Forget honeymoon clichés; this outdoorsy trip for two carves up the lesser-visited center of Australia with a thrilling road trip along the famous Explorers Way. Your engine starts in Adelaide and ends in Darwin, with plenty of adventure and romance along the way. En route, you'll join the mail route in Coober Pedy, gaze at Uluru at sunset, swim beneath waterfalls in Litchfield National Park, cuddle orphaned kangaroos, and come face-to-face with wild crocs on a cruise in the Top End.

Highlights

  • Road trip the iconic Explorers Way, starting in Adelaide and ending in Darwin
  • Taste your way across the landscapes of Kangaroo Island, with a gourmet day out
  • Witness the legendary Uluru monolith in the heart of the Outback at sunset
  • Experience the remote beauty of the Northern Territory in its national parks
  • Float across Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge on a romantic sunset dinner cruise

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Adelaide, Visit Adelaide Central Market & Glenelg Beach Adelaide
Day 2 Full-Day Kangaroo Island Sip & See Tour Adelaide
Day 3 Drive the Explorer's Way to Port Augusta, Visit the Wadlata Outback Centre Port Augusta
Day 4 Drive to Coober Pedy, Mine & Museum Tour Coober Pedy
Day 5 Coober Pedy Mail Run Tour Coober Pedy
Day 6 Drive to Alice Springs via Uluru Alice Springs
Day 7 Free Time, Visit the Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs
Day 8 Hot-Air Balloon Flight, Drive to Tennant Creek Tennant Creek
Day 9 Drive to Daly Waters, Visit the Daly Waters Pub Daly Waters
Day 10 Drive to Katherine, Visit Elsey National Park, Katherine Outback Experience Katherine
Day 11 Nitmiluk Scenic Helicopter Flight, Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner Katherine
Day 12 Gorge Dawn Tour, Drive to Darwin via Litchfield National Park, Dinner Cruise Darwin
Day 13 Full-Day Northern Kakadu Experience Darwin
Day 14 Jumping Crocodile Cruise, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Adelaide, Visit Adelaide Central Market & Glenelg Beach

Glenelg Beach
Spend your first evening in Australia watching a sunset from Glenelg Beach

G'day and welcome to Adelaide! The capital of South Australia is a small, progressive city that offers great festivals, fine food, and world-class wine. It's the perfect launch point for your two-week honeymoon that carves up the red center of Australia. Upon arrival, collect your luggage and meet your driver, who will transfer you to your accommodation in town, then set out to immerse yourself in Australia's rich Indigenous culture with a private guided tour of the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Led by a guide, you'll explore the beautiful gardens and discover diverse native plants and their uses, as well as taste various bush foods. After, visit South Australia's culinary icon, the Adelaide Central Market, which has been open since 1869. A local expert will lead you around the market, where you'll taste delicious food from South Australian artisan producers. You'll meet the suppliers and stallholders whose families have traded at this market for generations. 

Spend the rest of the afternoon at Adelaide's Glenelg Beach. You can take a taxi or hop on the "Bay Tram," which runs regularly from the heart of Adelaide right into Glenelg Beach in about 45 minutes. Take a long stroll, go swimming, or simply relax and watch the sunset as you toast to your first night in Australia.

Day 2: Full-Day Kangaroo Island Sip & See Tour

One Day Kangaroo Island Sip & See Tour
Taste your way across Kangaroo Island on today's full-day experience

Today, you'll board a ferry from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island for a fun gourmet day trip. The romantic adventure starts with a Birds of Prey Presentation at a wildlife refuge called Raptor Domain. From there, you'll have a leisurely lunch at Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery, followed by a guided tour of the history of the oil distillery. Continue to Clifford's Honey Farm to learn about extraction and taste a honey-imbued soft drink and wheat ale. 

Carry on to Pennington Bay, a raw and untouched beach on Kangaroo Island's southern coast, for a beautiful photo opportunity. Your full-day tour ends with a premium wine tasting at False Cape Wines Cellar Door on the Dudley Peninsula. Soak up the views while partaking in a proper tasting and getting to know the local terroir. Your host will leave you at the Penneshaw Hotel with plenty of time to enjoy dinner before your return ferry to the mainland.

