The vast expanses of Northern Australia give way to a breadth of remarkable scenery. Explore these stunning seascapes and rock formations by taking a trip from Darwin to Broome. By venturing from NT to WA, you embark on a journey that takes your breath away with landscapes seen nowhere else on Earth.
To see why the Top End and the Kimberly are so lauded, it’s best to allow some time to explore this region. We have created a 14-day itinerary that lets you see the area's highlights from the comfort of your campervan. So get ready to go off the beaten track and see what Northern Australia is all about.
There’s no better way to get a snapshot of this journey than on your first day. You can sample what Darwin offers, including exciting animal experiences at Crocosaurus Cove and stunning views of the Arafura Sea from Darwin Waterfront.
After seeing why Darwin is so vibrant, it’s time to head south for a 3-Hour drive on the Stuart Highway to the town of Katherine. This small town is a gateway to activities in the inland hub of the Top End. The town’s famous Hot Springs is a natural spa that offers a relaxing experience quite unlike any other. A great way to unwind after a day on the road.
Whilst Katherine is pretty, the nearby Nitmiluk Gorge is the true star attraction of the area. Marvel at the canyons and gorges carved out by the Katherine River, exacerbated by breathtaking waterfalls and swimming spots. You can stop by the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre to find out how to explore the area by foot, boat or bike.
A drive 90k north will take you to the stunning Edith Falls. With a natural waterfall and lagoon, this spot is a great place to dip in crystal clear waters and relax amongst some of the Top End’s most calming backdrops.
Heading west, the next stop on this road trip is a visit to Litchfield National Park. Litchfield NP offers stunning waterfalls and excellent swimming chances, all in a delightful natural setting.
The small creeks that cascade into stunning waterfalls make areas such as Wangi Falls and Florence Falls some of the best swimming spots anywhere in Australia. Alongside that, off-beaten tracks can be explored by foot or 4WD, allowing you to see why Litchfield National Park is one of the NT’s best-hidden gems.
Next up is yet another of the Northern Territory’s treasured national parks – Gregory National Park. Known as Judburra to the locals, this area of natural beauty is a real mix of environments. Bushlands give way to wetlands as green and reds mix as far as the eye can see. As the state’s second-largest national park, there’s an abundance of treks, such as the popular Tuwakam Track and the Gibbie Creek Track.
Several different Aboriginal cultures also inhabit the area. Discover plenty of ancient carving sites stretching back thousands of years whilst The Bullita Homestead showcases what life was like at a cattle station.
Your last stop in the Northern Territory brings you to a natural gem: Keep River National Park. Entering the park is like stepping back into a natural living museum. The National Park is home to dozens of ancient rock art drawings left untouched over thousands of years.
They sit nestled amongst stunning sandstone pillars rising from the desert whilst billabongs on the Keep River provide natural homes for dozens of wildlife. Some highlights include the fascinating drawings at Nigli Gap and the mesmerising Jarnem Walk. After that, it’s only a short stop to Kununurra and WA!
The only sizable town in the area, Kununarra provides access to several different sights once you have entered Western Australia. The town has a helpful Visitor Centre that tells the story of Eastern Kimberly.
After you have sampled the town’s quaint sites, it is time to visit Lake Argyle. South-east of the town, this lake is the second-largest lake in Australia. After it was formed by damming the Ord River, the area is great for trying out water sports, exploring nearby bush tracks or enjoying a dip in a picturesque setting.
Heading south from Lake Argyle, it is time to discover one of WA’s most ancient sites – Purnululu National Park. A World Heritage site, Purnululu is headlined by its oldest and most famous residents – The Bungle Bungles. This set of rocky outcrops is over 350 million years old and provides an opportunity to explore mesmerising gorges and mysterious caverns.
Cathedral Gorge provides a natural circuit through the heart of the range, with red and orange caverns taking your eye from every angle. Also worth checking is Echidna Chasm. This dried river bed provides a network of caverns to explore, which comes alive in stunning colours when the sun strikes it. A worthwhile experience for anyone with a 4WD, but allow two days due to its size and isolation.
It’s time to switch directions and head north past Kununurra and to the vast expanse of El Questro Station. A major stop on the Gibb River Road, El Questro is over 280,000 hectares of untamed bushland. Don’t let this throw you, though, as there is something for everyone.
The land gives way to a network of gorges carved out by the Chamberlain River. The Chamberlain Gorge and Emma Gorge are great spots for snapshots and areas to stretch the legs with a hike. If you want to relax, the naturally warm thermal pools at Zebedee Springs allow you to unwind with no one else in sight.
It’s time to continue along Gibb River Road and discover the wonders of Manning Gorge. Manning Gorge is another park that has transcended time, with Manning Creek cutting a stunning canyon filled with incredible waterfalls and dramatic rock faces.
There are many lagoons to take a dip, set amongst beautiful backdrops. Eagle-eyed spotters may also see rock art from the Bradshaw and Wandjina tribes. Don’t be afraid to stop at the Mount Barnett Roadhouse, which is known for great cakes and food.
Still heading west, it’s time to unveil one of Kimberley’s greatest natural wonders – the Windjana Gorge. This gorge used to be an ancient reef 375 million years ago, but it has been reclaimed by land and turned into a stunning canyon thanks to the Lennard River.
Windjana Gorge offers stunning cliff faces soaring into the sky, which look like they are on fire during sunrise and sunset. If you get close enough, you can spot fossils in the rocks thanks to their marine ancestry—an authentic glimpse into how the region was formed over time.
At the end of the Gibb River Road is the small town of Derby. Derby is the oldest town in Kimberly and is a great place to stop and refill supplies. The town’s jetty gives you a chance to explore both The Fitzroy River and King Sound and discover some of the natural inhabitants that call the region home.
Meanwhile, the town is also known for its famous collection of boab trees. The most known of these is the Boab Prison Tree, which is considered 1,500 years old and an icon for the local Nyikina people. If you head west out of Derby, you can also experience Horizontal Falls – a tidal system of gorges that produces one of the most powerful tidal bores anywhere on earth.
After leaving Derby, it’s time to power on to Broome. Broome is a resort unlike anywhere else, with a mix of cultures dominating this small town. The striking beaches in the area provide a great way to enjoy the ocean, with the 22 km-long Cable Beach and the more rugged Riddell Beach among the best in town.
It also has plenty of history to explore, with fossilised dinosaur footprints at Dinosaur Coast, and the Broome Historical Museum shows how the town has developed over the years. Broome is also known for being a culinary hotspot with dozens of local delicacies to try making this lively town a fantastic place to finish your two-week trek.