Awesome Australian 2WD Road Trips: Darwin to Uluru (Ayers Rock)

The Northern Territory road trip between Darwin and Uluru (Ayers Rock) is regarded as an essential Australian outback experience.  A diverse range of experiences are available along the route, ranging from the awesome spectacle of Uluru, thermal hot springs and amazing National Parks.

Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), Northern Territory Australia
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), Northern Territory Australia

To make the most of the road trip you need to be prepared to take some side trips, however in the Northern Territory these will be limited for a 2WD vehicle.  All of the options described in these articles are accessible by 2WD vehicles such as cars and vans.

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Stuart and Lasseter Highway Road Trip Overview, Northern Territory Australia

The major route between Darwin and Uluru in the Northern Territory is via the sealed Stuart and Lasseter Highways which can be travelled direct in 25 hrs over the 1964 km, 1221 mi distance.

This series of articles provides a detailed overview of the main Stuart Highway and Lasseter Highway route and side trip options between Alice Springs and Uluru in the Northern Territory for 2WD vehicles.

Darwin to Katherine, Northern Territory Australia

The 316km, 196 mi, 3:49 hr road trip from Darwin to Katherine provides a range of contrasts.  Darwin is a culturally diverse small city which is worthwhile exploring with a great range of tropical markets, World War Two relics and gorgeous sunsets.  The road south of Darwin provides access to the amazing Litchfield National park, which is renowned for providing a great range of waterfalls and safe swimming places in close proximity.

Further south you will encounter regular opportunities to bath in hot springs, explore World War Two remnants from when there was a real risk that Japan would invade Australia and also remnants from the early development of the Overland Telegraph.

Near Katherine you have the opportunity to explore the famous Nitmiluk National Park which contains the vast Katherine Gorge series of canyons.

The Darwin to Katherine road trip is detailed in Awesome Australian 2WD Road Trips: Darwin to Katherine.

Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory Australia
Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory Australia

Katherine to Tennant Creek, Northern Territory Australia

The 673km, 418 mi, 8:18 hr road trip from Katherine to Tennant Creek provides the transition between the lush tropical ‘Top End’ of the Northern Territory into the arid ‘Red Centre’ of Australia.  Along the way you will have opportunities to go underground into limestone caves, bathe in various hot springs and see further World War Two and Overland Telegraph relics.  Around Tennant Creek you can see the influence of the mining industry

The Katherine to Tennant Creek road trip is detailed in Awesome Australian 2WD Road Trips: Katherine to Tennant Creek on the Stuart Highway.

Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) Conservation Reserve, near tennant Creek, Northern Territory Australia
Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) Conservation Reserve, near tennant Creek, Northern Territory Australia

Tennant Creek to Alice Springs, Northern Territory Australia

The 508km, 316 mi, 6:19 hr road trip from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs provides the opportunity to see the spectacular Devils Marbles, a range of early settlement relics, Aboriginal cultural sites and tiny townships along the sparsely populated route.

Arriving in the local centre of Alice Springs which is framed by the amazing MacDonnell Ranges provides a stark contrast to the previous route.  Around Alice Springs there is a large range of activities available to explore the township itself, along with both the West and East MacDonnell ranges.

The Tennant Creek to Alice Springs road trip is detailed in Awesome Australian 2WD Road Trips: Tennant Creek to Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway.

Standley Chasm, in the West MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs, Northern Territory Australia
Standley Chasm, in the West MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs, Northern Territory Australia

Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory Australia

The 468km, 291 mi, 6:28 hr road trip from Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) provides the opportunity to explore many amazing rock features, ride a camel and see classic Australian outback roadhouses before arriving at the spectacular Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas).

The Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) road trip is detailed in Awesome Australian 2WD Road Trips: Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) on the Stuart and Lasseter Highway.

Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory, Australia
Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory, Australia

Join the Australia Travel Planning Facebook Group

Check out our Australia Travel Planning Facebook Group – you are welcome to join and it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your Australian trip!

Australia Travel Planning Facebook Group

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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