Melbourne to Darwin Drive – The distance between Melbourne and Darwin is 3,740 kilometers, and the travel time is 39 hours. However, if you turn it into an epic outback road trip, there are some incredible stops along the route.
A car trip from Melbourne to Darwin is arduous. It traverses the continent of Australia from south to north, plowing through apparently infinite wilderness. However, this drive can be a great deal of fun and includes some of Australia’s top attractions.
Melbourne to Darwin Distance and Driving Time
- Melbourne to Darwin Distance and Driving Time
- Melbourne to Darwin Drive Road Trip Legs
- Melbourne to Darwin Drive: Road Trip Stops in Victoria
- Road Trip to Darwin from Melbourne: Adelaide or Barossa Valley?
- Melbourne to Darwin Drive: Stuart Highway and the South Australian Outback
- Melbourne to Darwin Road Trip Stops: The Red Centre
- North of Alice Springs
- Into the tropics
By automobile, the distance between Melbourne and Darwin is 3,740 kilometers. This results in a driving time of almost 39 hours, which is plainly impossible in a single driving session.
Turn it into a road trip over the course of a week or so — preferably at least two weeks – and the task becomes significantly less difficult.
The travel should be divided into more manageable halves. This road trip guide from Melbourne to Darwin covers the suggested attractions. Nevertheless, Australia Travel Questions has compiled comprehensive information on each step of the road journey in separate publications. Click on any of the road trip parts listed below for additional information.
Melbourne to Darwin Drive Road Trip Legs
- Melbourne to Adelaide is 727 kilometers
- Adelaide to Port Augusta: 309km
- 540 kilometers from Port Augusta to Coober Pedy
- 688 kilometers separate Coober Pedy and Alice Springs
- From Alice Springs to Tennant Creek is 508 kilometers
- 675 miles from Tennant Creek to Katherine
- 317 miles from Katherine to Darwin
To facilitate reading, the tour from Melbourne to Darwin has been separated into multiple pages. Following is a listing of the highlights in geographical order.
Melbourne to Darwin Drive: Road Trip Stops in Victoria
But what are the best parts of a road journey from Melbourne to Darwin? Well, there are numerous stops between Melbourne and Adelaide. Sovereign Hill near Ballarat is undoubtedly Australia’s finest museum. It is a huge recreation of a gold rush town, complete with train rides, wheelwright workshops, and a variety of displays. Avoid lines by purchasing tickets in advance.
The apartment-style Quest, the family-oriented Big4 NRMA Ballarat holiday park, and the highly-rated Lake Inn are all excellent Ballarat lodging options.
The Grampians is the greatest place to spend the night between Melbourne and Adelaide. The wildlife of the Grampians is best observed from the kangaroo-rich Halls Gap.
Halls Gap’s accommodations include the affordably priced NRMA Holiday Park, the eco-friendly Gariwerd Motel, and the magnificent Grampians Eco YHA, which is surrounded by bouncing kangaroos.
Aside from that, the location is notable for the Boroka Lookout, Mackenzie Falls, and Mount Stapylton loop trek.
From Dimboola or Nhill, further up the Western Highway, 4WD drivers may be more interested in exploring Little Desert National Park.
If you are seeking for a place to stay in Dimboola, Motel Dimboola should suffice.
Road Trip to Darwin from Melbourne: Adelaide or Barossa Valley?
Once you cross the border from Victoria into South Australia, the Dukes Highway is quite monotonous until you reach Tailem Bend and Murray Bridge on the Murray River. The shortest route does not lead directly into Adelaide; rather, it passes through Gawler. There is a strong argument that the Barossa Valley wine region, just north-east of Gawler, is a better place to spend the night than Adelaide. There is an abundance of accommodations in Nuriootpa, Tanunda, and Angaston.
The Novotel Barossa Valley Resort, the Discovery Parks Barossa Valley, and the Barossa Valley Apartments are well-liked Barossa Valley lodging alternatives.
