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Aerial view of people swimming at Berry Springs

Nature’s Way7-day itinerary

 

For a road trip holiday that highlights the best of the Top End, look no further than the Nature’s Way. In one week, take a self-drive adventure that starts in Darwin, travels through the natural wonders of Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Litchfield national parks, and loops back to the capital.

This easy drive is entirely on sealed roads. For the trailblazer, there are also great options to take 4WD side-trips that take you to hidden gems.

Day 1: Darwin to Kakadu (250km)

The unspoiled beauty of Kakadu National Park is only a 3-hour drive from Darwin. On your way to Kakadu, along the Arnhem Highway, there are several opportunities to see wildlife. Stop at the Adelaide River and board a cruise to see huge saltwater crocs jump for a snack from the safety of the riverboat.

 

Day 2 & 3: Kakadu National Park

Kakadu is a World Heritage-listed site and Australia’s largest national park. Explore and cruise its waterways to see crocs and birdlife, walk through ancient Aboriginal rock art galleries, or join a guided tour. Take in the stunning view of the wetlands from above at the Ubirr lookout at sunset.

 

Day 4: Kakadu to Katherine via Pine Creek (300km)

Head south along Kakadu Highway to Pine Creek, a small town that experienced a gold rush in 1871. A further 90km down the road is Katherine, a great place to base yourself and explore the region. It’s the gateway to incredible hiking trails, swimming in hot springs, canoeing and cruising, and Aboriginal cultural tours.

After arriving take a refreshing dip in Katherine Hot Springs – a series of clear pools fed by a natural thermal spring located on the banks of the Katherine River.

 

Day 5: Nitmiluk National Park

Nitmiluk National Park is a short 30km drive from Katherine. There are many options to explore the park: from the air on a helicopter flight, from the water on a guided cruise or canoe, or on foot with well-marked paths.

 

Day 6: Katherine to Litchfield (265km)

Stop in at Leliyn/Edith Falls on your journey north and enjoy a swim in the pandanus-fringed plunge pool. Just 2.5 hours’ drive away, Litchfield National Park is renowned for its accessible, unspoiled wilderness of monsoon rainforests and waterfalls that flow year-round. Cool off with a swim in the plunge pool below the permanent spring-fed Florence Falls or wade through the rock pools at Buley Rockhole.

 

Day 7: Litchfield to Darwin (130km)

Head back to Darwin via the Territory Wildlife Park. Wander through treetop aviaries, around a natural lagoon and walk through the aquarium to see animals, including the saltwater crocodile, in their natural habitats.

 

Before you enter Darwin, stop at Berry Springs Nature Park. A recreation camp for armed forces personnel during the war; today it’s a popular spot for a picnic and a dip in freshwater pools.

Get more inspiration with these NT road trip ideas.

Download the Nature’s Way itinerary

For a road trip holiday that highlights the best of the Top End, look no further than the Nature’s Way. Over a week, take a self-drive adventure starting in Darwin, travelling through the natural wonders of Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Litchfield national parks looping back to the tropical capital of the Northern Territory.

This easy drive is entirely on sealed roads. For the trailblazer, there are also great options to take 4WD side-trips that take you to hidden gems.

Day 1: Darwin to Kakadu (250km)

The unspoiled beauty of Kakadu National Park is only a 3-hour drive from Darwin. On your way to Kakadu, along the Arnhem Highway, there are several opportunities to see wildlife. Stop at the Adelaide River and board a cruise to see huge saltwater crocs jump for a snack from the safety of the riverboat.

Day 2 & 3: Kakadu National Park

Kakadu is a World Heritage-listed site and Australia’s largest national park. Explore and cruise its waterways to see crocs and birdlife, walk through ancient Aboriginal rock art galleries, or join a guided tour. Take in the stunning view of the wetlands from above at the Ubirr lookout at sunset.

Day 4: Kakadu to Katherine via Pine Creek (300km)

Head south along Kakadu Highway to Pine Creek, a small town that experienced a gold rush in 1871. A further 90km down the road is Katherine, a great place to base yourself and explore the region. It’s the gateway to incredible hiking trails, swimming in hot springs, canoeing and cruising, and Aboriginal cultural tours.

After arriving take a refreshing dip in Katherine Hot Springs – a series of clear pools fed by a natural thermal spring located on the banks of the Katherine River.

Day 5: Nitmiluk National Park

Nitmiluk National Park is a short 30km drive from Katherine. There are many options to explore the park: from the air on a helicopter flight, from the water on a guided cruise or canoe, or on foot with well-marked paths.

