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Tropics to Wineries: What to Do on a Darwin to Adelaide Trip

Tropics to Wineries: What to Do on a Darwin to Adelaide Trip

With over 3,000 km of distance, traveling from the Northern Territory’s capital to South Australia’s crowned city opens up the opportunity for a road odyssey. 

From the rugged beauty of the Australian Outback to the picturesque vineyards that dot Adelaide’s landscape, this journey promises a perfect blend of excitement and relaxation. 

Our ultimate Darwin to Adelaide road trip guide got you covered from start to finish, with all the tips, tricks, and hidden gems you’ll need to make this road trip an absolute blast!

Our Darwin to Adelaide Route

Top Things to Do and See During This Trip

View Aboriginal Rock Formations at Kakadu National Park

Website: http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/
Address: Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT 0886 
Contact Details: (08) 8938 1120
Operating Hours: Daily – 24 Hours
Distance from Previous Point: 240 km

In Australia’s Northern Territory lies the magnificent Kakadu National Park, a sprawling haven of biodiversity and natural wonders. What you’ll see here are landscapes ranging from lush wetlands and meandering rivers to majestic sandstone escarpments!

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an absolute nature enthusiast’s paradise. It has cascading waterfalls, Aboriginal rock art, crocodile-filled billabongs, and bustling birdlife. 


Pack insect repellent and wear protective clothing to ward off the notorious mosquitoes and other biting insects. 

Additionally, if you’re feeling too exhausted, why not stay at Kakudu’s refreshing accommodations like Cooinda Lodge or Aurora Kakadu Lodge?

And lastly, for an unforgettable experience, visit the awe-inspiring Jim Jim and Twin Falls. Don’t miss the chance to plunge and swim into the falls’ crystal-clear waters!

Join the gorge cruise at Nitmiluk

Website: http://www.nitmiluktours.com.au/
Address: Gorge Rd, Nitmiluk NT 0852
Contact Details: (08) 8971 0064
Operating Hours: Daily – 7 am to 8 pm

  • Adult – $105
  • Children – $53 

Distance from Previous Point: 275 km

Want to witness the breathtaking spectacle of ancient sandstone cliffs bearing witness to millions of years of natural history? Well, follow one of our team’s favorite detours and explore Nitmiluk’s gorges through a laid-back cruise! 

This one is optional. We don’t recommend it to travelers looking for a direct route. 

For adventurist souls up for a bit of deviation, prepare to see rock formations, tranquil waters, saltwater crocodiles, and more!


Don’t let the sun spoil the fun, bring your hat, sunscreen, and water to stay cool as you cruise. Also, lend your ears to the guides. 

They’ll educate you on Nitmiluk’s history, culture, and wildlife.

Stay at Gorge View Bush Retreat

Website: http://www.gorgeview.com.au/
Address: 1635 Gorge Rd, Katherine NT 0850
Contact Details: 0439 627 902
Operating Hours: Daily – 10 am to 4 pm
Distance from Previous Point: 8.55 km

Gorge View Bush Retreat is a slice of roadside bliss, with lush forests, sweeping plains, and rugged cliff ranges surrounding its camping sites. This serene accommodation offers an array of exceptional amenities, but our favorite is their cozy glamping tent!

With queen-sized beds, air conditioning, and an outdoor dining area enveloped by trees, this one is the perfect blend of luxury and rustic charm. Hands down, it’s one of the top sites for mind and body replenishment. 


Night exploration is highly encouraged at Gorge View Bush Retreat. Just bring a torch or flashlight. 
Moreover, try to check everything this place offers. 

Whether it’s a cozy nook overlooking the gorges or a hammock nestled amidst the trees, these spots can provide you the perfect opportunity to unwind, reconnect with nature, and create cherished memories.

Try the beer at Daly Waters Pub

Website: http://www.dalywaterspub.com/
Address: 16 Stuart St, Daly Waters NT 0852
Contact Details: (08) 8975 9927
Operating Hours: Daily – 7 am to 11 pm
Distance From Previous Point: Around 270 km

Daly Waters Pub resonates with history and true-blue Outback vibes, making it a must-see sight during this trip. From its humble beginning in the 1800s as a watering hole, this bougainvillea-adorned spot is now one of South Australia’s top-rated pubs.

The always-cold and slightly earthy beer they serve here provided us with much-needed refreshments. Plus, we got to enjoy live music performances, including traditional country music!


Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local cuisine while enjoying the pub’s ambiance. The pub is known for its delicious outback-style meals, and one of the must-try dishes is the Daly Waters Beef and Barra (barramundi). 

Also, leave your mark for other travelers to see! One of the unique aspects of Daly Waters Pub is its collection of travelers’ mementos—a fun tradition that adds to the pub’s character!

Go birdwatching at Lake Woods

Go birdwatching at Lake Woods

Address: Pamayu NT 0862
Distance From Previous Point: Around 170 km

If the Outback is too dry and barren for your taste, we recommend driving to Lake Woods! This pristine freshwater lake is surrounded by verdant vegetation—a true sight for sore, travel-worn eyes.

Tip: Aside from lakeside serenity, this lake boasts spectacular waterbirds. If you have ample time, head to the Lake Woods’ nearby wetlands where you can spot Australian bustards, pelicans, and yellow-tinted honeyeaters!

