Darwin to Perth Road Trip Australia

Many people consider the Nullarbor crossing to be Australia’s most demanding drive. Though the drive does have its challenges an even greater Australian adventure is the Darwin to Perth road trip.

During this epic journey watch the dreamtime come alive in the scenic gorges of Katherine. Watch dramatic sunsets over the sunburnt ranges of the Kimberley’s. Swim in the seemingly endless turquoise waters of the Western Australian coastline and be awestruck by the size and solitude of this great land.

So, come along with us as we show you the highlights of a Darwin to Perth road trip.

Darwin to Perth road trip

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Darwin to Perth Distance

The Darwin to Perth road trip distance is a whopping 4,218 km. To get an idea of how vast the distance is, if you were to complete the Darwin to Perth drive without a break it would take around 42 hours.

Of course, unless you are superhuman driving that long is unrealistic and a great injustice as the scenery you travel through is considered the most spectacular in the world.

Map of Australia with drive times for a Darwin to Perth road trip.
Darwin to Perth road trip map

Darwin to Perth Journey Planner

When you drive Darwin to Perth there are a few things to consider before you plan your trip. First is the time of year you visit.

The best time to take a Darwin to Perth road trip is during the cooler months between May and October, this coincides with many seasonal attractions such as whale watching, swimming with the whale sharks in Exmouth and wildflower season to name a few.

Weatherwise this is also the best time as northern Australia experiences a wet season between November and April which can result in flooding.

Australia’s seasons are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is from December to February, autumn is between March and May, winter from June to August and September to November is spring.

Preparing for a road trip Darwin to Perth

The trip from Darwin to Perth takes you through much of the Northern Territory and West Australian outback and certain precautions should be put in place before beginning your trip. Remember that you will be travelling long distances and you need to be prepared for the unexpected.

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
  • Carry plenty of water and food.
  • At NT and WA border quarantine you will need to dispose of fruit & vegetables.
  • Be aware that phone coverage is sparse.
  • If you break down do not leave your car.
  • Try not to travel between dusk and dawn to avoid kangaroos and nocturnal animals.

Fuel prices in remote parts of Australia can be expensive, if you want to save money and feel secure an option is to carry your own fuel in jerry cans. This was not an option for us as we did not have the room, but we found that topping up at every roadhouse gave us more than enough fuel to get from A to B.

Phone coverage is sparse, and you will be travelling for long distances without connectivity. Make sure that your car is in good working order and that you refuel at every petrol station.

Be on the lookout for wandering livestock as many of the roadside properties are unfenced. Try not to travel from dusk until dawn as livestock and kangaroos can seriously damage your car if you hit them.

Start a Darwin to Perth Road Trip

Darwin is Australia’s most northerly capital city and the regional centre of the Northern Territory. This isolated city has a rich history and an interesting multicultural mix which creates a character unique to the Northern Territory’s Top End.

Things to do in Darwin before your road trip to Perth

The city enjoys a tropical climate with seasons divided into wet and dry. The best time to visit Darwin is during the cooler dry season between April and September. There are many places to see in and around Darwin, here are a few of our favourites.

City of Darwin Australia
City of Darwin

Mindil Beach Sunset Market

If you love markets as much as I do make sure to visit the Mindil Beach Sunset Market. Here you can get a taste of Darwin’s multicultural melting pot while enjoying a spectacular beach sunset over the Timor Sea.

The markets have over 200 stalls which focus on arts & crafts, live entertainment and more. A visit is a foodie dream with 60 stalls dedicated to international cuisines from across the world.

Mindil Beach Sunset Market is one of the most popular things to do in Darwin. The market operates during the dry season between late April and late October from 4 pm to 9 pm.  

Mindil Beach sunset before a Darwin to Perth road trip.
Sunset on Mindil Beach

Darwin Military Museum

Due its proximity to Asia, Darwin was used as a strategic Navy and Air Force base during WWII. On the 19 February 1942, more than 188 Japanese aircraft bombed Darwin’s Harbour and airfields in two separate raids.

