Driving through the Australia’s red centre from Adelaide to Darwin

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
7
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
4
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
6
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
9
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
8
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
9
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
77 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Oceania
country
Australia
Length of time
Around a week
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 800
Time of year visited
December
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
52nd/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 20% SUMMARY RATING: World Class

Summary

The 3,800km / 2350mile route from Adelaide to Darwin via Uluru is one of the world’s great roadtrips.  You have the world-class destinations of Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), the Kings Canyon, Kakadu National Park and the Barossa Wine region, but the real highlight is the sheer isolation and feeling of adventure of the trip as you drive through some of the most desolate places in the world and that bright red sand centre that lets you know you’re right in the centre of the continent

highlights

#1 Staring at the magnificent rock / giant monolith / cultural centre / world famous site of Uluru and watching its mesmerising colours change throughout the day

#2 The drive itself and the adventure of it all as you pass through desolate deserts and tiny outback towns in one of the world's great drives

#3 Hiking up to the beautiful rock pools that sit up on top of rocky outcrops littered through Kakadu National Park, and cooling off with a swim in the waters

#4 Visiting Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) - collectively larger than Uluru, quieter and no less impressive

#5 Sampling wines in The Barossa Valley and home to some of the best, and boldest, reds in the world

#6 The impossibly red sand of Australia's super remote Red Centre

#7 - Taking a boat trip through the Kakadu billabongs just after the rains and being able to drift through the steep rock sides

#8 - Meeting some of the locals in the New Territories

#9 Driving through some of the very odd towns like Coober Pedy on the way

The Route

Travel Tips

Top 5 Tips:

  1. Highlights and pit stops – you’ll naturally find yourself checking out the big highlights like Uluru National Park and Kakadu National Park, but you’ll also stop at more unusual places along the way such as Cobber Pedy, the old opal mining town, and to see quirky places like the Devil’s Marbles
  2. Road Safety – try to avoid driving at dawn and dusk when the lighting isn’t clear and the kangaroos come out – if one jumps out, its unfortunate and a bit harsh, but don’t try and swerve as that is when the real accidents happen.  Instead, brake as hard as possible and hit it.  Chances are it might hop off and it avoids the real danger which is you tumbling into the roadside or flipping the car.  Also, be wary of roadtrains (trucks pulling 2-5 containers behind them).  They travel over 140km / 85miles per hour, swing massively across the road and certainly don’t slow for kangaroos
  3. Dangerous animals – we know that most things in Australia try their best to kill you, but just use a bit of common sense to make sure doors etc are closed
  4. Give yourself 10 days for the trip – the whole route is 3,800km / 2350miles, so you’re going to be driving for something like a minimum of 38 hours.  We super crammed everything in and managed to get the whole thing done in a majorly hectic 8 days – 1 day for the Barossa, 2 days to drive to Uluru, 2 days for Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), 2 days to drive to Kakadu 1 day for Kakadu and the drive to Darwin.  But I’d suggest 10 days as a minimum to give yourself some more time to enjoy in particular the area around Uluru and Kakadu National Park, and more if you can’t manage a couple of days of 10 hours driving.  See –10 day drive google map – for the route on google maps
  5. Driving etiquette – there is a LOT of driving and fellow drivers will often play games to keep themselves occupied.  Favourite one is Car Cricket – 1 point for any acknowledgement, a 4 for one person waving with their hands outside the window, a 6 for two people waving with their hands out of the window.  You’ll be surprised just how many people play it!

 

For extra travel tips, you can see the individual entries for:

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone