Red stone cliff with small waterfall into pool

Road Trip from Brisbane to Darwin

A road trip from Brisbane to Darwin is one of Australia's epic outback adventures. You can venture deep into a working mine, check out the biggest cattle yards in the Southern Hemisphere, learn the stories of sacred indigenous sights and enjoy a relaxing swim in a tropical waterhole as you make your way cross country.

This fantastic journey takes over 36 hours of pure driving time to complete a mammoth 3425-km distance. But you can stop off at wonderful places like Roma, Longreach, Mount ISA, Tennant Creek, Daly Waters, Katherine and Kakadu National Park along the way.

These are just a few of the many incredible places you can visit on this once-in-a-lifetime drive. So you'll want to keep reading until the end to find out where else you could go, where's best to stay, and the best time to travel so you can make the most of this great road trip.

How far is Brisbane to Darwin and how long will the road trip take?

Hitting the road is definitely the best way to discover the fascinating way of life in this venerated region.

The drive, though long, is fairly straightforward, with much of it taking place on bitumen, making it a comfortable cruise if you plan accordingly.

Overall it will take you more than 36 hours of pure driving time to complete the journey. Which means the overall transit should take at least 3-5 days to complete, depending on where exactly you want to visit.

Murky green river with bridge crossing it lit up in bright sunshine with downtown buildings behind

For much of the drive, especially when you get towards the Northern Territory, amenities like restrooms, shops and gas stations are few and far between. So its always worth making use of these facilities when you do come across them.

Also be aware that the Royal Flying Doctor Service uses stretches of the Stuart Highway as an emergency landing strip. This only happens in clearly designated spots once police have closed the road. But it is something which could delay your journey slightly.

Best road trip route from Brisbane to Darwin

Considering the distance involved, it might surprise you to learn that you can reach Darwin from Brisbane via just two main roads - the A2 and the Stuart Highway.

Road trip route from Brisbane to Darwin

From Brisbane you will need to join the A2 and head towards Toowoomba. If you love flowers the ‘Garden City' should be one of your first stops, as it features a number of stunning parks, botanic gardens and other floral displays. Especially around September when the ‘Carnival of Flowers' takes place.

This road will continue past Dalby, which serves as a great base for visiting the magnificent Bunya Mountains National Park, before reaching Roma. A town famous for having the largest volume of cattle sales in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 400,000 sold every year. Regular visitor tours of cattle yards are conducted for those who have an interest in it.

From here you will pass the wonderful town of Charleville, where you might want to take in the magnificence of an outback night sky at the Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory, before arriving in Longreach.

A place you will definitely want to stay at for a while, the town of Longreach features a number of notable attractions. These include the Qantas Founders Museum (Longreach was where the national airline Qantas was born) and the iconic Stockman's Hall of Fame.

Tree and riverbank reflected in glass-like water of the river

Leaving Longreach, the road will then lead you on past Winton, which is famous for hosting the world's largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils, and is also the place where Banjo Patterson penned, and first performed, the iconic ‘Waltzing Matilda' in 1895. You will also pass Mt Isa, where you can take a tour deep underground into a fully working mine.

Soon after Mt Isa you will make your way onto the Stuart Highway and into the Northern Territory. Your first port of call here should be at Tenant Creek, which hosts the fascinating Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre and provides an excellent opportunity to learn all about the culture, history and art of the local Warumungu people.

The highway, which was named after John McDouall Stuart, a Scottish explorer who was the first European to traverse Australia from south to north, will then lead you on to Daly Waters, which features the legendary Daly Waters Pub.

An institution in the Northern Territories, the décor showcases a wide array of bras, nik naks and other trinkets that have been left by patrons since the 1980s. The food menu they serve up includes crocodile burgers and kangaroo loin as well.

Low roofed building by the roadside with chairs outside and bright green tree

Leaving Daly Waters the highway will carry you on to Katherine, which is a fantastic base to explore the Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine Gorge and Katherine Hot Springs. Before finally leading you on to the magnificent Kakadu National Park. Also known as Jabiru, you will be able to explore deep sandstone gorges that are millions of years old, and swim in complete tranquility in wonderful, tropical waterholes.

Best places to stop between Brisbane and Darwin

Given how long the drive from Brisbane to Darwin is you will need to pick at least three, if not more places to stop overnight.

There are countless options available to you. But here are some we most recommend.

See the stars at Charleville

Charleville is the largest town in southwest Queensland and as it is only 8 hours from Brisbane it makes a terrific great option for an overnight stay.

The Charleville Motel is a fantastic choice of accommodation as it features very comfortable rooms to relax in, which will be just the ticket after a long day of driving.

The hotel has a lovely swimming pool, which will feel heavenly on a hot day. While it's also situated close to all the main shops, restaurants and attractions. One of which, the Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory, is an excellent place to take in the starry views of the wonderful outback sky at night.

large flock of sheep on dry ground next to road, viewed from above

Tour a working mine in Mount Isa

A city rich in history and culture, Mount Isa boasts one of the most productive single mines in history. The sunsets here are pretty amazing too.

If you want to experience one or the other, or indeed both, the Burke & Wills Mount Isa is a very good choice .

Located right in the centre of Mt Isa, the hotel offers a convenient central location. There are plenty of places to eat within easy walking distance, as well as some decent shops to explore too.

The accommodation is known for having very comfortable beds, which is exactly what you need after a long day of driving. While the hotel swimming pool offers a great way to cool yourself down from the piercing afternoon sun.

Check out the delights of Katherine

Katherine is a wonderful part of the world and you will definitely want to spend a couple of days exploring the areas main attractions of the Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine Gorge and Katherine Hot Springs.

Whilst here, th e Pine Tree Motel is a great option, s et amongst lush, tropical gardens . This setting offers weary drivers a shaded retreat in which to relax. And of course, the rooms are stylish, well-appointed and comfortable.

The hotel is also close to the centre of town, with the Katherine Country Club being just a 5-minute drive away, and the Rodeo Arena being a short distance away too.

As well as having a nice outdoor swimming pool, the hotel also has a tour desk that can help you book helicopter flights and cruises along the river gorges, amongst many other excursions.

View of steep cliffs into gorge

Things to see on a road trip from Brisbane to Darwin

There are so many things to see and do on a road trip from Brisbane to Darwin, you'll really need a few weeks spare to visit them all.

But if you are short on time, this list of notable places is what you really should try and check out first:

  • Toowoomba -Visit Queensland's largest inland city. Known for its annual Carnival of Flowers, the ‘Garden City' boasts a number of excellent parks, green spaces and floral displays.
  • Bunya Mountains National Park - Magnificent national park that features the largest stand of ancient bunya pines in the world.
  • Roma - Take a tour of a cattle yard in the town that processes the largest volume of cattle sales in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Charleville - Marvel at the magnificence of a starry outback night sky at the Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory.
  • Longreach -Birthplace of Qantas. Check out the fantastic Qantas Founders Museum and the iconic Stockman's Hall of Fame.
  • Winton – Famous town which hosts the largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils in the world. Also where Banjo Patterson penned, and first performed, the iconic ‘Waltzing Matilda' in 1895.
  • Mt Isa – Take a tour deep underground and discover what life is like for workers in a fully functional and working mine.
  • Tenant Creek - Visit the fascinating Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre and learn all about the culture, history, language and art of the local Warumungu people.
  • Daly Waters - Have a cold one at the legendary Daly Waters Pub. An institution in the Northern Territories, its décor showcases a wide selection of bras, nik naks and other trinkets that have been left by patrons since the 1980s. Dine on a food menu that includes crocodile burgers and kangaroo loin.
  • Katherine - Check out the wonders of the Nitmiluk National Park and Katherine Gorge and take a relaxing dip in the Katherine Hot Springs.
  • Jabiru - Explore deep sandstone gorges and swim in wonderful, tropical waterholes at the spectacular Kakadu National Park.

Creek with tree covered bank

Best time to go on a road trip from Brisbane to Darwin

While Brisbane to Darwin is a road trip you can do at any time throughout the year, the best time to do it is between May and September.

This coincides with the dry season in northern Australia and you will find the weather to be both cooler than in the summer, which can often exceed temperatures of over 40°C, and more consistent too. Overall there is little chance of rain in this season, and if it does come its highly unlikely to be a heavy or dangerous type of storm activity.

Darwin waterfront with silhouettes of buildings and light reflecting on the water

During this time of the year the roads are usually in good condition too and it is generally much easier to drive around, and access all areas, of the more remote national parks.

Whenever you choose to go, it is a very good idea to get your car fully serviced before your departure, to reduce your risk of it breaking down during your road trip.

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14-Day Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip

An outback adventure awaits those ready to brave northern Australia weather conditions, with opportunities for camping, hiking, and swimming in some of Australia’s most treasured national parks and attractions. With so much to explore along the way, you are sure to enjoy getting off the beaten path and making countless unforgettable memories. From the vast flatlands of the Outback to lush tropical rainforests, there is something for every kind of traveller along the path north.

Brisbane to Darwin Distance

Spanning a wide and varied landscape, a 3,478 km road trip from the bustling city of Brisbane to the tropical northern tip of Darwin is an ideal way to discover the beautiful Australian environment. From Brisbane, you’ll follow roads that meander up through Toowoomba on your way to Longreach before passing through Tennant Creek and onto your second final destination, Katherine in the Northern Territory. Here it won’t take much convincing from family members or adventurers alike before you make the final push towards Darwin, a 37-hour drive from one incredible ocean view to another distant thundering horizon in the north.

3478km trip distance

14 day roadtrip

Campervan recommended

Day 1-2: Brisbane to Toowoomba

Brisbane skyline, Australia

Travellers embarking on a 14-day Brisbane to Darwin road trip will find beauty and culture along the way. Starting in Brisbane, drive inland to Toowoomba, the largest inland city in Queensland. With its country charm, growing urban coffee culture and impressive street art scene, Toowoomba is an ideal spot for travellers to get their trip off to a great start. The city is also known for its colourful parks and gardens and hosts the internationally renowned Carnival of Flowers spring event each year. A stay of one or two days exploring all that Toowoomba has to offer is sure to be a memorable start to any road trip adventure.

Sightseeing #1: Queens Park

Located close to Toowoomba’s Central Business District, Queens Park is the ideal spot for picturesque sightseeing. Adored by locals, the park is a classic meeting place or a relaxed respite from exploring the city. The north-eastern section hosts a formal botanic garden and well-groomed floral displays which peak in bloom during spring and summer, especially in September. The south-eastern and north-western portions boast large patches of grass perfect for leisurely sports activities with added accessibility amenities such as a special swing for disabled children.

Sightseeing #2: Cobb+Co Museum

The Cobb+Co Museum in Toowoomba is one of the city’s most incredible sights to behold. As part of the Queensland Museum Network, it is home to the National Carriage Collection – comprised of 47 horsedrawn vehicles – and offers a variety of interactive displays, exhibits, heritage trade workshops and other activities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in Australia’s transport era. In addition, guests can explore how their body uses and stores energy at their Energy for Life Discovery Centre, and young ones will enjoy stepping back in time to play at The Coach Stop. With so much to see and do, Cobb+Co Museum stands as an essential part of any tourist’s itinerary when visiting beautiful Toowoomba!