This was the first and largest attack by a foreign power on Australia and marked the beginning of over 100 air raids on Australian soil during the second world war.

The Darwin Military Museum is an interactive experience that will tell the story of when war came to Australia.  

Kakadu National Park

The Northern Territory is famous for its unspoilt beauty and Darwin is the steppingstone to the natural wonders of Kakadu National Park.

Just three hours’ drive from Darwin the Kakadu National Park is a landscape unchanged by time and the place to discover the ancient rock art and culture of the Bininj and Mungguy people.

Covering almost 20,000 square kilometres, this World Heritage listed park is home to a diverse ecosystem of lush rainforests, tranquil wetlands teaming with wildlife and picturesque waterfalls.

Kakadu National Park
Birdlife is Kakadu National Park

Darwin Tours

While many Darwin attractions can be done independently, tours make a great alternative when wanting to get the most out of a destination when time is limited. Here are our choices for best Darwin tours.

Where to stay in Darwin

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Katherine, Northern Territory

The Darwin to Katherine drive distance is 317 km and takes around 3 hours to complete. Katherine is the last town before Kununurra in West Australia so make sure to stock up on essentials before making the 535 km journey to Kununurra.

Things to do in Katherine

Katherine Hot Springs

Located in the centre of town are the Katherine Hot Springs, a natural thermal hot spring. These crystal clear pools reach a warm 25 to 30 degrees Celsius and are well shaded by tropical vegetation, the perfect place to recharge and refresh after sightseeing.

Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk Gorge)

Katherine is the gateway to the Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) in the Nitmiluk National Park (formerly the Katherine Gorge National Park). The Nitmiluk Gorge is a series of spectacular sandstone gorges that have been carved out by the Katherine River.  

The local Jawoyn people are custodians of Nitmiluk National Park and you can learn more about their fascinating history and culture when you canoe or take a cruise of the gorge.  

Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk Gorge)
Cruising down the beautiful Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk Gorge)

Katherine Gorge Tours (Nitmiluk Gorge Tours)

There are a choice of Katherine Gorge tours including canoe adventure tour, gorge cruise and a romantic sunset dinner boat tour.

Where to stay in Katherine

There are a selection of resorts, hotels and tourist parks to choose from when looking for Katherine accommodation.

Katherine, Northern Territory to Kununurra, West Australia

From Katherine head west on the Victoria Highway (National Route 1). The Katherine to Kununurra distance is 535 km and should take around 5 hours and 40 minutes if you drive straight through. The Victoria Highway is sealed and is a smooth road to drive.

There are fuel stops at Victoria River Roadhouse and Timber Creek in the Northern Territory. Both are on the doorstep of Judburra National Park (formerly the Gregory National Park) and have a motel and caravan park if you want to break your journey to explore the region.

Victoria River
The Victoria River – Great for fishing.

The drive takes you past picturesque escarpments, the Victoria River and the Durack Monument which pays tribute to one of Australia’s pioneering families. Along the way be on the lookout for wandering livestock and the beautiful boab trees that grow in the bushland beside the road.

At the Northern Territory and West Australia border make sure to dispose of fruit, vegetables and honey at the quarantine station. Kununurra is a short 25 km drive from the West Australian border.

Boab trees
Boab trees in a beautiful rocky landscape.

Kununurra, Western Australia

After hours of driving through arid landscapes the first thing you see when entering Kununurra are the peaceful waters of the Lily Creek Lagoon. This pretty lagoon is connected to Lake Kununurra and is just one of the attractions to see when visiting the town.

Kununurra is also the gateway to the Ord River, Lake Argyle, the scenic beauty of the East Kimberley’s and domes of the Bungle Bungle ranges.

