Melbourne to the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory presents a spectacular landscape full of lush national parks, fascinating rock formations, and otherworldly deserts, so it's little surprise that travellers come from all over the country to see it. While the Northern Territory sees travellers from every big city/state, the Melbourne to the Northern Territory route is one of the most popular with thousands of visitors expected every year.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to travel between the two destinations with each option dependent on budget, how long you have to make the journey, and accessibility. These options include flying from Melbourne to the Northern Territory, self-driving between the two destinations, and catching public transport.
Flying from Melbourne to the Northern Territory
Flying from Melbourne to the Northern Territory is the most popular and cheapest way to travel between the two destinations. The Northern Territory is home to over 30 public airports located throughout the region with the most frequently visited being international airports; Alice Springs Airport (ASP) and Darwin International Airport (DRW). Depending on where you want to travel to within the territory, your flight from Melbourne Airport (MEL) will land in either airport.
The total flight time between Melbourne and Alice Springs/Darwin is as below:
- The flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs will take approximately 4 and a half hours.
- The flight from Melbourne to Darwin will take approximately 5 and a half hours.
The prices for both routes depend on what time of the year you're travelling in and how far in advance you book the tickets but you can expect a ticket from Melbourne to either location will set you back AUD$300+ one way.
Once you've landed in the Northern Territory, you can organise private transfers to your booked accommodation, rent a car or catch public transport.
Driving from Melbourne to the Northern Territory
Another great way to travel from Melbourne to the Northern Territory is by car on an epic overnight/days long road trip. While the total driving time between the two destinations is roughly 24 hours (if you're driving to Alice Springs) or 40 hours (if you're driving to Darwin), a road trip offers a fantastic way to see as much of both Australia's and the Northern Territory's desert landscapes as possible and gives you the chance to spend time in fascinating places you stop at along the way. Once you get to your final destination within the territory, having a car at your disposal makes accessing the territory's many national parks easy and efficient as you don't have to organise extra transportation.
The drive from Melbourne to the Northern Territory is fairly straightforward with the route taking you on major highways that are well maintained and easy to navigate with big signage and bold lettering. Be mindful that traffic conditions during peak periods can add travel time to your journey and be on the alert for animal crossings when driving in the early morning or at night.
Driving between the two destinations is not the cheapest option with an estimated fuel cost of AUD$470 - AUD$680 (one way) depending on the type of car you drive.
Catching public transport from Melbourne to the Northern Territory
Catching public transport from Melbourne to the Northern Territory is not the easiest or most efficient way of travelling between the two destinations with connecting services and long travel times making it unpopular, however, it can be done via each state's public transportation system and is a good option if you don't have access to a car or if you don't like flying.
You can access interstate services from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne's CBD, catching a train or a coach into either New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) or South Australia. From there, each individual state has their own connecting services that will take you into the Northern Territory. For more information on further services and timetables, visit the Public Transport of Victoria's website here.