If you’ve got at least a week – or better, two weeks – try this mega itinerary on for size. With your Darwin Airport car rental, you’ll be able to explore Australia’s stunning outback, from rusty cliffs to dramatic gorges and crocodiles in their natural habitats.
Drive south along the Stuart Highway to Katherine. In Nitmiluk National Park explore the 13 connected gorges in Katherine Gorge by boat or flight. South of katherine, there’s the Cutta Cutta caves, the only cave system in the northern territory open to the public.
The Victorian Highway winds through woodlands before entering Gregory National Park. At the Victoria River Crossing, red sandstone walls tower high above. Along the river, you can cruise to see saltwater crocodiles from Timber Creek. There’s a historic cemetery and police station turned museum in Timber Creek, too.
As you come up to the WA border you’ll have the opportunity to visit Keep River National Park. Here, there’s ancient rock art, waterholes, bird life and spectacular boab trees and sandstone peaks. Across the border you may take the turnoff to Lake Argyle, a vast but artificial body of water. Carrying on, it’s not far to Kununurra. Here, Lily Creek Lagoon is a highlight, as is Mirima National Park.
The Savannah Way turns onto the Great Northern Highway towards Halls Creek. There’s a turn off into World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park, only accessible by 4WD but offering views of the stripey Bungle Bungle Range. From Halls Creek you can visit the swimming holes at Sawpit Gorge and Palm Springs or head to Wolfe Creek Crater, and in Halls Creek itself make time to stop at the Yarliyil Arts Centre.
Head west to Fitzroy Crossing; from here you can take trips out to the likes of Geikie Gorgeor Tunnel Creek. Further along the highway you can detour north to Derby, past the famousBoab Prison Tree, and see the massive tides at Derby, over 10m. In Broome, take a camel ride on Cable Beach, and visit the Broome Bird Observatory.