Things to do in Kununurra

If you love all things that sparkle, Kununurra is the place to go shopping for the rare pink diamonds of the Argyle Diamond Mine. Shops such as Nina’s Jewellery & Diamonds Kununurra and Kimberley Fine Diamonds sell a range of unique pink, blue and champagne coloured diamonds that would put a smile on anyone’s face.

Kununurra is a good size town with a Coles and IGA supermarket and the place to stock up on essentials before continuing your trip to Derby. There are a few tourist attractions to see in and around Kununurra, here are some of our top picks.

Kelly’s Knob Lookout

Kelly’s Knob is a rocky outcrop that looks down over Kununurra. This picturesque valley is framed by the weather worn ranges that envelop the town. The best time to visit is at sunset when the colours highlight the dramatic beauty of the region.

Kelly’s Knob lookout Kununurra
The view from Kelly’s Knob lookout.

Lily Creek Lagoon

Lily Creek Lagoon is a scenic spot, lily pads decorate the surface and boats drift lazily across the water. The lagoon is an oasis for wildlife and is a place that a large variety of birds, fish and freshwater crocodiles call home.

Lily Creek lagoon
The tranquil waters of the Lily Creek Lagoon

Mirima National Park

Taking shape over 350 million years the Mirima National Park or Hidden Valley as it is also known contains spectacular rock formations that are referred to as the mini Bungle Bungles.

The park is a short drive from town and there are three walking trails where you can discover the local flora and fauna.

Mirima National Park
Exploring the Mirima National Park

Diversion Dam

Located just out of town the Diversion Dam was the first stage of the Ord Irrigation Scheme and was completed in 1963.

This ambitious plan harnessed the fast flowing waters of the wet season and directed them to the fertile plains of the lower reaches of the Ord River. Today the Dam regulates the water level of Lake Kununurra managing irrigation water flow and wet season flood levels.

When visiting make sure to stop off for photos and a picnic at the Lion’s Park Picnic Area. Just be aware that there is no swimming in many of the waterways of the area due to crocodiles.

Diversion Dam
Early morning at Diversion Dam

Kununurra Tours

To get the best out of the East Kimberley we advise taking a tour. Not only do you get firsthand local knowledge, but you also get to cover the vast distances in comfort and safety.

Where to stay in Kununurra

Kununurra has a variety of hotel styles including apartments, resorts, motels and holiday parks.

Kununurra to Derby

Kununurra to Derby is 907 km and has a drive time of approximately 9 hours and 20 minutes. Travel on the Victoria Highway to Cockburn Rest Area where the A1 changes its name to the Great Northern Highway.

Along the way you will the pass fuel stops of Doon Doon Roadhouse, Warmin Roadhouse and the small communities of Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing.

There are a few rest areas including Mary Pool on the Mary River which has free camping, a dump point and toilets. At Mary Pool we watched cows graze peacefully under the trees and listened to the noisy shrill of the cicadas as we walked along the dry riverbed.

The landscape changes throughout the journey showcasing spectacular mountain ranges, bronzed stony outcrops, wide open plains and rusty time worn buttes. 

Rusty time worn butte
Spectacular scenery on the drive from Kununurra to Derby

Derby, Western Australia

To get to Derby turn right at the Broome/Derby turnoff on the Great Northern Highway (National Route 1). Derby is a good size town with a Woolworths and IGA supermarket for stocking up on necessities.

What to see in Derby?

Derby has an interesting history. The town was bombed by the Japanese during World War II and played an important role in introducing the Royal Flying Doctor Service to the Kimberly region. There are a few things to do in Derby West Australia, here are two of our favourites.

Boab Prison Tree

The Boab Prison Tree is located 6 km from Derby and is an impressive 1,500 years old. The local Nyikina people of Derby call boab trees larrkardiy and were used for shelter and considered to have special mystical powers.

