Darwin to Kakadu. The 210 km route certainly isn’t one of Australia’s longest road trips, but that doesn’t mean it’s not packed with adventure.

In fact, as far as road trips in the Northern Territory go, this one has it all. The best part is that although it can be completed without any stops, we’ve included a couple to make it worth your while.

For this road trip, we recommend you start by picking up a Darwin car rental, as it will be far easier to hire a car before you get into the more rural region around Kakadu.

Darwin to Humpty Doo

37 km | 30-min driving time

Once you’ve picked up your Darwin car hire, you’re on your way. Driving in the Northern Territory is considered a must-do for all serious road trippers out there so why not cut your teeth on a seemingly small stretch of road. Plus Arnhem Highway is the epitome of the great open road. It is sealed, open all year and in good condition. You may just have to watch out for any wandering kangaroo, cattle, and buffalo. Apart from that, it’s a piece of cake.

Your first stop is Humpty Doo. Seriously. Apart from the town’s quirky name, there are three reasons you should stop here:

  1. Big Boxing Croc. The icon of Humpty Doo stands at 13 metres high, wears a pair of red boxing gloves, and is strong enough to withstand a tropical cyclone.
  2. Pop into any of the nearby mango plantations or simply take in the delicious aromas that are out in full force when mangoes are in season.
  3. Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve. A bird watcher’s paradise with three separate walks to feast one’s eyes on an array of feathery friends.

Humpty Doo to Djukbinj National Park

41 km | 27-min driving time

It’s pronounced jook-binj, and it’s a taste of what you’ll experience once arriving at Kakadu. Enjoy a scenic drive through various billabongs while spotting a range of rarely spotted birds including magpie geese, herons, and egrets for which the wetland is a major breeding ground.

The park holds both cultural and ecological values and is considered important for the conservation of our land.

Djukbinj National Park is also a traditional hunting ground for Limilngan people, who manage the park in partnership with Parks and Wildlife.

Djukbinj National Park to Kakadu

133 km | 1.25 hour driving time

You made it to Kakadu, the gateway to one of the most incredible places on earth – Kakadu National Park. Three to five days is recommended to explore all of the biodiverse nature that surrounds you. All 20,000 square km of it. With the right hire car it’s quite easy to get around Kakadu National Park.

From waterfalls and ancient rock art to croc spotting and walks, there’s something here for everyone. Our top picks are the Yellow Boat Water Cruise, Maguk Gorge, and Jim Jim Falls.

With a range of convenient car hire locations in the NT including Darwin Airport, Uluru and Alice Springs you’ll have no issues on your drive from Darwin to Kakadu (or from Kakadu to Darwin). A 4WD is usually recommended for these sorts of trips, but a comfortable passenger vehicle is just as good.

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