If you think there is a lot of nothing in the middle of Australia’s Outback between Alice Springs and Darwin you’re right! While I had never initially planned to go from Alice Springs to Darwin by car, flying straight to Cairns from Alice Springs or Uluru airport (with transfer fees) was going to cost me about $40 less than the cost of driving through the Outback to Darwin and flying from Darwin. Since the driving option provided 2 nights of accommodation and food for 3 days it was the better deal. I had the time I did this leg with a tour group and it was AMAZING!
There is so much to see. Many servo stations have fashioned themselves into bona fide roadside attractions highlighting quirky Outback culture. Like any business trying to entice you to stop along your way to another destination, some of these are more memorable than others.
Tropic of Capricorn sounds far more exciting than it really is. The furthest South the sun is ever directly overhead. There’s a cool monument alongside the road as you pass it though, truthfully, I was more excited to see the toilet block not pictured.
Devils Marbles appear to defy gravity and are an amazingly cool stop. We enjoyed a fantastic picnic admiring these rocks before fully exploring all around them.
If you go to the Outback and never stay at a cattle station you are missing out! We stopped to sleep in swags (Australian bedrolls) at Banka Banka Station. As you may be able to deduce from the sign you are actually in the middle of nowhere!
We had to stop in at Daly Waters Pub and leave our mark adding our own memento the bras, thongs, panties, and other items travelers have left behind.
Then we went street bowling.
We stopped in beautiful Katherine Gorge for some “canoeing” which turned out to be kayaking. Once at the end of the gorge we went for a swim. This is a seasonal activity as the saltwater crocodiles are in the gorge during rainy season (summer).We went for a swim at Edith Falls (seasonal in these parts due to crocodiles).
Adelaide River Inn looks exactly like it does in Crocodile Dundee. I had to stop and have a drink with Charlie the Buffalo!
Mataranka Thermal Pools were refreshingly cool compared to the weather while we were there! We enjoyed some time swimming around! It is really well developed as military officers used to come down to enjoy the pools during WWII. After all that we made it to Darwin. Which of course is another tale.