Come on, let’s be honest, this is probably the big daddy of them all!
Yes the drive from Darwin to Broome through the jaw-dropping Kimberley region is about as awesome as road trips get I reckon and easily competes with both the drive up the red Centre from Adelaide to Darwin, as well as down the West Coast from Broome to Perth.
Have I sold it to you yet?!
I mean I literally spent the entire 2 weeks it took us to make this drive, hanging out the window, just trying to grab photographs as we bumped along … it’s that stunning (and also no one would let me make any more stops!)
But I digress, the point is you have to make this drive at least once in your life and here, to show you how to get the best from it, is my ultimate Darwin to Broome road trip itinerary!
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Day 1 & 2: Darwin to Litchfield National Park
Depart Darwin early in the morning and make the short drive south to Litchfield National Park.
Only an hour or so away, this park has tons going for it, so be sure to set off early so you get the most out of your days there.
My favourite highlights include swimming at Florence Falls, hiking around Wangi Falls and snapping the giant termite mounds, but there’s literally loads to do… and it’s all free!
For more ideas, check out my guide to Litchfield National Park, including where you can camp for just $3.30!
BEST BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN DARWIN
If you’re looking for places to stay in Darwin, I highly recommend either the City Gardens Apartments for those who want a bit of privacy or Gecko Lodge if you want a good dorm bed!
Day 3 & 4: Nitmiluk National Park
After Litchfield, it’s time to check out another Northern Territory wonder – Nitmiluk National Park.
Definitely one of Australia’s most epic national parks, Nitmiluk, sits just outside the town of Katherine and is a massive gorge that stretches deep into this ancient landscape.
Top activities include hiking, kayaking and cruising around the gorge, but if you have enough money, a helicopter ride has got to be an amazing way to see the enormity of this deep ravine.
For more ideas about where to stay in this national park, check out my full guide here.
Or check out this great option for a full-day tour to Nitmiluk National Park, which includes a cruise up Katherine Gorge and a swim in Edith Falls.
5 ESSENTIAL PACKING ITEMS FOR AUSTRALIA
#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop in Australia and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous country justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Australia – from cities to national park! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish strollling, I love mine
#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Australia edition is well put together
#4 Good Water Bottle – Travelling in hot old Australia can be thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because tap water is drinkable… and free!
#5 Good Sun Hat – And there’s no denying you’ll need a good sun hat for protection in Australia too. In my opinion, you can’t go past this Hello Sunshine one, which is both gorgeous and ideal for keeping the rays off your face.
Day 5: Judbarra / Gregory National Park
It’s national parks all the way it seems!
Well when you come this far into remote northern Australia, you want to enjoy the landscape and what better way to do it right?!
Next up is Judburra / Gregory National Park, which is well-distanced from Katherine, bearing in mind you’ll want to stock up on supplies there before leaving.
Stop at the hot springs in Katherine on the way out if you can too, before reaching Judburra / Gregory National Park and camping at Bullita Campground.
The nearby Bullita Homestead is an excellent free heritage exhibition that tells the true tale of a devastating flood that swept through what was once a cattle farm here.
If you’re in a 4wd, there’s also some great tracks (former stock routes) to undertake… we loved the Tuwakam Track!
Day 6 & 7: Keep River National Park
This little known park was one of my favourite on the whole trip and I highly recommend spending 2 nights here so that you get to enjoy all the delightful walks and incredible views.
The best hikes, in my opinion, were the Goorrandalng Walk and the Ginger’s Hill Walk which had some fascinating aboriginal artefacts.
There’s 2 campsites within Keep River National Park to choose from, and whichever you choose, the sun bouncing off that red Kimberley range provides the perfect backdrop.
Right near the Northern Territory border, this is the place to finish off all your fresh fruit and veg before the crossing into Western Australia too… you have been warned!
Day 8: Lake Argyle
Once you have made it into Western Australia (congratulations!), your first stop should really be Lake Argyle!