Day 6: Katherine to Litchfield (265km)

Stop in at Leliyn/Edith Falls on your journey north and enjoy a swim in the pandanus-fringed plunge pool. Just 2.5 hours’ drive away, Litchfield National Park is renowned for its accessible, unspoiled wilderness of monsoon rainforests and waterfalls that flow year-round. Cool off with a swim in the plunge pool below the permanent spring-fed Florence Falls or wade through the rock pools at Buley Rockhole.

Day 7: Litchfield to Darwin (130km)

Head back to Darwin via the Territory Wildlife Park. Wander through treetop aviaries, around a natural lagoon and walk through the aquarium to see animals, including the saltwater crocodile, in their natural habitats.

Before you enter Darwin, stop at Berry Springs Nature Park. A recreation camp for armed forces personnel during the war; today it’s a popular spot for a picnic and a dip in freshwater pools.

Get more inspiration with these NT road trip ideas.

Download the Nature’s Way itinerary

Arrive in Darwin and head straight to Kakadu National Park on this 7-day tour that takes in the best of Australia’s Top End.

Start in Darwin

Explore

Day 1

Day 2

  • Kakadu National Park

    Kakadu & Surrounds
    See & do

    Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres of exceptional natural beauty and unique biodiversity, Kakadu National Park is teeming with wildlife, home to important Aboriginal rock...

  • Kakadu scenic flights

    Kakadu National Park
    Tour

    Witness the magic of Kakadu National Park from above. Fly over world-famous wetlands, floodplains, and on to the sandstone plateaus of Arnhem Land.

  • Drive:

    1 hr 2 min
  • Ubirr

    Kakadu National Park
    See & do

    Ubirr is one of Kakadu National Park's two most famous Aboriginal rock art galleries.

  • Stay:

    Kakadu View 7 options

Day 3

  • Drive:

    26 min
  • Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) rock art site

    Kakadu National Park
    See & do

    The walls of the Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) rock art site, in World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, have served as a shelter and canvas for thousands of years.

  • Drive:

    31 min
  • Yellow Water cruises

    Kakadu National Park
    Tour

    Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu's most famous wetland, is located at the end of Jim Jim Creek, a tributary of the South Alligator River.

  • Drive:

    1 hr 3 min
  • Optional | 4WD only

    Maguk

    Kakadu National Park
    See & do

    One of Kakadu's lesser-known attractions, Maguk is a pristine natural waterfall and plunge pool at the base of steep gorge walls.

  • Stay:

    Kakadu View 7 options

Day 4

  • Drive:

    2 hr 17 min
  • Pine Creek

    Katherine & Surrounds
    Destinations

    Established in the late 1800s after a gold rush in the area, Pine Creek is located 90km north of Katherine.

  • Drive:

    56 min
  • Katherine

    Katherine & Surrounds
    Destinations

    Kick off your Katherine adventure in the NT's third-largest town.

  • Katherine Hot Springs

    Katherine
    See & do

    Take a refreshing dip in Katherine Hot Springs.

  • Stay:

    Katherine View 30 options

Day 5

Day 6

  • Leliyn (Edith Falls)

    Katherine & Surrounds
    See & do

    Picturesque waterfalls and great swimming are the well-known features of this section of Nitmiluk National Park.

  • Drive:

    2 hr 20 min
  • Litchfield National Park

    Darwin & Surrounds
    See & do

    With 2WD accessible roads into all of the main waterfalls, it’s no wonder Litchfield National Park is one of the most popular spots in the Top End.

  • Florence Falls

    Darwin & Surrounds
    See & do

    Located in Litchfield National Park, the spectacular Florence Falls cascade into a plunge pool, set in a pocket of monsoon forest.

  • Buley Rockhole

    Darwin & Surrounds
    See & do

    Enjoy a refreshing swim in the cascading pools of Buley Rockhole.

  • Stay:

    Batchelor View 7 options

Day 7

  • Drive:

    41 min
  • Territory Wildlife Park

    Darwin & Surrounds
    See & do

    At the Territory Wildlife Park you can see the Top End of Northern Australia in 4 hours rather than 4 days!

  • Berry Springs Nature Park

    Darwin & Surrounds
    See & do

    Berry Springs Nature Park is a picturesque area 47km south of Darwin that is a popular day trip destination for picnics, incorporating shady areas, manicured lawns, picnic tables...

  • Drive:

    40 min

Finish in Darwin

Explore

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