs from all over the world. While camels may have a reputation as dedicated ‘ships of the desert’, these magnificent beasts are certainly not short on personality. Entertainment is assured, with nine unique races scheduled around the dusty outback track throughout the day for what is a Northern Territory classic!

Darwin Festival (Darwin), August 10-27

Darwin Festival combines the local love of outdoor community festivities and dining with a program of Australian and international performances and exhibitions. Festival goers can be seen for 18 nights each August at the long communal tables in the festooned Festival Park eating Darwin’s legendary Asian food and arguing about who has seen the most shows.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (Darwin), August 11-13

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is back! Affectionately known as DAAF, it provides an amazing and genuine opportunity for arts industry buyers, and art and design aficionados, to purchase art directly from Indigenous owned and incorporated Art Centres. The Fair showcases the work of emerging and established artists. It  also provides a space for visitors to meet them and learn from the variety of different cultural groups across Australia.

Henley on Todd Regatta (Alice Springs), August 19

The Henley on Todd Regatta is one of the most iconic events in the Australian outback. It’s a boat race – without any sign of water! It’s an action packed day where teams and individuals race ‘boats’ in the dry bed of the Todd River including bottomless ‘eights’, ‘Oxford tubs’, ‘rowing 8’s’ and ‘yachts’ through the deep coarse sand.

Find more information visit


Kakadu Mahbilil Festival for Indigenous music, arts and bushfoods

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

HEADING for an adventure in the Kakadu National State Park is awesome for all sorts of reasons but none more so than the upcoming Kakadu Mahbilil Festival September 5 celebrating the best in Indigenous music, arts and bushfoods.
Staged at Jabiru Lakeside Park, Mahbilil offers a program of local and national live music, traditional dance, performance and circus, bushtucker demonstrations, cooking competitions, sports carnival, workshops and lots of markets to feed the mind and body.  With activities and entertainment aimed at children, teens and the older folks, there is something for everyone.
Jabiru is the gateway to Kakadu and offers a wide range of accommodation including one of the world’s most distinctive hotels, the Crocodile Hotel (shaped like a crocodile). Jabiru is a unique cross-cultural crossroads and provides easy access for visitors to Kakadu’s major attractions such as Ubirr, Nourlangie, Jim Jim and Twin Falls, Gunlom and Yellow Waters Billabong.
Weather at the time of the festival is expected to be perfect: mild nights and dry, sunny days with temperatures around 30C.
“We invite everyone to come to Mahbilil to share in Mirarr culture and enjoy this beautiful Gurrung season in Kakadu,” said Gundjeihmi chairwoman Annie Ngalmirama. “Every year Mahbilil brings us together to celebrate, and we welcome everyone to join us, to dance, to try some bush tucker and have fun!”
There will be a wide selection of Aboriginal bands from across the Top End with hand-picked acts from Darwin and around the country.  Expect everything from folk through to roots and blues and even some rocking reggae and hip hop in the later hours.
One of the highlights of the festival for many is the local dance program with the Jabiru Bininj Gunborrk dancers set to light up the dance ground once again.
Workshops will include traditional arts and craft such as spear-making, grass weaving and local storytelling.
Authentic bush food will be available throughout the day, cooked both on the coals and in a traditional ground-oven.

Don’t forget to snap up a great deal on car hire with the DriveNow gang.
Mahbilil Festival Accommodation Package
Mercure Crocodile Kakadu Hotel in Jabiru is offering a special package allowing visitors to enjoy a full taste of Kakadu, including a spectacular Yellow Water Cruise. The Mahbilil Festival Package includes overnight accommodation at the Crocodile Hotel, breakfast for up to 2 people and a daytime Yellow Water Cruise. The package is available for $280 per night, and is available during the Mahbilil Festival weekend (September 4-6). Conditions apply, subject to availability. Reservations: (08) 8979 9000 or – refer to ‘Mahbilil Festival Package’
Mahbilil Festival –
Information about Kakadu, the Crocodile Hotel & Yellow Water Cruises –



Go retro with these 4 Australian drive in venues to catch a movie under the stars

By Australia / Darwin / Melbourne / Perth / Sydney /

GOING to the local cinema always guarantees a good night out, but nothing compares to the nostalgic charm of jumping in a car with your partner, or the family, and watching a movie at the drive in theatre. Whether you’re with your partner, friends or family, everybody loves a night under the stars. It’s an old-fashioned way to have some fun, but it’s a goodie.