Quite the engineering feat, this flooded valley to help aid agriculture in the area is seriously impressive and stretches for miles.
Grab your snaps and then head back to set up camp and chill at the Lake Argyle Resort & Caravan Park.
This award-winning caravan park (and its infinity pool) is seriously awesome!
Day 9: Kununurra
Time to head onto Kununurra and replenish supplies!
There’s loads to do around this town and you could easily keep extending your stay like we did!
For some ideas about what to do, check out my post about the best free things to do in Kununurra … oh and another tip, make sure you stay at Discovery Parks – Lake Kununurra, the sunsets and sunrises here are to die for!
From Kununurra the road splits!
For those who want to drive the Gibb River Road read on here.
For those who want to take the Great Northern Highway option, scroll down a little…
And for those who want the best of both worlds (like we did) pick and choose between the 2!
Gibb River Road: Days 10, 11 & 12
From Kununurra, head north towards El Questro and spend 2 nights there, exploring the amazing Zebedee Hot Springs, Emma Gorge and more.
Take a side trip to Wyndham to see the Fiver Rivers Lookout before heading on to take a hike and a dip at Bells Gorge.
Spend the night nearby.
It’s here that things start getting seriously remote!
Great Northern Highway: Days 10, 11 & 12
From Kununurra, make your way into Purnululu National Park.
Absolutely spellbinding, you’ll need to 2 nights here to really appreciate the spectacle of the giant beehive-like rock formations and the park’s other attractions including Cathedral Gorge and Echidna Chasm.
Do beware the ride into the park is ROUGH however and a 4wd is essential … it will also take you ages!
After this, make your way west stopping 1 night at Fitzroy Crossing on the way – we thought it much nicer than Halls Creek and there was a good visitor centre.
The next day pop into Tunnel Creek on your way to see …
Day 13: Windjana Gorge
Both the Gibb River Road and the Great Northern Highway essentially join at Windjana Gorge, so this is a stop worth making regardless of the route you take.
Be sure to hike into the gorge and don’t miss the daily croc display!
You can camp here and there are showers as well – hoorah!
Day 14: Derby to Broome
The final stop before Broome, Derby is an interesting little town worth exploring.
Derby’s main attractions include the highest tides in Australia (which be can be viewed from the Wharf) and the Boab Prison Tree, which is believed to be about 1500 years old.
Stop here and spend the night, or glimpse it in an afternoon before motoring on to Broome.
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
So there you have it folks, the ultimate road trip itinerary from Darwin to Broome.
Have you made this epic journey?
Did you go the Gibb or the Highway?
Please let me know in the comments box below…
76 thoughts on “Ultimate Darwin to Broome Road Trip Itinerary!”
I haven’t done this road trip yet but your itinerary convinced me to add it to my bucket list
That’s fantastic to hear Peter! I know you’ll love it!
Can you do this trip in an AWD rather than a 4WD? Understand there are definitely offshoot tracks an AWD would not make.
Hi Steve, yes you can. As you say, parts you may not manage, but as 2wd’s can make, AWD should be no problem 🙂
Hi Steph, I am looking to do this exact trip as people say that it would be amazing. However do you know of the best way to hire an appropriate vehicle to hire from Broome and drop off in Darwin without having to sell the belongings your grandma left you?
Ha ha Freddie, great question! You can actually hire 4wd vehicles in Broome for this trip that should come equipped with most things you need – bedding, cooking equipment etc. In that case, you just bring clothes, toiletries, map and headlamps etc, then return the vehicle complete with all the contents… you don’t need to buy / sell anything. Does that answer your question? Or are you referring to packing up your life to make this trip?! If you’re in Australia already, Broome to Darwin can easily be completed in 2 weeks, so need to sell anything either, just take a holiday by flying into one city and out the other! Does that answer your question or do I have the wrong end of the stick here? Please let me know and I’ll try my best to help 🙂
Hi Steph, I´m searching my perfect Australia road trip at the moment. Thank you for sharing your itinerary with us, your trip sounds awesome to me. As I will travel by myself and really want to get a 4WD I want to ask you if you think I can make it in the same time as you guys did it or do you reckon I need more days (since it´s only me driving)? Also I wonder how much money I would spend on petrol, as it´s around 2500 km, is that right? Can you give me any information on that?