Day 3-4: Toowoomba to Morven

Campervan in Forest in Australia

On days 3 and 4 of your Brisbane to Darwin road trip, make a stop at Morven for an unforgettable experience. Don’t be put off by its small population of only 250 people, this lesser-known Queensland town is home to an array of interesting attractions, including the widely acclaimed Morven Historical Museum, the picturesque Tregole National Park and Sadlier’s Waterhole. Be sure to visit the local Morven Friendly Grocer for all of your supplies, as well as Chesterton Range National Park for some time in nature. And don’t miss out on some of the best picnic spots in Australia!

Sightseeing #1: Morven Historical Museum

The Morven Historical Museum is a great place to visit for travellers looking for an insight into the area’s rich past. Comprised of five separate buildings, it provides a comprehensive overview of Morven’s social history. Visitors to the museum will be able to discover a range of artefacts, photos and memorabilia that have been painstakingly collected by museum curators over many years. The combination of these items captures what life was like when Morven first settled and is an important reminder of the town’s cultural roots.

Sightseeing #2: Tregole National Park

Tregole National Park is a unique sightseeing destination for those visiting Morven. Here, an almost pure stand of ooline Cadellia pentastylis can be found – an ancient dry rainforest tree dating back to the Ice Ages. Ooline has been so extensively cleared that its population is now considered vulnerable to extinction, however the ooline forest in Tregole National Park survives the less than ideal semi-arid conditions of the region. There are few chances left to witness such a rare sight and close-up view of this vast forest, so why not make sure to include it on your itinerary when visiting Morven?

Day 5-6: Morven to Longreach

Campervan under starry sky in Outback Australia

A visit to Longreach, the heart of outback Queensland, will provide an opportunity for history lovers to become immersed in the stories of generations of brave Australians. From learning about the culture, traditions and incredible journey of local Aboriginal people to discovering tales from the early struggles of pioneering families who settled along the area, there is much to discover. Visit Qantas Founders Museum, celebrating the airline’s place as a pioneer of commercial flight and explore a range of exhibits such as original planes and interactive displays; be sure to leave time for a picture with replica-sized figures who tell the story of Australia’s aviators. Spend your evenings under starry skies, listening to entertaining talks from locals and watching a spectacular night show which celebrates outback life at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre.

Sightseeing #1: Qantas Founders Museum

Situated in the outback town of Longreach, the Qantas Founders Museum is a fascinating and educational experience. This museum houses something for all types of travellers, from artifacts that date back to the founding of Qantas, interactive exhibits, replicas of aircraft and more. Guided tours are available to provide knowledge about aviation history as well as interesting stories about Qantas’ beginning. Conveniently located with accommodation and other attractions nearby, this museum provides an opportunity to become immersed in aviation history while also allowing guests to explore this unique small Outback town.

Sightseeing #2: Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame

The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach is a truly unique and enriching travel experience. Here, visitors gain a newfound appreciation of outback life at the turn of the twentieth century, with extensive exhibits detailing each aspect, from shearing to cooking. There is also an immersive display covering how the families overcame their daily struggles, adapted to their surroundings, used locally-sourced materials for transportation and communication, and ultimately created successful family lives – which makes it an exhilarating source of knowledge for history buffs.

Day 7-8: Longreach to Mount Isa

Campervan near mine in Australian Outback

On the 7th and 8th of your road trip, you’ll explore Mount Isa’s incredible mining culture. Mining is central to this town, most famous for Mount Isa Mines, one of the most productive single mines on the continent. Celebrate the history with a Hard Times Mining Tour, where you’ll dress up in orange overalls, gumboots, and hard hats and learn about day-to-day operations in the working mine. This is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Sightseeing #1: Hard Times Mine

An experience unlike any other is a tour of the Hard Times Mine in Mount Isa. You’ll get to delve deep into the history of mining within this remote town and witness first-hand the amazing advancements the industry has made since. On this special tour, you can view some of the old equipment that has been replaced with modern mining techniques, as well as learning about the past and future of mining within the region. It’s a truly unique opportunity to peek into what life was like as an outback miner before all this handy technology came along!

Sightseeing #2: Mount Isa Underground Hospital & Museum

A unique attraction in Mount Isa, the Underground Hospital and Museum is a must-see for those seeking to explore the history of World War II Australia. Built during 1942 following the bombing of Darwin, the hospital was used throughout the war and today serves as a reminder of the resilient spirit that defined this era. Run by a dedicated team of volunteers, the site sees thousands of visitors each year who come to learn about its important role in Australian history. The passion and commitment from these volunteers is inspirational in their efforts to preserve and share its story with generations to come.

Day 9-10: Mount Isa to Tennant Creek

Campervan on road heading towards Stuart Highway, Northern Territory, Australia

Tennant Creek is located after Mount Isa, near the halfway point of a 14-day Brisbane to Darwin road trip. It’s an important stop along the Stuart Highway, and the first major town northbound travellers encounter on the Barkly Highway. Although much smaller in comparison to its counterparts, Tennant Creek houses a population of approximately three thousand inhabitants. As such, it provides both necessary amenities and attractions for stopping by, such as the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre, making it an ideal point of rest on a long journey through Australia’s Northern Territory.

Sightseeing #1: Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre

Located in Tennant Creek, the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre allows visitors to experience and learn about Warumungu culture in a unique setting. At the centre, visitors have the opportunity to explore displays of traditional and contemporary art works, material culture collections and live cultural performances. Additionally, onsite guides are available for those wanting to learn more about Aboriginal life, history and land in its authentic setting. Making a visit to the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre is a must for anyone interested in acquiring greater knowledge of this region’s beautiful indigenous cultures.

Sightseeing #2: Battery Hill Gold Mining Heritage Centre

Situated high above the town with breathtaking views of the countryside, it is the site of the No 3 Government Gold Stamp Battery, the place that marked the beginning of the 1930’s gold rush in the outback region. Here museum-goers get an insight into the history and culture of this part of Australia. An interactive display featuring a life-size replica of a mining camp provides an even more immersive experience as you explore this unique part of Australia’s history and heritage.

Day 11-12: Tennant Creek to Katherine

Katherine Gorge National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

A visit to Katherine is a must during any road trip through the Northern Territory. Home to Nitmiluk National Park, Edith Falls and Katherine Hot Springs, this small town is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Not only does it offer a bounty of breathtaking natural landscapes and thrilling outdoor recreational activities, but Katherine also provides modern facilities for you to enjoy. Tourists can explore Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park, take advantage of shopping opportunities or dine in one of the area’s many cafes. As one of the most prominent crossroads in the region, a stop in Katherine is essential for fully experiencing all that the Northern Territory has to offer.

Sightseeing #1: Katherine Hot Springs

Visiting the Katherine Hot Springs is a great way to enjoy the splendor of Australian nature, as the waters offer stunning views and relaxing thermal qualities. Visitors can picnic on the river banks and take advantage of many of the naturally occurring conditions. The soothing temperatures, which usually range from 25-30 degrees Celsius, make it ideal for winter travelers who want to experience warm water without needing to travel overseas. Whether visiting solo or with a group, anyone can take in the serenity and beauty of the Katherine Hot Springs – a memorable experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

Sightseeing #2: Nitmiluk National Park

The beauty of its sandstone cliffs, thirteen gorges and dramatic waterfalls spanning over 290 kilometres will fascinate any visitor. It is an important cultural landscape for the Jawoyn Aboriginal people, who have lived here for thousands of years and are custodians of the area to this day – the region’s very name (“place of the cicada dreaming”) inspired by their culture. Visitors can learn more about their culture on guided tours or boat cruises, while also appreciating some of the area’s abundant wildlife, including red kangaroos, freshwater crocodiles and snakes. Alternatively, take a rest from sightseeing to enjoy some outdoor recreational activities such as kayaking or cycling – no matter what you choose, Nitmiluk National Park makes for an extraordinary travel experience.

Day 13-14: Katherine to Darwin

Rock Pool in Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

For the final leg of your 14-day road trip from Brisbane to Darwin, you’ll find an abundance of activities in and around Darwin. The city offers a fascinating array of Australian wildlife encounters – including being able to spot wild crocodiles at Fogg Dam conservation park or hand-feed wallabies at Berry Springs Nature Park. Bushwalking at Kakadu National Park is also a great way to discover all the local species of flora and fauna while dipping into the stunning outdoor swimming holes. Spend the last two days of your road trip soaking up the alluring environment and the surrounding exotic wildlife that Darwin has to offer before heading home.

Sightseeing #1: Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

Visitors to Darwin can enjoy a unique experience-browsing the different artifacts and exhibits that MAGNT holds. From historical documents, paintings and prints to instruments, clothing and photographs, visitors can appreciate the diverse cultural experiences embodied in MAGNT’s collections. Even more special are its Aboriginal collections that reflect the long and colourful history of indigenous peoples in the region. With its natural bounty, warm climate and now this illuminating cultural centre, Darwin is truly a must-visit destination for any traveller.

Sightseeing #2: Mindil Beach Sunset Market

If you’re looking for an authentic insight into Darwin’s unique multiculturalism, Mindil Beach Sunset Market is a must visit. Offering more than 200 different stalls of delicacies and entertainment, this is your one-stop destination for the best of local and international cuisine, handcrafted artworks and so much more. With incredible prices that make exploring this cultural hotspot accessible to all, the Mindil Beach Sunset Market can be enjoyed by pocket-watchers and thrill seekers alike.

Happy Exploring!

Campervan on road in Northern Territory, Australia

For more information on  hiring a campervan in Brisbane or  Darwin , speak to the Travellers Autobarn Team or get a free online quote today!

If you want to read more of our Brisbane adventures, come and explore the dedicated  Brisbane Road Trips . Happy Exploring!

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Mighty AU - Must do Brisbane to Darwin road trip itinerary

Renting a van to travel Australia’s Top End? What better way than with the ultimate Brisbane to Darwin itinerary.

Traversing across Queensland into Australia’s Northern Territory, this Top End route is jam-packed with some of the best things to do in Australia. Experience the cultural hub of South Bank in the riverside city of Brisbane, walk under the cool canopy of Mount Archer National Park , hike through dusty red-dirt trails in the outback, and see fierce salt-water crocodiles in the city of Darwin. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Journey through these diverse Australian landscapes on this epic 3,426km road trip. Easily one of the best road trips in Australia, a Brisbane to Darwin road trip packs a punch. With a Mighty camper, you can travel this iconic route with all the necessities like a kitchen, bed and self-contained options. That way, you can make the most of cost-effective powered campsites and free camping options along the way.

When to plan your trip from Brisbane to Darwin 

These northern states can become increasingly hot and wet in the summer months. The best months to do this trip are between May and September, when the northern Australia weather is more temperate and the precipitation is at its lowest.

Brisbane to Darwin

Best Time of the Year

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The Journey

Image source: Tourism and Events Queensland image gallery

Day 1 Brisbane to Bundaberg

Distance 362km - driving time 4 hours 40 minutes.

After picking up your camper from the Mighty Brisbane branch, there is no better way to kick off your adventure than with a mini Brisbane road trip. Stop by the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, take a stroll through South Bank, and see the city from above at the Mount Coot-tha Lookout.

Then, it's time to begin the drive north toward Bundaberg. There are plenty of great little towns to stop off at on the way, including Queensland favourites such as the vibrant coastal hub of Noosa and the sleepy oceanside town of Woodgate.

When you arrive in Bundaberg, spend the afternoon exploring this underrated town where the beach meets the reef, and the rum is always flowing. Some of the best things to do include:

  • Stop by the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery
  • Go for a tasting at Bundaberg Rum Distillery
  • Wander the lush botanic gardens

Where to stay: Bundaberg Park Village

Day 2 Bundaberg to Rockhampton

Distance 288km - driving time 3 hours 10 minutes.