1. Skyline Drive In

Blacktown, 38km west of Sydney CBD

When it comes to drive in movies Sydney does as well if not better than anyone with its only drive in featuring a 50s-in-America theme, perfect for anybody who wants to go back to the days of Elvis, Rock’n’Roll and puffy dresses for an evening out. The staff at the diner even bring you burgers and hotdogs in their ’50s style costumes. It’s serious retro fun at a Sydney drive in threatre that offers the lot!

2. Deckchair Cinema

13km south east of Darwin Airport

Watch a movie with a frog hopping at your feet, an owl gently hooting and the occasional bat flying across the projector’s beam. That’s just how the locals love it at Darwin’s famous Deckchair Cinema overlooking Darwin Harbour on Jervois road in Darwin. Open throughout the dry season, chairs and cushions are provided while a licensed bar offering beers, wines and other tasty treats.

3. Coburg Drive In

16km north of Melbourne CBD

For some good old-fashioned fun on a Saturday night, Melburnians head to the Coburg Drive In. Grab a bite to eat in the spectacular retro style diner, or if feeling a little self-indulgent, order your treats via SMS and have them delivered straight to your car.

4. Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema

Mundaring, 35km east of Perth CBD

This beautiful outdoor cinema is unlike any other in Australia. What makes Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema so special is that you’re in the forest – while watching your movies you have the stunning state forest as your backdrop. It’s also small in comparison to some of the other city drive ins, and there’s plenty of deckchairs and picnic tables to go around.

Car rental kings – DriveNow is the best answer for Australian car and campervan rentals.



Campervan Hire in the Top End – Travel Tips

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

If you are planning a campervan holiday in the Top End of the Northern Territory and exploring more remote locations, here are some tips from our experience on the road. Much of this applies to travel any way in remote Australia. If you have ideas and tips you’d like to share, please send them into


    • Walk round and thoroughly check your Campervan rental before you leave the branch. Take photos of any existing external scratches or damage. Check inside that everything is working. Your campervan supplier will be helpful and will work with you on this but photos are the easiest and clearest way to document and record


    • If your Campervan comes with a TV you may need to use the auto-tune feature when you move between locations to pick up digital signals. In the Top End these appeared to change between Darwin, Jabiru, Katherine and Batchelor


    • If your campervan has a toilet cartridge you will find sewage dump points close to most caravan parks


    • Whilst you’ll find Supermarkets in most locations stock up with food before leaving Darwin – cheaper and easier


    • Purchase multi-packs of water bottles and keep the Campervan’s fridge well stocked with them for daily excursions


    • Tap water at campgrounds may be unsuitable for drinking water – best to use your own


    • Fuel in the Top End is expensive – that is a fact. Top up whenever you can and expect to pay up to $0.40 more per litre in remote locations. Cheapest location we found was the BP in Katherine, cheaper than even Darwin


    • You’ll get mobile phone reception near most locations but on highways such as the central stretch of the Kakadu Highway between Jabiru and Pine Creek this will drop out


    • Avoid driving at night or sunrise and sunset when animals are at their most active and more likely to stray on the road


    • Never take your Campervan off sealed roads other than short distances (sub 5kms) to designated campervan parks. To do so will void all your insurance cover and make you liable for the cost of any damage. This rules out Jim Jim Falls and twin Falls.


    • Road Trains – for those new to Outback roads, Road Trains are trucks with multiple trailers up to 53 metres (174 feet) long and are a common site on Northern Territory highways


    • Observe the warning signs about not lingering around water holes or fishing – crocodiles may be present and you don’t want to become lunch



Travel the Top End Loop – Arnhem Land – Day 4

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

Arnhem Land and 20,000 year old Australians

Day 4 was spent on tour in Arnhem Land and for me this was the absolute stand out of our entire trip – if you can only book one tour in the top end – make it this one. You will not be disappointed in what was a memorable and an amazing experience.