Thank you in advance 🙂 Greetings from NZ!
Hi Maria, good on you for your fantastic spirit of adventure! I love it! Actually, there was only one of us driving, but as the other was navigating, setting up the tent and cooking etc, yes you probably would need to allow more time if you’re solo, because all this takes its toll, especially in the heat.
Just a reminder that parts of this road trip are seriously remote and rural – no phone reception etc if you breakdown or have any problems, so hiring a sat phone might be a good idea if you are travelling alone.
For the cost breakdowns of this road trip, please see my weekly diary posts here:
These give detailed breakdowns of where we stayed, how much we drove and what the costs were. As you can see we took a lot longer than 14 days (but we travel slow!)
In terms of petrol now I’m not sure because it’s almost 2 years since I was up that way, but I’d recommend googling current fuel prices in Australia, adding 50c per liter for the remote region tax (!) and then multiplying by your estimated 2500km.
Any more Q’s feel free to fire them over! 🙂
Hi Steph, my partner and I are planning to do this drive. We will leave Broome 1st of October, we plan on buying a Suburu Outback all-wheel drive and camping gear in Perth where we are starting from. We are experienced drivers but not 4-wheel drivers, I am originally from Tasmania so I am used to winding roads but have only been a passenger 4-wheel driving with friends. Would like to visit some of these national parks but I realise some of these will be out of reach, which national parks in your opinion would be possible for us to do in a Subaru Outback?
Looking forward to your reply!
Greetings from The Netherlands
Hi Natasha, thanks for your great questions and delighted to hear you have a wonderful trip planned. Many of the best national parks between Darwin and Broome are actually accessible even to 2wd, you just have to stick to the main routes. Parks such as Nitmiluk, Litchfield, Kakadu and Windjana Gorge should all be available to you. Purnululu is the main one you wouldn’t be able to access and possibly Judbara / Gregory too. Do check out the Northern Territory Parks website too – they have lots of excellent and up to date info. Hope that helps and enjoy the trip planning!
Hi Steph, thanks for the tips, we are planning the exact same trip next year and will follow your itenerary. What time of year do you think would be the most picturesque time to go? We would hire a 4WD but would obviously want to avoid certain times of the year.
Hi John, so glad you found the tips useful. May to September is definitely the best time to make this trip to avoid the rains and the unbearable humidity. Within this period, May and Sept are probably best as they form the shoulder months and have less crowds around and more space in the campsites. Hope that helps 🙂
Great article! It’s always important to be well organised for such a trip, especially for the Gibb River Road and if people travel as far as Kalumburu.
You are absolutely right guys – being prepared is definitely key when you are this remote… I think people have a tendency to forget just how essential it is when you’re this far from “civilisation”. Have you travelled the Gibb a lot?
Hi Steph! How are you? Thank you for all your information.
I have a doudt: my trip will be in opposit way, so far so good, but I noticed that you passed by Katherine two times…arriving in Cairns and when you were going towards to Broome. This is right?
Hi Shirley, sorry I’m a little confused about your question? I travelled from Brisbane to Cairns, then across to Darwin and passing through Katherine, before continuing onto Broome (passing briefly through Katherine which is along the highway west) Dees this answer the question?
Hi Steph, sorry for my English.
Yes, I realize that it is necessary to pass two times through Katherine. Thank you!
Hi Shirley, no apologies necessary -full respect to anyone speaking a second language! Yes the way the main highway lies it’s generally necessary to pass through Katherine twice if you are travelling east-west / west-east and want to see Darwin. The other option is to skip Darwin and carry travelling across the country passing through Katherine only once therefore.
