Journey Through the Outback: The Explorer’s Way from Adelaide to Darwin | Lets Go Caravan and Camping

Journey Through the Outback: The Explorer’s Way from Adelaide to Darwin

Category: Inspiration, MDRTNT, Date: 25 June 2024

Now is the perfect time to explore the Northern Territory! With the Million Dollar Road Trip campaign running from May to September, your NT adventure could make you a millionaire. Don’t miss out—start your journey today! For more information, visit 

Embark on an epic journey from Adelaide, South Australia, to Darwin in the Northern Territory’s Top End. This legendary drive, one of the world’s greatest long-distance adventures, takes you through the heart of the outback. Experience burnt orange sunsets, rustic red rock formations, ancient Aboriginal culture, and the tropical Top End’s deep river gorges, cascading waterfalls, and lush green landscapes. 

The Explorer’s Way

Adelaide to Clare Valley (approx. 150km) 

Just 90 minutes outside Adelaide you will find the first stop along the Explorers Way, the Clare Valley Wine Region. The region is famous for its Riesling and offers more than 50 fantastic cellar doors to explore. Discover heritage towns, beautiful vineyards and boutique wineries before hitting the road to explore the rugged Flinders Ranges.  

Clare Valley to Ikara-Flinders Ranges (approx. 300km) 

Swapping vineyards for vastness, your next stop is the spectacular Flinders Ranges. Find yourself surrounded by ancient mountain ranges, stunning gorges and abundant wildlife. Take an outback safari, witness the beauty of the sunset against the Ranges and explore the many walking trails of the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.  

Flinders Ranges - The Explorer's Way
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park Credit: Tourism Australia

Ikara-Flinders Ranges to Coober Pedy (approx. 650km) 

Moving from the Mars-like landscapes of the Flinders Ranges to the ‘moonscape’ of Coober Pedy, the Opal capital of the world. Coober Pedy is an iconic Australian landmark, featuring an incredible array of underground infrastructure including homes, hotels, shops and a church. Some of the top attractions in the region are the Old Timer’s Mining Museum and Umoona Opal Mine. 

Coober Pedy to Uluru-kata Tjuta National Park (approx. 750km) 

Leaving Coober Pedy, it’s time to cross the SA/NT border, and head straight for the NT’s iconic Red Centre. Your first stop is the breathtaking Uluru and Kata Tjuta, a region rich in spirituality, natural wonders, and Aboriginal culture. Make the most of sunrise, sunset, and night-time stargazing to truly appreciate the outback’s beauty. Highlights include camel tours and unique dining experiences under the stars. Visit the local cultural centre to gain a deeper understanding of the area’s culture and history.   

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to Kings Canyon (approx. 300km) 

Following a few days in Uluru, head to Watarrka National Park to see the famous King’s Canyon. The Canyon’s stunning red rock cliffs are sure to take your breath away. There is plenty more to explore in Watarrka National Park, filled with walking trails, 4×4 tracks, camel tours and more exciting activities. If you want to stay overnight in the region, Discovery Parks have a gorgeous park nearby.

Alice Springs - The Explorer's Way
Hot Air Ballooning, Alice Springs Credit: Tourism NT

Kings Canyon to Alice Springs (approx. 330km) 

Next on the Explorers Way itinerary is Alice Springs, the ‘Capital of the Outback’. Nestled between the East and West MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs offers a beautiful desert landscape and serves as a base for exploring the Red Centre. Enjoy experiences like a sunset hot air balloon tour, local art galleries, the National Road Transport Museum, and the Alice Springs Desert Park or Reptile Centre. There is so much to do in this region, we recommend leaving a few days to explore. For a full range of activities, visit the Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre

Alice Springs to Tennant Creek (approx. 500km) 

After exploring the Red Centre, head north to Tennant Creek. Known for its gold mining heritage, this region offers vast skies, endless horizons, and true Australian outback culture. We highly recommend attractions such as the Battery Hill Gold Mining & Heritage Centre, Barkly Tableland, and the Historical Telegraph Stations. Oh, and don’t miss the Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles)! These ancient granite boulders, sacred to the Warumungu people were formed millions of years ago and are a truly unique natural wonder. 

Nitmiluk Gorge - The Explorer's Way
Nitmiluk Gorge, Top End Credit: Tourism Australia

Tennant Creek to Katherine (approx. 670km) 

Continue your adventure to Katherine, making special stops along the Stuart Highway. Visit the historical Daly Waters Pub, filled with memorabilia and colourful outback history, and the iconic Larrimah Pink Panther Hotel. Before reaching Katherine, stop at the rejuvenating Mataranka Thermal Pool & Springs in Elsey National Park for a swim. 

Katherine, where the outback meets the tropics, is a highlight of the Explorer’s Way. Discover deep river gorges, cascading waterfalls, and stunning national parks. Top activities include the Katherine Hot Springs, Nitmiluk National Park, scenic flight tours, and the Katherine Railway Station.  

Katherine to Darwin (approx. 320km) 

From Katherine head towards Darwin, stopping along the way at Litchfield National Park. Known as “the NT’s best-kept secret”, Litchfield NP offers unspoiled beauty and hidden gems in Wangi and Florence Falls. In Darwin, explore the sparkling harbour, rich WWII history, and unique tourism experiences like day tours to Kakadu National Park, Crocosaurus Cove, and the Mindil Beach Markets.  

This once-in-a-lifetime journey from Adelaide to Darwin lets you tick off bucket-list destinations and experience the true essence of the Northern Territory’s outback and Top End. Embark on this epic adventure and create unforgettable memories along one of the world’s greatest road trips. 

For more information, travel inspiration and great holiday deals check out:

Tourism Top End

Explore the magnificent Northern Territory of Australia. Find information on exotic wildlife, wetlands, cruises and a lot more with Tourism Top End.

Tourism Red Centre

The Heart. The Soul. The Centre. Welcome to Central Australia. Book your Red Centre adventure – dining, adventures, history, art, culture and more.

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