Day 3: Drive the Explorer's Way to Port Augusta, Visit the Wadlata Outback Centre

Begin Your Adventure on the Explorer's Way
It's time to hit the road north, following the iconic Explorers Way to Port Augusta

Today's the day you begin your thrilling road trip along Australia's iconic Explorers Way, starting in Adelaide and ending in Darwin. Prepare to experience the diverse climates, landscapes, and moods of the vast Australian outback as you follow the route of the 1862 explorer John McDouall Stuart. Collect a rental car and make tracks for Port Augusta, a four-hour drive north of Adelaide–or six hours with these detours. On the drive you'll experience the vastness and solitude of the Australian outback, just be sure you're always prepared with water, food, and emergency supplies.

Once the suburbs give way to sunkissed fields of wheat, you'll reach Auburn, at the start of the famous Clare Valley, where you'll find many cellar doors. Farther north, the former mining town of Burra is now a 19th-century open-air museum. Drive the edge of Mount Remarkable National Park, stopping at Alligator Gorge where you might see kangaroos. Stop for scones in Quorn, then drive the scenic Pichi Richi pass, with lush landscapes in the surrounding hills, to Port Augusta.

Frontier-like Port Augusta is the "Crossroads of Australia," where highways and railways roll in all directions. If you have the energy, journey through time at the Wadlata Outback Centre and discover the history and evolution of the port, from Indigenous creation stories to the present day. Here, you can pick up outback maps and valuable guides before venturing down to the revitalized waterfront for dinner.

Day 4: Drive to Coober Pedy, Mine & Museum Tour

Coober Pedy
Snap a picture with the famous Coober Pedy sign

It's time to hit the road again with another big day behind the wheel. Put on your favorite road trip playlist, stock up on snacks, and feel the roar of the engine. Wave goodbye to Port Augusta and turn onto the Stuart Highway, one of Australia's longest highways, which spans all the way from here to Darwin in the Northern Territory. Today, you'll drive six hours without stops, so set off early to reach Coober Pedy while the sun is up. After two hours, you could pause at the Island Lagoon lookout to snap photos of the pink-colored salt lake.

If you like, pause at the Woomera Interactive Rocket Range Museum to learn about the town's vital role in Australia's past, present, and future, then floor it north to Coober Pedy. This distinct and quirky underground town is the world's largest producer of precious opal. Spend the afternoon exploring the famous opal mines and underground homes and shops. Head to the spectacular Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park for a special sunset to witness the striking orange rocks glow under the ruby skies.

Day 5: Coober Pedy Mail Run Tour

Join a local mailman who will take you on a curious 4WD tour to deliver the post

How do you receive letters when you live in the remote outback of Australia? Today, you'll take a rest from driving and instead join the local mailman on his delivery run to the historic towns of Oodnadatta and William Creek, along with a handful of remote cattle stations. You'll follow in the footsteps of our early explorers like Stuart, Giles, and the Afghan Camel Drivers, see the old Ghan railway line, and learn about the historic Overland Telegraph Line, local fauna, and the Great Artesian Basin.

After cruising around in an air-conditioned 4WD vehicle with your postie, you'll return to Coober Pedy. If you didn't have time yesterday, explore the mining museum and underground church and shop for opals.

Day 6: Drive to Alice Springs via Uluru

Outback Australia
Witness the beauty of outback Australia as the sun sets on Uluru
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Be sure to load up on snacks ahead of today's mega 12-hour drive through the vast, arid plains, and past plenty of red earth characteristic of the Australian outback. You'll cross from South Australia into the Northern Territory, ending at the most famous outback town in Australia—Alice Springs. The drive is long because you're making a special detour to Uluru (Ayers Rock). This unmissable monolith is the spiritual heart of Australia's outback and desert plains. Uluru is the country's most recognized natural wonder, so depart early to arrive by late afternoon.

Your straightforward drive primarily follows the well-maintained Stuart Highway. Along the way, admire the ever-changing colors of the desert, occasional small towns, roadhouses, and distinctive, ancient landforms. Spend the majority of the afternoon at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It's the prime place to be for sunset—as the sun begins to dip, you'll witness Uluru's immensity and many moods. After dark, continue a further five hours to "Alice," as it's known by the locals. This town embodies the quintessential Australian spirit.