Hi Steph, this trip sounds amazing. Would the roads be suitable for towing a caravan or would you just have a 4 wheel drive and a tent
Hi Lynda, so glad you enjoyed the article – yes it was an amazing trip. As I say in the post, there’s 2 options for this road trip – a 2wd version suitable for caravans / regular cars and a 4wd route. The 2wd route is on paved road, so caravans fine… although personally I’d always choose the 4wd route and take a rooftop tent!
Your journey story is so entrancing that we’re in the UK, now planning the exact same journey (Darwin-Broome) for June next year. But 4wd Hire costs seem so prohibitive as to make the journey not possible. A 2wd roof tent camper seems an alternative. Obviously Gibb River is then out but, otherwise, the journey still seems wonderful. True? And, is it possible to join organised 4wd groups at other special places? Like Purnululu?
Or is even the Great Northern Highway strewn with the carcasses of 2wd campers and the dreams of their naive Campervanners?.
Ha Ha Roger, love this question and delighted you’ve been inspired! Yes the Gibb is out for 2WD vehicles, but the Great Northern Highway is fine – just don’t attempt Purnululu for sure – this will end in disaster with a 2WD! You can certainly take tours (road or fancy helicopter) to Purnululu from Wyndham if you fancy (depending on how much cash and / or time you have), otherwise it will still be a wonderful journey without this. I’ve got posts on Purnulu and Wyndham on my blog, so do check those out, otherwise, don’t hesitate to fire over any more questions you might have. Can I suggest Broome to Perth is also a stunning Aussie road trip 😉
El questro and emma gorge both 4 wheels drive needed. It would ve been good to know it before.
Hi Ajeje and thanks for your comments. You are right – a 4wd would be preferable for both these destinations because while the Gibb is now sealed from Kununurra all the way to El Questro Station entrance, there’s still some river clearances etc to be made once you are within the property.
We are planning the trip from Darwin to Broome and are thinking of hiring a Campervan or would we be ok to hire a SUV and stay in parks.
You can definitely stay in parks Kerrie – that’s what we did with our 4wd and rooftop tent. The only thing with the SUV and campervan is the offroad elements. It depends which route you want to take after Kununurra that will largely determine your choice I’d say. Parks provide few facilities, so you’ll have to be equipped with full camping and cooking gear. Is this something you’re happy to do? Or used to?
Hi, thanks for the great article! We are thinking of going from Broome to Darwin. Do you think the trip is suitable for kids aged 8 and 10? Or is it too much driving?
Hi Martine, so happy you enjoyed the article. Hard for me to answer your question as I don’t have kids myself or know what yours are like. There is a lot of driving, but more it’s the conditions, hot, flies, bumpy roads, not a huge amount of child-friendly facilities, big distances between camps etc that might put me off. I’d probably recommend Broome to Perth (or part of it) more for families.
Hi Steph I am riding my motorbike from Adelaide to Darwin and after reading your trip itinary Darwin to Broome am thinking I might include this into my trip my bike is an adventure tourer so can handle unsealed roads no problem but how regular are fuel stops I have a range of about 300kms and is there many stops for food /supplies
Hi Charlie, thanks for your question and extending the trip sounds like a great idea! But in all honesty, I really can’t remember about the distance between fuel stops and would hate to give you the wrong info. Have you checked google maps or got an Ordnance survey map? These normally give you a fair idea. Thanks Steph 🙂
Great to read. We did this in 2017 Darwin-broome-Darwin with a 4WD with rooftoptent. We liked it so much that we are going back with our adult kids. This time broome Darwin one way. Looking for things we did not see already. We gonna take the Mitchell falls this time. You did keep river np and judbarra np. Is this an option. Ofcourse we wil do maning and bellgorge again. And bungles bungles. The kids need to see that. Other tips?
