Adelaide to Darwin 4 or 5 days - Itinerary?

Submitted: Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 01:18
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Hey guys,

We are looking to tow our jayco swan outback Adel to Darwin later this month and I am wondering what an average itinerary is when towing. We lived in Alice and surrounds for 5 years so the Adelaide - Alice trek is (very!) familliar so we dont really want to sightsee until about Mataranka. I would love some suggestions, maybe what people have done before? Obviously we don't plan to drive too long each day but we have two of us driving so we can take turns and we have 2 kids (both seasoned travellers) coming along. We are set up for free-camping and have our trusty camps 6.

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Reply By: ao767brad - Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 05:04

Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 05:04
Having lived in the Alice also I understand the trek being familiar, last year we mixed the southern half up by going north through the flinders, oodnadatta track with overnight at Coward Springs and into Alice that way it was refreshingly different to driving the Stuart highway but not really an option if you are in a hurry. North of Alice the perenial favourites are overnights at the Devils Marbles, 12 mile out of Mataranka at the national park, Edith Falls campground and Litchfield, or right turn at Pine creek and into Kakadu with a few nights at Mardurgal campground before into Darwin. Our 2 kids are always asking when we are going to do the trip again so must have pleased them.
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Reply By: Hairy (WA) - Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 08:27

Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 08:27
Aileron roadhouse has a great selection of Bourbon and the best hospitality on the highway.
Barrow Creek, Wycliffe, Ti Tree and Daly Waters are always good for a beer too.
Mattaranka can be alright but gets a bit touristy and buisy for my likeing but is worth a look.
Id spend a full day in Katherine canoeing as long as there arent to many salties around. ( do the boat cruise and see how many traps are out or ask a local.....not the canoe hire mob!)
Then Darwin is an easy Drive from there.
Id day trip back to Litchfield from Darwin if thats an option.

AnswerID: 485011

Reply By: mfewster - Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 08:43

Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 08:43
There will be lots of good answers to this, so I wont try to give a full itinerary, but just mention our favourite spot that most people miss. We have given this tip to lots of travellers and we usually get a thank you saying it was one of the highlights of their journey.
This is only good if you enjoy a dip and are carrying swimming goggles so you can see under the water. Bitter Springs. Just a little north of Mataranka and a couple of km east of the highway. You will see turn off signs. Instead of the concrete pool you get at Mataranks, at Bitter Springs you have the same creek in its natural state. The water is thermally warmed and incredibly clear, it's like floating in space. The Creek is quite narrow and just flows gently. You float along around a loop just looking at what is below the surface (nothing that will alarm you) little tortises and water life. It is a national park and there are changing facilities there.
Every time we do the Darwin drive we time it so that we have an hour break at Bitter Springs and then go on feeling very refreshed.
AnswerID: 485013

Reply By: aka - Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 09:15

Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 09:15
A must is Daly waters pub
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Reply By: RodnSue - Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 10:28

Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 10:28
Hi Kelly
there are some great suggestions mentioned. It all depends on how much site seeing you can fit into your itinerary. There's so much to see north of Katherine.

Do you have time to go into Kakadu - Many folks say 'Kaka don't', but I disagree - Gunlom Falls with a good camp ground are worth a look- 26kms dirt road off the Kakadu Hwy.
As suggested staying at Mardugal near Cooinda - 4WD track into Jim Jim falls & Twin Falls may / may not be open at end May. Yellow Water cruise @ Cooinda, Nourlangie Rock are worth a look for rock art, so is driving out to Ubirr & standing on the large rock there overlooking the expansive flood plains with views to Arnhem Land. There's lots of Aboriginalrock art there too. You will find lots of burnt out areas within Kakadu - yearly bush management events, as you would have seen around Alice Springs.
Besides Gunlom & Mardugal, we also stayed @ Muirella & Merl Campgrounds further along the Hwy. These campgrounds are run by the National Park. From memory, I don't think there were any free camps in Kakadu National Pk, but all campgrounds including Mardugal (the better of them all) are in your Camps 5 /6 book. We didn't pre book for most of our travels, but we arrived well before lunch time to ensure a camp spot. (we spent a week in Kakadu)

Then there's NT Wildlife Park - about 50 km south of Darwin - almost need at least 1/2 a day there though.

Litchfield Nat Pk is worth a nights stay. You & the kids would love Bluey Rockhole - a series of water holes cascading into each other, providing time out for a swim & play in the water - it gets really busy during the w/e's though. Florence falls is great fun too, but again really busy on w/e's.
A new attraction opened (?) last yr was the "Cascade" - bit of a walk into there from the car park, but again a great swimming spot.
Wangi falls swimming was still closed end of June last yr due to the late wet season. The ancient sandstone formations of the 'Lost City' was another late opening due to the late wet season but worth a look if you have time.

I have a blog (mostly pics) @ that shows the many great spots we visited on our trip last yr to NT & WA. The above 3 main areas I have suggested were posted 17/6 & 7/7 respectively if you wish to get some ideas.

cheers & happy travels
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 21:39

Saturday, May 05, 2012 at 21:39
Hi Kelly

We spent a few weeks between Alice Springs and Darwin and back a bit prior to going east to Queensland in 2009. I have blogs here on this trip, including Kakadu for nine days and Litchfield National Park for three days. Both were outstanding.Katherine Gorge and Mataranka (Bitter Springs) were also both special. Douglas Hot Springs was most enjoyable, and the first stream alongside the parks campground is safe for children.



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