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Explore the Natural Beauty of the Remote Top End on Nature’s Way Road Trip

Explore the Natural Beauty of the Remote Top End on Nature’s Way Road Trip

Now is the time to start planning your next road trip through the Northern Territory. It is only passable during the dry season, which is the winter. Nature’s Way is a rugged and remote, adventurous road trip through the Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory. The name says it all, this journey really helps you get in touch with the beautiful nature here in one of the most  untouched places in the world. The road trip is a triangle including Darwin through the Adelaide and Mary River wetlands, parts of the gigantic Kakadu National Park and the magnificent landscapes of Litchfield National Park. If you are not familiar with Australia’s climate, it is important that you understand that the north is tropical and it is hot and humid, even during the winter dry season.  The whole Top End of Australia gets warmer and more humid the further north you go. Be sure to dress appropriately and still drink plenty of water; the humidity can be deceiving. Our blog today will be covering a 7 day itinerary of a possible holiday journey that is part on land and part cruise.

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Map Photo Credit: Australia.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

Remember to heed all warning signs and be croc wise in this region. Both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles are abundant in the Top End of the Northern Territory and are very dangerous. Never approach an crocodiles and even stay away from the water’s edge. This area is very remote. When travelling here, heed all warnings about being prepared. Be sure to have a spare tyre, emergency supplies, and extra petrol. If you are travelling through Aboriginal lands, you will likely need to obtain a permit ahead of time. Above all, enjoy your time in this land; it is a unique experience where you will make beautiful memories.

Nature’s Way Road Trip Day One

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: Australia.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: Australia.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

In our suggested itinerary for the Nature’s Way Road Trip, we start out in Darwin and head east to Kakadu National Park. Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest National Park and you can’t see all of it with this itinerary, so you might want to schedule some extra days if you are interested in seeing more of this amazing park. Day one’s drive is 250 km east along the Arnhem Highway to Jabiru, which is the town in Kakadu. Stops along the way can include:

  • Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve which is a haven for wildlife on the lower Adelaide River.
  • The Jumping Crocodile Cruise where you will see some of the Top End’s largest saltwater crocodiles jump out of the water.
  • Accommodations in Jabiru include an Olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts, and a golf course.
  • Excursions into the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. There are 6 regions and so much to see!

Nature’s Way Road Trip Days Two and Three

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: Australia.com

Nature’s Way Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

Jim Jim Falls in Kakadu National Park Photo Credit: WikiTravel

Ubirr Rock Art in Kakadu National Park Photo Credit: WikiTravel

Kakadu is so big, you need a couple days here just to scratch the surface. The scenery includes the Arnhem Escarpment, waterfalls, wetlands, billabong, and rock art galleries. Both guided tours and on your own adventures are available. The things to do here include:

  • Bushwalking
  • Barramundi fishing
  • Spotting saltwater crocodiles
  • Tour Aboriginal Dreamtime rock art sites
  • South Alligator Valley
  • Hike to Gunlom Falls
  • Explore rock pools
  • Camp overnight
  • Guided Aboriginal cruise
  • Take a scenic flight to witness the enormity of Kakadu

Because of the unique landscape of Kakadu, most of the amazing rugged scenery can only be scene from the air. That includes the magnificent waterfalls which can’t be reached on foot. Kakadu’s weather and climate are so unique; the Aboriginal people actually label 6 different regions and 6 seasons, rather than four. Kakadu is large enough to spend more time than just two days here. If you choose to add on to your stay, you might seek out some of the swimming holes or hiking trails. Just be sure to heed all warning signs about crocodiles and keeping emergency supplies on hand.

