Famous for saltwater crocodiles, red dirt, and extreme heat, the Northern Territory is the perfect place if you’re looking for a unique road trip, camping, or 4WDing experience. From desert crossings to World Heritage Listed locations and sacred Indigenous sites the NT is the perfect place to get out and explore.
For a Road Trip - The Red Centre
Exploring the Red Centre is a bucket list item for many people and we’re here to tell you it’s easier than it looks. Starting and finishing in Alice Springs, the Red Centre road trip explores the stunning middle of Australia as well as some of Indigenous Australia’s most sacred sites including Uluru and Kata Tjuta. It can even be done in under 10 days, perfect for that stray week off work.
In a less than six-hour drive from Alice Springs, you can be at Uluru, ready to see the colours change at dawn or dusk. The best part is that from Alice Springs the whole Red Centre can be explored from the blacktop with a 2WD, so no kitted out 4x4 needed! If you’re looking to experience an iconic Australian location and culture and beautiful scenery right off the road, The Red Centre is the way to go.
For more information on routes and some of the places to stop on the way Australia’s Guide to The Red Centre.
Uluru really is a sight like no other.
For Beginner 4WDers – Kakadu National Park
With over 20,000 square kilometres to explore, a sturdy 4WD and campervan is required if you’re heading to Kakadu National Park. Darwin is the best place to start your trip into the UNESCO World Heritage Listed national park. Famous for not only its stunning scenery but also its cultural significance to the Indigenous Australians, Kakadu should be a Northern Territory must see.
While many areas of the park are accessible in a 2WD, most of the roads are unsealed meaning you’ll need a 4WD vehicle to access most of the culturally significant sites. There are campsites throughout the park with varying facilities, from the more maintained sites with toilets and showers to remote bush camping. There is no need to book as all camping is on a first come first served basis.
To find out more about camping and things to see in Kakadu National Park visit the Parks Australia website.
There's no better way to wind down after a long day of driving than with a nice campfire.
For Seasoned 4WDers – The Simpson Desert
Located in the lower eastern corner of the state, The Simpson Desert is made up of over a 1,000 sand dunes, some as long as 200 kilometres. The Simpson Desert is not for the faint of heart though and only recommended for experienced drivers with the proper rig. If you’ve decided the crossing is for you, it’s recommended to go West to East, from Dalhousie Springs to Birdsville, this is due to winds and crossing from East to West can making driving up some of the dunes impossible.
There is also a certain time to go, as the desert crossing is closed completely between the 1st of December and March 15th due to the extreme heat. To enter the desert, you will need to buy a desert parks pass which is valid for 12 months and comes with handbooks, maps, and plenty of information to get you across safely.
It is also recommended to carry at least double your fuel usage, satellite communication equipment and anything else you may need because between Mt Dare in the west and Birdsville in the east there is nowhere to get help. If you're looking to setup your rig to brave the desert REDARC's all-in-one value kits are perfect. Although it can be dangerous, The Simpson Desert is an entirely unique experience with some stunning scenery that very few people can say they’ve done.
To find a detailed travel guide and some handy tips for crossing the desert visit Travel Outback Australia’s Simpson Desert Ultimate Guide.
For Stunning Scenery – Litchfield National Park
Just over an hour from Darwin, Litchfield National Park will transport you to another world without having to leave the comfort of your backyard. Smaller than Kakadu, Litchfield is perfect for showcasing all the NT has to offer if you’re under a time crunch. With rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, bushwalking, swimming and of course, challenging 4WDing, Litchfield is accessible on blacktop all the way from Darwin. Having a 4WD isn’t a necessity when exploring but it is recommended if you’re wanting to tackle any of the 4WD tracks.
Whilst swimming in the top end is normally avoided due to the abundance of crocodiles, most of the pools in Litchfield are croc free meaning they’re the perfect place to cool down after a long day in the heat. Camping is available year-round at a few different camp sites within the park, camping fees do apply though and are payable onsite.
To find out more information about Litchfield National Park visit the NT Parks website.
The Northern Territory is famous for its red dirt.
We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to get out and get exploring in your own backyard. NT is perfect if you’re looking for a 4WD challenge or just want to get out into some epic natural scenery. Where are you heading off to next?