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Itinerary for NT

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#1 sqawk

Posted 08 October 2019 - 04:28 PM

I am the initial stages of planning a holiday to the NT for myself, 2kids 8 and 10 , and my mid 70s dad and his partner.

We are thinking 10-14 days
The initial list of places is quite big and I’m trying to work out what is realistic

We will start in darwin, fly from east coast. 5-7 days there including Litchfield  and maybe Tiwi islands

Also on the list is Kakadu, Katherine/Nitmulik gorge, and then Alice/Uluru

I was thinking drive to Kakadu, then drive to Katherine, then fly to Alice or Uluru. But flights are very limited out of Katherine

I think I have answered my own question which is that we will have to cut some places out!!

If anyone has been recently and has suggestions or tips on driving on there, would be very happy to hear them.


#2 born.a.girl

Posted 08 October 2019 - 04:42 PM

Damned hard with the distances, isn't it?

I'd be tempted to split it in two, with Alice (& King's Canyon) and Uluru in a trip of its own.

#3 Expelliarmus

Posted 08 October 2019 - 05:16 PM

When we did it we cut out Katharine although we started in the Centre. Flew to Alice, 5 day Red Centre Safari, then flew to Darwin and did Litchfield and Kakadu, albeit briefly.

I guess the question is what is it you are dying to see - because the top end and the Centre are really two separate trips.

#4 BeachesBaby

Posted 08 October 2019 - 06:55 PM

We did a trip starting in Alice, then to King's Canyon, Uluru, and Coober Pedy (then down to Adelaide, GOR, and Melb) this past Christmas, and I would say that one night in King's Canyon and 2 in Uluru is a good amount, so maybe you can start in Uluru, stay 2 nights, pick up a car, drive to King's Canyon for a night, then drive to Alice for however long. The speed limits are 130 and the roads straight and empty here, so the driving is quick and efficient - I want to say Alice to King's Canyon was maybe 4 hours? Then from Alice you can drive north towards Katherine/Darwin for that part of the adventure.

If you spend 2 nights in Uluru, 1 in King's Canyon, and 2 in Alice, that still leaves the rest of the time for everything north of that. The NT has been our absolute favorite part of Australia so far, and our next trip is starting in Alice and driving north, so please do update us with what your ending itinerary comes out to be!

#5 -Belinda-

Posted 08 October 2019 - 07:15 PM

We flew to Darwin, got hire car,  shopped groceries and drove 3 hrs to Litchfield for 4 nights. Drove 3 hrs to Katherine for 7 nights for hot springs, cave, school of the air, katherine gorge,  edith waterfall. Washed and food shopped. Drove 4 hours to Jabiru to do 4 nights around Kakadu. Then 3 hours to Howard Springs suburb of Darwin for 7 nights, explored Darwin, museum, waterparks, wave pool, night markets.

We had 5 and 7 yo and that was enough driving for them and a relaxed paced holiday for all of us. We met my mid 60s parents with the carvan in litchfield and they did that loop with us and then they went to broome and we flew home from darwin. If you are really keen on Tiwi Islands then you could drop from 7 to 6 or 5 nights but thats a lot of extra travel. It was a great trip, have fun!

#6 blimkybill

Posted 08 October 2019 - 07:24 PM

That's a lot to try and see in under 2 weeks.

My own top end trip, we did
- Darwin 4 days (including Litchfield NP)
- Kakadu 2 or 3 nights
- Katherine 2 nights (well worth the visit, the gorge is fantastic)

i went to Alice Springs and Uluru in a separate trip.

You could easily spend a week in an around Alice, well at least 4-5 days for Alice and 2 days for Uluru, plus travel time. I would feel too rushed to fit all that into 2 weeks. The Macdonnell ranges out of Alice springs are very beautiful, and Alice springs has a number of attractions worth seeing.