Hi Elma, sounds like an awesome adventure! Sadly we didn’t make Mithcel Falls – as we were scared the Landrover would fall apart up there (as it had done in Arnhem Land) and decided to stick to the Gibb and the Bungles only. Keep River is great and well recommended – I really though it was a beautiful place to chill and walk for a few days. Judbarra is less picturesque, but more geared up for some epic 4wd tracks if this interests you? We did one and remote doesn’t even cover the half of it! Good times, but do make sure you are prepared. If you search the Northern Territory on my blog – an article will come up with more info on both these parks. Enjoy 🙂
Thanks a lot!!! We can’t wait to make the trip.
Enjoy every moment Elma 🙂
Hi Steph, we are planning on flying to Broome, hiring a car and driving to Darwin via the Great Northern Highway and flying out of Darwin in May next year – is two weeks enough for the drive? Thanks for your great posts – very informative!!!
Hi Russell, timeframe really depends how long you want to spend in Broome and Darwin respectively. I spent 5 days in each, making 10 days total without the drive between them. You can then see from reading this itinerary how long it took me to travel between them. I guess calculating what you want to do in each city and along the way (you can use my posts as guidance on this) will help you work out your timeframe. Best, Steph
Is this trip possible for a single person, late October into November? Are there B&Bs and/or hostels along the way? Or should I fly from Darwin to Broome and then drive to Perth????
Hi Joann – you’ll need to be aware that October / November will be insanely hot in this part of the world and I really wouldn’t recommend it as the best time of year at all. While you can travel this route by yourself, please remember it is incredibly remote and I’d suggest having a Sat Phone and UHF Radio if you plan to do this. Have you travelled much by yourself before? I would suggest flying Darwin to Broome would be a better idea as accommodation outside of camping can be limited given how remote this part of Australia is. The drive from Broome to Perth is a lot easier, with more people around, more accommodation options and more going on. This may be a better option? That said Oct / Nov will be crazy hot up north and you’re getting into Cyclone season at that time of year too. Something to think about and research…
Hi Steph, great inspiring & informative article on this exciting trip! Just wondering is there any preference/best way to do the trip for eg Darwin to Broome vs Broome to Darwin?
Hi Venetia, glad you enjoyed the post! Not really any preference in terms of the route – it’s more about weather / time of year and where you’re coming from initially. If renting a vehicle you may have more choice in terms of hire vehicles from Darwin but that would be about it. Enjoy 🙂
Thanks for your post Steph, I had really wanted to do the Gibb but I don’t have a 4wd although I have a high clearance 2wd I won’t be risking it. I’m travelling solo with a 4yr old so we’re going to do the Great Northern Highway aiming for around late July/early Aug. Thanks for sharing your tips and I have saved your post as a guide when we get to this section…currently in Victoria so we have a looong way to go yet 🙂
Wow, sounds like you are on an epic journey – great stuff! I didn’t travel Victoria a lot, but there’s a heap on my blog about road tripping QLD, NT and WA, so check it out. Hopefully you can pick up some more tips. Happy travels 🙂
Hi Steph great info and advice! My gf and I will be driving Perth to Darwin via the Gibb in June-July with 4wd for maximum enjoyment 😉
I am trying to finalize my itinerary and it is a long way from ElQ to Katherine so we would love to stop at Keep River as we won’t be able to see the Bungle Bungles. That being said we are still pressed for time.
With your experience at this park would we be able to enjoy a couple hours doing a lil walking to see the Baby Bungles and if so Jarnem Walk or the Gurrandalng walk?
Thanks for any input you can give us!
Hi Jeff, so excited you are to travel the Gibb this year and that you plan to head to Keep River – I really did love this park and highly recommend it, even if only for a night. You can definitely do some of the smaller walks in a few hours, although I can’t remember specifically which one we made. I actually have a post about my favourite, lesser-known parks in the NT and Keep River features there with tons more info, so please check that out. Also beware that even in June-July, it’s still crazy hot here and hard to walk for much longer than an hour or 2. Happy travel planning 🙂
We are planning on doing part of this trip starting from Darwin and going down to at least Kununurra late January 2020. Are we going to have 90 degree temps with high humidity at this time of year? If so, we may rearrange our trip. Thank you.
