MT Isa to Darwin Road Trip – Ultimate Bucket List Adventure

MT Isa To Darwin Road Trip
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If you are interested in discovering more about the Northern Territory, you should head to Darwin. The road trip from MT Isa to Darwin by car is a famous one. Aside from the fact that its seaside attractions are well-known all over the world, visitors love this location for the cuisine and culture it offers.

Due to the peaceful nature of this location, it is an excellent choice for vacations throughout the whole year. In addition to this, there is a wide variety of animals that can be found both inside and outside of the city limits. This car trip of 1,600 kilometres is going to be an EPIC one. You can count on it.

Without wasting time, let’s jump into details.

What Is Darwin Popular for?

The city of Darwin is well-known for its cuisine that draws inspiration from a variety of cultures, its outdoor markets, its waterside attractions, and its always relaxing atmosphere. On top of it, the city of Darwin is well-known for the wildlife that can be seen both in and around the city. It is not difficult to get up close and personal with the native Australian animals due to the accessibility of lush national parks such as Litchfield, which are only a short drive away.

The Jumping Crocodile is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Darwin. This attraction consists of a cruise along the vast Adelaide River, which is home to a huge number of crocodiles. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity to take pictures of these fascinating creatures if you forgot to bring your camera.

Ideal Route From MT Isa To Darwin

On this road trip, we will be taking the typical route from Mount Isa to Darwin. Our major stops will be Tablelands, Daly Waters and Katherine on this road trip. You will be driving 1600 km to complete this road trip. Which can take roughly 17 hours of driving, but we are going to spend some time or maybe a night on the major stops. Else you are not going to enjoy this trip at its best.

MT Isa To Darwin Road Trip: Itinerary, Places, Distance & Attractions

Here, we will provide you with a detailed 3 stops road trip plan from MT Isa To Darwin, including information on accommodations, activities, and transportation.

Total distance is approx 1600 km and driving approx 17 hrs

Bus Distance20 Hours
Drive / Car Distance17 Hours
Stops3 Stops
Nearest AirportDarwin International Airport

Mount Isa To Tablelands

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Tablelands … | Flickr

Total distance is approx 450 km Driving Approx 4 hrs 50 mins

Nine Aboriginal communities live here, maintaining their old traditions. Visitors may learn about Aboriginal life, history, and relationship to the land at several holy places in the region. Award-winning Nyinkka Nyunyu Culture Centre in Tennant Creek Township displays Aboriginal art and stories. At The Battery Hill Mining Centre, learn about Tennant Creek’s mining history and try gold fossicking. Europeans came before the gold rush. Today, the station’s stone structures reveal the history of Overland Telegraph Line workers.

At the Devils Marbles, a cluster of massive, precariously placed granite boulders, rocky mountains and vivid blue skies surround an ever-changing scene of colours. Self-guided walks through nearby national parks and reserves introduce local plants and various native wildlife and birdlife. Adventurers love Tennant Creek. 4WD through Davenport Range National Park or walk its many paths. Set up a tent on a cattle station like Banka Banka Station and cook a steak on the barby and drink a beer on the porch of the ancient mud-brick homestead for complete lifestyle participation.

Top attractions in Tablelands

  • Tennant Creek Telegraph Station
  • Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre
  • Kelly’s Ranch
  • Lake Mary Ann
  • Battery Hill Gold Mining & Heritage Centre

Accommodation in Tablelands

  • Barkly Homestead
  • Banka Banka West Station & Tourist Park

Restaurants in Tablelands

The Barkly Bar & Grill is the only restaurant in Tablelands. I’d recommend spending some time there and having a break at Tennant Creek for food or drink.

  • The Barkly Bar & Grill
  • Woks Up
  • Sporties Club
  • Bay Leaf Cafe

Tablelands To Daly Waters

Daly Waters Pub Northern Territory Australia 8 scaled 1
The Daly Waters Pub | Australia | Woody World Packer

Total distance is approx 570 km Driving Approx 6 hrs 10 mins

The Daly Waters’ Pub is one of the most well-known watering sites in the Territory, despite the fact that the village only has a very small population. The pub, which dates back to 1930 and makes it one of the oldest structures in the Northern Territory, is a unique establishment with corrugated metal siding and a wall full of mementos from decades past. Safari tents and cabins are both available for guests to stay in at the bar. The Daly Waters Rodeo is an annual event that is an important part of the community and should not be missed.

As the hub of the London to Sydney air race in 1926, a World War II air force base, and a refuelling stop for Qantas, Daly Waters also has a rich and noteworthy aviation history. In fact, it was the centre of all three of these activities. Insightful artifacts, pictures, and pieces of machinery from the area’s glory of aviation are on display at the Daly Waters hangar.

According to the local Aboriginal Jingili people, the Emu and the Sun’s Dreaming trails passed through this area on their route to the southern portions of the Northern Territory. Early explorer John McDougall Stuart found water in this area in 1862, following two failed efforts to cross the continent. To indicate the significance of his discovery, he scratched the letter “S” into the trunk of a tree that was nearby.

Top attractions in Daly Waters

  • Daly Waters Aviation Complex
  • Daly Waters Pub
  • Stuart Tree Historic Site

Accommodation in Daly Waters

  • Daly Waters Pub
  • Daly Waters Hi-Way Inn

Restaurants in Daly Waters

  • Daly Waters Pub
  • Daly Waters Hi-Way Inn
  • Fran’s Devonshire Tea House

Daly Waters To Katherine

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Hot Springs, … | Flickr

Total distance is approx 276 km Driving Approx 3 hrs 10 mins

After a day of exploration, rest in Katherine Hot Springs on the Katherine River outside town. Walk up to a viewing spot to see the spring water source. Manuel Pamkal, a Katherine Aboriginal man, leads a two-hour cultural experience at Top Didj. Next, visit the Katherine Art Gallery, which has a great Aboriginal art collection. We of the Never Never’s location, Elsey National Park, is an hour south of Katherine. Mataranka Thermal Pool is surrounded by palms, pandanus, and paperbarks. Walk to Bitter Springs, another spring-fed thermal pool among palms and tropical forests.

