Travelling by car is one of the best ways to explore the Territory, with 95% of the NT's attractions accessible by sealed highways.
Getting here by car
Well-maintained, sealed highways provide the most direct routes between the Northern Territory from cities in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.
Travelling from Queensland
Driving west from Queensland, the most easily accessible route is the fully sealed Barkly Highway from Mt Isa. Alternatively you can drive the unsealed portion of the Victoria Highway from Cairns. See also our themed driving route, the Savannah Way.
Travelling from Western Australia
There are a few access points from Western Australia, including the Victoria Highway and Butine Highway in the north and the Tanami Road that runs across the Tanami Desert in the south. See also our themed driving route, the Savannah Way.
Travelling from South Australia
Driving north from South Australia, take the Stuart Highway from Adelaide through Coober Pedy into the Northern Territory. In the NT, you’ll drive through the major centres of Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine before arriving in Darwin. See also our themed driving route, the Explorers Way.
Themed driving routes
Once you cross the border, explore our themed driving routes around the Territory: the Nature’s Way, through Kakadu National Park and Katherine; the Explorers Way, from Alice Springs to Darwin; The Red Centre Way from Alice Springs to Uluru; the Savannah Way, an epic journey across the Top End; and Binns Track, an intrepid 4WD trail.
Getting around by car
There’s plenty to explore in a regular car or campervan, as well as in all-terrain 4WDs. Hire companies operate across the Northern Territory, so if you fly into Alice Springs or Darwin, arrange to collect a vehicle at the airport then hit the road.
Audio tours and podcasts
Take your own compact, portable tour guide – purchase and download audio tours, podcasts and travel apps before you go. They’re perfect for road trips, providing suggested itineraries and accompanying commentary, and they might even help keep kids (or drivers) entertained.
Road rules and safety
Before you set off:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good working order
- Familiarise yourself with local road rules and safety
Tips for driving in Australia:
- Vehicles travel on the left-hand side of the road
- Seatbelts are compulsory
- Speed limits apply to all roads
- Try to avoid driving at night
- Be wary of road trains and crossing stock on highways
- Distances in the Northern Territory are vast, so plan ahead for rest stops