The tour is organised by Lords Safaris (, one of only 3 operators permitted by the Land council to enter Arnhem land. Yes it is expensive at $810 for 2 adults and 2 children, however worth every cent. You experience that rare opportunity of exploring 20,000 year old Rock Art with a member of the Aboriginal clan that the art belongs to, and all in its raw natural environment. Not for the faint hearted as you’ll discover.

Collected at Kakadu Lodge by mini-bus, the 17 of us were driven out to Cahills Crossing to enter Arnhem Land. Access to Arnhem Land is restricted and managed by the Northern Land Council with limited permits issued each year – hence one reason for the higher tour costs.

Cahills Crossing is regularly featured on Australian News in January & February with great torrents of water during the wet season as someone is rescued from a stranded 4WD; for us the causeway was bone dry, with mud flats on one side, tidal water on the other and crocs evident on both. Only the foolish swim or enter the water here.

Our Arnhem Land tour started in the local Aboriginal community of Oenpelli where we met and saw at work the artists and weavers at the local Art centre and learnt more about the community and what it was like living in a remote location
(at least in our eyes) and being often cut off for weeks during the wet season and reliant on air transport for everything – including diesel for the local power station. Life here is not easy and this made the whole experience that bit more real and in some ways confronting.

Our guide, Roland, joined us as we took the short drive to the base of Injalak Hill, renowned for it’s rich rock art galleries, some of the best in Australia. Water Bottles, sunscreen and hats an absolute must.

We set off up the hill following a very rough path, really walking over stones and scree for 15 minutes before arriving at the first Art Gallery. No ropes, no steps carved into the hillside and no barriers, just the real thing.


Over the next 2 hours we were taken through more than 10 galleries of varying sizes and ages with Roland describing the use of 2 and then 4 colours in the art and the significance of each piece of work. The walks between galleries involved squeezing down narrow canyons, through rock cracks and along ledges all very safe for the sensible and averagely fit person but not for the infirm, under 5s or unsteady. Areas of the hill are burnt off to discourage goannas and snakes (nice to know) although you may see black kangaroos and wallabies on the hill – but given the temperature most sensible animals are likely tucked up in bed waiting nightfall.

These galleries are as current to their owning clan today as they were to the original artists 20,000 years ago and each year any art work that is exposed to runoff during the wet is carefully touched up and maintained. Whilst the oldest go back 20,000 years there is much younger art work including that painted after Contact – being the first time aboriginals came into contact with non-indigenous people, the first being Makassan Sea cucumber fisherman from Indonesia 500 years ago.

Just before lunch Roland took us through to a large ledge backing into a cave which historically was the burial area for the clan. This was a very spiritual place and the only part of the tour where photographs cannot be taken.

Lunch was 200 feet up on a wide deep ledge overlooking a plateau stretching across towards the Arafura Sea  and on our left an escarpment running down in parallel to the East Alligator River. A photographer’s heaven.

Following lunch we explored further galleries before heading back to the Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre in Oenpelli for the opportunity to purchase goods with all proceeds going straight back into the community. Pricing ranged from
$20 through to $3000+ for some of the larges pieces of Art although given these would fetch 4 or 5 times the cost in city galleries this was definitely the place to purchase if Aboriginal Art appeals (and they will post it home for you
as well). What was surprising was how expensive the Pandanus baskets and other weaved products were.

We headed home at 4.30 and by 5.40 were sitting in the Kakadu Lodge pool cooling off – great day and great way to finish. Next is Pine Creek, Katherine Gorge and Cutta Cutta Caves.

Nancy L

We travelled the Top End in a 6 berth Motorhome from Maui kicking off our trip in Darwin. More information and pricing on Maui and other top campervan companies in the Northern Territory can be found on the DriveNow Darwin campervan hire page or contact Reservations on 1300 547 214.


Travel the Top End Loop – Kakadu and a hissy Saltie – Day 3

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

Day 3 Darwin to Kakadu and Yellow Water

We collected our motorhome from the Maui depot on Bombing road in Winnellie (around $35 from the city). Allow 45 minutes for the staff to show you around the vehicle and explain how everything works. There’s DVD you can watch and we were also given a USB stick with the video. A team member will go over the vehicle with you to check for any existing scratches or damage and there’s no harm in using your phone camera to snap these just to be totally sure.