Check the ecosystems of Alice Springs Desert Park

Website: https://alicespringsdesertpark.com.au/
Address: 871 Larapinta Dr, Alice Springs NT 0871
Contact Details: (08) 8975 9927
Operating Hours: Daily – 7:30 am to 6 pm
Distance From Previous Point: Around 740 km

The extensive drive to Alice Springs proved worthwhile when we saw the remarkable wonders that awaited us in the town’s desert park! The park offers a comprehensive showcase of the ecosystems of the stunning Central Australian desert. 

Aboriginal culture is also alive here, with the local Arrernte people’s traditions and storytelling. 

Our team’s wildlife aficionados were also thrilled by the 180 bird species—all living peacefully in artistic simulations of their natural habitats! 


South Australian weather will make you sweat buckets, so imagine how the heat can get when you’re in Alice Springs, a desert town. We strongly encourage you to wear a hat, apply sunscreen, and bring sunglasses.

And, of course, carry a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your visit.

Experience outback ballooning

Address: Alice Springs, NT 0870
Contact Details: (08) 8952 8723
Operating Hours: Daily – 9 am to 5 pm

We tried the jaw-dropping (and lowkey frightening) outback ballooning. The beauty of the Australian Outback’s mountain summits, orange plains, and riverbeds was more vivid when we were in the clouds! 

And since we scheduled our balloon bonanza during sunset, we witnessed the sun’s golden light slowly fading into the breathtaking horizon. If you want to experience this, too, you may book here.

Tip: One of our biggest regrets is not taking the path leading to the playgrounds of emus and kangaroos. Don’t make the same mistake, and ask the hot air balloon pilot to take you to the habitats of these desert animals for a more air-resistible experience! 

See the historic rock formations of Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park

Website: http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru
Address: Lasseter Hwy, Uluru NT 0872
Contact Details: (08) 8975 9927
Operating Hours: Daily – 6:30 am to 7:30 pm
Distance From Previous Point: Around 405 km

This sacred tourist magnet is an optional detour, but who can stop themselves from seeing Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park’s ancient monoliths? 

We couldn’t! The iconic Uluṟu standing proudly against the desert backdrop was a natural wonder our team couldn’t miss. 

Here, we also wandered through the enigmatic Kata Tjuṯa (the Olgas), a cluster of domed rock formations, each with its distinct character and allure. These ancient rocks appear in the Dreamtime stories, echoing the region’s Aboriginal culture and spirituality.


We believe this detour becomes more exceptional if you turn it into a cultural exploration. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn about the living culture of the Anangu people, the traditional custodians of this sacred land. 

Let your curiosity take over and discover their stories, traditions, and deep spiritual connection that have been passed down through generations! Also, keep your eyes out for elusive desert species like zebra finches and bearded dragons.

Learn about opals at Old Timers Mine and Museum in Coober Peddy

Website: http://www.oldtimersmine.com.au/
Address: 2190 Crowders Gully Rd, Coober Pedy SA 5723
Contact Details: (08) 8672 5555
Operating Hours: Daily – 9 am to 5 pm
Distance From Previous Point: Around 665 km

Old Timers Mine and Museum embodies Coober Peddy’s best feature: it hides beauty below the Outback’s depths. For us, the well-preserved and intricate mine tunnels are the stars here, with the opal exhibit coming in close.

If you don’t mind soaking the open plains’ intense sunlight, try your luck at sifting through the wash, sandy treasure troves hiding glimmering opals. 


We highly advise wearing closed-toe shoes suitable for walking on uneven surfaces, as you’ll be exploring underground tunnels and outdoor areas here. 

In addition, as you take the challenge of sifting opals, don’t forget to protect yourself from the intense sun!

Go bushwalking or hiking at Flinders Ranges 

Address: Flinders Ranges, SA 5434
Distance From Previous Point: Around 630 km

Flinders Ranges’ rocky and green outcrops signal that you’re close to Adelaide. They’re also worth hiking!

From the iconic Wilpena Pound, an immense natural amphitheater, to the rocking and rolling formations of Brachina and Parachilna Gorges, the sights here prove that South Australia is more than just a coastal and wine region.

Tip: For an optimal experience, plan your visit to this spot during summer, spring, or autumn. Winter offers colder temperatures, but the chance of rainfall is also higher, making bushwalking or hiking at Flinders Ranges tricky and dangerous. 

Taste the wine of Rockford Wines

Website: https://www.rockfordwines.com.au/
Address: 131 Krondorf Rd, Tanunda SA 5352
Contact Details: 1800 088 818
Operating Hours: Daily – 11 am to 5 pm
Distance From Previous Point: Around 970 km

Our last stop before proceeding to the ever-buzzing city of Adelaide is a historical vineyard with colonial architecture and grape-filled terroir.

With a history dating back to 1858, Rockford Wines continues to uphold its time-honored winemaking practices. 

The winery’s dedication to traditional methods, such as hand-picking grapes, open fermentation, basket pressing, and barrel maturation, sets it apart from modern winemakers.


While Rockford is renowned for its Shiraz, don’t miss the opportunity to explore their other varieties and blends. Why not step out of your comfort zone and discover hidden gems among their diverse wine selection? 

Our top picks are the following: Moppa Springs Grenache, Alicante Bouchet, and White Frontignac!

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