Explore Australia’s Outback and Northern Territory on a road trip that takes you from the bustling port city of Darwin to the expansive Kakadu National Park. On your way back to Darwin stop in small towns like Pine Creek and Adelaide River before enjoying the natural beauty, waterfalls and clear waters of Litchfield National Park.
- The vibrant port city of Darwin
- Mindil Beach
- Doctor’s Gully and Aquascene
- Kakadu National Park
- Pine Creek
- Adelaide River
- Litchfield National Park
Day 5 – Kakadu to Litchfield National Park
The port city of Darwin is also a university town with a vibe that is at once laidback and industrious. A city with a rich Aboriginal history, it is also a place where a large part of its population only settled in the last half century, most being people who visited and never left. While Darwin has seen its share of hardship (namely Japanese bombing during WWII and several devastating cyclones), it is also a place where you’ll find a ton to enjoy.
Darwin is known as the Outback Capital of Australia, but if you’re expecting nothing but dust and open plains you’ll be surprised. The city is small but quite cosmopolitan with bustling restaurants and trendy cafes, lots of shopping, and a casino located on the beach. Sites here include the Chinese Temple, the World War II Oil Storage Tunnels located below the Esplanade, the tourist friendly Wharf Precinct, and historical buildings like the 19th century Brown's Mart and the Old Town Hall Ruins.
For outdoor lovers there are also great places to visit including Mindil Beach and its markets, Bicentennial Park and the sliver of rainforest left in Darwin. While there walk along the boardwalk in the Doctor's Gully to get to Aquascene, a very popular attraction where you can look at and feed fish during high tide.
Day 3 – Darwin to Kakadu
The drive from Darwin to Kakadu National Park will take you approximately three hours, depending on the stops you choose to make. Along the way you can take some time at the popular swimming destination of Berry Springs and the Territory Wildlife Park—with its Wetland, Woodland and Monsoon Vine Forest Zones—located here. The small town of Humpty Doo, famous for its mangos and agricultural experiments, is also an option. Shop, grab a bite and take a photo with the town’s Boxing Crocodile before continuing on to Kakadu National Park to spend the night.
Day 4 – Kakadu National Park
The amount of time spent in the park, of course, is entirely up to you. A sprawling 19,800 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park offers some impressive sights including the Twin Falls at Arnhem, Warradjan Aboriginal Centre and the Yellow Water Billabong in Cooina, Bowali Visitor Centre near Jabiru (which also has a crocodile-shaped hotel), and the Gulom Plunge Pool, which is located close to the Kakadu Highway. The park’s art galleries are also very popular attractions.
About 250 kilometres from Kakadu you’ll come across Pine Creek, a very interesting town full of history and notable architecture. An ideal stop between Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks this town is located right off of Stuart Highway. Continue on to Litchfield or make another stop at Adelaide River to sample the local specialty: barramundi fish. Stay over at a hotel on the River or make your way to Litchfield instead.
Day 6 – Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park covers a gorgeous area filled with beautiful waterfalls, clear plunge pools and the natural vegetation associated with the Northern Territory. Visit the Lost City, full of interesting sandstone rock formations, or Wangi Falls. You can hike, picnic, explore and even swim, as crocodiles are apparently less of a threat here than in other places in the area. Once you’ve had your fill of Litchfield a 70 kilometre drive will have you back in Darwin where you started.