Day 7: Free Time, Visit the Kangaroo Sanctuary

Alice Springs Meet orphaned 'roos at The Kangaroo Sanctuary
Meet orphaned 'roos this afternoon at The Kangaroo Sanctuary

After a big day driving yesterday, most of today is yours to explore Alice Springs at your leisure. For a taste of local culture, head to the Araluen Cultural Precinct, which houses an art gallery and museum showcasing the region's history and Indigenous art. You can also visit The Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum, which shows the essential work of the aerial medical service. Another option is to spend time in nature with free-flying bird shows and eye-opening Indigenous experiences at Desert Park.

In the late afternoon, visit the Kangaroo Sanctuary, a 188-acre (76 ha) wildlife sanctuary for rescued joeys and adult kangaroos. Cared for by the 'Kangaroo Rescuer', these adorable marsupials guarantee moments of awe. While you're hugging one of these unbelievably cute orphans you can feel good knowing your visit supports the work done here. Booking ahead is essential!

Day 8: Hot-Air Balloon Flight, Drive to Tennant Creek

Float high above Alice Springs in a hot-air balloon this morning

Wave good morning to the desert from above as you sail over the red dirt of the outback in a hot-air balloon. While floating serenely above the world at dawn, you might spot red kangaroos waking up for breakfast or other Australian wildlife from above. After the tranquil and calm morning flight, you'll return to solid ground to toast the experience with a glass of sparkling wine. The early start means you still have the whole day ahead of you—lucky since there's a six-hour drive to Tennant Creek ahead.

Along today's route, you could pause at the intriguing Wycliffe Well, renowned for its frequent UFO sightings, or Karlu Karlu Conservation Reserve, better known as the Devils Marbles. Formed over millions of years, the remarkable geological formations are revered by the local Indigenous people. The marbles are considered sacred as they represent the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent, a central figure in Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. Continue to Tennant Creek, a town of vast cattle ranches, gold mining heritage, striking natural rock formations, and deep Indigenous cultural roots.

Day 9: Drive to Daly Waters, Visit the Daly Waters Pub

Visit Daly Waters Pub — The
Next to the Daly Waters Pub lies Tim's Junk Yard, a curious museum of sorts

Before you set off for Daly Waters this morning, drop by the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station, constructed in 1872 as part of the important Overland Telegraph Line, which connected Australia to the wider world over 140 years ago. Then check your fuel gauge and refill before continuing five hours north on the Stuart Highway. Watch the landscape transition from the arid reds of the central desert to the more tropical settings of the Northern Territory. En route, you could stop at Renner Springs, known for its significance to early explorers and cattlemen as a reliable water source.

Daly Waters is famous for its historic pub, an iconic stopover that embodies the essence of the Northern Territory's outback. The pub is known for its quirky memorabilia and atmosphere, so drop for an ice-cold beer and Aussie pub grub, from kangaroo loin to crocodile sliders. There's a daily happy hour and frequent live entertainment. Don't miss out on visiting Tim's Junk Yard, a collection of cool old cars, bikes, and more turned into a unique museum. There are also free-roaming animals, from donkeys to Texas long horns, as well as a refreshing pool.

Day 10: Drive to Katherine, Visit Elsey National Park, Katherine Outback Experience

Visit Elsey National Park
Take a dip in the Mataranka Thermal Pools, set within Elsey National Park

After breakfast, it's time to hit the road north, traveling three hours north. On the way, admire the changing landscapes, from arid, scrubby environments to more lush and tropical settings as you venture toward Katherine. En route, you'll stop at Elsey National Park for a swim in the crystal clear Mataranka Thermal Pools and Bitter Springs. A 20-minute walk will take you to the clear, natural Mataranka pool, which is fed by a warm spring and surrounded by a lush palm and paperbark forest.

Close to here, also in the national park, you'll find the best-kept secret in the region—Bitter Springs. Take a dip in the spring-fed thermal pool, whose temperature sits around 93°F (34°C). After, continue on to the bustling township of Katherine and check into your accommodation. Refresh ahead of this evening's Katherine Outback Experience. This show celebrates the Northern Territory's rich agricultural history through horse and dog demonstrations, interspersed with live music and entertaining bush tales.