Now is also the last opportunity for you to take out any optional excess insurance reduction protection. Unlike car hire your travel insurance is unlikely to cover your excess liability and given you are travelling in the Northern Territory reducing this liability is a good idea. Ours cost $45 a day although we choose not to take the $99 separate rollover cover.

Next stop – the supermarket. There’s a Woolworths in Palmerston, or stick on the Stuart Highway and a little further south (22kms from Bombing road) you’ll find a Woolies on the right of the highway at Coolalinga – along with a Caltex – handy for topping up before returning the vehicle.

It is strongly (very) recommended to stock up on groceries and other essentials before leaving Darwin – you will find supermarkets elsewhere but these will be more expensive and in less populated areas be small with limited choice. However you will find that EFTPOS facilities are everywhere – there’s no need to carry larger than normal amounts of cash.

Road-Train-Northern-Territory Once fully provisioned including grog (last opportunity is in Humpty Doo just outside the park on Arnhem Highway) we headed for Kakadu, south on the Stuart Highway before turning left turn onto the Arnhem Highway. All very well sign posted to the point our TomTom was really redundant.The 255km drive into Jabiru takes around 3 hours from Darwin. Be aware of Road Trains – these operate across the Territory and can be up to 4 trailers and 50 metres long, impressive and very long trucks!

Kakadu Park charges a park fee of $25 per person valid for 14 days (children under 16 & NT residents are free). There’s no booth at the Park entrance to collect this, you can pre-purchase when collecting your campervan, online on the Federal Government’s site or purchase at shops within the park. It’s really a honour system – you can be fined if found to be without a pass.

Kakadu-Lodge-PoolOur first overnight destination was Kakadu Lodge in Jabiru. This proved to be an excellent choice (actually only choice in Jabiru!) and highly recommended. There’s plenty of space and powered sites with over 200 they have never had to turn anyone away even in the peak July period so there’s no need to book ahead (in fact they don’t take bookings for powered sites). There’s also unpowered sites, cabins and tent-cabins that can be hired as well.

Toilets and shower block we accessed were the best on our trip. Central Pool was an oasis for the kids and with a bar and bistro adjacent a great meeting place for evening meals and drinks.

Reception have a small shop and selection of tourist materials along with Tour booking services. This park was the best value in our opinion at $43 a night for a powered site and family of 4 along with the best facilities – a stand out.

The next day we headed 50kms south down the Kakadu Highway to Gagudju Lodge at Cooinda to jump on a cruise of the Yellow Water Billabong. $244 for the four of us. Cooinda also has a Caravan Park and is another great spot to stay. It’s also home to quite expensive fuel – 50 cents a litre more than major Australian cities! However given its remote location and their limited options in raising revenue it’s a bit more understandable – we topped up – in fact we topped up whenever we could.

This was an opportunity to see water wildlife and we were not disappointed. Plenty of salt water crocs which of course were headliners (never knew that they hiss as our youngest discovered) however the abundance of other animals including Buffalo, Whistling Ducks, Darters, Jabiru, Sea Eagles, Ibises, Spoonbills Brolgas and Magpie Geese to name but a few made this quite an amazing 2 hour trip. Something like 25% of all birdlife in Australia feature within Kakadu Park. Belinda, our guide, was terrific and seemed to have eyes in the back of her head in picking up animals that the 40 odd tourists managed to be oblivious to.yellow-water-crocodile
Nancy L


Travel the Top End Loop – Catch a Wave in Darwin – Day 1 & 2

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

A 10 day discovery of Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine and Litchfield Park by Campervan Hire with DriveNow.

FOR the September school holidays the choice was left to the kids, Darwin or New Zealand? – the selection fell the way of the warmer Northern Territory, and warmer it most definitely was with the coolest day hitting a mild 37.

Although a family of 4, we organised a 6 berth Platinum River motorhome through Maui which proved to be the perfect vehicle – plenty of room, easy to drive and came with everything we needed – shower, toilet, fridge, great cooker and no need to pack towels or bed linen. There’s even a TV and DVD player to keep the kids entertained and the air-conditioning made sleeping easy during the very warm nights.

