Explorer's Way

The Explorer's Way is a cross country drive which follows the route of John McDouall Stuart, a famous Australian explorer who was the first to traverse the continent in 1862. This drive, along the Stuart Highway, connects Australia's south and north, from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory, and takes in many of Australia's best-known icons.

These include the Flinders Ranges, the opal mining town of Coober Pedy, The Painted Desert, Alice Springs, Uluru (Ayers Rock) (as a detour), Tennant Creek, The Devil's Marbles, Wycliffe Well - reputed to be Australia's UFO capital, Mataranka, Katherine and Darwin. It is a sealed bitumen road all the way, so you don't need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to discover and explore the beauty and uniqueness of Central Australia.

The Journey

The journey is straight foward, easy to follow and on good sealed highway all the way. It starts in Adelaide and ends in Darwin, leave Adelaide via Main North Road, then Princes Highway to Augusta, when you take Stuart Highway, following the signs to Darwin.

Make your way north from Adelaide through the subterranean mining town of Coober Pedy to the world's most famous monolith, Uluru. Catch a sunset over the mighty red rock and talk a walk through Kata Tjuta. Hit the highway the next day for sandstone wonder Kings Canyon and enjoy spectacular views across the desert.

Stay a while in Alice Springs, the NT's second largest city and the Aboriginal art capital of Australia, before losing yourself in the chasms and gorges of the West Macdonnell Ranges.

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Stop in at Tennant Creek to brush up on gold rush history, see the Devils Marbles, and learn about local Aboriginal cultures. Visit the town of Katherine and use it as a base to explore the nearby gorge country of Nitmiluk National Park. Join a cruise downstream, take a helicopter flight or hit the water in a canoe.

Camp out under starry skies and sink into the popular waterholes of Litchfield National Park before pushing north one last time to the multicultural metropolis of Darwin for a swim in the wave pool and a trip to the markets.


Adelaide - Port Augusta: 306 km (4 hrs)
Port Augusta - Coober Pedy: 540 km (6 hrs)
Coober Pedy - Alice Springs: 689 km (7 1/2 hrs)
Alice Springs - Tennant Creek: 508 km (6 1/2 hrs)
Tennant Creek - Katherine: 673 km (8 hrs)
Katherine - Darwin: 316 km (4 hrs)
Total distance: 3,032 km
Total travelling time: 36 hours

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