There are fewer drives in Australia that captivate the nation’s beauty and wilderness simultaneously than the famous trip from Darwin to Alice Springs. This journey showcases some of Australia’s most famous natural wonders and leaves you in awe wherever you look.
That’s why there is no better way to spend a 7-day trip than by hiring a campervan and venturing down the Stuart Highway to see these highlights. We have crafted the perfect itinerary for your week-long trek into the Outback and see the Red Interior in all its majestic glory.
Take the stress out of finding a rental motorhome in Darwin with Camper Champ's time saving comparision tool. You will also find options to pick up a camper in Alice Springs and drop it off in Darwin.
The best way to get your trip going is by heading straight down the Stuart Highway from Darwin until reaching Katherine's spring town. Watch as the coastal greens give way to incredible gorges, swimming spots, and bush landscapes.
Before heading inland, take some time to explore the alluring seascapes that stretch across Darwin Waterfront. See crystal clear waters teeming with life on the beachfront and explore some of the area’s best restaurants and markets before heading inland.
Nitmiluk National Park
A breathtaking area full of canyons and gorges, Nitmiluk National Park gives you a sense of what you will see on this trip. The multiple sections of Katherine Gorge take your breath away wherever you look and are boosted by spectacular swimming spots such as Edith Falls. A perfect introduction to the Great Red Interior.
Katherine Hot Springs
Nothing ends a long drive like soaking in some natural hot springs, and Katherine is synonymous with this. The town benefits from its place on the Katherine River to let visitors unwind in soothing natural springs that stay warm and relaxing all year round. A great natural spa is right on your doorstep.
It's time to keep heading south along the Stuart Highway as you mead towards Tennant Creek, a stop with a little bit of everything – soothing spas, tranquil scenery, and quirky country towns full of character.
Elsey National Park
If you want a peaceful and tranquil rest spot, look no further than Elsey National Park. This area is known for its thermal springs, which sit at 34C day in, and day out. Sit and chill in the warming spa pools as some of the region’s native inhabitants saunter by throughout the day.
You might think that Daly Waters is a ghost town, but this tiny place has some real character. The Daly Waters Pub is the heart of everything here. The pub’s interior is full of unusual memorabilia and has a great vibe—a place not to be missed.
It's time to explore the region around Tennant Creek – a vastly underrated area full of charm. See the town revel in its local Indigenous cultures and its past as a mining hub. If you venture further out, you will discover some low ranges that showcase the NT in all of its gorgeous colours.
Battery Hill Mining Centre
In the 1930s, Tennant Creek was the mining capital of Australia. And the Battery Hill Mining Centre takes you back to see how this came about. Explore the old mining tunnels for yourself and see rare minerals in a display showing all the rare materials found during the peak of the town’s mining days.
Davenport Ranges National Park
Davenport Ranges National Park encompasses a bit of everything that makes this trip special. Nestled off the beaten track, it contains great swimming spots nestled amongst dramatic rock formations. Alongside this being a natural haven, keep on the look for local rock art and drawings created by four different Indigenous tribes.
It may be an 8hr drive from Tennant Creek to Uluru National Park, but it’s a trip laden with iconic stops. From infamous UFO sites to bewitching natural highlights, this is a trek that gets the mind racing about ancient and modern cultures.
Karlu Karlu Reserve
Rising from the floor, “The Devil’s Marbles” dominate the local landscapes. They glow fascinating shades of red and brown throughout the day and look incredible from any angle. Not only is this a haven for local wildlife, but it is a site that is entwined with folk stories from many local tribes.
What is it with deserts and aliens? Situated in the heart of the Outback, Wycliffe Wells is known as the “UFO Capital of Australia”. Harking back to WWII days as an airfield base, the small town has logged its fair share of UFO sightings in the last century. It’s full of alien statues and figurines and is a unique landmark on the trip down the Stuart Highway.
Fewer sites are more well-known than Uluṟu. This massive outcrop is famous worldwide, but it’s just one stunning landmark in the greater Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. So it’s worthwhile exploring the whole area and seeing why it is so revered by locals and tourists worldwide.
A 3-day park pass to Kata Tjuṯa National Park (https://book.parksaustralia.gov.au/passes/) starts from $38 per adult 18 years and over. Children 17 years and under have free entry.
The Uluṟu climb ceased operations back in 2019. From then on, it was only possible to admire the incredible rock from a distance. However, that takes nothing away from its sheer size and look. The splendid reds that fall on the rock at sunrise or sunset are breathtaking and showcase why it is such a famous landmark.
Valley Of the Winds
If you want an authentic out-of-world experience, try heading for a look through the Valley of the Winds. This walk winds through the vast expanse of the Kata Tjuṯa Ranges and showcases landscapes more akin to Mars than Earth. It’s a walk that rewards the bold and the brave.
The whole area surrounding Kuniya Walk is steeped in ancient history. This walks winds around Uluṟu and the surrounding areas taking in rock art and carvings over 10,000 years old. Throw in some likely visits from the native wildlife; it is a trip not to be missed.
Heading east towards Alice Springs, it’s time to stop at the area’s other famous residence – Watarrka National Park. Best known for the iconic Kings Canyon, the region boasts fabulous walks amongst alien-like rock formations that glow like fire whenever kissed by the sun.
A surreal experience awaits by taking a walk through Kings canyon. With walls and rock-faces towering 300m, it feels more like a cave complex than a gorge. When the sun breaks into the canyon rim, the walls come alive, looking like they are on fire. No matter how you view it or when Kings Canyon fails to disappoint.
Away from the canyon, head to Kathleen Springs and see how the local Aboriginal tribes have resided there. With carvings and rock art stretching back over 20,000 years, it is an easy and fascinating way to see how the original residents of Australia tamed such a hostile environment.
The final leg of your journey sees you leave Canyon Country and reach Alice Springs - the heart of Australia's Red Centre. Not only do you get to see how Alice Springs has thrived as a town in such a hostile spot, but it’s also a great place to see aboriginal culture and travel along the Larapinta Trail. You will find some good shopping in Alice as there are many different stores and markets to visit. There are also some great restaurants and bars in the town, so you can enjoy a meal or drink there.
Tjorijta/West MacDonnell Ranges
Just a short trip west of Alice Springs, the West MacDonnell Ranges is a stunning mountain range that offers plenty to explore. Gorges such as Ormiston Gorge and Redbank Gorge offer breathtaking spots for a photo, whilst there are plenty of lagoons and pools to dip in, such as the large Ellery Creek Big Hole.
Finke Gorge National Park
An underrated spot in Northern Territory, Finke Gorge National Park is worth taking your time to check out. The Finke River has formed the area for the past 350 million years, and you can explore the site to see how the rocks have changed over time. Throw in some unique plant life, such as the Red Cabbage Palms, making for a serene landscape.
National Road Transport Hall Of Fame
Australia’s interior is known for having mega vehicles of all forms pounding down its roads, and you can see the best of the best in the National Road Transport Hall of Fame. It has a vast collection of unique vehicles, such as mega tankers, buses, steam trains, and hot rods. With a nod to Australia’s extraordinary engineering history, this active museum is a must for anyone that loves quirky Aussie culture!