The Team at the Maui branch in Winnellie, Darwin were terrific, explained the best insurance options for us, showed us right through the motorhome and even have a DVD to help you become familiar with the vehicle. All adding up to the perfect start.

You can find the latest rates and more details on this and other campervans on the DriveNow Darwin Campervan rental rate page.

Day 1 & 2 – Exploring Darwin

Our trip started with a slightly cramped late night Jetstar flight out of Melbourne (no star jumping in our little plane) on a Thursday evening depositing us 4 and half hours later into Darwin and into the Marrakai Luxury apartments on Smith Street at 2.15 in the morning. Shuteye time.

Whilst slightly dated our two bedroom apartment had everything we needed, was air-conditioned throughout and a great little pool downstairs that quickly became home from home for the kids.

Darwin is definitely a blend of old and new and always a city with a large transient population dominated by backpackers and more recently construction workers on the Ichthys Gas Project.

There’s plenty to do and explore in Darwin – for families your number one destination is the Darwin Waterfront precinct. This on-going development includes a huge Wave Pool that’ll keep everyone entertained for hours, a safe man-made beach and plenty of restaurants and shops. All within 5 minutes’ walk from the Smith street mall.
Other highlights include the array of markets; Mindi Beach Sunset market (Sun & Thur May-Oct), Nightcliff Village Sunday market, Parap Village Saturday market and the Rapid Creek Sunday Flea Market are all worth a visit if time permits. Feed a multitude at high tide with Aquascene’s Fish Feeding on Doctor’s Gully off Daly Street.

For history buffs there’s the Aviation Heritage Centre at Berrimah on the Stuart Highway with a B52 bomber, Spitfire and other aircraft as well as a dedicated display to the bombing of Darwin; the WWII underground Oil storage tunnels; and plenty of WWII airfields dotted right across the Top End.

For those looking for a unique cinema experience checkout the Deckchair Cinema on Jervois road in the Waterfront Precinct running nightly shows of a range of movies between April and November (chairs provided).

We spent two days exploring Darwin and felt this was probably under done by 1. An extra day would have given us the additional time to explore more markets and the museums as well as time to relax, unwind and chill-out by the pool. But time now to collect our camper and hit the road.
Nancy L


5 bizzare events Down Under for wacky road-trippers

By Australia / Darwin / Gold Coast / Northern Territory / Queensland /

AUSSIES are know to do some bizarre things, so much so that we have events that rival the most wacky and weird all around the planet. Surely that’s good enough reason to jump in an Australian car rental and hit the road for some crazy fun. We choose five to ponder.

1. Australia Day Dunny Race

We Aussies love a bit of toilet humour, so why not hold an event based on the humble Aussie dunny on Australia Day! This fun-filled occasion sees the road out front of the Sunshine Coast’s Ettamogah Pub turn into a thunderbox drag strip as contestants attempt to drag their dunny the fastest in a bid to claim the title of Dunny Race Champion of the World.


2. Parkes Elvis Festival

There is no shortage of these kind of events that pay homage to the King, but the one in Parkes come January every year is hard to top. From street parades to edible Elvis art and even a Miss Priscilla dinner, this event is definitely one to pack your blue suede shoes for and enjoy some talented tribute acts from January 7-11 2015.


3. Henley-On-Todd Regatta

One of the Northern Territory’s weirdest but most wonderful, essentially it’s all about a boat race, where teams of rowers run down a dry, sandy riverbed carrying a pretend boat. Ironically, the event is about 1500km away from any major body of water!


4. Tunarama

This fishy event celebrates the mighty tuna fish and Port Lincoln in South Australia hosts the Tuna Toss World Championships. It’s another one that is held on the Australia Day long weekend and is a hat tip to the tuna fishing industry, the mainstay of the town’s economy. The event held on January 23-26 2015 and also features fireworks, food and wine, and music.