Oh my goodness Kathy, yes January will be crazy hot. I’d never suggest travelling in the north outside of May-Sept. Even keeping the car cool at that time will be a mission!!
Thank you Steph. We have now rearranged our trip and will be going in September. Would you suggest flying into Darwin and driving down to Kununnura or fly into Broome and drive up to Darwin? Which part of this area is most spectacular? We will have 7 days. Thank you.
Hi Kathy, yes I think September is a much better time. It’s hard for me to say which route you’ll prefer – Broome to Darwin is obviously longer than just to Kununurra and I worry that with 7 days you’ll struggle to do all this, especially if you want to see Broome as well – which you should for a few days. Honestly, you could spend 7 days easily just and around Darwin – Litchfield, Kakadu, Katherine Gorge – there’s so much to do just there!
Hi Steph, amazing trip you spoke about, thinking of doing the lap next year with two labradors, is this possible and are there places to stay along the way?
Hi Irene, thanks for your great question. I believe there are some caravan parks that take dogs along this route, but I’m not entirely sure which and would hate to give you the wrong info. Best to contact them and see their individual policies on this. I know, of course, that national parks do not allow dogs. Happy travel planning 🙂
This blog article was super helpful on my journey plans traveling through Perth to Darwin. (Still working progress and considering.) I am originally from Darwin but moved to Tasmania with my 2wd and via Stuart Hwy. And due to reasons, I have to move back to Darwin.
Instead of taking the same route I went down, I considered taking the West Coast Route back up. I know it will be much longer, but the attractions that the West Coast offered I simply couldn’t resist.
Thankfully the best time that I’ll be considering traveling through (April-July) adds up. However, some areas through the West Coast I am worried and unsure about for my 2wd. As I am also traveling solo and hasn’t experienced any unsealed roads before.
I wasn’t sure if Lake Argyle, Kunnanara, Ningaloo Reef/Coral Bay, and Kariji National Park are suitable for a 2wd. I’ve read on a few websites already about those places if its safe for a 2wd but a lot of wasn’t clear on if a 2wd can safely travel through without too much damage. And whether or not the roads were sealed on or not.
Thanks so Much, Steph, and your adventure through the West Coast sounds so inspiring and adventurous!!! Definitely motivated me to plan a trip through the West Coast to get back home to Darwin 🙂
Hi Zoe, so great to read your message and delighted that I’ve helped and inspired your travels. All the places you mention in WA (Lake Argyle, Kunnanara, Ningaloo Reef/Coral Bay, and Karinji National Park) are safely and easily driveable (almost all sealed) in 2wD vehicles. That said, there are some roads that won’t be accessible to you, especially in Karijini, but just follow the guidelines and clearly-signed advice. The West Coast really is amazing and I hope you get to see it 🙂
We did the 2wd version of this magnificent adventure 2 years ago. We stayed at Mabel Station and did a 4wd day trip to Purnululu from here. Yes the road is absolutely atrocious but in someone elses 4wd, not having to worry about damaging our own car, it was just brilliant!!
Love your work.
Ha ha Larraine, yes I can imagine in someone else’s vehicle it was a blast! Still fun in your own, but some nerves required for sure! So glad you are enjoying the blog 🙂
Hello, great post! Would you recommend doing the Gibb River road or the Great Northern Highway if you had to choose between the two? Do you have a rough idea of how long each takes? We will have a Subaru Forester, but are not experience 4WD drivers. We will also be going in dry season (July). Thanks!
Hi Michelle, the Gibb River Road is tough. Epic, but tough. You need to know what you’re doing 4wd-wise. My suggestion would be to do more research about this route and judge your decision based on your level of confidence, the condition of your vehicle at the time and your experience. I’d also spend time finding out from other travellers you meet / online, what the road condition is like nearer to the time you’ll cross. The Great Northern Highway (if you don’t go to Purnululu) is much quicker, but honestly, it depends on how much you stop along the way and what the condition of the road is like at the time – both things I can’t guess from my end, unfortunately. Wishing you safe travels, Steph
Hi 🙂 is it safe to travel with a regular tent (in case of crocodiles)? Thanks!