In addition to wine tours, Barossa Valley offers gin-making classes, kayaking excursions, and behind-the-scenes tours of the world-renowned Yalumba vineyard.
On the approach to Port Augusta, passing through the Riesling-rich Clare Valley adds very little travel time. However, the quickest route will take you past the pink lake in Lochiel – Lake Bumbunga.
Port Augusta’s accommodations for overnight stays include the inexpensive Discovery Parks caravan park, the pool-equipped Majestic Oasis Apartments, and the practical Crossroads EcoMotel.
Melbourne to Darwin Drive: Stuart Highway and the South Australian Outback
The travel from Port Augusta to Coober Pedy en route from Melbourne to Darwin is dominated by outback beauty. The Stuart Highway traverses a genuine, undisturbed desert, and the vastness of the landscape is oddly exciting.
Lake Hart and the old military town Woomera, where you can learn about weapons testing and space exploration, are the greatest places to visit.
However, Coober Pedy is the highlight of South Australia’s outback. This opal mining village is predominantly subterranean. The mine tours and cave dwelling displays are captivating.
Coober Pedy is a convenient overnight stop and a wonderful location to stay. The best accommodations in Coober Pedy are the Underground Motel, the cave-like Comfort Inn, and the central Mud Hut Motel.
Melbourne to Darwin Road Trip Stops: The Red Centre
From Coober Pedy, the majority of motorists traveling from Melbourne to Darwin are unlikely to travel directly to Alice Springs. It is significantly more prudent to take the Lasseter Highway to Uluru.
After the arduous drive from Coober Pedy to Uluru, you may see the Red Centre’s highlights. These include the Uluru Base Walk and Kata-Tjuta, followed by a drive from Uluru to Watarrka National Park’s Kings Canyon. The Rim Walk is difficult but extremely rewarding.
Depending on the route you take from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs, you may also have the opportunity to visit Ormiston Gorge, Standley Chasm, and Ellery Creek Big Hole in the West MacDonnell Ranges.
North of Alice Springs
The Alice Springs Kangaroo Sanctuary, Desert Park, and Flying Doctors Visitors Centre are all available in Alice Springs. Consider going on a camel tour, a day trip to the West MacDonnell Ranges, or a hot air balloon ride.
There are several lodging alternatives in Alice Springs, including the Discovery Parks holiday park, the historic Ooraminna Homestead, and the Desert Palms with 3.5 stars.
Before reaching Tennant Creek, the Stuart Highway continues north with more red rock action at the Devils Marbles.
For accommodations in Tennant Creek, consider the charming Safari Lodge Motel and the more utilitarian Goldfields Hotel Motel.
Unfortunately, Tennant Creek is not a particularly beautiful town. Many travelers may decide to spend the night at the famed Daly Waters Pub in the north.
Into the tropics
From Daly Waters to Katherine, the Mataranka Hot Springs in Elsey National Park adjacent to the Mataranka Homestead are the primary attraction. Your options for lodging in Mataranka are the Mataranka Roadhouse and the Territory Manor Motel and Caravan Park.
Take a gorge boat or kayaking excursion through Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park, for which Katherine is well known. Katherine is also the location of the Katherine Hot Springs, Katherine Outback Experience, and Top Didj Aboriginal cultural experience.
Katherine lodging options include the dependable three-star Contour Hotel, the pool-centric Knotts Crossing Resort, and the Discovery campground.
Katherine is located in the Northern Territory’s Top End, and there is a Top End driving route that includes Kakadu National Park. However, if you continue straight up the Stuart Highway, the diversion to Litchfield National Park is shorter. Take in the waterfalls and termite mounds, then swim in the Buley Rockhole if you like.
Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory and a hugely underestimated city in its own right, is the final stop along the Stuart Highway. Mindil Beach Markets, Wave Lagoon, and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory are among the top attractions in Darwin.
The Argus Hotel, Club Tropical Resort, and Metro Advance Apartments are reasonably priced accommodations in Darwin.