Day two of this itinerary is all about wildlife adventures and getting into nature. Once you have packed up your campsite, it's time to drive north to Rockhampton. Need a rest on the way? Stop off at Agnes Water to stretch your legs on the short-but-sweet Paperbark Forest Boardwalk .

When you arrive, first up on the list is a Rockhampton favourite, the Rockhampton Zoo . Treat yourself to a morning of keeper talks and animal feedings with over 30 species of native and exotic wildlife.

Next up, it's time to wander a little further north to explore the scenic backdrop to Rockhampton, Mount Archer National Park . Climb through lush forest and eucalypt woodlands on the way to the summit. Here, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and the surrounding ranges.

To end the day, join a tour to explore the Capricorn Caves . Follow your expert guide as they lead you through this ancient geological wonder and share the stories of the ancient Australian landscape. Other top things to do in town include:

  • Head out for a day on the Southern Great Barrier Reef
  • Go mountain bike riding
  • Try your hand at catching barramundi on the Fitzroy River

When you are ready, head back into Rockhampton to your powered camping site for the night. With so many incredible things to do, you could easily spend a day or two exploring this part of Queensland, Australia.

Where to stay: Riverside Tourist Park

Day 3 Rockhampton to Longreach

Distance 687km - driving time 7 hours and 15 minutes.

Leaving the ocean views behind, begin the drive inland toward Longreach. If you have the time, take a detour through Carnarvon Gorge . This national park is a hidden gem tucked away in Queensland’s central highlands. Known for its rugged towering sandstone cliffs, vibrant gorges and Aboriginal rock art, it is worth the detour.

After navigating your way through this stretch of regional Queensland, you will arrive in Longreach - the heart of outback Queensland. This country town is filled with heritage and true-blue Australian attractions. The must-do things to see when in Longreach include:

  • Wander through the Australian Stockman’s Hall Of Fame
  • Explore the history of Australian aviation at the Qantas Founders Museum
  • Grab a bite to eat at Harry’s

When you have finished exploring, it's time to grab a campsite for the night.

Where to stay: Longreach Tourist Park

Day 4 Longreach to Cloncurry

Distance 527km - driving time 5 hours 35 minutes.

You’re well and truly in the outback now. Driving north to Cloncurry, you will travel through some of Australia’s most iconic outback towns. The first stop is Winton , the dinosaur capital of Australia. Drop by the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum, where you can see the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur bones. Continuing east, Kynuna and Mckinlay are popular little towns to stretch your legs and refill the tanks.

When you arrive in Cloncurry, some of the best things to do and see include:

  • Soak up the beauty of Corella Dam
  • Stop by John Flynn Place Museum to learn about the legacy of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Try to catch Rigby Falls in flow. This seven tier waterfall is spectacular after recent rainfall!

Make your way back into town to head to your campground for the night.

Where to stay: Cloncurry Caravan Park

Day 5 Cloncurry to Tennant Creek

Distance 781km - driving time 8 hours 15 minutes.

This is the longest drive day of the trip, so it's best to get an early start. Driving west from Cloncurry, you will pass through the mining town of Mount Isa . This city is rich in history, culture and is a hub for the regional teaching program - the School of the Air. It is also the home of the l argest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere . If you are here in the second week of August, stop by to check it out.

When you arrive in Tennant Creek , plan a stop at Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre . The Tennant Creek area is home to nine Aboriginal groups and the ancient culture still holds a strong presence in this region. This cultural centre is the perfect place to learn about these people and lands through exhibitions of the history, stories and traditions of these people. Some other Tennant Creek favourites include:

  • Taking an underground tour at the Battery Hill Mining Centre
  • Journey back in time with a visit to the Telegraph Station

Get another early night at your campsite, so you are ready for another big driving day ahead tomorrow!

Where to stay: Tennant Creek Holiday Park

Image source: Tourism NT image gallery

Day 6 Tennant Creek to Katherine

Distance 675km - driving time 7 hours.

When in this region of the Northern Territory, it is almost a sin not to stop by the magical granite formation of the Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles . Begin the day's drive with a detour south to Karlu Karlu/Devils Marbles or, if you have time, add on an additional night at the Karlu Karlu campsite and watch these freestanding boulders glow in the waning light of sunset.

On the drive north, plan a stop for lunch at the eclectic Daly Waters Pub . While you dine, admire the colourfully decorated walls of treasures from past customers - from hats to bras and everything in between. If you feel so inclined, maybe you have something to add to the collection.

When you arrive in Katherine, there is really no better way to end the day than by exploring the local attractions. Our top must-do things in Katherine include:

  • Exploring the spectacular sandstone country of Katherine George
  • Taking a tour of the Cutta Cutta Caves
  • Soaking in the temperate waters of Katherine Hot Springs

After this jam-packed day, you will be deserving of a hot shower and a hearty meal. Head to your powered camping site for the night to make full use of the campsite facilities.

Where to stay : Big 4 Breeze Holiday Park

Day 7 Katherine to Darwin

Distance 317km - driving time 3 hours 15 minutes.

Begin the day by driving up to, and exploring the rugged beauty of Litchfield National Park. This park is home to stunning waterfalls, scenic walks and croc-free swimming holes to stave off the Top End heat. Once you have left the oasis of Litchfield behind, you will shortly arrive at your final destination: the city of Darwin. This most northern city of Australia is packed with top rated Australian attractions and places to visit. Some of the best things to do in Darwin include:

  • Watching the sun set over the Timor Sea on a Darwin Harbour Cruise
  • Explore the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory
  • Experience the multicultural heritage of Darwin on a Thursday or Sunday at Darwin's Biggest markets: Mindil Markets

You can choose to spend another few days exploring the city, or maybe even pop over to explore the untouched landscapes of Kakadu. When you’re ready to return home, head to the Mighty Darwin branch , hand over the keys and presto. You can now say you have completed one of the best road trips in Australia.

Where to stay : Big 4 Hidden Valley Holiday Park

Ready for your next Australian adventure

Ready to explore this Top End route? Check out what deals are running and book your Mighty camper today in a branch or online.

Need a few more tips for a cheap campervan trip , or looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our blog .

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road trip to darwin from brisbane

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Popular Routes

Darwin to Brisbane Stunning 12 Day Self Drive Itinerary

A road trip through the north end of Australia is becoming a frequent bucket list adventure for family holidays. Traversing through the tropical climate of the north with its exotic wildlife and wetlands, through the rugged red arid outback, all the way to the palm-lined coastline gives such a perfect snapshot into the diverse climates that Australia is best known for.

However, with so much to explore and a variety of routes to take through Australia’s Top End, it can be hard to know where to begin. That is why we have created this stunning 12-day self-drive itinerary from Darwin to Brisbane, so you can plan your trip around all the best places.

This itinerary starts in Darwin in the tropics of the Northern Territory and winds through the outback, all the way down along some of the most iconic palm-fringed beaches of the Queensland coast. Covering 4142.9 km (43.2 hours of driving) this itinerary really does have it all. We have spaced this iconic drive out over 12 days, giving you the time to take in everything along the way from soaking in the hot springs in Katherine, taking in the stunning views of the outback, to exploring the beaches and rainforests of Tropical Northern Queensland.

Other things to consider when travelling the Top End of Australia

While travelling around the majority of Australia is excellent year-round, the Northern Territory is the exception to the rule. The summer heat is scorching and humid as the wet season sets in between November and March. As such it is best to plan to travel this route between April and October when the weather is cooler and the climate is more temperate.

Be sure to check the  road rules for travelling through these more rural areas and pack a variety of clothing as Australian weather does vary quite significantly in these tropical regions.

Darwin to Brisbane

Best Time of the Year


  • Saltwater Crocodiles at Crocasaurus Cove
  • Katherine Hot Springs
  • Julia Creek Artesian Baths
  • Eungella National Park
  • Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary 

The Journey

Day 1 Darwin to Katherine

Distance 317km - driving time 3 hours 10 minutes.

Start by picking up your campervan from  Maui Darwin and then start your Darwin holiday exploring the beauty that is on offer in this Top End tropical city. Of all the things to do in Darwin, be sure to head to  Crocasaurus Cove to see the saltwater crocs and make your way to Charles Darwin National Park to explore these city wetlands before driving south.

Take a detour through Litchfield and stop off at Wangi Falls for a dip to cool off, and enjoy a quick roadside stop at the Bridge Creek rest stop before making your way to Katherine. Once in Katherine, you can check out Nitmiluk Gorge and relax and unwind for the day in  Katherine Hot Springs before heading to BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks for the night.

Day 2 Katherine to Daly Waters

Distance 276km - driving time 2 hours 53 minutes.

After breakfast at the holiday park, get a start on the day by heading south towards Mataranka. Stop for a picnic in nature at Elsey National Park in Mataranka and enjoy a post-lunch float in the hot springs at Bitter Springs . Once you have soaked up the last of the hot springs, drive the rest of the way south to Daly Waters.

Once you arrive, check out the Stuart Tree Historic Site and learn about the Northern Territory’s aviation heritage at the Daly Waters Aviation Complex . Turn in for the night at Daly Waters Hi-Way Inn .

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Day 3 Daly Waters to Tennant Creek

Distance 599km - driving time 6 hours 7 minutes.

Begin the day by driving south to see the beauty of Karlu Karlu. On the way, be sure to stop for a picnic at the Lake Woods Conservation Covenant to take in the wildlife on this beautiful lake. Driving further south, take a second rest stop in Tennant Creek to be inspired by local artists at the  Aboriginal Art Galleries before driving to Karlu Karlu to experience the majesty of the Devils Marbles. Take a walk through these stunning granite boulders, learning about their history, enjoying their sunset red glow before heading back north to  Tennant Creek Caravan Park for the night.

Day 4 Tennant Creek to Camooweal

Distance 471km - driving time 4 hours 53 minutes.

On the drive toward Camooweal, stop for a packed lunch at Connells Lagoon Conservation Reserve to rest and stretch your legs. On the final drive to Camooweal, keep an eye out for sinkholes and caves as you navigate your way through eucalypt woodland and spinifex plains at Wiliyan-ngurru National Park.

Learn about the droving era at  The Drovers Camp Museum before making your way to  Camooweal Roadhouse for the night. Be sure to check your clocks when you enter Queensland, Australia as they operate in a different time zone to the Northern Territory.

Tourism and Events Queensland

Day 5 Camooweal to Julia Creek

Distance 447km - driving time 4 hours 52 minutes.

Continuing east, treat yourself to a nice lunch while passing through Mount Isa ( Bambino Espresso offers good coffee and healthy eats!) on your way to Julia Creek. In Julia Creek marvel at the Spirit of Light Horse Sculpture, meet Donald and Duncan (the endangered marsupials at the local visitor centre ) and book in for an artesian bath for two when you stay the night at Julia Creek Caravan Park . You can opt to BYO nibbles and wine or order ahead a cheese platter from reception for an evening of unwinding in a bore water bath, watching the sunset over the outback.

Day 6 Julia Creek to Hughenden

Distance 263km - driving time 2 hours 51minutes.

Stop for a bite to eat at Mood Rock Cafe in Richmond or head to  Bush Tucker Gardens to whip up a motorhome meal while overlooking the banks of Lake Fred Tritton. Then head into Richmond to step back in time to Australia's premier marine fossil museum. Easily located by the giant statue dinosaur outside, this is a great place to learn about the long lost history of this former inland ocean floor. After driving the last leg to Hughenden, head up to Mount Walker Lookouts to get a picture in the Etna Lookout frame, visit  Flinders Discovery Centre before calling in for the night at Hughenden Allen Terry Caravan Park .