Day 11: Nitmiluk Scenic Helicopter Flight, Nabilil Dreaming Sunset Dinner

Discover the remote corners of Nitmiluk National Park with a scenic flight

Kathrine's main attraction is Nitmiluk National Park, a special reserve with a beautiful series of red-rock gorges and dazzling waterfalls. Within the park are more than 60 miles (100 km) of walking tracks, but today, you'll explore the grandeur and solitude of this magnificent place from above. Board a helicopter for a scenic flight above the eight gorges of the park, then make a remote landing at a secluded place and take in the rocky scenery in silence. With no other souls in sight, you'll feel a deep connection to the natural wonder that is Nitmiluk!

This evening, you'll combine sightseeing with unexpected luxury in the remote Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. Discover the stories and ways of the local Jawoyn people by traveling through the first two gorges, including a stop at the ancient Jawoyn rock art site, which dates back some 8,000 years. Your boat will be waiting back at the first gorge, where onboard chefs have prepared a three-course feast. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the romance of dinner on the water as the sun begins to set. At this time of day, the escarpment walls of the gorge dance with ever-changing colors.

Day 12: Gorge Dawn Tour, Drive to Darwin via Litchfield National Park, Dinner Cruise

Float across Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge in the morning and see the changing light

Embrace the peaceful morning air and appreciate the morning glow of the gorge's escarpment walls on today's dawn tour. A knowledgeable guide will accompany you through the first gorge by boat. Disembark, stretch those legs, and walk a short way to the second gorge, where another vessel awaits. You'll also hear cultural stories and facts about local flora and fauna. Afterward, jump in the car and begin the three-hour drive north toward Darwin, the coastal capital of the Northern Territory. 

En route, you'll stop at Litchfield National Park, a 580-square-mile (1,500 sq km) reserve of tumbling waterfalls and crystal-clear natural pools. This park gives you the chance to swim in cool, crocodile-free waters, or tackle many great hiking trails. Stop at the famous Florence Falls, where a fern-framed double fall plunges into a deep pool. Make time to see the nearby Cathedral Termite Mound, where armies of termites have created a surreal, tombstone-like field of giant termite mounds—some are over 6 feet (2 m) tall! After, continue 90 minutes north to Darwin.

Check into your accommodation, then venture down to the harbor. Thanks to its west-facing shoreline, Darwin is world-famous for beautiful sunsets over the water, and tonight, you'll board a special dinner cruise. Over the next 2.5 hours, float across Darwin Harbour, while dining on fresh seafood and local produce as the sun sets.

Day 13: Full-Day Northern Kakadu Experience

Visit the unusual rock formations of Ubirr and see ancient rock art sites today in Kakadu

Kakadu isn't merely a national park—it's a living piece of cultural heritage that has been home to Indigenous Australians for over 65,000 years. The ancient rock art strewn across the park tells tales dating back 20,000 years, offering a window into the rich history of the Indigenous locals. Today, you'll join a 12-hour tour of "Flood Country," to learn about the northern landscapes and culture of Kakadu National Park.

First up, you'll discover crocodile country with a local guide and captain from Arnhem Land, who will steer past some of the biggest crocs around. As you navigate the tranquil East Alligator River, keep an eye out for the stealthy crocodiles that call these waters home. Following the cruise, enjoy lunch beside the infamous Cahills Crossing, then trek to Ubirr—a place revered for its ancient rock art. Pass by numerous Indigenous art sites as you learn more about their people, customs, and culture. After, venture to Jabiru and visit the Murrawadi Art Centre. Finally, return to Darwin and celebrate your last evening in Australia.

Day 14: Jumping Crocodile Cruise, Depart

Jumping Crocodile Cruise
Experience the raw power of wild crocs on today's cruise

On your final morning in Australia, you'll float down the scenic Adelaide River to witness the raw power of saltwater crocodiles on a wild crocodile cruise. See their strength as these mega crocs launch themselves out of the water in a thrilling display of hunting prowess. Your experienced guide will share stories and facts about these prehistoric predators as you observe them in their natural habitat.

After the one-hour cruise, return to Darwin or head straight to the airport to drop off your rental car ahead of your flight home or next destination. Safe travels!

More Great Australia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Australia? Check out these other Australia itineraries, explore different ways to spend two weeks in Australia, or discover the best time to visit Australia.

 

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Map

Map of Wild Australian Outback Honeymoon: Adelaide to Darwin - 14 Days
Map of Wild Australian Outback Honeymoon: Adelaide to Darwin - 14 Days