The Boab Prison Tree is reputed to have been a rest stop for police and aboriginal prisoners making their way to Derby. You can learn more about the history of Derby and the surrounding area on the information boards at the Boab Prison Tree site.

Boab Prison Tree Derby
Alan at the Boab Prison Tree Derby

Derby Jetty & Wharf

One of the best things to do in Derby is to watch the sunset over King Sound from the Derby Jetty. This unusual horseshoe shaped jetty is the place to observe the largest tides in the Southern hemisphere. Here you will see high tides with an incredible tidal variation of up to 12 metres.

Cast a line for barramundi, north west salmon, grunter and mud crabs or keep your eyes peeled for the large saltwater crocodile that is rumoured to hang out around the jetty.

Ros and Alan in Derby WA
Check out the Jetty

Where to stay in Derby

There are a choice of hotels and self-contained apartments in Derby but make sure to book early as accommodation sells out quickly.

Derby to Broome

The distance from Derby to Broome is a short 203 km and takes a little over 2 hours to drive. Gone are the vast lonely stretches of road, from Derby to Broome traffic increases and we start to feel less isolated.

Broome, Western Australia

Broome is located on West Australia’s Kimberly Coast. The town is famous for its pearling industry and its beautiful beaches make it a popular tourist destination.  

If you are driving from Perth, the Broome to Perth drive is 2,346 km and takes around 24 hours to complete if you drive straight through.

Caravan and RV Equipment

Things to do in Broome

There are heaps of places to visit in Broome, you can either see them independently or take a day tour of Broome and the attractions further afield. The town has a unique range of shops and art galleries, a rich coffee culture and restaurants for fine dining.

Cable Beach

Cable Beach gets its name from the Java to Australia undersea telegraph cable. The pristine white sands and turquoise waters of Cable Beach stretch into the distance for 22 km.

Cable Beach is one of the most famous beaches in West Australia and a popular place to take a sunset camel ride tour in the evening.

Cable Beach Broom Western Australia
Storms brewing over Cable Beach in Broome

Broome Chinatown

Broome Chinatown is a shopping and fine dining district. If you are shopping for South Sea pearls be spellbound by the timeless elegance of Paspaley Pearls.

Discover local Chinatown history at the Sun Pictures theatre or browse the colourful artworks of Broome Gallery. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time as Chinatown has so much more to see.

Chinatown in Broome WA
Historic Sun Pictures in Chinatown

Broome Historical Museum

The Broome Historical Museum is a fascinating place to learn more about Broome’s pearling industry, the bombing of Broome during World War II and the characters who made Broome the town you see today.

Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park

As you drive through the Northern Territory and West Australia you see signs warning not to swim because of crocodiles.

A visit to the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park will help you understand why these signs are so important. These unassuming giants may look docile and slow, but they are quick and often invisible. A visit to the park is an absolute must when visiting Broome.

**Make sure to cover up as there are lots of mosquitos.  

Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park
Ros holding a cute baby crocodile

Broome Tours

There is a good selection of tours in Broome. Explore the town attractions, take a sunset camel ride, go whale watching or for the ultimate tour take a boat ride through the waterfalls and rapids of the Horizontal Falls.

Where to stay in Broome

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to Broome accommodation. From resorts, apartments, motels and caravan parks Broome has an accommodation style to suit every budget.

Broome to Port Hedland

The distance between Broome and Port Hedland is 599 km and takes around 6 hours to travel. The drive can be monotonous as you pass long strips of pastoral land, bushland, saltbush and the occasional saltpan. 

Fuel stops along the way include the Sandfire Roadhouse and Pardoo Roadhouse & Tavern. Both have a motel and caravan park for those wanting to stay overnight.

As you get closer to Port Hedland the scenery changes to an interesting collection of rocky buttes. Entering Port Hedland is a little surreal as the two lane road turns into a sleek modern highway.

Port Hedland, Western Australia

Port Hedland is well known for processing and exporting iron ore, but other industries of the region include offshore natural gas fields, salt production, manganese, livestock and much more.