Day 7 Hughenden to Townsville

Distance 383km - driving time 4 hours 11 minutes.

Take in the stunning nature at White Mountains National Park as you make your way across this final leg of the inland section of the road trip. Once you arrive at Townsville, there is plenty to see and do: take a nice walk along the golden sand beaches on The Strand, cuddle a koala at the Billabong Sanctuary , take a walk up Castle Hill and enjoy the views from the top before heading to BIG4 Igenia Holidays Townsville for the night.

Day 8 Townsville to Bowen

Distance 201km - driving time 2 hours 25 minutes.

After spending the morning exploring Townsville, begin the drive south towards Bowen, with an option to stop for lunch on the banks of the Burdekin River. Once you arrive at Bowen, get a selfie with Bowens’ Big Mango at the Visitor Information Centre , grab a mango sorbet, and head to the Horseshoe Bay Rotary Lookout for a short walk to enjoy the stunning views overlooking the bay.

Finish the day by parking up at Lions Park to enjoy a unique experience of watching the sunset over the ocean (one of the few places on the east coast where this is possible) before heading to the  Tropical Beach Caravan Park Bowen for the night.

Day 9 Bowen to Mackay

Distance 192km - driving time 2 hours 19 minutes.

When travelling south through Proserpine, keep your eyes peeled for saltwater crocodiles. There are many crocs roaming in the wild here, head to a croc lookout for your best chance of spotting one.

Then drive inland and up the ranges to go platypus spotting at  Eungella National Park before making your way to Mackay for the afternoon. Take advantage of the many beautiful beaches and be sure to check out  Bluewater Lagoon leisure centre to cool down and relax before heading to  Discover Parks Mackay for the night.

Day 10 Mackay to Rockhampton

Distance 336km - driving time 3 hours 47 minutes.

Start the day by driving south towards Rockhampton with a stop in Clairview (only a short way from the highway) for a picnic right on the beach. Once you’ve arrived at Rockhampton, get a selfie with one of the six cow statues along the main stretch, enjoy a cultural experience at the  Rockhampton Art Gallery or treat yourself to a coastal retreat on the coconut lined beaches of Yeppoon. Finish the day by parking up at the  Riverside Tourist Park for the night.

Day 11 Rockhampton to Bundaberg

Distance 287km - driving time 3 hours 12 minutes.

On the drive south stop by Gladstone to check out the East Shores Water Park or drive a little further to Agnes Waters to enjoy a smaller town feel and take a wander around their paperbark forest boardwalk. When driving the final stretch to Bundaberg, plan a stop at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens for a strol.Once you’ve finished driving for the day, park up for the evening at Bundaberg Caravan Park . From here you can walk or taxi to check out the  Bundaberg Rum Distillery and enjoy the rum this town is known for.

Day 12 Brisbane

On this final stretch of the 12-day itinerary, there are so many beautiful places to see. While passing through Maryborough, pop into  Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary to get up close with Australian Wildlife. Then cruise south through Noosa and the Sunshine Coast and enjoy the endless opportunities to marvel at these iconic beaches. This region is known for its beaches and its food so be sure to grab a bite to eat at one of the many highly-rated eateries before making your way to Brisbane for the afternoon.

South Bank Parklands  is a great spot within the Brisbane CBD to enjoy free swimming facilities, walking tracks, and picnic areas. Be sure to ride the iconic Wheel of Brisbane. Then, with only a short walk into the city, you can seize the opportunity to go shopping for any last-minute souvenirs. With so much to see and do, this last day of the trip could be extended over a few days if you have time to squeeze in Brisbane road trip . Otherwise, you can drop your campervan off at  Maui Brisbane at 87 Bancroft Road and make your way home, with your suitcases packed and hearts full after this iconic Australian road trip.

Ready to hit the trail?

A campervan trip from Darwin to Brisbane has it all; from long stretches of the outback to golden sandy beaches. With the long distances, many in such remote areas, it is important to bring ample food, water and other supplies. We have created this itinerary to be motorhome-friendly by making sure that all roads in this itinerary are sealed.

If you're looking for other places to visit and aren't sure if they are motorhome- friendly, download the road trip itinerary planner THL app for great tips for travelling around Australia. If you’re looking for more inspiration you can also check out our travel guides .

There are so many hidden gems all around Australia ready to be explored.If you’re ready for your next adventure, check out our  range of premium vehicles and book your motorhome today .

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Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip Itinerary Ideas & Essential Stops

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Ok, so you might have done a road trip before. But the chances are you’ve never done one quite like a Darwin road trip from Brisbane!

To drive Brisbane to Darwin is an epic cross-country adventure that traverses Australia ‘s vast and diverse landscapes. It stretches for over 3,400 km (and that is just the quick route!), taking you through untamed wilderness, remote towns, and iconic natural wonders that offer an unforgettable experience of the Australian Outback.

From Queensland’s capital of Brisbane to the tropical paradise of Darwin in the Northern Territory, this road trip unveils this expansive land’s remarkable beauty and cultural richness. With its rugged terrain, ever-changing scenery, and encounters with exotic wildlife, the Brisbane to Darwin road trip is a pilgrimage for those seeking a deeper connection with Australia’s soul.

As you journey between the two destinations, you’ll encounter ancient rainforests, rolling plains, and the heart of the Red Centre, revealing Australia’s incredible geological wonders and indigenous heritage. You’ll pass through iconic places like Tennant Creek, Uluru and Alice Springs. Depending on which way you travel, you can also see incredible beaches and visit some of the most historic small towns in the country.

This comprehensive guide will outline all the best places to stop on a road trip to Darwin from Brisbane. If you visit them all, you’ll be in for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

What is the Distance Between Brisbane to Darwin?

How long is the drive from brisbane to darwin, best time of year to drive from brisbane to darwin, option 1: a2/stuart highway route brisbane to darwin, option 2: m1 – coastal route brisbane to darwin, option 3: stuart highway brisbane to darwin via nsw & south australia, completing your journey – tennant creek to darwin, darwin with kids, essential tips for a brisbane to darwin drive.

Plan an Australian road trip graphic

The time it takes to drive from Brisbane to Darwin by road varies significantly depending on your route.

The quickest and most direct route is via the A2 and Stuart Highway. It covers a distance of around 3425 km and will take about 36 hours of non-stop driving as you pass through places like Roma, Charleville, Longreach, and Winton en route to the Northern Territories.

However, should you prefer to go on a real adventure, the Newell Highway/A39 will take you to Adelaide, from where you can travel on the A87 through the guts of Australia. This epic journey covers a distance of 5040 km and takes about 53 hours of pure driving time.

Alternatively, you can hit the coastal route along the Bruce Highway up to Townsville before heading inland to Darwin. Doing this incorporates around 41 hours and 30 minutes of driving, covering some 3755 km.

  • If you are setting off from further north to cross the top end, we suggest you also check out this Darwin to Cairns road trip itinerary, which will cover some of the more northerly stopping points of interest along the Savannah Way.

Irrespective of your route, you will need a minimum of four days to complete the journey. However, this period will largely be taken up with driving and does not leave much time for sightseeing.

For this reason, it is a good idea to set aside at least a week to undertake the Brisbane to Darwin drive. Doing so will enable you to have a rest day from driving and spend some quality time at a handful of the places you choose to visit. But if you can devote ten days to two weeks to the journey, then all the better.

One option to consider is to travel up to Darwin via one route and return to Brisbane (if you plan to) on a different route. That way, you get to see even more of this beautiful country.

The best time of year to drive from Brisbane to Darwin is during the dry season, typically from May to September. 

At this time, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, with lower humidity levels and clear skies. The average daytime temperature hovers around 25 -30 degrees Celsius, making for a much more comfortable drive. That said, nights can be cooler, particularly in desert areas, so packing some warm clothing is recommended. Overall, the road conditions are generally good, and all the main attractions and services should be open along the way.

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The period between October and November is known as the build-up season and marks the transition from dry to wet. At this time, temperatures start to rise, and humidity levels increase. There may also be occasional rainfall and thunderstorms, but it is less intense than during the wet season. However, some parts of the journey, particularly closer to Darwin, may experience road closures due to flooding.

Between December and April, it is well and truly the wet season. Attempting the journey at this time is not advisable because of the monsoons. Characterised by high humidity, heavy rainfall, and the possibility of tropical cyclones, driving can be treacherous, especially when you head inland from Adelaide or Townsville. Flooded roads, reduced visibility, and the risk of water crossings are not uncommon, and you might find some areas inaccessible.

Whenever you decide to start your adventure, checking out the weather forecasts and road conditions on your planned route before heading off would be a good idea.

Good resources for this information are The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and RACQ websites.

Best Stops on a Brisbane to Darwin Trip

As mentioned previously, you can take three main routes if you drive from Brisbane to Darwin – we’ll be covering the highlights of each route.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip Map

All three routes will lead you to Tenants Creek in the Northern Territory, and complete your journey via Katherine on the A87. Here are some of the main places you can stop at on the way.

If you decide to travel along the A2 and Stuart Highway route on your Brisbane to Darwin road trip, the following destinations are well worth checking out.

Roma (1 night)

Situated in Queensland’s Outback, about a 5.5-hour drive from Brisbane, Roma is a fascinating place to visit.

One of the main drawcards here is the Big Rig , which showcases the region’s history of oil and gas. Kids particularly will enjoy this attraction as there is lots of big machinery to stimulate their imagination as they climb aboard them.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Roma Street Parkland

Another fascinating place to visit is the Roma Saleyards . One of the largest cattle-selling centres in Australia, you can witness live cattle auctions and gain first-hand insights into the area’s agricultural heritage. 

For those wanting a more relaxed experience, the Roma Bush Gardens is a beautiful park with walking trails, picnic areas, and a playground. While there, stroll along the Adungadoo Pathway to see scenic views of the surrounding countryside. 

Roma also has a rich Indigenous heritage, which you can learn about at the Bungil Cultural Centre. Their interactive displays and exhibits provide a thought-provoking glimpse into Aboriginal culture and traditions. 

Charleville (1 – 2 nights)

About three hours drive up from Roma is the charming town of Charleville.

One of the main reasons to come here is to check out the fantastic Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory , where the whole family can marvel at the wonders of the night sky. You’ll have a lot of fun participating in fun-packed interactive displays and stargazing sessions while touring the observatory. 

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Charleville Railway Station

You shouldn’t miss the Charleville Bilby Experience as well. Not only will you learn about the conservation efforts for this iconic Australian marsupial, but you will also get to cuddle these cute and endangered creatures!

At the Charleville Historic House Museum , you’ll get a taste of outback history as it showcases the region’s heritage with fascinating exhibits and artefacts.

Also, take a trip to the Charleville School of Distance Education , where kids can learn about the unique educational system for remote students. If you are into trains, remember to visit the Charleville Railway Station and experience the nostalgic charm of a bygone era. 

Longreach (1 – 2 nights)

Longreach is known as the ‘Heart of the Outback’ for good reason. There is plenty to see and do for a town of just 3000 people.