#7 Vickery

Posted 08 October 2019 - 07:31 PM

Our itinerary looked like this:

Adelaide River - jumping croc cruise
Corrobee Billabong wetlands cruise
Jim Jim Falls
Katherine/Nitmiluk Gorge
Mataranka Hot Springs
Daly Waters
Edith Falls
Litchfield NP

We did Adelaide - Wilpena - Coober Pedy - Uluru, The Olga’s, Kings Canyon - Alice Springs as a separate trip.

#8 Tetinks

Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:05 PM

I have only been to the southern part of NT but there are some MUST DOs!

From Alice you can spend a day visiting the Western Macdonnell Ranges. In particular you must see Standley Chasm (go at midday, the sun through the chasm is jaw droppingly gorgeous), Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek Big Hole and the Ochre Pits. I’d absolutely do this before anything else in Alice (though we spent 5 days there with our three kids and loved it).

You need two nights at Kings Canyon if you’re planning to do the rim walk. It was sensational. Also recommend the creek walk and heading half an hour down the road to see kings creek station for an hour or so.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta are marvelous. Three full days is good and still might not be enough. We hired bikes to ride around the rock and it was really enjoyable. The valley of the winds walk at Kata Tjuta was superb.

Have fun! We are so keen to go back and keep exploring the NT.

Edited by Tetinks, 08 October 2019 - 08:07 PM.

#9 born.a.girl

Posted 08 October 2019 - 09:16 PM

^^ I agree three full days at Uluru/Kata Tjuta is well worthwhile.  That's what we've got planned for early December.  Heading out to both Uluru and Kata Tjuta before dawn fortunately.

Field of lights has been extended for at least another year, too.

#10 sqawk

Posted 09 October 2019 - 05:50 PM

Thank you so much for all your replies. I will need to cut back on the number of destinations!! Although part of me wonders if we can do
Darwin 5 nights
Kakadu 3 nights
Katherine 3 nights, drive back to Darwin, fly to Uluru
Uluru 3 nights
Fly home from Uluru
That’s 14 nights. We will miss out Alice Springs/kings cannon.
I will let you know what we eventually decide!!

#11 Mumsyto2

Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:14 PM

I would seriously question 5 nights in Darwin.

Maybe 1 night depending on what time you fly in. If flying in earlier I would just head straight to Kakadu/Jibiru or Litchfield depending on your preferred circuit. If flying in later stay in Darwin the night and head out first thing next morning.

You could do a full day in Litchfield, stay overnight, half the next day and then head to Katherine. Do Katherine/Nitmiluk, up via Kakadu/Jabiru back to Darwin. Or alternatively straight over to Kakadu/Jabiru from Litchfield, then Katherine then back to Darwin. Depends on what way you want to do the circuit.

I would then only have 1 night in Darwin. Maybe I’m missing something but it’s pretty compact and I didn’t find that much to do there apart from waterpark, museum circuit (doesn’t take that long really) and night markets where you can grab dinner. I’d only allow 1 full day and 1 night in Darwin itself but maybe I’m missing something?

Edited by Mumsyto2, 09 October 2019 - 06:15 PM.

#12 PocketIcikleflakes

Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:34 PM

I agree with those who suggested doing Darwin etc and down to Katherine on one trip, and Alice down to Adelaide in another trip.

#13 sqawk

Posted 09 October 2019 - 06:50 PM

I was thinking of doing day trips from Darwin to Litchfield and Tiwi islands

I didn’t think u could stay overnight at Litchfield, unless camping, which we won’t be.  Hence the need to do a day trip.

Anyone been to the Tiwi islands for a day trip.  The reviews don’t sound great and I didn’t realise the ferry trip was so long - 2.5 hrs each way.

#14 -Belinda-

Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:19 PM

https://www.litchfie...istpark.com.au/ is where we stayed in cabins (also caravan and camping available) just out of town and there are others in the township.

Litchfield day trip is done but would be a long day, its at least 3 hours each way from Darwin and you'd only get brief stops. There are lots of walks and swimming in waterfalls to do.

