Unearth the rugged beauty of the Northern Territory and Western Australia

Journey through the natural wonders, vast expanses and jaw-dropping landscapes of northern and western Australia on this incredible 22-day tour from Darwin to Perth. Visit some of the region’s best national parks where you'll hike through stunning red rock landscapes and swim beneath waterfalls in the most beautiful spots. Discover the striped beauty of the Bungle Bungles, explore the glorious gorges of the Kimberleys, hang with dolphins at Monkey Mia Beach and swim above corals the World Heritage-listed Coral Bay. The distances are immense but the pace is leisurely, making this the perfect Outback adventure.


Start
Darwin, Australia
Finish
Perth, Australia
Destination
Australia
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer, Overland
Code
PDP22
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 20

Why you'll love this trip

  • Get off the beaten track as you discover the raw desert landscapes and stunning coastline of Western Australia and the Kimberley in this ultimate overland adventure

  • It may be a cliche, but life is all about the journey. Explore the major highlights between Perth and Darwin at a slower pace, allowing you to really get under the skin of the Australian outback

  • Enjoy the flexibility of a private vehicle, the local knowledge of a passionate guide and the magic of camping under the great southern sky, Australian-style

  • The cattle stations, red earth and mining communities of the Pilbara are reminiscent of the sun-baked Australia much of the world imagines

  • Hike and swim in the ancient gorges and waterholes of Karijini National Park

Is this trip right for you?

  • Accommodation on this trip is multishare, meaning there are no private rooms. You'll spend some nights of the trip sleeping at camping grounds in a swag (Australian bedroll) in twin-share, permanent tents. While conditions can be very basic, this is all part of the adventure.

  • This is a true overland trip, and the journey is a big part of the experience. On some days of the trip, you will spend several hours driving, often through very sparse areas of desert. Crank up the tunes and sit back to enjoy landscapes that you would miss in any other form of travel.

  • This trip requires a decent level of agility and stamina, as it involves a lot of walking, allowing you to really get among nature. The hikes in the Kimberley are particularly challenging. Please bring sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and comfortable clothing.

  • Temperatures in regional Australia can be extreme. During the day the weather can be hot (and the Australian sun is strong) so please bring appropriate clothing, use sun protection and drink plenty of water. In the evenings temperatures really drop, so ensure you have base layers and warm clothing.

Itinerary

Welcome to Darwin, where your overland adventure begins. The Northern Territory’s tropical capital is also a gateway to numerous wildlife and waterfall-filled national parks and nature reserves. Today, you visit Nitmiluk National Park. After meeting your tour leader and travel group, head south to either the cascading streams and pools of Edith Falls or the magnificent, sandstone gorges (there’s 13 in total) within the park. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the park. After a full day spent exploring the ancient surrounds, head to your private campsite at the edge of the national park, where permanent tents with swags await.

Total driving time: about 4 hours
Total walking distance: about 2 kilometres/1.24 miles
Accommodation
  • Permanent tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast, begin the drive west to Lake Argyle, the jewel of the Kimberley region. It’s about a 6.5-hour drive; as the rugged peaks and cliffs of the spectacular Carr Boyd Range come into view, you’ll know you’re almost there. Stretch your legs on a walk around it’s perimeter on arrival, admiring the sheer size of the 700-square-metre manmade spectacle, which is home to tons of native fish and thousands of freshwater crocodiles. Make sure to bring waterproof hiking boots as the ground near the lake can be quite soft. Take some time to explore the sparse, yet beautiful surrounds before setting up camp nearby for the night.

Total driving time: about 6.5 hours
Total walking distance: 2-4 kilometres/1.2-2.4 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Argyle
Optional Activities
  • Lake Argyle Sunset Cruise - AUD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Hit the dusty red road for the East Kimberley and its World Heritage-listed Purnululu National Park. Here, you’ll hop on a 4WD vehicle to get a closer look at the national parks famous, beehive-shaped Bungle Bungles. The sight of these orange and grey striped domes rising some 250 metres above grass-covered plains will blow you away. Discover the craggy gorges and red peaks of the Hidden Valley before a free afternoon to explore on your own.

Total driving time: about 3.5 hours
Total walking distance: about 5 kilometres/3 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Make sure to fill up at breakfast, as a full day of activities await. Begin by returning to the remarkable rock formations of the Bungle Bungles. Take a scenic hike to the thin, red gap of Echidna Chasm – enjoying plenty of fantastic photo opportunities as the sun’s beams illuminate the chasm to dazzling effect. Another hike leads to Cathedral Gorge, an enormous nature amphitheatre of red rock. There’s also the opportunity to experience a helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungles (at your own expense). As the sun goes down, head back to your overnight bush camp.

Total driving time: about 1 hours
Total walking distance: about 5 kilometres/3 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cathedral Gorge Walk (Bungle Bungle)
  • Echidna Chasm Walk
Optional Activities
  • Helicopter Flight - Bungle Bungles - from - AUD350
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, set out for El Questro, an accommodation and campsite in the heart of the Kimberley region. Drive through rugged and ancient landscapes, admiring the remarkable scenery of the Carr Boyd and Durack Ranges en route. You’ll also stop in the Aboriginal settlement of Warmun for a hike along a vast nature trail and a chance for a refreshing swim. Arrive at your campsite in El Questro in the late afternoon. After settling in, sit down for dinner and unwind with a cool drink.

