Sunday, January 9, 2011

Darwin to Ayers Rock Road Trip in a Motorhome Rental

A motorhome rental road trip in Australia’s Northern Territory is an eye opening experience. View the unique landscapes of this area while driving across large expanses of land and road towards a final destination at Ayers Rock, the symbol of Australia and a World Heritage Site due to its living cultural significance for the Aboriginal people of the area. Along the way stop in national parks and quaint towns, visit thermal pools and mountain ranges, all the while taking part in any number of activities that may catch your fancy.

Uluru - Photo by dincsi, Creative Commons

Sunset at Darwin, Kok Leng Yeo, Creative Commons

Darwin to Kakadu: Day 1

our drive from Darwin, the laidback capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, to Kakadu is about 257 kilometres along the Arnhem Highway towards Jabiru. Along the way you may want to stop to sample a variety of activities from a river cruise on the Adelaide River (see if you can spot the famous jumping crocodiles!) to a trip to the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve. Kakadu National Park stretches out over 20,000 square kilometres and has been named a World Heritage Site for both its natural beauty and cultural value.

Kakadu to Katherine: Day 2

If you feel up to it you may want to get up a bit early before starting out on this 300 kilometre drive. If you like stop at Pine Creek, a town created during the gold rush, before making it to your final destination in Katherine. Once you arrive there are a few must-sees that you may want to add to your list including the fascinating Cutta Cutta Caves, Edith Falls and Katherine Gorge, not to mention the School of the Air.

Katherine to Tennant Creek: Day 3

Did yesterday’s drive feel long? Well, today’s drive will be even longer so make sure you’re well rested and alert before starting the approximately 667 kilometre journey. A great place to take a break is Mataranka and its famous Thermal Pool. Another very cool spot is Daly Waters Pub, the oldest in the Northern Territory. The quaint Tennant Creek, a town built on its mines and gold rushes past, will be your final motorhome rental resting place for the evening. A wonderful aspect of Tennant Creek is the strong Aboriginal culture in the area. The Warumungus consider
several local sites to be sacred, among them the Devils Marbles, which can be found about 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek. In town you can visit the Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre to learn more about local stories and art.

Tennant Creek to Alice Springs: Day 4 & 5

If you prefer, you can stop to look at the Devils Marbles along the way to Alice Springs. Be warned that this is another long day of driving, about 500 kilometres, through Barrow Creek, Ti Tree and Aileron. Your final stop will be Alice Springs, a town known for being the capital of the Australian Outback and a rather romantic rural town. Many think of this area as flat and dusty, but it’s quite different in reality. Alice Springs has greenery, great wildlife and watering
holes. While two days is hardly enough to see everything in the area you can definitely participate in a few choice activities—like visiting the MacDonnell (Macs) Mountain Ranges or fossicking for your own gems!

Alice Springs to Ayers Rock: Day 6

Along the smooth road from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations: Uluru. While the entire drive to Ayers is just over 450 kilometres it is pretty smooth and easy. The large sandstone formation known as Uluru is a symbol of Australia and can be found in Ulura-Kata Tjuta National Park.

By Connie Limoncelli

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