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Great Journeys: Australia: Perth to Darwin

One of the most amazing road trips on the planet, this journey takes in the incredible sights of Western Australia.

Map of Perth to Darwin, Australia

Click on the links below to find out more about individual destinations.

Journey Summary

This classic road journey starts in the beautiful city of Perth, from which it's an easy drive up Highway One to the completely trippy Pinnacles Desert at Nambung. This is but a taste of things to come, and heading north to Kalbarri brings us to our first collection of outback gorges. Continuing north we soon come to Shark Bay, where we can meet dolphins face to face at Monkey Mia and walk on beaches made entirely of tiny shells. Back on the main road, we stop briefly at Carnarvon and Coral Bay, from where it's a roundabout but worthwhile drive to the northwest corner of Australia at Cape Range, where the beaches are stunning and totally deserted. Ducking back inland via the isolated Nanutarra Roadhouse, we come to Karijini (Hammersley Range), where the gorges are second to none and worth a long stop. Millstream-Chichester further north has a different flavour again, and Cleaverville Beach provides us with back-to-basics beach camping par excellence. Heading east now, Port Hedland provides us with a stopover before the long drive east to Broome, where Cable Beach is an enticing respite from the road. From Broome the first portion of the Gibb River Road is, theoretically, suitable for normal cars, and it's worth the bone-shaking drive to explore the stunning sights of the Kimberley – Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek, and Geikie Gorge. As if it couldn't get any better, the unique striped domes of Purnululu (Bungle Bungles) are a must, though it's best to take an organised tour (or even a helicopter) from Kununurra, as the access road is strictly four-wheel-drive-only. We now enter the Northern Territory and stop off at Nitmiluk, home to the stunning Katherine Gorge, which also provides us with easy access to Kakadu, one of Australia's most famous National Parks. From Kakadu we head southwest to Litchfield, where we can swim without fear of crocodile intrusion, and finally we drop anchor in Darwin, where, if we've timed it right, we can catch the Beer Can Regatta – or, at the very least, a beer can or three.

Suggested Itinerary

The following is only a suggested itinerary, and is based round a journey by car, with overnight stops at camping grounds. All roads are suitable for normal two-wheel-drive cars. Important Note: Before setting off on any journey into the outback, it's important to ensure that the car is in good condition, and that you have a week's worth of water and food, in case of breakdown in the outback. It's also worth making sure that you have breakdown cover from a reliable national breakdown company, like the AAA or the RAC. Hopefully you won't find out why it's such a good idea...

Day Suggested Itinerary
1 Fly to Perth
2-3 Two days in Perth
4 Perth to Nambung
5 One day in Nambung
6 Nambung to Kalbarri
7-9 Three days in Kalbarri
10 Kalbarri to Shark Bay
11-13 Three days in Shark Bay
14 Shark Bay to Carnarvon Blowholes
15 Carnarvon Blowholes to Coral Bay
16 Coral Bay to Cape Range
17-19 Three days in Cape Range
20 Cape Range to Nanutarra Roadhouse
21 Nanutarra Roadhouse to Karijini
22-25 Four days in Karijini
26 Karijini to Millstream-Chichester
27-28 Two days in Millstream-Chichester
29 Millstream-Chichester to Cleaverville Beach
30 One day in Cleaverville Beach
31 Cleaverville Beach to Port Hedland
32 Port Hedland to Broome
33 One day in Broome
34 Broome to Fitzroy Crossing (via the Kimberley)
35 Fitzroy Crossing to Kununurra (via Geikie Gorge)
36-38 Three days on a tour in Purnululu
39 One day in Kununurra
40 Kununurra to Nitmiluk
41-42 Two days in Nitmiluk
43 Nitmiluk to Kakadu
44-48 Five days in Kakadu
49 Kakadu to Litchfield
50-52 Three days in Litchfield
53 Litchfield to Darwin
54-55 Two days in Darwin
56 Fly from Darwin