Hi John, you can travel with a tent, but must be very careful where you camp. Fenced campgrounds would be the safest option. Otherwise, far away from rivers beds etc is best. Always seek local advice too. Personally, I travelled this route in a rooftop tent, which made me feel safer!
Hey Steph, my names Luke and I’m from the UK. Currently 4 months into my 1 year working holiday visa over here in Aus. I’m currently working at Home Valley Station on the Gibb River Road. I’m planning to meet my friend from the UK in Darwin on the 1st of November and do a road trip from Darwin to Broome & then Broome to Perth. Although until now I haven’t done a hell of a lot of research on all the logistics. It sounds like Darwin to Broome could be problematic at this time with the weather & remoteness. Is that a fair statement? We only want to have fun and don’t want to get ourselves into any trouble. So I’m now thinking to meet him in Darwin and then we both fly to Broome instead. And do Broome to Perth along the West Coast. As that sounds a lot easier and less remote. Although it’s a shame as we will miss the wonders of the Kimberly that I’d love to show him! But I’d much rather do the safer option and ensure we have fun, and stay relaxed. Do you also have any companies you could recommend to me for 4×4 hire or where to go to get them? Utterly clueless! Lots of research yet to do as you can tell 😅
Hi Luke, great to hear from you. I’ve been to Home Valley Station! What a great place to do some work!
In terms of driving from Darwin to Broome, November isn’t great because it’s the rainy season and many roads, including the Gibb might be shut. Also if you’re not an experienced off road driver, I certainly wouldn’t advise it.
The Great Northern Highway may be open, but camping etc is going to be no fun in the rain! Broome to Perth is easier driving with more accommodation choices along the way – do be aware that any roads north of Port Hedland, however, may be shut in Nov too, but south of there the weather will get better.
Also if you’re short on time, just road tripping one section, will be better than going all the way from Darwin.
I have a road trip itinerary for Perth to Broome on the blog, as well as lots of destination guides about the places you’ll pass on the way, so do check them out.
Finally, even if you fly Darwin to Broome, you can still enjoy Darwin and many of the parks close to there, including Kakadu and Litchfield which are easier journeys from the city.
Hope that helps 🙂
Hi Steph, thanks for a great post! Hope you’re still available to answer a few questions. 🙂 We’re a family from Norway planning a big trip to Australia January to June 2020. We’ll begin on the east-coast and travel with Indian Pacific mid April. We’re considering spending the next two months in a camper van driving Perth to Darwin. So… We have two beautiful girls 3 and 5 years old. So extreme hiking is out of the question. We hope to find family-friendly destinations experience the nature in a not too extreme way. 😉 We do not want to stress to the next destination if we find the perfect spot. Maybe stay a week! We want to break up the driving to maximum 500-ish km a day. We’re not experienced campers so it will certainly be in a motorhome. You reckon the drive from Broome to Darwin is worth it without a 4WD? Or is it plenty to do and see along the highway? Even for kids? At the moment I’ve been reading a lot of travel blogs and get the feeling it will be little too much of the same in all these national parks.. Maybe it’s enough to drive Perth-Broome..? OR should we just go for this once in a lifetime opportunity and go all the way!? Thanks for any replies. 🙂
Hi Jon, personally with kids that small and without a 4wd, I’d probably stick with the Perth to Broome section, allowing time to travel up the Dampier Peninsula if you can. If you don’t want to rush, then this will also allow you to take your time. For kids, there is loads of stuff to do around Darwin such as Kakadu, Litchfield, Hot Springs at Mataranka etc, but between Darwin and Broome it is pretty remote and really all about the wild 4wd and offgrid life. Maybe drive Perth to Broome, then fly to Darwin and hire another vehicle for that area? Just a thought. Wishing you all the best on your adventures. Happy travels, Steph 🙂
Hi Steph, This trip sounds incredible! Absolute dream. I am going to australia next year and will be travelling around the west coast and outback for 3 months. I can drive but wouldn’t be confident driving on very rocky terrain or uneven roads as such. Is there another budget option where I could book a tour or get public transport or would I miss out on a lot? Thanks
Hi Kate, public transport very limited in both WA and NT. Check out greyhound for some ideas. Budget options hard to come by too, as you’d likely have to take a tour which massively hikes prices. Best thing is to find a friend who is a confident driver! Or take the 2WD option in this itinerary 🙂
We did the Gibb River Road 2012 we took a tent and stayed on several Cattle Stations, Manning Gorge, Bell Gorge, Home Valley Station which has a large Camping Ground. We would definately recomend this trip as remote and beautiful.