5. Camel Cup (pictured)

With a reputation reaching “far beyond Northern Territory’s soil”, the Lasseters Camel Cup is a quirky event held on the second Saturday every July at its own arena at Blatherskite Park, a section of the Central Australian Show Society grounds. The family and fundraiser event is well known for its unpredictable and very entertaining camels as well as the crazy riders




Splash out at Howard Springs Big4 in the Top End

By Australia / Darwin / Northern Territory /

EVER wondered how you can beat the heat in the Northern Territory? Well there’s a few ways to “splash out” and cool off, and not many are better than the fun that can be had at a caravan park with a big interactive water play area.

The Top End of Australia is a tropical hot spot all right – hot for more reasons than one with temperatures averaging in the 30s all year round – but once you park your Darwin campervan rental or Darwin car rental at BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park just over 20km outside of the NT’s capital it won’t take long for the whole family to cool down in the venue’s brand new splash park. And there’s no crocodiles to worry about, either!

The first of its kind for BIG4 in the state, the zero-depth multi-level aquatic play area has interactive features to suit all ages. The new area incorporates a super-sized splash tipping bucket, spray cannons, water squirting frogs and play equipment to keep kids entertained and cool in the warmer weather. The splash park also has interactive ground sprays that are activated when a person stands on trigger spots and features a soft fall surface for safety.

Speaking of splashing out, it’s not the only new improvement at Howard Springs, either, as the park has installed four spa units, two three-bedroom cabins and a toilet block added in recent times and bringing the total cost of the park’s expansion to almost $3 million.

Viv Lavender, owner of BIG4 Howard Springs Holiday Park, says the past 12 months have been extremely busy and that’s largely thanks to their full range of family-friendly facilities. While it’s a destination in its own right, it’s also the ultimate launchpad from which to explore the Top End’s big attractions like Kakadu National Park.

“Our guests know they can expect a family-friendly holiday experience full of activities for adults and kids alike, including a huge jumping pillow, three salt water pools, three spas and now the new splash park,” Viv told DriveNow.

Visit for more info.



Big things in store on your next Australian road trip – Part III

By Australia / Darwin / Gold Coast / Hobart / Northern Territory / Queensland / Tasmania /

SO, you’ve hit Brisbane, picked up the keys to your campervan and thought, ‘wow, Queensland is big. Where do I start?’

Well, Nambour, 101kms north of Brisbane is the home of three “big’’ attractions, so that’s a good jot down for later. But to begin with take advantage of a few days on the Gold Coast, enjoy the fabulous holiday parks and check out the Big Golfball in Broadbeach and the Big Hard Rock Café guitar in Surfers Paradise during your stay.

When you are ready to head north again, the obvious attraction to see first in Nambour is the Big Pineapple. The heritage-listed prickly-topped attraction can still be seen and photographed, but don’t be surprised if it looks the worse for wear.  The 16 metre-high construction was originally opened in 1971 as part of a working farm, but fell into receivership a couple of years ago. The Big Cow, north of Nambour has also been on shaky ground, but is still worth milking for a photo. The Big Macadamia Nut, not far from the pineapple, stands 10 metres tall and five metres wide and is another sight you’d be nuts to miss.

If you have the time and the dedication to see all things big, other attractions in Queensland include: The Big Barrell, Bundaberg; the Big Barramundi, Daintree; The Big Brolga, Townsville; The Big Captain Cook, Cairns; the Big Dugong, Rockhampton; The Big Golden Gumboot, Tully; the Big Mango, Bowen, and The Big Mower in Beerwah.

If your travels take you as far as the Northern Territory, big things on the agenda include the Big Boxing Crocodile in Humpty Doo, the Big Stockwhip in Acacia and The Big Stubbie in Larrimah.

Even Tasmania, as the smallest state in Australia, has a few big deals. But the biggest advantage in visiting such a smaller area is that once you decide to hire either a car or campervan, you can see a lot in one day. Here are some beauties: The Big Apple in Spreyton, The Big Coffee Pot in Deloraine, the Big Penguin, suitably situated in Penguin, The Big Platypus in Latrobe, the Big Slide Rule at the University in Hobart, the Big Spud in Sassafras, the Big Tasmanian Devil in Mole Creek, and one to hit you for six – the Big Wickets in Westbury.

Have fun enjoying all those big adventures.