As you enter town you will see the large white salt hills of Dampier Salt. Once in Port Hedland you will be struck by the size of the bulk loading machinery that loom large against the sky like a modern industrial artwork.

Port Headland Salt refinery
White salt hills in Port Hedland

Things to do in Port Hedland

There is a lot to see in Port Hedland especially if you are interested in the mining industry. Walk the Port Hedland Cultural & Heritage Trail or see some of the best street art in the region. Make sure to stop off at the Port Hedland Visitors Centre for the Cultural & Heritage Trail and Pilbara Artwork maps.

Visit the port of Port Hedland

Port Hedland is a natural deep water harbour and home to the world’s largest export tonnage port.  To see this impressive port in action head over to Marapikurrinya Park to watch the massive iron ore tankers enter and leave port.

Port of Port Hedland
Ships leaving Port Hedland

See the Staircase to the Moon

The Staircase to the Moon takes place during full moon between the months of March and October. This natural phenomenon occurs when pockets of water get trapped in the tidal flats creating a shimmering staircase leading to the moon.

The best place to view the Staircase to the Moon is at the viewing deck at Cooke Point Viewing Platform in Port Hedland.

Where to stay in Port Headland

We stayed at the Esplanade Hotel in Port Hedland, the rooms were modern, comfortable and beautifully decorated.

We had dinner at the adjoining hotel, the menu had a good selection dishes and a fun atmosphere. Breakfast was large with a choice of continental and cooked breakfast.

Port Hedland to Exmouth

The distance between Port Hedland and Exmouth is 775 km and takes about 8 hours to drive. Continue from Port Hedland and take the exit to the North West Coastal Highway (National Route 1).

The scenery along the drive is spectacular and showcases the rusty red soil, flat grassy plains, treelined riverbeds and the dramatic rocky hills and rolling mountains of the Pilbara.

Fuel stops include the town of Roebourne, the Karratha Travel & Truck Stop which has a Coles Express, the Fortescue River Roadhouse and Nanutarra Roadhouse.  

The Karratha Travel & Truck Stop is located at the turnoff to Karratha and Dampier. If you have seen the movie Red Dog, you can break your journey and visit the Red Dog Memorial Statue at Dampier.

If you are feeling tired there are many rest areas along the way. The rest stop at Robe River has a shaded picnic area, toilets and is a good place to stop and stretch your legs.

Turn off the highway and follow the signs to Exmouth which is around 2 hours’ drive. Along the way you will see the thousands of termite mounds that litter the flat treeless plains.

Termite mounds in Western Australia
Termite mounds that stretch out to the horizon.

Exmouth, Western Australia

The Exmouth region is a steppingstone to the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area and the Cape Range National Park, an area of extraordinary natural beauty. Exmouth has so many wonderful things to see and do, here are just some of our favourites.

Things to do in Exmouth

When you visit Exmouth, you will grasp just how vast the West Australian coastline is. Endless jewel like beaches wait to be enjoyed and experiences such as swimming with gentle giants will create unforgettable lifetime memories.

Turquoise Bay

Turquoise Bay has been voted one of the top three Australian beaches by Trip Advisor and once you see the pristine turquoise waters of the bay you will understand why.

Feel the soft white sand between your toes as you walk into the water and swim among the schools of fish that zip and dart through the gentle waves. Turquoise Bay is a truly magical place to spend the day.

Turquoise Bay WA
The dazzling white sands and turquoise waters of Turquoise Bay

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse

One of the most popular things to do in Exmouth is to visit the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse is perfect for viewing the wild beauty of the Ningaloo Coast and Cape Range National Park.

The Vlamingh Head Lighthouse is one of the best places to spot whales during whale watching season between June and November. While there learn more about the part Exmouth played during the second world war.