2 weeks would be fine for Darwin - Litchfield - Katherine - Kakadu - Darwin with hire car and cabins is 3-4 nights each place.

The features of Litchfield are mostly close together, the things to see in Kakadu are further apart.  Some of the famous bits of Kakadu (Gunlom Falls for instance) are quite long hikes in, they weren't suitable for our kids. But there were lots of things that were e.g. rock art walks, yellow waters boardwalk.

#15 Mumsyto2

Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:27 PM

View Postsqawk, on 09 October 2019 - 06:50 PM, said:

I didn’t think u could stay overnight at Litchfield, unless camping, which we won’t be.  Hence the need to do a day trip.

Yes, you can. Google Litchfield accomodation. Mainly concentrated around Batchelor from memory but there’s definitely ample accomodation for Litchfield, no need to drive back and forwards from Darwin.

#16 Mumsyto2

Posted 09 October 2019 - 07:41 PM

I would think 10 days tops and you get to see everything and that would include a few nights in Darwin - 2 days Litchfield, 2 days Katherine, 3 days Kakadu? The circuits not that big, few hours in between with 1 rest stop, starting early and arriving at the night stop just before dusk still gives you a large number of hours in the day even taking driving time between places into account, just make sure the start is early!

Driving also gives great flexibility to see exactly what you want and to leave what you don’t over an organised tour. For example I would never see a jumping croc show or go croc spotting, seen more than enough but some people may want this as a highlight. Some places of interest are not going to be possible if you don’t have a 4WD and are confident, some places require a long walk or good level of fitness (particularly places that lookout over surrounding area) and aren’t suited to younger kids or unfit adults so by the time you include what you want and strike what you may like but is not that feasible you probably can’t do everything so tailoring accordingly and having a very targeted route makes it quicker. If you have a 4WD and are more adventurous I’d probably then stick another few days on due to increased possibilities.

#17 sqawk

Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:07 PM

All good ideas - thank you!!
I’m now thinking
Fly to Darwin
Same day drive to Batchelor
2 nights Batchelor
3 nights Katherine, May be Mataranka Springs
3 nights Kakadu
2 night Darwin
Then option of either:
1 extra night Darwin and fly home
Fly to Uluru, 2-3nights Uluru
Fly home from Uluru

Where did everyone stay in kakadu?

#18 born.a.girl

Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:26 PM

I'd do three nights in Uluru. I'd have done a fourth night, but that wasn't feasible for us for other reasons.

There's an awful lot to do.  Depends, too, on whether you hire a car to get around, or intend to do the tours.  With several people a car would be cost effective.

Depending on the flights - and there's not a lot of choice - you may end up with just one full day.

#19 Emm27

Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:37 PM

Uluru is spectacular but maybe leave that for another trip when you can do Kings Canyon as well. You really a need 3 or 4 nights minimum at Yulara (township near Uluru/The Olga’s) to see everything and if you plan on doing the Kings Canyon Rim Walk (cannot recommend this enough) you’ll need 2 nights there.

We went to Uluru twice in two years as we were surprised how much there was to see there, plus we returned to see the Field of Light art installation and do the rim walk at Kings. My kids were almost 4 & 6 the first time (part of a 15 week road trip) and 6 & 8 the second trip, which was just a quick trip during the two week July school holidays. My kids loved staying in Coober Pedy on the way to/from Yulara as well.

#20 blimkybill

Posted 10 October 2019 - 08:01 PM

View Post-Belinda-, on 09 October 2019 - 07:19 PM, said:

https://www.litchfie...istpark.com.au/ is where we stayed in cabins (also caravan and camping available) just out of town and there are others in the township.

Litchfield day trip is done but would be a long day, its at least 3 hours each way from Darwin and you'd only get brief stops. There are lots of walks and swimming in waterfalls to do.

litchfield is only 1 hour 20 minutes from Darwin central. We did a day trip no problem. in fact I think we did 2 days trips.

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