Begin your time here by exploring the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame , an interactive museum that celebrates the rich history of Australian stockmen. Kids can learn about horsemanship, driving, and the challenges faced in the Outback.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Thomson River

The Qantas Founders Museum is a must-visit destination. There you can discover the story of Australia’s iconic national airline. You can also climb aboard a Boeing 747 or explore the museum’s collection of aircraft and artefacts.

For a unique experience, hop on the Cobb & Co Stagecoach Experience and embark on a thrilling ride through the Outback. Alternatively, you can enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Thomson River, where you can spot exotic wildlife like kangaroos and marvel at scintillating sunsets.

Kids can also enjoy a ride on a paddleboat at the Longreach Waterhole , and for a fully immersive outback experience, why not visit a working sheep station and witness shearing demonstrations?

Winton (1 – 2 nights)

Australia has a rich dinosaur history; nowhere is this better illustrated than at Winton.

The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum is a fascinating place to visit. It enables you to explore the captivating world of dinosaurs through interactive displays and fossil exhibits. Whilst there, you can also participate in the thrilling Dinosaur Canyon adventure and search for fossils of yet undiscovered creatures.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Winton

Another must-visit attraction is the Waltzing Matilda Centre , which celebrates the iconic Australian song and showcases the region’s rich cultural heritage. Kids can learn about its history and significance through engaging displays and exhibits.

The Winton Waterhole is a lovely, natural swimming spot for those wanting to cool off from the intense heat. While The Outback Festival , held annually in September, is a must-visit, featuring exciting events like camel races, rodeos, and live music performances.

Mount Isa (1 – 2 nights)

Mount Isa is the last city in Queensland you’ll visit on the A2 route before entering the Northern Territory. But there is plenty to do there which will keep you in the Sunshine State for a bit longer.

One of the main highlights here is the Outback at Isa , a fantastic interactive museum that offers insights into the region’s rich mining heritage and cultural history. Children can engage in hands-on exhibits, try their hand at gold panning, and even enjoy a ride on the famous ‘Hard Times Mine’ tour.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Lake Moondarra

If you are a family of animal lovers, a visit to the Mount Isa City Lookout and Animal Park is a must. Here, you can encounter native wildlife, such as kangaroos, wallabies, and emus, while enjoying panoramic views of the city.

The Riversleigh Fossil Centre is another highlight, offering a fascinating glimpse into Australia’s prehistoric past with its collection of ancient fossils. Additionally, those wanting a more serene experience should head to Lake Moondarra , a picturesque spot where families can enjoy picnicking, fishing, and water activities amidst stunning natural surroundings.

Are you planning on taking the coastal route to Townsville along the M1 before heading inland through Outback Queensland on your Darwin road trip?

These are some of the most exciting places you can visit during the drive.

Hervey Bay (1 – 2 nights)

About a 3.5-hour drive up the Bruce Highway from Brisbane is the stunning coastal paradise of Hervey Bay.

The town is known for its excellent beaches and fabulous waterfront promenade, which boasts playgrounds, cafes, several picnic areas, and stunning bay views. If it’s a warm day, your kids will want to spend hours running along the sandy shores, playing on the beach, and splashing in the calm waters. They can even rent kayaks, paddleboards, or jet skis to explore crystal-clear waters.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Hervey Bay

You’ll be around for the whale migration season if you visit between July and November. So take the opportunity to go on a whale-watching tour to witness these majestic creatures up close.

The Fraser Coast Discovery Sphere is somewhere else you should go. It is an interactive educational centre where kids can learn about the region’s diverse marine life and ecosystems. 

Over at the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens , you can enjoy lush greenery, walking trails and observing diverse plant species. 

Airlie Beach (1 – 3 nights)

Airlie Beach is another fantastic destination known as the ‘Gateway to the Whitsundays’.

One of the main drawcards is the Airlie Beach Lagoon , which offers a safe, enclosed swimming area with shallow waters perfect for young children. The lagoon also has grassy areas for picnicking and shaded spots to relax.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Airlie Beach

Whilst at Airlie Beach, you can take a family-friendly cruise to the breathtaking Whitsunday Islands – including Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach – where you can snorkel, swim, and explore coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Another must-visit attraction is the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari , where you can spot crocodiles in their natural habitat and learn about these fascinating creatures. If you are in town on a Saturday, visit the Airlie Beach Markets to browse local arts, crafts, and delicious food stalls.

Townsville (1 – 3 nights)

Before heading inland towards Mt ISA and Tenant’s Creek, it is worth checking out Townsville.

A vibrant city offering plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions, you’ll want to spend some time at The Strand , a beautiful beachfront promenade with a water park, playgrounds, and picnic areas. 

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip -Townsville

Kids will love splashing around in the water park and playing on the sandy beach. The Reef HQ Aquarium should also be of interest to them. As the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, it allows visitors to marvel at the colourful marine life, walk through a tunnel surrounded by sharks and rays, and even participate in interactive feeding sessions.

If you have time, you should also visit Magnetic Island . Just a short ferry ride away, you can explore pristine beaches, go hiking, and spot wildlife like koalas and wallabies in their natural habitat. Castle Hill is also worth a visit for a wonderful panoramic view of the city and surrounding islands.

After Townsville, you will re-join the Stuart highway route through Mount Isa, Tennant’s Creek and Katherine.

If you want to embark on a real Aussie road trip adventure, you should drive from Brisbane to Darwin via the back roads of New South Wales & South Australia (A32/A87 route)

If you do that, try stopping at the following destinations.

Moree (1 night)

Located about a 5.5-hour drive from Brisbane, Moree in New South Wales offers visitors plenty to see and do.

After a long day of driving and sightseeing, the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre would be a welcome first stop. There you can rest and rejuvenate in the warm, mineral-rich waters of the artesian pools. 

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Gwydir River

If the kids have the energy to burn, Jellicoe Park is a spacious parkland with playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking tracks. Kids can enjoy the playground equipment and run around the open spaces until their heart’s content.

The Moree Plains Gallery also offers Aboriginal cultural tours and experiences if you want to learn about the local Aboriginal culture. 

While the Moree Plains Gallery often hosts exhibitions and workshops suitable for children, allowing them to engage with art and creativity. 

Additionally, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the beautiful natural landscapes surrounding Moree, such as the Gwydir River or the nearby Waa Gorge. 

Dubbo (1 – 2 nights)

Dubbo is a major regional centre in New South Wales, so it is worth stopping there to refuel and pick up supplies.

Once there, though, there is plenty to keep you entertained, especially if you are travelling with kids.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Taronga Western Plains Zoo

A trip to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo should be high on the agenda. It houses hundreds of animals, from lions and kangaroos to elephants and giraffes, offering an immersive wildlife experience that includes feeding sessions and encounters.

If you plan to stay overnight, The Dubbo Observatory is another attraction kids will love. They can marvel at the wonders of the night sky through powerful telescopes and learn about astronomy from knowledgeable guides.

For a fun and educational experience, visit the Old Dubbo Gaol , where you can step back in time and explore the fascinating history of the former prison. Alternatively, Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre is perfect for water-loving kids, as it has pools, slides, and a splash pad.

Dubbo also has several excellent parks and playgrounds, including the Victoria Park Nature Reserve , where you can enjoy picnics, bike rides, and nature walks.

Broken Hill (1 night)

Broken Hill offers a fabulous blend of art, culture, and outdoor adventures, which might surprise you, considering its remote location near the border of South Australia.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Broken Hill

One of the biggest attractions here is the Albert Kersten Mining and Minerals Museum which takes you deep underground to discover the fascinating world of mining. The Broken Hill Mining Memorial is also a fascinating place to learn about the city’s mining heritage.

The Menindee Lakes is a picturesque spot where you can enjoy boating, fishing, and picnicking by the water. At the same time, the Broken Hill Regional Aquatic Centre offers pools, slides, and water play areas.

Fans of art should enjoy exploring the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery , which houses a remarkable collection of paintings, sculptures, and indigenous artworks. Similarly, Living Desert Sculptures is a unique outdoor gallery. It features impressive sandstone sculptures set against the backdrop of the outback landscape, which kids will love to see.

Port Augusta (1 – 2 nights)

Situated near the head of the Spencer Gulf, Port Augusta is a terrific place for a pit stop before venturing deep into the guts of Australia.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden

A lovely place to start your visit is at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden , where you can take gentle walks, enjoy a picnic, and discover the unique plant life of the region. If you are more of an animal lover, the Port Augusta Wildlife Park lets you get close to native Aussie wildlife, including kangaroos, emus, and koalas.

Another popular attraction is the Wadlata Outback Centre , where interactive displays and exhibits showcase the history and culture of the region. Also, don’t miss the chance to visit the Australian Arid Lands Observatory, where you can stargaze and learn about the wonders of the night sky. 

If your kids need to run around, the Port Augusta Adventure Playground has play equipment, water play areas, and plenty of space to enjoy themselves.

Coober Pedy (1 – 3 nights)

Coober Pedy is an iconic destination in South Australia that should be on every road trippers itinerary.

Known as the ‘Opal Capital of the World’, this outback town offers the whole family an exciting and educational experience. The best place to start is by exploring the underground wonders of Coober Pedy, where many homes, shops, and even hotels have been carved into the rock.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Coober Pedy

You should also visit the Umoona Opal Mine and Museum to learn about the mining history and see dazzling opal displays. While you are there, be sure to try the one-of-a-kind experience of noodling – searching for opals in the mine dumps. 

If you are a fan of the silver screen, take a guided tour to the Moon Plain, a filming location for countless movies, TV shows and commercials, where you can imagine yourself in a Hollywood setting.

Don’t forget to visit the Big Winch, a popular photo spot with a giant miner statue and check out the Breakaways Reserve, where you can marvel at the stunning desert landscapes and enjoy panoramic views. 

Uluru (1 – 2 nights)

Visiting Uluru in the Northern Territory is one of the most awe-inspiring and culturally enriching experiences.

The magnificent red rock formation holds deep significance for the Anangu people and offers a range of educational and exciting activities. Whilst there, take a guided walk around the base of Uluru, where you can learn about its geology and cultural significance and hear Dreamtime stories. Also, be sure to witness the breathtaking sunrise or sunset over Uluru when the rock transforms with vibrant colours. 

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Uluru

The nearby Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) is worth exploring, too, with its striking domed rock formations and family-friendly walking trails. Take a cultural tour to learn about Aboriginal traditions, including dot painting and spear throwing. Kids can also participate in ranger-guided activities, such as bush tucker demonstrations and guided walks, to learn about the unique desert environment, flora, and fauna.

If you are so inclined, camping under the stars in the designated campgrounds is a memorable experience. 

Alice Springs (1 – 3 nights)

Alice Springs is a famously remote town in the Northern Territory with a rich Indigenous culture. Nestled halfway between Darwin and Adelaide (both are 1500 km away), it is known for its stunning outback landscapes.

One of your first ports of call here should be Alice Springs Desert Park . There you can encounter a variety of desert animals, participate in interactive exhibits, and learn about the region’s unique ecosystems.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Alice Springs

The Alice Springs Reptile Centre is another notable attraction, offering an up-close encounter with reptiles, including snakes and lizards.

Elsewhere, you should take a trip to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve to discover the history of communication in the outback and explore the surrounding nature trails. The Alice Springs School of the Air is also worth visiting, as you’ll see how remote education is provided to children across vast distances.

For something you’ll never forget, take the chance to take a camel ride through the picturesque landscapes. Alternatively, embark on a family-friendly hike in the nearby MacDonnell Ranges .