Read more: Attractions in Exmouth

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
Panoramic views from Vlamingh Head Lighthouse

Exmouth Tours

Imagine swimming with whale sharks or humpback whales in the crystal clear waters of the Ningaloo Reef. Relax with a sunset cruise and discover the wildlife that call Exmouth home. Find the best sites to snorkel, scuba dive or kayak by taking one of these incredible tours.

Where to stay in Exmouth

Exmouth has a great selection of accommodation including resorts, apartments, hotels and caravan parks.

Exmouth to Monkey Mia & Denham

The distance from Exmouth to Denham (Monkey Mia) is 683 km and takes approximately 7 hours via the Minilya-Exmouth Road and North West Coastal Highway (National Route 1).

If you have time, make sure to stop and spend a few days in beautiful Coral Bay which is 152 km south of Exmouth.

Refuel at the Minilya Bridge Roadhouse, in Carnarvon and at the Overlander Roadhouse at the Shark Bay Turnoff. If you are breaking the journey in Carnarvon, visit the Carnarvon Space & Technology Museum.

Monkey Mia & Denham, Western Australia

Monkey Mia is a popular tourist destination famous for the dolphins that come to shore and interact with people.

The closest town to Monkey Mia is Denham which is 23 km away. Denham has a choice of accommodation, but many choose to stay closer to the dolphins at the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.  


Denham is a laid back seaside town in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. It is a great place for fishing and has safe swimming beaches, restaurants and a golf course.

The Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery & Visitor Centre has an interesting display on the history and natural wonders of the region.

The centre also has a moving tribute to the HMAS Sydney which was sunk by the German cruiser Kormoran during WWII. The display documents the events leading up to the sinking and the tragic loss of all hands on the HMAS Sydney.    

Denham WA
The laid back seaside town of Denham

Monkey Mia

If you are visiting Monkey Mia independently be aware that fees apply when entering the Monkey Mia Conservation Park.  

The park is in a pretty setting and there are information boards explaining the habits of the dolphins and wildlife of the bay. There are a cheeky flock of pelicans waiting to catch a stray fish and a jetty that overlooks the feeding area, the restaurant and shops of the resort.

At the beach dolphins are only offered fish during the first three visits between 7:45 am and 12 noon. This is to ensure that the dolphins continue to forage for most of their food in the wild.

This is the best time to see the dolphins but viewing will depend on whether the dolphins decide to visit the beach. The day we visited seven dolphins came in but left before feeding time. Sightings are not guaranteed, and dolphins have been known to visit the beach outside these times.

Monkey Mia feeding time.
Pelicans and dolphins waiting to be fed.

Monkey Mia Tours

You will find Monkey Mia included in the destinations of this range of holiday package tours. These are great choices if you do not have the time to travel independently or just want to relax and have an easy going holiday.

Where to stay in Monkey Mia & Denham

There are a range of Denham accommodation including apartments, motels and caravan parks. Be aware that during high season between May & October Denham and Monkey Mia get busy so book early to avoid disappointment.

Monkey Mia Accommodation

For the best Monkey Mia experience stay right on the beach at the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort. The resort has a selection of accommodation from beach view rooms to dormitories. Facilities include swimming pool, hot tub, bar, restaurant, tennis and volleyball courts.

Monkey Mia
Views of RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort from the jetty.

Monkey Mia to Kalbarri

The distance from Denham to Kalbarri is 374 km and takes around 3 hours and 40 minutes to drive. Fuel stops between the towns include the Overlander Roadhouse and Billabong Roadhouse.

As you drive you will pass a flat saltbush covered terrain that stretches out to the horizon. During the drive scenery changes from bushland to farmland and as you approach Kalbarri you will see views overlooking the Murchison River and coastline.

Kalbarri, Western Australia

Kalbarri is a peaceful seaside town that sits on the mouth of the Murchison River and Indian Ocean. The town is the gateway to the Kalbarri National Park and has everything you need for a quiet seaside holiday including fishing, swimming, restaurants and pubs.

