ELLIOT TO DARWIN: The Stuart Highway (87)

  • Port Hedland to Katherine Map
  • Alice Springs to Elliot Map

    Via The Stuart Highway

    The road between Alice Springs and Darwin travels through some of the harshest country in the world. The highway was bitumised during World War Two and is now a modern and comfortable road with stops every 1 or 200 km. to ease the 1500 km. journey.
    It passes through the Devils Marbles Conservation Park near Wauchope, the Katherine Gorge and Mataranka Springs, and near Darwin the Arnhem Highway will take you to the World Heritage Area at Kakadu.
    Along the way you will see extensive desert areas, rugged ranges, a few mountains, and there are waterfalls and rivers.
    Be careful swimming in the northern rivers as man-eating crocodiles frequent many rivers and estuaries. There is no speed limit on highways in the Northern Territory but it is wise to travel at a speed at which you can stop quickly. Large tracts are unfenced and wandering cattle and other animals can appear at any time
    The following summary of the road includes general information and links to some of the towns and attractions along the way
    Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory and Australia's gateway to Asia and Europe.
    Cosmopolitan and Semi-tropical, it has apopulation of around 70,000 who enjoy an unique Australian lifestyle.
    It is also the touring centre for the World Heritage Area of Kakadu National Park and many other interesting parks and conservation areas.
    Around 100km. south of Darwin the Stuart Highway crosses the Adelaide River and this tiny township sits on the northern bank. A visit to the pub and a look around the town will give you a pleasant surprise
    A roadhouse on the western side of the highway amongst the ranges south of Darwin.
    A gold mining town just east of the highway and having a pub, shops and accommodation
    The Northern Territory's third largest town and near the spectacular Katherine Gorge. Hot and tropical it has a unique atmosphere. It is also the point where the Highway to Western Australia joins the Stuart Highway.
    This township straddles the Stuart Highway south of Katherine and is a popular watering hole for travellers.
    The beautiful Mataranka Hot Springs are a short trip east of the township across the Roper River and should not be missed. Just south of Mataranka are the "We of The Never Never" graves, made famous by Aeneas Gunn.
    Once the southern extremity of a railway line from Darwin, it is now a small town with a comfortable pub which offers accommodation and the tallest bar I have ever been at.
    A stop in two parts. A comfortable roadhouse will be found on the main highway where a road branches off to Borroloola. To the west of the highway the historic and well patronised " Daly Waters Pub" offers sustenace and history for all. A tree on which Stuart carved his initials in 1862 will also be seen.
    Dunmarra is a roadhouse and small motel beside the highway and a change over point for coach drivers operating between Alice Springs and Darwin. It is licensed and has excellent meals.
    Small township on the highway with most facilities.

    Copyright Peter W. Wilkins 2006