Tennant Creek (1 – 2 nights)

It doesn’t matter which route you choose to take. You will eventually end up at Tennant Creek . Located in the heart of the rugged Australian outback, a visit here provides an opportunity to learn about the rich Indigenous culture of the region.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Devils Marbles

An excellent place to start is the Nyinkka Nyunyu Cultural Centre , where children can engage in interactive exhibits, art workshops, and storytelling sessions that highlight the traditions and history of the local Warumungu people.

The surrounding nature reserves, such as the Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve , are also worth visiting. Kids should enjoy it as they can marvel at the giant granite boulders and learn about their cultural significance there.

Over at the Battery Hill Mining Centre , you can pan for gold while discovering the town’s gold mining heritage. If you feel energetic, the nearby Davenport Ranges National Park offers bushwalking, camping, and wildlife spotting opportunities.

Head over to the Tennant Creek Observatory at night, where you can stargaze through telescopes highlighting crystal-clear skies.

Katherine (1 – 3 nights)

Before heading to Darwin, be sure to spend some time around Katherine. You’ll need a few days here as there is plenty to see.

The first place to head to is Nitmiluk National Park , home to the spectacular Katherine Gorge. Whilst there, you can take a boat cruise or hire a canoe to explore the tranquil waters, spot wildlife, and learn about the Indigenous history and Dreamtime stories of the Jawoyn people.

AU Brisbane to Darwin Road Trip - Nitmiluk National Park

Children can also enjoy swimming in the natural rock pools and even try their hand at fishing, while the whole family can relax in the warm thermal pools surrounded by lush vegetation at the Katherine Hot Springs .

For a unique cultural experience, visit the Top Didj Cultural Experience and Art Gallery, where children can participate in traditional painting, boomerang throwing, and didgeridoo playing. They can also interact with local Indigenous artists and learn about their customs and traditions. Additionally, visit the Katherine Museum to discover more about the region’s pioneering history through engaging exhibits and displays.

When staying in Katherine, you can also use it as a base for visiting the Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks if you weren’t planning to stop there en route to Darwin.

Whichever epic cross-country route you’ve chosen from Brisbane to Darwin, Darwin, you’ll enjoy the refreshing change of scenery and relaxed vibe in the capital of the Northern Territory.

Enjoy the Mindil beach Sunset Market , indulge in delicious fresh seafood, take a dip in the Wave Lagoon , and embrace the warm, tropical weather.

Darwin’s unique culture and laid-back charm make it the perfect destination to rejuvenate and create lasting memories after a rewarding road trip adventure through the Australian outback.

We have a great least of suggestions for places to visit from Darwin you’ll want to add on to this itinerary.

Where to stay in Darwin

Travelling with a camper or caravan, a few recommended spots include Darwin Freespirit Resort , close to the CBD, or slightly further out, try Discovery Parks Darwin or the family-run Oasis Tourist Park . 

Alternatively, with a car, we’d stay in the heart of Darwin City Centre or the waterfront. Alternatively, Cullen Bay or Parap/Fannie Bay can make good spots for families looking for short-term rental properties.

  • Want to continue this journey further? From Darwin you can use our itinerary from Adelaide to Darwin in reverse to head through the Red Centre , or use the Perth to Darwin itinerary to plot your route along the west coast next.
  • When driving in the Northern Territory, ensure you have plenty of water. It is a good idea to bring at least five litres per person per day that you intend to be driving for on the remote stretches and keep replenishing your supply at servos and stores you encounter along the way.
  • In the Northern Territory, you will find rest areas on main roads specifically designed for drivers to stop at should they start to feel tired. Don’t be afraid to use them; they could save your life or someone else’s. 
  • Petrol stations are few and far between in the Northern Territory. Be sure to take extra fuel and top up every chance you get. 
  • Don’t forget to visit our guide to planning a road trip in Australia for more of our handy hints on preparing you and your vehicle for driving conditions in Australia. Our desert driving safety tips will also come in handy for this road trip.

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road trip to darwin from brisbane

33 Best Stops Between Brisbane and Darwin

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How long is the drive from Brisbane to Darwin?

The direct drive from Brisbane to Darwin is 2181 mi (3509 km) , and should have a drive time of 1 day 15 hrs in normal traffic.

If you’re going on a road trip from Brisbane to Darwin, we did the research for you and compiled some great stops along the way — with Kakadu National Park , Toowoomba , and Toowoomba , as well as top places to visit like The Granite Belt Maze and Suttons Juice Factory, or the ever-popular Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park.

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Top cities between Brisbane and Darwin

road trip to darwin from brisbane

  • Kakadu National Park

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Best stops along Brisbane to Darwin drive

Queen mary falls caravan park.

road trip to darwin from brisbane

The Granite Belt Maze

Suttons juice factory, darling downs zoo, kenilworth dairies, cobb+co museum, queens park toowoomba, unisq japanese garden qld, mary valley rattler, the woolshed at jondaryan, bunya mountains national park, miles historical village museum, the big rig, charleville cosmos centre, the tree of knowledge, ilfracombe machinery and heritage museum, australian stockman's hall of fame & outback heritage centre, qantas founders museum, australian age of dinosaurs, waltzing matilda centre, lark quarry dinosaur trackways, kronosaurus korner, mt isa lookout, battery hill gold mining & heritage centre, daly waters pub, bitter springs, nitmiluk (katherine) gorge, jim jim falls carpark, warradjan aboriginal cultural centre, window on the wetlands, top searches in darwin, other popular road trips from brisbane, explore nearby places.

  • Finke Gorge National Park
  • Howard Springs
  • Berry Springs
  • Darwin River
  • Dundee Beach
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Adelaide River
  • Mary River National Park
  • Douglas-Daly
  • the Cobourg Peninsula
  • Timber Creek
  • Oombulgurri
  • Ramingining

All related maps of Darwin

  • Map of Darwin
  • Map of Finke Gorge National Park
  • Map of Nightcliff
  • Map of Palmerston
  • Map of Howard Springs
  • Map of Humpty Doo
  • Map of Berry Springs
  • Map of Noonamah
  • Map of Charlotte
  • Map of Darwin River
  • Map of Dundee Beach
  • Map of Batchelor
  • Map of Litchfield National Park
  • Map of Marrakai
  • Map of Adelaide River
  • Map of Mary River National Park
  • Map of Douglas-Daly
  • Map of Pine Creek
  • Map of Kakadu National Park
  • Map of the Cobourg Peninsula
  • Map of Jabiru
  • Map of Gunbalanya
  • Map of Katherine
  • Map of Timber Creek
  • Map of Mataranka
  • Map of Maningrida
  • Map of Larrimah
  • Map of Oombulgurri
  • Map of Kununurra
  • Map of Milingimbi
  • Map of Ramingining

Darwin throughout the year

  • Darwin in January
  • Darwin in February
  • Darwin in March
  • Darwin in April
  • Darwin in May
  • Darwin in June
  • Darwin in July
  • Darwin in August
  • Darwin in September
  • Darwin in October
  • Darwin in November
  • Darwin in December

Looking for day-by-day itineraries in Darwin?

Get inspired for your trip to Darwin with our curated itineraries that are jam-packed with popular attractions everyday! Check them out here:

  • 1-Day Darwin Itinerary
  • 2-Day Darwin Itinerary
  • 3-Day Darwin Itinerary
  • 4-Day Darwin Itinerary
  • 5-Day Darwin Itinerary

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i drive from brisbane to darwin.

Yes! You can drive from Brisbane to Darwin.

How far is Darwin from Brisbane by car?

The drive from Brisbane to Darwin is 2181 miles (3509 km).

How long does it take to drive from Brisbane to Darwin?

Driving from Brisbane to Darwin should take you 1 day 15 hrs in normal traffic.

How much would gas cost from Brisbane to Darwin?

Gas from Brisbane to Darwin would cost around $207 to $484 , depending on your vehicle's fuel efficiency.

Where should I stop on the way from Brisbane to Darwin?

You could check out The Granite Belt Maze and Suttons Juice Factory, or the always popular Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park!

What are the best cities to visit between Brisbane and Darwin?

People love visiting Kakadu National Park, Toowoomba, and Toowoomba, among others.

What's the weather like in Brisbane?

It depends on when you visit! We've compiled data from NASA for each month of the year: see the links below for more information.

  • Weather in Brisbane in January
  • Weather in Brisbane in February
  • Weather in Brisbane in March
  • Weather in Brisbane in April
  • Weather in Brisbane in May
  • Weather in Brisbane in June
  • Weather in Brisbane in July
  • Weather in Brisbane in August
  • Weather in Brisbane in September
  • Weather in Brisbane in October
  • Weather in Brisbane in November
  • Weather in Brisbane in December

What are some other road trips from Brisbane?

There are plenty! Below you'll find links to all the road trips we've assembled for Brisbane.

  • Brisbane to Sydney drive
  • Brisbane to Melbourne drive
  • Brisbane to Noosa drive
  • Brisbane to Byron Bay drive
  • Brisbane to Canberra drive
  • Brisbane to Coffs Harbour drive
  • Brisbane to Toowoomba drive
  • Brisbane to Cessnock drive
  • Brisbane to Port Macquarie drive
  • Brisbane to Cairns drive
  • Brisbane to Adelaide drive
  • Brisbane to Katoomba drive
  • Brisbane to Bundaberg drive
  • Brisbane to Hobart drive
  • Brisbane to Hervey Bay drive
  • Brisbane to Townsville drive
  • Brisbane to Dubbo drive
  • Brisbane to Stanthorpe drive
  • Brisbane to Port Douglas drive
  • Brisbane to Ballarat drive
  • Brisbane to Launceston drive
  • Brisbane to Murwillumbah drive
  • Brisbane to Torquay drive
  • Brisbane to Shoalhaven drive
  • Brisbane to Pokolbin drive
  • Brisbane to Airlie Beach drive
  • Brisbane to Rainbow Beach drive
  • Brisbane to Wollongong drive
  • Brisbane to Rockhampton drive
  • Brisbane to Seventeen Seventy drive

road trip to darwin from brisbane

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Brisbane To Darwin Road Trip – 9 Ultimate Destinations to See

Brisbane To Darwin Road Trip

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The journey from Brisbane to Darwin covers a mammoth 3,426 Km and takes around 37 hours by car . However, with different modes of transportation and amazing sites to see along the, it is a journey you will surely remember. 

The journey from Brisbane to Darwin will set you off on an epic outback adventure in Australia . With many attractions on the way to Darwin, the journey is a complete package for anyone who loves to travel . Moreover, the trip is more enjoyable and memorable , with many attractions and natural sites on the way.

As you start your journey, you will come across Dalby, Roma , Blackall, Winton , Cloncurry, Mount Isa, and much more, with some of the best sites in the world. If you are excited to know more, keep reading, as there is a complete guide and many more amazing things to discover on your road trip . 

Brisbane to Darwin road trip: Itinerary, Places, Distance & Attractions

The entire journey from Brisbane to Darwin takes around 37 hours by car via the A2 and the Stuart Highway. However, there are other options like the bus or flights . Here are the modes of transportation available with the approximate travel time –

Brisbane to Dalby

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 211 Km

Driving Time: 2 hours 36 minutes

You start from Brisbane via Warrego Hwy/A2 and continue along the road to Dalby, which is a 2 hours and 36 minutes drive . 

If you take the bus, the approximate arrival time will be around 11 hours and 29 minutes; however, no flights are available. 

On the way, you will come across Toowoomba. There is a great place called Garden city, which can be a soothing resting place for you before reaching Dalby. 