Kalbarri beach
The beach at Kalbarri

Things to do in Kalbarri

Kalbarri is a place where you can experience the best of West Australia’s wild and untamed scenery. Dramatic coastal vistas and rugged inland trails pay homage to the stark beauty of nature’s ever changing canvas.

Kalbarri Skywalk

The twin viewing platforms at Kalbarri Skywalk look down into the depths of the Murchison Gorge and across the craggy landscape of the Kalbarri National Park.

Not only does the Kalbarri Skywalk have spectacular views but there are also information boards telling the story of the local Nanda people and the native wildlife of the area. 

The Kalbarri Skywalk is 30 km from Kalbarri and fees apply for entrance into Kalbarri National Park.

Kalbarri Skywalk
The views from the Kalbarri Skywalk

The Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon)

If you love all things pink make sure to visit Hutt Lagoon or the Pink Lake as it is commonly known. This unusual pink hued lake is located at Port Gregory which is a 45 minute drive from Kalbarri.

This pretty pink salt lake gets its pink shade from the beta-carotene rich Dunaliella salina algae which is used as a dietary supplement and food colouring agent for cosmetics.

Read more: Attractions in Kalbarri

Hutt Lagoon (Pink Lake)
Hutt Lagoon or the Pink Lake as it is commonly known

Where to stay in Kalbarri

Kalbarri has a good choice of accommodation which feature resorts, apartments, Airbnb, motels and caravan parks.

Kalbarri to Perth

The drive to Perth from Kalbarri is 570 km and takes around 6 hours to complete. The journey will take you through farmland and sheep country.

If you have time stop off at the Lynton Heritage site where you will see the Port Gregory Convict Hiring Station, a historical building which was operational between 1853 and 1856.

In Geraldton we realised we were back in civilisation when we saw Bunnings, Domino’s Pizza and McDonalds. From there we continued through small towns and farming communities until we reached the outskirts of Perth.

Perth, Western Australia

Taking the highway into Perth we joined the rest of the traffic and breathed a sigh of relief that we had finally reached our destination.

The skyscrapers of Perth stood before us and were a stark contrast to the remote outback towns we had visited between Darwin and Perth. A truly unforgettable experience of an incredible Australian road trip.

Things to do in Perth

Perth is a beautiful city, with its most decorative feature being the Swan River. It is a city with a lifestyle that centres around the river. From the skyscrapers that dominate its shores to the myriad of boats that take to the harbour, Perth has a personality that is uniquely its own.

There is so much to do in Perth, see stunning city and river views from Kings Park, visit the Spanda sculpture at Elizabeth Quay or soak up the sun at one of Perth’s nearby beaches.

Whatever activity you choose you will fall in love with Perth. Here are just two places you must see when you visit Perth.

Elizabeth Quay Perth
Perth skyline and Spanda sculpture at Elizabeth Quay

Visit Fremantle

Fremantle or Freo as it is lovingly called would have to be the fun capital of Perth. Set amid a streetscape of charming Victorian and Edwardian buildings, Fremantle has a rich history and is home to the Round House (built 1831) which is the oldest building still standing in West Australia.

Fremantle has a popular café, restaurant and bar scene. If you love beer head over to Little Creatures Brewery, soak up the brewery atmosphere and enjoy lunch or sample the range of beer on offer.

Beer sampling Little Creatures Brewery
Celebrating the end of our Darwin to Perth road trip with our daughter at Little Creatures Brewery

Visit the local art galleries and delve into Fremantle history at the WA Shipwrecks Museums and Fremantle Prison.

Fremantle Markets have been around since 1897 and sell an eclectic range of merchandise which include homewares, jewellery, fashion and food. The markets are open from Friday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm.

