Stuart Highway Darwin to Adelaide
by Gerald - Submitted Oct 2009
Rainbow Valley south of Alice Springs
How long should we allow to do the Stuart Highway?
My wife and l are thinking about travelling the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Adelaide and were wondering how long we should allow ourselves to take in the sights along the way. We had read that we should allow 11 days. We live in NZ and would have up to 3 weeks available.
In 11 days you can drive down the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Adelaide, but you won't have much time to explore the highlights along the way.
The total distance is roughly 3050 km, that makes an average of 277 km a day. Of course, there are stretches where's not much to see, and you can easily drive 500 or 600 km a day. If the other activities you have planned for your trip allow you to add a few extra days to the tour along the Stuart Highway, you had more time for sightseeing without hurry.
Let me give you an overview of the highlights from north to south. Litchfield National Park
- about 2 hours south of Darwin features sandstone plateaus with spectacular cliffs, waterfalls and pockets of rainforests along creeks and waterfalls. Visiting Litchfield is a great way to explore tropical wetlands, waterfalls and wildlife of Northern Australia.
It is an alternative if you don't have the time to visit Kakadu NP, which is much bigger, and requires more time and preparation to get the most out of your visit. Kakadu National Park
- lies east of Darwin. It is without doubt the biggest attraction in the top end of Australia. The park has a variety of landscapes, beautiful wetlands, aboriginal rock art and a lot of wildlife.
If you want to get a glimpse of Kakadu NP but don't want to go on your own, you can choose from 1-day to 4-day tours
departing Darwin.Katherine Gorge
- is another highlight further down the Stuart Highway which is only 30 km east of the highway.
Depending on the time of your visit, please remember that from November to March the wet season in northern Australia might cut off some roads, especially in Kakadu National Park. The main highways are usually not affected.
As you travel south to Alice Springs, the Devils Marbles
near Wauchope roadhouse are worth a stop, you won't miss them, as they are close to the road.Alice Springs
, the West and East MacDonnell Ranges
and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
are the attractions in central Australia, and definitely worth to spend a few days.
Even if you don't want to join a tour, you can get good information about this area on my Uluru tours
and Alice Springs Tour
The journey and things to see from Alice Springs to Adelaide are described on the Stuart Highway
Now you need to decide which attractions you want to see, how much time you want to spend, and how many hours you want to drive on days with less highlights.
Keep in mind that there is a speed limit of 130 km/h in the Northern Territory section, and 110 km/h in the South Australian section of the Stuart Highway.
Happy planning, and don't hesitate to ask more questions.
Hema offers the most comprehensive range of Australian maps and road atlases.