Nitmiluk National Park

Edith Falls in Nitmiluk National Park Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Jatbula Trail in Nitmiluk National Park Photo Credit: jatbulatrail.com.au

We can’t talk about visiting this area without mentioning Nitmiluk National Park. You should make some time to see this scenic national park. It is known for its waterfalls including Edith Falls, Katherine / Nitmiluk Gorge, Florence Falls, Wangi Falls, and Tolmer Falls. Take a relaxing wildlife cruise on the Reynolds River and see the working cattle station it borders. Hiking is popular in Nitmiluk National Park, especially along the Jatbula Trail. This is a 62 km trail that tours through many of the highlights and most popular scenery of the park. Once you’ve had your fill of this amazing naturescape, then head back to Darwin. It is just an hour-and-a-half drive back. If you choose to stay in Nitmiluk National Park longer, camping is available in several places in the park. Other points of interest you might explore in Nitmiluk National Park include:

  • Katherine Hot Springs
  • Springvale Homestead
  • Cutta Cutta Caves
  • Butterfly Gorge
  • Northern Rockhole
  • Nitmiluk Visitor Centre
  • Sunrise breakfast cruise
  • High speed boat ride
  • Hire a canoe
  • Aerial tours of the Arnhem Land
  • Ancient Aboriginal rock art
  • Aboriginal cultural and history tours

Nature’s Way Road Trip Day Four

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: Australia.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: NorthernTerritory.com

Day four on the Nature’s Way road trip takes begins at Jabiru and takes you south via Pine Creek and onto Litchfield National Park. In Pine Creek you can see a lot of history in the buildings from the 1870’s during the gold rush. There is also the 1888 railway station and the National Trust Museum to explore. There, you can see the original mining machinery in Miner’s Park Bakery. Witness the galvanised iron ore bakery well-known during World War II as the one where Jimmy Ah You and his son baked bread for the soldiers. From Pine Creek, take Explorer’s Way to the town of Batchelor where you will spend the night. Batchelor is right at the entrance to Litchfield National Park.

Nature’s Way Road Trip Day Five

Nature’s Way Road Trip Photo Credit: Australia.com

The last day of the Nature’s Way road trip lets you explore Litchfield National Park before heading back to Darwin. It is known for its refreshing swimming holes. Pay close attention to the signs, the park maintains some of the swimming holes to ensure they are croc free. Litchfield National Park is a clinic in landscaping courtesy of Mother Nature. Here you will find some of the most dramatic scenery in the world. Take a refreshing dip in the plunge pools at the bottom of the waterfalls. Once you are done exploring Litchfield National Park, you are close to completing your round trip further north to Darwin.

Hiring a Car in Darwin

Darwin and Northern Territory Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

Darwin Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

When you want to get to the remote far north of the Northern Territory, you can hire a car in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory. There are two car rental options in Darwin. Either hire a vehicle at the Darwin Airport or rent a 4WD in Darwin City. All of this remote and rugged terrain driving means taking precautions and being prepared. Always keep updated maps with you along with plenty of emergency supplies, petrol, and drinking water. Let someone know where you will be, when you will return, and what your exact itinerary is. Consult with our friendly and knowledgeable representatives and they will help you find the right vehicle for your needs and offer up safety tips and local travel ideas. While travelling through Australia’s Top End, check out these other blog posts about this region:

Australia’s Largest National Park Kakadu National Park

Rivers of Kakadu National Park

National Parks and Reserves in the Northern Territory Near Darwin

Outdoor Destinations in Northern Territory near Katherine

Things to Do Near Darwin

Nitmiluk National Park Carved by Nature

Experience a Remote Holiday at Bullo River Station

Journey to Judbarra / Gregory National Park

Top End Swimming Holes

Garig Gunak Barlu National Park

Road Trip Adventures in the Northern Territory:

The Savannah Way Part One: Daintree Rainforest to Karumba, Queensland

The Savannah Way Part Two: Normanton to Katherine

The Savannah Way Part Three: Katherine to Broome

The Gibb River Road Part One

The Gibb River Road Part Two

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Shari McConahay
Wife, mom & internet geek. E-Commerce & Internet Marketing old timer, lover of social media, kung fu movies, sci fi, reality tv & game shows.

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