Hi Joan, great to hear this. It’s such an epic part of the country isn’t it?! Any more trips planned? Steph 🙂
We have booked to go to Brisbane and Darwin in August, we were going to go as far as El Questro and the Bungle Bungles but Air New Zealand have cancelled Christchurch to Brisbane.
That’s a shame Joan, sorry to hear about the disruption to your plans. Stay safe. Best, Steph
My husband and I plan to drive from cairns to Darwin/Darwin to Broome/Broome to Perth/ Perth to Melbourne. My concern is that we have two small dogs and I’m worried about finding accommodation along the way. National parks will all be a no go.
Hi Chris, great to hear of your epic road trips plans with your furry companions – sounds like a wonderful adventure! You are right in that National Parks will be no-go, as will some caravan sites and campgrounds too. The best thing is to research places individually. Some definitely do accept pets, but it’s a case of finding out which ones. Wikicamps (a free app / websites) may be able to help you with an overview. Good luck and safe travels. Best, Steph 🙂
Hi Steph looking to hire a camper van and drive from Darwin to Broome late June For 10 days. We would love to do Emma falls and El Questro and Bungle Bungle. Can this be done with a camper van or should be hire a 4wd and tent set up
Hi Peter, thanks for stopping by the blog and leaving this question. 2wd vehicles can make it to Emma Gorge, but will certainly struggle to get to El Questro (I wouldn’t advise it) and will find the Bungles impossible – I struggled with the latter even in a Landrover! If you do want to see these spots, a 4WD is a must and a tent is a good idea – although there are other accommodation options at El Questro and you can take a long day trip to the Bungles from Kununurra and stay in town there on your return if you like. Hope that helps, Best Steph 🙂
I’m planning to drive from Darwin to Broome in July this year by myself, most likely in a 2WD Campervan along Great Northern Hwy. I am a confident solo traveller but I’m just wondering how safe it is for a woman travelling, hiking and especially camping on her own? It’s a question that is probably hard to answer. How remote, even on the highway, does it get? Or are there enough overnight stops enroute that provide some sort of safety of campgrounds where I’d find other travellers?
Hi Brigitte, thanks for your question and I understand your concerns about safety. I think hiking alone is very safe, but camping by yourself can feel slightly scary as this part of the country is very remote. Stops by the side of the road tend to be the most common free camps, but you are often a long way from towns or phone signal if you need help. As such, caravan parks in the towns along the highway, as I outline in the itinerary, might be best for solo women travellers – I certainly felt safe in them and they are a great place to meet others and enjoy the facilities. Hope that helps and happy travels 🙂
We are planning to fly to Broome from Brisbane in august .would like to hire 4×4 in
Broome & travel by road to Darwin . Or maybe other way ie Darwin to Broome .Are there any cabins to stay in on the way as we are elderly & do not wish to camp . Any other options or suggestions of doing this trip would be appreciated.
Hi Jeanene, thanks for your question. There are certainly some cabins at more commercial caravan parks, like those in Kununurra, as well as rooms in roadhouses elsewhere. These are available in some spots but not everywhere and vary in quality and comfort. You’ll have more luck if you take the 2wd-friendly highway route between Darwin-Broome, but please plan and check this all yourself in advance – I’d hate for you to be left high and dry! Best, Steph 🙂