The city is well known for providing you with activities of the countryside of Australia like the Jimbour house. Moreover, they have amazing views of the mountains.  

Top attractions in Dalby

  • Jimbour House
  • Muntapa Park
  • Bunya Mountains

Accommodation in Dalby

  • Dalby Tourist Park
  • Windsor Hotel Dalby
  • The Australian Hotel Motel

Restaurants in Dalby

  • Russell Tavern
  • Urban Paddock Cafe
  • Dalby Sushi

Dalby to Roma

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 268 Km

Driving Time: 3 hours

As you set off from Dalby, the next top is Roma which is a 3 hours drive from Dalby and is famous for its cattle sales in the Southern Hemisphere. Taking the bus takes around 4 hours and 32 minutes, but no flight is available from Dalby to Roma. 

On the way to Roma, you will pass through Miles which is known for Chinaman’s Lagoon. It’s a perfect place to take a break. When you reach Roma, the city is just amazing, full of natural attractions like Roma’s largest bottle tree and a full tour of the saleyards. 

Top attractions in Roma

  • Big Rig Tourist Park
  • Bush Gardens
  • The Big Rig

Accommodation in Roma

  • Villa Holiday Park

Restaurants in Roma

  • The White Bull Tavern
  • Overlander Homestead Motel
  • ROYAL on Ninety-Nine

Roma to Blackall

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 487 Km

Driving Time: 5 hours 11 minutes

From Roma, the next stop is Blackhall, which takes around 5 hours and 11 minutes to drive via the A2 highway. Taking the bus from Roma leads to a journey of 7 hours and 45 minutes; however, there are flights available that take approximately 4 hours and 35 minutes. 

Blackall is famous for its displays of the achievement of Jackie Howe in 1892; apart from then, there is an aquatic centre and the wool scour, which allows visitors to experience scouring wool.

Top attractions in Blackall

  • Blackall Wool scour
  • Aquatic Centre

Accommodation in Blackall

  • Oasis Motor Inn
  • Coolibah Motel
  • Blackall Caravan Park

Restaurants in Blackall

  • House and Garden Cafe
  • Barcoo Hotel
  • The Lodge On Hawthorn

Blackall to Winton

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 392 Km

Driving Time: 4 hours 9 minutes

As you continue your journey from Blackhall, the next stop is Winton which is a 4 hours 9 minutes drive from Blackhall, and by bus, it takes around 5 hours and 31 minutes. 

Winton is famous for having the largest collection of dinosaur fossils and also the iconic ‘Waltzing Matilda’ was performed there in 1895. 

Top attractions in Winton

  • Waltzing Matilda Centre
  • Rangelands Rifts and Sunset Tour
  • Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Accommodation in Winton

  • Outback Motel
  • North Gregory Hotel
  • Tattersalls Hotel Van Park

Restaurants in Winton

  • Tattersalls Hotel
  • The Hideaway 201

Winton to Cloncurry

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 348 Km

Driving Time: 3 hours 46 minutes

Driving for 3 hours 46 minutes via the Landsborough Hwy/A2 for 348 Km, you will reach Cloncurry. 

It is a long drive; however, there is almost nothing to stop for on your way to Cloncurry. The only worth stopping is the Kynuna; it is a perfect place if you prefer fancy beer. Another one is McKinlay.

Cloncurry does not have that many historical and amazing places . However, it is a great place to see the lake and have some rest before taking off on your trip . 

Top attractions in Cloncurry

  • Lake Moondarra
  • Kronosaurus Korner
  • Underground Hospital and Museum

Accommodation in Cloncurry

  • Gidgee Inn Motel
  • Discovery Parks
  • Caravan Park Oasis

Restaurants in Cloncurry

  • Cloncurry Bakery
  • Come to the Table

Cloncurry to Mount Isa

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 121 Km

Driving Time: 1 hour 22 minutes

From Cloncurry, you will join Barkly Hwy/A2 and move to your next amazing destination, Mount Isa. It is a 1 hour 22 minutes drive from Cloncurry, covering 121 Km in total. Taking the bus is also a great option as it takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Mount Isa is a beautiful outback full of natural beauty and as you pass through, you will come across deep underground working mines and you can take a full tour. 

Top attractions in Mount Isa

  • Mount Isa Underground Hospital & Museum
  • Riversleigh Fossil Centre

Accommodation in Mount Isa

  • Sunset Tourist Park

Restaurants in Mount Isa

  • The Buffs Club
  • Rodeo Bar and Grill
  • The Coffee Club

Mount Isa to Elliott

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 866 Km

Driving Time: 9 hours 

Passing through Mount Isa, you will then continue on the National Highway 66 and Stuart Hwy/A87 and move towards Elliott, which is on the Northern territory . It is a 9 hours drive covering a total of 866 Km.

The first thing that will catch your eye in the Northern Territory is the Tenant Creek facilitating the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre. 

Top attractions in Elliott

  • Spruce Beach
  • Miner’s Memorial Park
  • Lake Fire Tower

Accommodation in Elliott

  • YHA Port Elliot Beach House
  • Beach Huts Middleton

Restaurants in Elliott

  • Thunderbird
  • Port Elliot Bakery
  • The Flying Fish Cafe

Elliott to Mataranka

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 313 Km

Driving Time: 3 hours 11 minutes

From Elliott, you will continue on Stuart Hwy to Mataranka. It is a 313 Km drive from the port of Elliott and takes around 3 hours and 11 minutes by car and 4 hours 33 minutes if you take the bus. 

Mataranka is south of Katherine and is very well known for its pastoral history and sandy-bottomed thermal pool. The town is full of exhibits of local Aboriginal art and many activities. 

Top attractions in Mataranka

  • Bitter Springs
  • sandy-bottomed thermal pool
  • Elsey National Park

Accommodation in Mataranka

  • Mataranka Homestead
  • Territory Manor Motel and Caravan Park
  • Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping

Restaurants in Mataranka

  • BP Mataranka Roadhouse & Cabins
  • Territory Manor Motel & Caravan Park
  • Mataranka Pub

Mataranka to Darwin

road trip to darwin from brisbane

Driving Distance: 421 Km

Driving Time: 4 hours 23 minutes

Finally, continuing along National Highway 1, you will reach Darwin. From Mataranka to Darwin, it is a total of 421 Km. By car, it takes around 4 hours and 23 minutes and by bus, it is approximately 6 hours and 42 minutes. 

Darwin is the former frontier outpost and the capital of the Northern Territory of Australia. It is famous for its Museum and Art Gallery, displaying mostly Pacific and Southeast Asian art.

Top attractions in Darwin

  • Waterfront Precinct
  • Crocosaurus Cove
  • Mindil Beach Sunset Market

Accommodation in Darwin

  • The Cavenagh Hotel
  • Club Tropical Resort
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Esplanade

Restaurants in Darwin

  • Alfonsino’s
  • Tim’s Surf & Turf
  • Pee Wee’s at the Point

How do I travel from Brisbane to Darwin without a car?

If you do not have a car, then the best option for you to travel from Brisbane to Darwin is by bus or train . It can take up to 3 days and 17 hours to reach Darwin and a total cost can be up to $950 – $3,300.

How much does it cost to drive from Brisbane to Darwin?

Averagely it takes around 36 to 37 hours from Brisbane to Darwin by car. Calculating the miles from these two areas, which are 2123 miles, and the cost of gas per mile, it stands at 372 USD in total.

Which airlines fly direct from Brisbane to Darwin?

If you are travelling by flight from Brisbane to Darwin, then the best option for a flight is the Virgin Australia 447, which is the most economical option. Moreover, Qantas 1918 and Virgin Australia 451 are also great options .

How much are return flights from Brisbane to Darwin?

The ticket pricing depends on the time you are travelling and the fare type. However, it typically ranges from AUD 215 to AUD 295 on holidays.

Do you need a border pass from QLD to Darwin?

There is no need to have a border pass from QLD to Darwin. You will not face any restrictions while entering the NT from interstate. 

Are 3 days enough for Darwin?

It’s an ideal time frame to spend your time in Darwin. That way you can experience the Kakadu National Park along with the city life of Darwin.

A road trip from Brisbane to Darwin is an amazing journey especially if you do it in a car. That will allow you to stop at every exciting and beautiful place on the road and have an experience of a lifetime.

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Brisbane to Darwin drive

Brisbane to darwin road trip planner.

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Brisbane to Darwin. If you're planning a road trip to Darwin, you can research locations to stop along the way. Make sure you check road conditions to double check the weather. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

10:00 am  start in Brisbane drive for about 8.5 hours

day 1 driving ≈ 8.5 hours

11:00 am  leave from Murweh drive for about 5.5 hours

day 2 driving ≈ 5.5 hours

11:00 am  leave from Longreach drive for about 5.5 hours

day 3 driving ≈ 5.5 hours

8:00 am  leave from Cloncurry drive for about 8 hours

4:01 pm   Tennant Creek stay for about 1 hour and leave at 5:01 pm drive for about 4.5 hours

day 4 driving ≈ 12.5 hours

10:00 am  leave from Daly Waters drive for about 3 hours

12:59 pm   Katherine stay for about 1 hour and leave at 1:59 pm drive for about 3 hours

5:07 pm  arrive in Darwin

day 5 driving ≈ 6 hours

Brisbane to Darwin questions


Where should I stop along the way?

Murweh   (2 answers) Longreach Cloncurry Tennant Creek   (6 answers) Daly Waters Katherine   (2 answers)

What are some things to do in Darwin?

This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.

These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:

Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!

For example, here are some questions people have asked about Darwin. Click on any question to see answers from the community!


Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Darwin.

Do I really have to go back home?

Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!

Want to plan the trip back? Get the reverse directions for a Darwin to Brisbane drive , or go to the main page to plan a new road trip .

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Brisbane to Darwin . Or get a full Brisbane to Darwin flight plan .

Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend.

And if you know Brisbane well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Brisbane!

More info on this route:

road conditions from Brisbane to Darwin

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road trip to darwin from brisbane

Get Inspired

Popular Routes

Darwin to Brisbane

Starting at the top of the  Northern Territory in Darwin then staying north and close to the coast, you will travel through quaint fishing towns across to the top of  Queensland all the way to Cairns.

Heading inland and closer to the outback, delve into the mining town of Mount Isa then make your way through the centre of outback Queensland finishing on the east coast in beautiful Brisbane to enjoy some city splendour.

This itinerary provides a unique journey to explore Australia through both coastal and outback areas, with a great mixture of bigger cities and quaint little towns. Travelling by National Parks , places of historic significance and many one-of-a-kind Aussie outback experiences, this trip will be one you will never forget.

Best Time of the Year

June to November

  • Limmen National Park
  • Yagurli Tour
  • Great Barrier Reef

The Journey

Day 1 Darwin to Daly Waters

Distance 590km - driving time 6 hours.

Pick up your Britz camper or 4WD from our  Darwin branch and get exploring. There are many things to do in  Darwin as the city enjoys all the benefits of being coastal, whether it's eating locally caught mud crab , or enjoying unique wildlife experiences like swimming with crocodiles . With a fascinating war history, Darwin has a dedicated  history museum where you can learn all about the bombing that took place during World War II. The  Mason Gallery is another must see, featuring stunning Aboriginal art. Be sure to take a stroll through the  George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens on the Matboerrma Walk to learn about the Larrakia people and how they use native plants for traditional purposes.

