If you’re planning a road trip by campervan in Australia’s Northern Territory, Darwin makes a great place to base yourself for a week or two.
There are dozens of places worth visiting that can easily be reached on a short Darwin road trip including national parks, lagoons, waterfalls, and even a UNESCO world heritage site.
You can enjoy the area at a leisurely pace, or if you want to make the most of your time, try one of our short trip itineraries to see the best that Darwin and the surrounding area has to offer.
1. Litchfield National Park
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Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Litchfield National Park is just a little over an hour’s drive from central Darwin, making it a great location for a day trip.
The park includes several picturesque waterfalls including Florence Falls and Wangi Falls, a field of giant termite mounds, the Lost City – a collection of ancient rock formations, creek walks, and an original pioneer homestead.
With plenty of pools to dip into for a swim, numerous walking trails, and lots more to see and do, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied here for the day. If you want to spend longer exploring the park, Litchfield Tourist Park and Litchfield Safari camp offer accommodation for campervans.
2. Kakadu National Park
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Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest National Park and you get there from Darwin in less than two hours driving time.
Kakadu is a designated UNESCO world heritage site as it contains original Aboriginal rock art that’s thought to be over 20,000 years old. The park is also rich in wildlife and is home to over 2,000 species of plants and animals including flatback turtles and saltwater crocodiles.
Popular attractions within the park include Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls, taking a boat trip along the Yellow Water Billabong, and hiking to lookout points with stunning scenery.
For a longer road trip, consider visiting Kakadu as part of the 550km Nature’s Way driving route from Darwin.
3. Adelaide River
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Time: 1 hour
The Adelaide River is just one hour from central Darwin and is a popular tourist attraction due to its jumping crocodiles.
You can take a cruise down the river and enjoy an up close and personal encounter with the giant crocodiles that live in the river – they literally jump out of the water to grab the meat that’s dangled off the side by the guide.
The Adelaide River Inn is also home to Charlie – a water buffalo who made a name for himself alongside Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee.
If you’re after a quintessential Northern Territory experience, visiting Adelaide River is a must.
4. Corroboree Billabong
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Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
The Corroboree Billabong is a wildlife lover’s dream and is best explored as a wetlands cruise. Part of the Mary River Wetlands, the Billabong is the world’s most concentrated habitat of saltwater crocodiles and is also home to 280 different species of birds.
It’s best to opt for a sunrise or sunset cruise for the most tranquil atmosphere and the best photo opportunities. The Billabong is also a popular spot for fishing.
You can visit Corroboree Billabong as a day trip in itself, or stop off on the way to Kakadu. Be aware that the Billabong is inaccessible in the wet season as the access roads are flooded.
5. Katherine Gorge & Edith Falls
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Distance: 330 km
The stunning Katherine Gorge is located within the Nitmiluk National Park. At over 300km from Darwin, it makes for a longer day trip but is worth it for the amazing scenery and varied wildlife that make their home here.
The area includes a total of 13 impressive sandstone gorges, and the National Park is also home to some impressive examples of Aboriginal art.
The best way to see the gorge is from a cruise or canoe ride down the Katherine River, where you can spot wildlife and rock art.
Nearby Edith Falls is also a popular swimming spot, with multiple tranquil pools to cool off in and a bushwalking loop around the falls.
6. Berry Springs Nature Park & Territory Wildlife Park
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Time: 40 minutes
Berry Springs Nature Park is just a short drive from Darwin and makes for a pleasant place to relax, swim, and enjoy a picnic.
The park includes several natural swimming pools, a barbeque area, and several walking trails. Its trees offer plenty of shade, and there are several different species of birds and wildlife that call the park their home.
You can also visit the nearby Territory Wildlife Park, which is a popular family attraction and shows animals and plants from the Top End in their natural habitat on a 4km walking track with a café and children’s play area.
7. Tiwi Islands
Time: 2.5 hours by ferry
If you want a break from driving, hop on a boat to the Tiwi islands to experience traditional Aboriginal art and culture and stunning coastal landscapes. Known as the “islands of smiles”, the islands are made up from Bathurst and Melville Islands and several smaller uninhabited islands.
The islands are a great place to enjoy a swim on the white sand beaches or the waterhole at Tomorapi Falls, and you can take a tour around with a local guide to explore the secret beauty spots and have an opportunity to buy traditional arts and crafts.
Fishing is also popular in the Tiwi islands and there are several fishing lodges available for short stays, or you can even join a deep-sea fishing expedition.
If you’re looking for campervan hire in Australia to make the most of your Darwin road trip, give the team at Travellers Autobarn a call today or check online for all our great deals.
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.