Enjoying the sights of Freo (Fremantle)

Visit Cottesloe Beach

Perth is spoilt by the number of sensational white sandy beaches that sit on its doorstep. Names such as Scarborough Beach and City Beach come to mind but the most famous of Perth’s beaches is Cottesloe Beach.

Scarborough Beach WA
Scarborough Beach

Instantly recognisable by its shady Norfolk pines and the iconic Indiana Tearooms Cottesloe Beach is sheltered by the wind and safe for swimming.

The area around the beach buzzes with restaurants, cafes and bars which are perfect for beachside dining, sunset drinks or the lively Sunday sessions at the Cottesloe Beach Hotel.

Cottesloe Beach Perth Western Australia
Perth’s famous Cottesloe Beach

Perth Tours

While many Perth attractions can be done independently, tours make a great alternative when wanting to get the most out of a destination when time is limited. Here are our choices for best Perth tours.

Swan Valley Gourmet Wine Cruise WA

Cruise through the picturesque Swan River Valley while relaxing with morning tea and enjoy wine & cheese tastings on board the cruise.

Visit Sandalford Winery for a behind the scenes tour and 2-course lunch with more wine tastings. On the return journey unwind with dessert and live entertainment.

The Swan River Gourmet Wine Cruise is a fabulous day out in Perth. Read more: Wine Cruise from Perth

Wine tasting at Sandalford Winery
Wine tasting at Sandalford Winery on our Swan Valley Gourmet Wine Cruise

Where to stay in Perth

There is a great range of Perth accommodation with a style to suit every budget. These include luxury to budget hotels, apartments, Airbnb and caravan parks.

Last Words on Darwin to Perth Road Trip

When thinking of distance Darwin to Perth must be one of the longest and most remote routes in Australia and possibly the world.

Although a Darwin to Perth road trip may sound daunting if you decide to take this journey you will be rewarded with spectacular scenery that will make you wonder why it took so long to take the trip.

We have fallen under the spell of Western Australia and the Northern Territory and we are so grateful for having the chance to explore these stunning regions of Australia.

Unfortunately, due to the distance many Australians do not get the chance to visit West Australia or the Northern Territory. This is a great shame as seeing this part of the country will not only change your perspective on the true character of Australia but introduce you to a beauty rich and rare.

Have you been to the Northern Territory or Western Australia? What was your favourite place and tell us about the places we have missed? Feel free to leave a comment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Darwin to Katherine drive?

Darwin to Katherine drive is 317 km and takes around 3 hours to drive.

Darwin to Kununurra drive?

Darwin to Kununurra drive is 848 km and takes about 8 hours 40 minutes.

How long is the Darwin to Broome drive?

The driving distance from Darwin to Broome is 1,872 km and takes approximately 19 hours.

How far is the Darwin to Kakadu drive?

Darwin to Kakadu drive is roughly 259 km depending which area you visit.

How far is the Perth to Broome drive?

Perth to Broome drive is 2,346 km and takes approx. 24 hours.

How long is the Perth to Exmouth drive?

Perth to Exmouth drive time is 1,249 km and takes around 12 hours and 45 minutes.

How long is the Perth to Kalbarri drive?

Perth to Kalbarri drive is 570 km and takes 6 hours to drive.


Driving from Darwin to Perth
Great Australian road trip from Darwin NT to Perth WA

Darwin to Perth Road Trip Australia

6 thoughts on “Darwin to Perth Road Trip Australia”

  1. A wonderful blog post Ros. We did this trip in 2017 & absolutely loved it. Thanks for bringing back many special memories. I too encourage people to do this trip.

  2. Rosalind Cuthbertson

    Hi Estelle,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed our post Estelle, so happy that it brought back memories for you! 🙂 It certainly is an incredible part of the world. Thank you for your comment!

  3. Rosalind Cuthbertson

    Hi Jane,

    Thank you Jane I’m glad you liked our itinerary! 🙂 The trip was an experience of a lifetime one we will never forget. Thank you for your comment!

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