The Cutta Cutta Caves, a tropical limestone cave system south of Katherine, with a winding boardwalk. See stalactites of various sizes and sugar-like crystals on the walls. Ghost bats and horseshoe bats live in caves. The lovely Katherine Museum displays a diverse collection of Aboriginal artifacts, pictures, furniture, maps, tools, and pioneer mementos in a World War II air terminal. Visit the Overland Telegraph’s 1872 exhibit.

Top attractions in Katherine

  • Katherine Hot Springs
  • Katherine Visitor Information Centre
  • The Katherine Museum
  • Nitmiluk National Park
  • Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park
  • Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge

Accommodation in Katherine

  • Cicada Lodge
  • Pine Tree Motel
  • Katherine Motel
  • Paraway Motel

Restaurants in Katherine

  • RJ’s Bar & Bhoj Restaurant
  • Finch Cafe
  • The Black Russian Caravan Bar
  • Maidens Lane

Katherine To Darwin

Fountain in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
Fountain in the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens – Wikimedia

Total distance is approx 318 km Driving Approx 3 hrs 20 mins

Visitors who are interested in seeing where local Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucianists still worship can travel to the Chinese Temple on Woods Street, which is located around 1.5 kilometres from the city centre. The Esplanade Gallery, which was first constructed in 1937 out of cypress pine with 10 cm nails and relocated to its current position on The Esplanade in 1951, is an example of a structure that withstood Cyclone Tracy with minimal to no damage.

It is an excellent illustration of tropical architecture, and each component of its design, as well as the garden, was planned so as to take full use of the sea breezes that blow in from the harbour.

The Fannie Bay Gaol, which can be found on East Point Road, is home to a variety of fascinating exhibits, one of which is a set of gallows that were installed in the infirmary for the final execution carried out in the Territory in the year 1952. The women’s area and the mess both have some interesting things on the show as well. In the structure that is sometimes referred to as Lyons Cottage and sometimes referred to as BAT, there is an excellent exhibit that provides a history of the time period of pearl diving.

During the war, the Japanese bombing caused significant damage to this structure, which was situated on The Esplanade directly opposite the Esplanade Gallery. Another place where Darwin’s early history may be explored is the Stuart Memorial, which can be located at the crossing of Mitchell Street and Knuckley Street.

Top attractions in Darwin

  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
  • Darwin Waterfront Precinct
  • George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
  • Darwin Aviation Museum
  • RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility
  • Crocosaurus Cove
  • Darwin Military Museum

Accommodation in Darwin

  • Ramada Suites Zen Quarter
  • Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront
  • Palms City Resort
  • Oaks Darwin Elan Hotel
  • Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Restaurants in Darwin

  • Pee Wee’s
  • Hanuman Darwin
  • Mindil Beach Sunset Market
  • Little Indian Restaurant
  • Charlie’s of Darwin

The Best Time To Travel Darwin

If you want your vacation to be as good as possible, the best time to go is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. You’ll also notice that the majority of our well-known events, including the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets and the Darwin Festival, take place at this time of year.

Is MT Isa To Darwin Road Trip Worth it?

The road trip from Mount Isa to Darwin is likely to be an unforgettable experience due to the region’s breathtaking views and unique culture. Besides, if you are a foodie, then this is the trip you need to take. This Mount Isa to Darwin road trip will be a complete package full of exciting things.

Where should I stop between MT Isa and Darwin?

On this road trip, we will take 3 major stops which include Tablelands, Daly Waters and Katherine. There are other stops which include Camooweal, Pamayu, Batchelor and more but these are not that important, so we will stick to that 3 stops.


What Is The Cheapest Way To Get From MT Isa To Darwin?

2WD or 4WD is the cheapest method to go from MT Isa To Darwin. It will cost you $190 – $440 and will take roughly 17 hours.

What Is The Fastest Way To Get From MT Isa To Darwin?

Flight is the fastest way to get from MT Isa To Darwin, which will take about 6 hrs 15 mins approx and will cost $650 – $1,100 for each ticket.

Which Airlines Fly From MT Isa To Darwin Airport?

Qantas and Virgin Australia fly from MT Isa To Darwin airport, which will take about 6 hrs 15 mins approx and costs $650 – $1,100 for each ticket.

How Much Is A Bus Ticket From MT Isa To Darwin?

It will cost about $323 to $377 to travel from MT Isa To Darwin by bus.

How Long To Drive From MT Isa To Darwin?

From Melbourne To Cairns is about 1600 kilometres which can take up to 17 hours straight drive, but since no one can drive this far straight, you should at least make a plan for 2 days to enjoy this trip. It will be a perfect trip if you plan for 4 days. If you travel by bus, the trip will take about 20 hours.

Wrapping Up

This is the perfect road trip for you if you enjoy exploring natural beauties or knowing about a different culture or if you are a foodie. This road trip from MT Isa To Darwin included stops at many of the beautiful places around Australia. Don’t wait around, get ready to hit the road. Have a safe trip!!

Hi, I'm Md Abid Hasan. The owner & content editor of is a travel blog that covers road trips, day trips, and destinations guide.

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