Adelaide to Darwin by Rail and Road

Travel Australia from bottom to top with this 10 day extravaganza from Adelaide to Darwin taking in all the highlights of the Outback by train with the Ghan to Alice Springs and then to Darwin in a Campervan.

Download a PDF version - Adelaide to Darwin By Ghan & Campervan itinerary

Summary

  • Adelaide to Alice Springs on the Ghan
  • Alice Springs to Kata Tjuta
  • Kata Tjuta to Uluru
  • Uluru to Kings Canyon
  • Kings Canyon to Alice Springs
  • Alice Springs to Karlu Karlu (Devil's Marbles)
  • Karlu Karlu to Elliott
  • Elliot to Katherine
  • Kakadu to Litchfield
  • Litchfield to Darwin

Distance: 3011km



The Ghan

Day 1. Adelaide

Arriving in the city of churches and the region of wine, why not spend a day or two getting to know this charming city? A visit to the Adelaide Central Market is a must full of fresh produce and stores selling fun and quirky items. Then wander over to a traveller’s favourite, the Art Gallery of South Australia before choosing from an array of restaurants.

Day 2. Adelaide

Whilst in the superb region, make sure you join a winery tour or hire a car and journey out yourself. With the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale producing some of Australia’s best wines, it is sure to be a stunning day out.

Day 3. The Ghan Train Exploration

Departing Adelaide every Sunday and Wednesday at 12:15pm, The Ghan will have you in Alice Springs by 6:00pm the following evening. Whilst on board, you will be treated to luxurious cabins and tasty meals as you soar past the magnificent scenery that central South Australia has to offer.

The Middle Self-Driving Tour

Day 1. Alice Springs

Welcome to Alice Springs, the vibrant town in the middle of the Red Centre. Once you have collected your campervan, spend the rest of the day soaking up what this town has on offer. For the animal lovers, a visit to The Kangaroo Sanctuary or the Alice Springs Desert Park is a must! Or for those interested in the towns varied history, perhaps pay a trip to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve or the Alice Springs School of the Air Visitor Centre. Then settle in for an early night, ready for the next day’s adventures.

Stay: Big 4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park

Day 2. Kata Tjuta to Uluru

Rising early, begin your first journey of the day out to the stunning site of Kata Tjuta. Enjoy lunch before wandering through these ancient natural dome and rock formations. Now venture over to Uluru in time for sunset and watch how the rocks colours change before your eyes.

Distance: Alice Springs to Kata Tjuta 496km, 6 hours 30 minutes. Kata Tjuta to Uluru 53km, 1 hour.
Stay: Ayers Rock Campground

Day 3. Uluru to Kings Canyon

For another stunning perspective on the heart of our land, make sure that you wake early to watch the remarkable sunrise over the rock. If interested you could always join a guided walk around the base of the rock, enabling you to see up close and personal how much it means to the ancestors of the land. Leaving Uluru you can now being your trip over to Kings Canyon.

Distance: 321km, 4 hours 30 minutes
Stay: Kings Canyon Resort

Day 4. Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

Ready for another day of awe inspiring adventure, you had best make sure you have packed your walking shoes. Head out to the Rim Walk where you can peer down into the amphitheatre as you walk past the towering columns that make up the canyon. To cool off, enjoy a refreshing swim in the Garden of Eden and then make your way back to Alice Springs.

Distance: 322km, 5 hours 30 minutes
Stay: Big 4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park

Day 5. Alice Springs to Karlu Karlu (Devil’s Marbles)

A long day of driving ahead, but one that is most certainly worth it! Leaving Alice Springs you will make your way to the sacred site of Karlu Karlu. After lunch in the shade, continue driving up the Stuart Highway to the small roadside station of Elliott where you will spend the night trying to count the endless stars.

Distances: Alice Springs to Karlu Karlu 403km, 5 hours. Karlu Karlu to Elliott 406km, 4 hours 30 minutes
Stay: Midland Caravan Park

Day 6. Elliott to Katherine

After a morning drive into Katherine, make sure you join a cruise along Katherine Gorge located within the heart of Nitmiluk National Park. Here you will be able to soak up the natural beauty of the region, one incredibly different from the desert region you just left!

Distance: Elliott to Katherine 419km, 5 hours 30 minutes
Stay: Big 4 Katherine Holiday Park

Day 7. Katherine to Kakadu

Leaving the sleepy town of Katherine this morning, pop into Edith Falls for a relaxing swim in this massive clear water rock pool. To gain an exceptional view of the region, put on some walking shoes and take the walking trail to the top of the falls. At the top, you will be greeted with more crystal clear water. After a morning of swimming, head into Kakadu National Park.

Distance: Katherine to Edith Falls 61km, 1 hour. Edith Falls to Kakadu 231km, 3 hours.
Stay: Cooinda Lodge Yellow Waters

Day 8. Kakadu

Enjoy a well-deserved sleep in or rise early and join a Yellow Waters Cruise straight from your campsite. As you sail out onto the serene waters of the billabong you will spy birds flying high and crocodiles lazily sunning themselves on the banks. After (or before your cruise), journey to one of the world famous rock sites that the park is known for; Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock. Make sure you have your walking shoes on so that you can trek your way through the rocks as you see ancient rock art, untouched for thousands of years!

Distance: Cooinda to Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock, both approximately 1.5 hour drive.
Stay: Cooinda Lodge Yellow Waters

Day 9. Kakadu to Litchfield

Back out on the open highway, today you will make your way to a favourite of the locals; Litchfield National Park. As you enter the park, make sure you stop and check out the giant magnetic termite mounds, all with a north-south orientation. Then take your pick at which, if not all, stunning swimming holes you visit; Buley Rockholes, Wangi Falls or Florence Falls.

If swimming is not on the cards today, enjoy a rainforest walk through Green Ant Creek before heading back to a campsite along the way, or one in the region’s main town of Batchelor.

Distance: Cooinda to Litchfield National Park 359km, 5 hours.
Stay: Batchelor Holiday Park

Day 10. Litchfield to Darwin

Before finally journeying back into the Northern Territories capital of Darwin, make sure you stop by Berry Springs. Walking into the park will feel like you have just entered your own rainforest oasis. Pack a picnic lunch and lay under the shade of the tall trees, enjoying the cool morning.

Arriving back into Darwin, make sure you arrive on Thursday to Sunday allowing you to feast your eyes and your bellies at some of the markets; Mindil Beach Sunset Markets fall on a Thursday and Sunday night or Parap Market on a Saturday morning.

Distance: Batchelor to Berry Springs 61km, 1 hour. Berry Springs to Darwin 56km, 1 hour.
Stay: Hidden Valley Tourist Park

Day 11. Darwin

On the last day of your trip, explore the regions capital known for its laid back lifestyle. If you are in need of the sea side after your journey through the centre, head down to Casuarina Beach and marvel at the cliffs that wrap the shore. Then head down to the wharf for lunch or dinner, but get in early because tables fill up fast!



Disclaimer

DriveNow's suggested itineraries are made available to assist travellers create and build personalised journey plans. DriveNow does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of these itineraries and they are provided as is and as advisory only.

Special caution and planning should be taken when travelling in remote areas to ensure sufficient provisions, fuel and prescribed medicines are carried.

Weather conditions can make sealed roads impassable particularly during the northern Wet season. All rental vendors in Australia have restrictions on where their vehicles can be taken, therefore it is recommended that you consult with your vehicle provider on your intended journey when collecting your vehicle. Travelling where restrictions are imposed voids all insurance cover.

You acknowledge that any reliance on or use of any itinerary shall be at your sole risk.

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