The Northern Territory is home to some of Australia’s most iconic Outback landscapes, including Uluru and the Red Centre. A road trip is the perfect way to experience these natural wonders. The vast and sparse landscape makes for a unique and unforgettable experience.
The region is rich with Indigenous culture, and a campervan road trip will give you the opportunity to learn about the history and customs of the traditional owners of the land. You can visit the many sacred sites and cultural centres throughout the Territory.
Why a campervan? A campervan allows you the freedom to set your own itinerary and make stops at your own pace. Plus, with the comforts of home on wheels, you’ll be able to truly immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes and unique experiences this region has to offer.
You can organise a campervan hire from Darwin or Alice Springs, and travel one way to avoid any backtracking. The dry season, from May to September, is the best time to visit if you want to explore the Outback and see Uluru. This is when the weather is the most pleasant and the roads are in the best condition.
Once you have your wheels sorted out, here are some of the best stops to include on your Northern Territory campervan road trip.
Begin your exploration of Darwin by wandering through the streets of the city centre, where you’ll find a mix of historic buildings and modern architecture. The highlight here is the World War II Oil Storage Tunnels, a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past.
The Darwin Waterfront is a picturesque spot perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic lunch. Take a dip in the infinity pool, or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding on the tranquil harbor.
For a taste of the local culture, check out the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, which showcases the art, history, and culture of the Top End. Or, get a sense of the city’s diverse population at the Mindil Beach Sunset Market, where you can sample a wide variety of international cuisine while enjoying live music and a stunning sunset over the ocean.
At night, the city comes alive with a bustling bar and restaurant scene. Sip on a cocktail at a rooftop bar, or enjoy some live music at one of Darwin’s many pubs and clubs.
Darwin is a city that will surprise and delight you at every turn, with its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and laid-back tropical vibe.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s most breathtaking and diverse natural wonders. As you make your way into the park, you’ll be struck by the rugged beauty of the landscape, with its towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and meandering rivers.
One of the best ways to experience Kakadu is by taking a guided tour, which will introduce you to the park’s rich cultural and natural history. Learn about the ancient rock art painted by the traditional owners, the Bininj/Mungguy people, who have lived in the area for more than 50,000 years. You’ll also get to see some of the park’s most iconic wildlife, such as crocodiles, kangaroos, and exotic and beautiful bird species.
Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waterholes, like Gunlom and Maguk, which offer spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. For the adventurous, you can hike to the top of the cliffs and enjoy the panoramic view of the park and even during the rainy season, the waterfalls at Jim Jim and Twin falls are spectacular and a must see.
One of the highlights of Kakadu is the Yellow Water billabong, which is a tranquil wetland teeming with birdlife, including the colourful Jabiru stork. Take a cruise on the billabong to see crocodiles basking in the sun, and keep your eyes peeled for other native animals like barramundi and water buffalo.
Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park is a tropical oasis just a short drive from Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory.
One of the best ways to experience Litchfield is by taking a leisurely drive along the scenic roads that wind through the park. Stop at various overlooks and take in the stunning views of the rugged landscape. You’ll come across famous waterfalls such as Florence, Wangi, and Tolmer falls, which offer great swimming and picnic spots.
For the more adventurous, there are plenty of hiking trails to explore. Take a hike to the top of the magnetic termite mounds, which offer panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness. Or, explore the park’s many swimming holes and rock pools, like Buley Rockhole, which are perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot day.
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll be delighted by the diverse wildlife that calls Litchfield home. Keep your eyes peeled for wallabies, bandicoots, and other native animals as you explore the park. And, don’t miss the opportunity to take a guided tour to see the park’s population of rare and protected wildlife such as the white-lipped python and the black-spotted rock-wallaby.
As the day comes to an end, head to one of the park’s designated camping areas and set up your campervan for the night. As the stars come out, sit around the campfire and listen to the sounds of the wilderness.
Nitmiluk National Park
Nitmiluk National Park is renowned for Katherine Gorge, which is located within
As you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by the stunning Katherine Gorge, a 13-kilometre long series of sandstone cliffs, which is the jewel of the park.
One of the best ways to experience Nitmiluk is by taking a guided boat tour along the Katherine River, which winds its way through the gorge. As you glide along the water, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs, lush rainforest, and an abundance of wildlife. You’ll also learn about the history and culture of the traditional owners, the Jawoyn people, who have lived in the area for tens of thousands of years.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can also explore the gorge by kayak, which will give you a unique perspective of the park and the opportunity to discover hidden swimming holes and cascading waterfalls. You can also hike the many trails that wind through the park and take in the stunning views of the gorge from different perspectives.
The park is also home to a wide variety of native animals, including rock wallabies, goannas, and a variety of bird species. You might also spot crocodiles basking on the riverbanks or swimming in the waters.
At the end of the day, relax at one of the park’s campsites or cabins and enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the natural beauty of the park. As the sun sets, the gorge takes on a different character, with the red and orange hues of the sandstone cliffs creating an unforgettable scene.
Nitmiluk National Park is a place of extraordinary natural beauty and cultural significance. It offers a wide range of outdoor activities and stunning scenery that will leave you in awe.
As one of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks, a visit to Uluru is a must. Known as Ayers Rock to the Europeans, Uluru holds a significant meaning to the local Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people.
One of the best ways to experience Uluru is by taking a guided base walk around the rock. As you walk, you’ll learn about the cultural significance of the site to the traditional owners, the Anangu people, and discover ancient rock art and sacred sites. The walk also offers spectacular views of Uluru as the light changes throughout the day, creating a different experience every time.
For the more adventurous, there are also climbing and hiking opportunities around the base of Uluru. As climbing Uluru is no longer allowed due to cultural and environmental reasons, the park offers Talinguru Nyakunytjaku, a walk that takes you to the top of a nearby rock formation with a similar view as climbing Uluru would offer.
As the sun sets, take a seat and watch as Uluru transforms into a canvas of vibrant oranges, reds, and purples. It’s an unforgettable experience as the colours change across the rock and the sky.
Uluru is also home to a wide variety of native animals and plants, including kangaroos, wallabies, and a variety of bird species. Be sure to take a guided tour to learn more about the unique ecosystem that surrounds the rock.
Alice Springs is the heart of Australia’s Red Centre. As you arrive in this unique outback town, you’ll be struck by the contrast between the red desert landscape and the vibrant cultural community that calls it home.
One of the best ways to experience Alice Springs is by taking a stroll down the Todd Mall, where you’ll find a mix of local art galleries, Indigenous craft shops, and interesting cafes and restaurants. You’ll also find the famous Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air, two institutions that play an important role in providing health care and education to remote communities in the Outback.
For the more adventurous, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the surrounding desert. Take a hot air balloon ride over the MacDonnell Ranges, or go on a 4WD tour to explore the stunning gorges and waterholes of the West MacDonnell National Park. For those interested in culture, take a guided tour to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre, where you will learn about the history and culture of the traditional owners, the Anangu people.
Alice Springs is also home to a number of important cultural institutions, such as the Araluen Cultural Precinct, which includes the Museum of Central Australia and the Albert Namatjira Gallery, showcasing the art and culture of the local Indigenous people and early European settlers.
As the day comes to an end, head to one of the local pubs or restaurants and enjoy a cold beer or a delicious meal while listening to live music.