Stuart Highway Darwin to Adelaide

by Gerald - Submitted Oct 2009
(Oamaru N.Z.)

Rainbow Valley south of Alice Springs

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.

Rita's Reply

Hi Gerald,

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.

kakadu national park
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
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 pages.
The journey and things to see from Alice Springs to Adelaide are described on the Stuart Highway page.

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.


Comments for Stuart Highway Darwin to Adelaide

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May 21, 2017
Adel to Dar
by: Markus

Hi just wondering how restricted January gets traveling from Adelaide to darwin weather wise? Thanks Mark

Jan 15, 2017
some answers
by: Rita

To Nirsha and Christian,

It is totally okay to use a 2WD on the Stuart Highway.
The longest distance without petrol stations is approximately 280 km.

Christian, I checked several fuel stops along the highway, they usually have LPG gas. I've never been north of Alice, but is should be the same. I don't know anything about cars using gas, not sure how long you can go with one fill.

Road conditions & road closures for the Northern Territory can be checked here.
And yes, the Stuart Highway can get flooded during the wet season, or heavy rain events whenever they happen.


Dec 27, 2016
is there fuel stops with LPG gas
by: christian mckai

i drive a ford falcon wagon on gas only so i want to drive to darwin from melbourne to see my mum that lives up in darwin but im scared that im not going to make it up there as there is no gas station that has LPG gas as there is a big space where there is no fuel stations i dont think i would make it there.
would anyone be ablbe to help me and my partner know the way to get there by going the stuart hwy as we want to drive as my partner is from korea and he he has only been in melbourne the whole time he has been in australia.

Dec 22, 2016
Darwin to Adelaide on wet season
by: Nirsha

Hi Rita,
It's usuful all the information you have posted, We are planning to drive from darwin to Adelaide on the Middle of January.Is that difficult to drive in January from Darwin to Adelaide with a 2WD. Is the Stuart HIghway get flooded? where can I get information about the rood floods, and are there enough petrol station on the way?

May 08, 2016
Darwin to Adelaide
by: Harihar

Hi Rita, we are planning to go to Adelaide from Darwin And just travel through the Stuart Highway. We don't have any other plan to explore just need to reach Adelaide. So, If we start our journey on 15th of May 2016 and finish on 17th of May 2016. We just want some tips for accommodation and food availability on the way to Adelaide.

Thank you

Sep 05, 2012
adel - darwin
by: Anonymous

Hi, my 19 year old son is relocating to Darwin and I (his mother) will be driving with him from Adelaide. It is not a holiday, he just wants to get his car up there. Can anyone help with suggestions about how many KM we should do per day, where to stay overnight and general driving conditions. Any help would be much appreciated.

Jun 19, 2012
Adelaide to Darwin
by: Anonymous


I am planning to travel around Australia next year, just wondering how many gas station from Adelaide to Darwin...?? My car running with LPG Gas. Are there (gas station) open 24 hours...???

Thanks for the info.

Jan 03, 2011
My 2 c
by: Rita

Hi Marco,

Have a general check on the car, and best thing is to tell them in the garage about your plans, so they can look after the necessary things. As it will probably hot in the centre and the north make sure that your air condition and cooling system works perfectly.
Ask them if there are any essential spare parts you should take.

There are roadhouses every 150 to 250 km on the Stuart Hwy if you get in trouble, and the hwy is fully sealed, so your car should be alright.

The Stuart Highway lists all roadhouses and towns south of Alice, with tips of things to see. For the stretch from Darwin to Alice you will find stopping points and towns on any map.

It is a good idea to fix a sunscreen on the rear windows to protect the baby from the direct sun. Make sure she (and you too) drinks enough when it is hot.

Here are some Q & A from other readers which might interest you.

Have a safe trip.


Jan 03, 2011
2c worth pls.
by: Marco

Hi rita,
Just asking, do you have any tips for me?my wife, 1yo daughter and I are planing to drive from Darwin to Whyalla next month.we own a Mitsubishi Colt(06) you think the car could handle it and what are the things i should have checked with the car and what to bring before we leave? Thanks heaps!!!

May 25, 2010
Stuart Hwy
by: Rita

Yes, the Stuart Hwy is sealed all the way down from Darwin to Adelaide, including the Lasseter Hwy to Uluru. You'll be fine with a normal car.


May 24, 2010
Stuart Highway Darwin to Adelaide
by: Anonymous


Could you please let me know whether the roads are sealed all the way from Darwin to Adelaide?
We are planning to travel in a normal car, not a 4WD. Do you think a normal car will do or do we really need a 4WD?

Thank you.

Oct 25, 2009
gerald's trip
by: peter

hi we are from NZ too and have done the trip from Adelaide to the Alice. Rita is right leave lots of time to see the sites. Port Augusta is a 2 day stop as is Coober Pedy. Then at least 2 at the red centre, make sure you stop for breakfast at MT Ebeneser, best on this stretch of road.

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