A worthwhile stop as you head an hour out of the city and on your way is Litchfield National Park . With waterfalls and walkways taking you past unusual sights like the Cathedral Termite Mound, this is a perfect place to stop on the way to  Katherine.

The drive inland to Katherine takes around three hours and you can experience many outdoor wonders there like the  Cutta Cutta Caves , or the  Katherine Hot Springs if you fancy a relaxing dip.

A three-hour drive from Katherine, your final destination for day one is Daly Waters . A must see is Daly Waters Pub , a quirky bar made famous with its unusual decor and amusing settler history. Enjoy your evening getting to know the locals, and make use of the campervan accommodation on site.

Day 2 Daly Waters to Borroloola

Distance 390km - driving time 4 hours.

Heading out to the coast towards Borroloola, a worthwhile stop after leaving Daly Waters is Limmen National Park . Those who fancy a spot of fishing can grab the rods from the camper and enjoy catching some Barramundi, and keen photographers must check out the beautiful sandstone formations.

A three hour drive in the camper to the fishing town of Borroloola will have you ready for something to eat, so a stop at  Savannah Way Motel for some local food and a cold drink is a must. Stop by the indigenous art centre Waralungku , then park the camper up for the night at McArthur River Caravan Park .

Tourism & Events Queensland

Day 3 Borroloola to Burketown

Distance 495km - driving time 5 hours 30 minutes.

Leaving Borroloola (and the Northern Territory), the next stop is  Burketown Queensland, a five and a half hour drive away. Burketown sits on the Albert River, making it another  great spot for fishing.

With Burketown sitting within Gulf country, it does present a great opportunity to see the largest area of  saltpans in Australia. Join a  Yagurli tour   who will take you over the salt pans in a hot air balloon - a must do on your Australia road trip! Park the campervan and power up at  Burketown Caravan Park for the night, and join a stargazing experience .

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Day 4 Burketown to Mount Surprise

Distance 610km - driving time 6 hours 43 minutes.

Making your way out of Burketown travelling East, a 6 hour and 43 minute drive will bring you to the small settlement of Mount Surprise.

Park the campervan up at the  Undara Caravan Park then head to the Undara Volcanic National Park to check out  the Lava tubes formed 190,000 years ago after an eruption. A  wildlife tour at sunset is the perfect way to end the day, with a glass of wine in hand.

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Day 5 Mount Suprise to Cairns

Distance 284km - driving time 3 hours 46 minutes.

There are many things to do in Cairns Australia, so a detour up North is a must and well worth the short drive. After a few days travelling through smaller towns, the city of Cairns will allow you to stock up the campervan with essentials and see some amazing sites. One of the best things to do in Australia is seeing the natural wonder that is the  Great Barrier Reef.

There are so many ways to experience the Reef from  glass bottom boat tours to  diving or even cruising in a submarine . A hike through the tropical  Daintree Forest and a wander through the  local markets are more must-do experiences in Cairns.

There are many caravan parks to choose from , and some  great spots to grab a coffee before you leave.

Day 6 Cairns to Julia Creek

Distance 647km - driving time 7 hours.

Heading back South leaving Cairns you’ve got the chance to  take a longer trip along this amazing route towards Mount Isa, or keep it to a couple of days. Top places to stop along this path include Townsville , where you can visit the first ever underwater building MOUA , a museum built to educate on coral reef restoration.

A seven-hour drive to  Julia Creek Caravan Park will be worth it to get a soak in their Artesian bath tubs. The  Great Artesian Basin of underground water fills these baths keeping the water between 38°C- 41°C, perfect for relaxing and soothing muscles after a long drive.

Day 7 Julia Creek to Mount Isa

Distance 256km - driving time 2 hours 51 minutes.

Heading west on day seven for just under three hours you will reach Mount Isa , Rich in mining history, a  tour through the mines to learn how the tunnels are made and to see the incredible machinery used is a must-do. A visit  to the Mary Kathleen mine will give you a look at the rare beauty of the blue liquid centre of this former uranium mine.

Home to an incredible array of fossils from the Riversleigh World Heritage area, the  Riversleigh Fossil Discovery Centre provides a tour so you can see how the fossils are extracted and cleaned. The  Mount Isa Caravan Park has a pool and plenty of shady trees to cool off after exploring.

Day 8 Mount Isa to Winton

Distance 468km - driving time 5 hours.

After a relaxing five hour drive heading back towards the east coast of Queensland, you will reach the town of Winton . The discovery of a fossilized footprint in 1962 led to the town being known for an intriguing dinosaur history, which you can learn all about at the  Dinosaur Stampede National Monument.

A visit to the  Waltzing Matilda Centre will have you learning all about the history of the unofficial anthem in the world-class museum. An exhibition space and eatery are great additions to the centre which you can enjoy before parking the camper up for the night at the powered Matilda Country Tourist Park . Swim in the pool and enjoy the live music to wind down for the night.

Day 9 Winton to Morven

Distance 703km - driving time 7 hours 24 minutes.

The town of Morven is the last stop before the final destination of Brisbane, heading towards the east coast.  Morven Historical Museum showcases traditional Aboriginal tools such as boomerangs and spears and a miniature replica of the township from pioneer times.

Beautiful Ooline trees which are now vulnerable to extinction can be admired at  Tregole National Park where you can park the campervan and enjoy a picnic surrounded by native birds.

Head a couple of hours closer to Brisbane to the small town of Roma to stay at  Big Rig Tourist Park and experience the  Big Rig Night Show to learn about the rigging history in the area.

Day 10 Morven to Brisbane

Distance 653km - driving time 7 hours 30 minutes.

The final day of adventure takes you east to  Brisbane. Take the camper 30 minutes out of the city centre to  Ipswich where you can enjoy an abundance of eateries such as the  Pumpyard Bar where you can enjoy their craft beer and BBQ foods.

Ipswitch is Queensland's oldest provincial city, so it has plenty of heritage delights to experience from  antique shops to  art galleries. Stretch your legs at  White Rock where you can hike or mountain bike among the sculpted rocks.

Ready to head away on your Australia road trip to the Northern Territory and Outback Queensland? Start the journey in  Darwin or visit any  Britz branch for campervan hire today!

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Brisbane to Darwin road trip: Best stops, distance & drive time

  • David Whitley
  • Practicalities

Brisbane to Darwin road trip: Best stops, distance & drive time

Prepare for an almighty outback road trip. The Brisbane to Darwin drive is epic, covering 3,426km of rugged, remote Australia. Best stops to add to the road trip itinerary include Roma, Longreach and Katherine.

A Brisbane to Darwin road trip is an adventure through some of the most remote parts of Australia. It is not going to be to everyone’s taste. But for those who love big open spaces, quirky outback towns and rugged scenery, this might just be the perfect epic Australian journey.

Darwin brings  schooner cruises ,  airboat tours  and  cage-swimming  with massive crocodiles. To search for the best Darwin accommodation deals,  head here . To check out the full range of tours and experiences available,  go here .

It’s a long, long drive from the Queensland capital to the Northern Territory capital, though. You’re going to need to spread it out over a few days – preferably a week or so – and plan an itinerary full of fun overnight stops.

This is your guide to doing just that.

Brisbane to Darwin distance and driving time

The distance from Brisbane to Darwin by car is 3,426km . If, by magic, you did that in one stint behind the wheel, the driving time would be 36 hours. Quite clearly, the Brisbane to Darwin road trip is going to take longer than that.

9 brilliant Brisbane experiences to book in advance

  • Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary tickets (or entry plus river cruise combo ) – hold a koala and see lots of adorable native wildlife.
  • Brisbane River cruise – see the key sights and learn about the city on the way.
  • Story Bridge Adventure Climb – walk along the top of Brisbane’s famous bridge, with 360 degree views.
  • Combine the Southbank Parklands, City Botanic Gardens and Kangaroo Point Cliffs on a fun Segway tour .
  • Helicopter flight – see the city from a bird’s eye view.
  • Kayaking tour – choose the night tour to see the city light up, the day tour to enjoy the sunshine.
  • XXXX brewery tour – see how Australia’s most famous beer is made.
  • Guided wine flight tasting – get an Aussie wine introductory course.
  • See Brisbane’s spooky side on a city centre ghost tour .

Australia Travel Questions  has researched guides to the separate legs of the journey. Click through for the detailed versions if planning a road trip itinerary. In the more concise version further down this article, you can click through on the town names for more detailed guides to these particular destinations.

Brisbane to Darwin road trip itinerary sections

Brisbane to Toowoomba .

Toowoomba to Dalby .

Dalby to Chinchilla .

Chinchilla to Roma .

Roma to Charleville .

Charleville to Longreach .

Longreach to Winton .

Winton to Cloncurry .

Cloncurry to Mount Isa .

Mount Isa to Tennant Creek .

Tennant Creek to Katherine .

Katherine to Darwin .

7 great Darwin experiences to book before arriving

  • Swim face to face with an enormous crocodile in the Cage of Death.
  • Enjoy the romance of Darwin Harbour on a sunset dinner cruise aboard a traditional fishing ketch.
  • Explore Darwin’s food and art scenes on a 3.5 hour walking tour – with lunch or dinner included.
  • Flit between Darwin’s top attractions with a hop-on, hop-off bus tour .
  • Combine a wildlife tour with the famous jumping crocodiles cruise.
  • Get a history fix on a Bombing of Darwin WWII tour and harbour cruise .
  • Get the adrenalin pumping on a high speed airboat or jetski tour .

Best stops between Brisbane and Darwin

The best stops between Brisbane and Darwin are Roma, Longreach, Winton, Mount Isa, Daly Waters and Katherine. But there are other options, too.

6 supreme Brisbane day trips that will improve your holiday

road trip to darwin from brisbane

  • Moreton Island day trip – with kayaking, sandboarding and snorkelling or with dolphin-feeding and desert dunes adventure .
  • Springbrook National Park glowworms and rainforest tour – including Tamborine Skywalk.
  • Eumundi Markets day trip – Australia’s best markets, plus the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and Noosa.
  • North Stradbroke Island day tour – with cruise, wildlife spotting and guided walk.
  • Tamborine Mountain winery tour – with gourmet lunch.
  • Maialia rainforest walking and wildlife tour – visit lesser-known D’Aguilar National Park.

On the initial  Brisbane to Roma  leg of the Brisbane to Darwin road trip, the largest city is Toowoomba . This is a place of parks and gardens, but the  DownsSteam  railway museum is also worth a visit.

Top Toowoomba accommodation recommendations

The best Toowoomba accommodation options are:

  • For central location and undercover parking at a 4.5 star with a pool: Oaks Toowoomba .
  • For well-equipped apartments: Athena Motel Apartments .
  • For a holiday park with plenty for the kids: Big4 Toowoomba Garden City .
  • For a surprisingly good motel at cheapish rates: Applegum Inn .

Further along the route southern Queensland, local history fixes come courtesy of the  Pioneer Park Museum  in Dalby or the Chinchilla Historical Museum in  Chinchilla .

Best places to stay in Chinchilla .

The top Chinchilla accommodation options are:

  • First choice for overall quality: Chinchilla Downtown Motor Inn .
  • For villas at bargain rates: Chinchilla Motor Inn .
  • For a good outdoor pool and affordable prices: Palms Motor Inn .

Keep going to  Miles , where Chinamans Lagoon fills with with rare pink water lilies.

Chinamans Lagoon in Miles, Queensland

Well-reviewed Miles motels include the  Western Downs Motor Inn  and the  Starlight Motor Inn .

Click through to the next section: Roma or Charleville?


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