Total driving time: about 3 hours
Total walking distance: about 6 kilometres/3.7 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
There isn’t much travel involved today; instead, you’ll spend the day exploring the spectacular surrounds of your exceptionally well-located campsite. Take in the areas scenic gorges and red cliffs in the morning. Later, hike past the towering red cliffs of the Cockburn Ranges, which are shaped like a vast round fortress. Discover its deep gorges and permanent pools, and enjoy a swim beneath the waterfall at Emma Gorge. In the evening, why not crack open a well-earned beer at El Questro’s station bar.

Total driving time: about 45 minutes
Total walking distance: up to 7 kilometres/4.3 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get back on the road today and make your way west. Today’s journey will take you over the Pentecost River and along the famous Gibb River Road. There will be lots of hiking and multiple opportunities to swim. After lunch, head to Mt Barnett. Keep in mind that depending on weather and accessibility, your tour leader may choose alternative spots to visit.

Total driving time: about 5 hours
Total walking distance: about 2 kilometres/1.2 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gibb River Road
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Spend another day exploring the stunning gorges of the western Kimberley region. Today, you’ll visit Bell Gorge, a bit of a hidden highlight. This idyllic spot boasts picture-perfect cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear pools surrounded by a horseshoe of rugged orange-red walls. Smooth rocks to lounge on welcome areas of shade make it the perfect place to spend a relaxing morning. In the afternoon, head to Windjana Gorge, where you’ll find a segment of 375 million-year-old reef that was once underwater. Cut through by the Lennard River, which runs during the wet season then breaks up into little billabongs during the dry, this gorge attracts many species of bird and bat and is a great spot to see wild freshwater crocodiles.

Total driving time: about 2.5 hours
Total walking distance: about 4-6 kilometres/2.5-3.7 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Manning Gorge
  • Galvans Gorge
  • Adcock Gorge
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Begin the day exploring the Napier Range. The major attraction here is Tunnel Creek National Park, an extensive cave system that extends 750 metres underground. This vast network is what remains of an ancient reef system that existed here between 350 and 375 million years ago, making it the oldest cave system in Western Australia. Explore its limestone tunnels on a guided walk and witness shards of sunlight that make it was through small crevices, little bats fluttering about and enormous stalactites that rear down from the ceiling. The cave became famous in the late 1800s, when local Aboriginal man, Jandamarra, waged a one-man uprising against European settlers, and became a First Nations hero in the process. You’ll hear a bit about his legacy during the tour, then make the drive to Broome, hopefully arriving in time to witness a stunning Cable Beach sunset.

Total driving time: about 5 hours
Total walking distance: about 4 kilometres/2.5 miles
Included Activities
  • Windjana Gorge
  • Bell Gorge
  • Tunnel Creek exploration walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, set out for some sightseeing, learning about Broome’s rich history and pearling industry along the way. Afterwards, head to the beach for a picnic lunch. Spend a leisurely afternoon relaxing on the sand, splashing in the water and perhaps playing a few beach games.
Included Activities
  • Broome beach activity day and Broome sights tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
The next two days are free for you to explore Broome at your own pace. If you’re after more beach time, perhaps head to Cable Beach, named after the undersea telegraph cable that connected Broome to Singapore in the 19th century, or Town Beach in Roebuck Bay. Between March and October (the exact time period varies each year), it’s possible to witness the ‘Staircase to the Moon’ at Roebuck Bay, a natural phenomenon and optical illusion where a staircase appears to lead to the moon during low tide (in reality, the staircase is the reflection of the bay’s exposed mudflats). A weekly Staircase Night Market sets up during this time and is also worth checking out. Sample local flavours and browse stalls selling handmade products, jewellery, clothing and art while local musicians play.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is another free day to explore. If you’re after some history, check out the Broome Historical Museum to learn about local Aboriginal culture and for a glimpse into the town's pearling and wartime history. Maybe take a trip to Gantheaume Point to discover 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints or to photograph the contrasting white sand, red cliffs and blue ocean of the area. Another option is the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park and Animal Refuge for some wildlife-viewing. In the evening, the buzzing district of Chinatown is a great place to grab a meal and a drink, or maybe catch an outdoor film at the charming Sun Pictures cinema.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After a few relaxing days in Broome, it’s time to hit the road again in the direction of Karajini National Park. Cross the Great Sandy Desert, stopping at Eighty Mile Beach – a white sand beach famous for its abundance of tropical seashells and beach fishing – for a stroll along its shore. From here travel south, passing through the mining city of Port Hedland, where you can witness the enormity of the iron ore industry. Spend the night on a station in the Pilbara Region.

Total driving time: about 4.5 hours
Total walking distance: about 1 kilometre/0.6 miles
Accommodation
  • Cabin (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, make your way to the spectacular Karijini National Park, where you’ll spend the next three days exploring. Karajini is the second largest national park in Western Australia. Covered by the Hamersley Ranges, its ancient landscape was caved over 2 billion years and features some of the most unusual landforms on Earth. You’ll be able to take some great photos while here. On arrival, visit the Karijini Visitor Centre for a crash course on the natural and cultural history of the park. Then head to Fortescue Falls for a refreshing swim. Tonight, camp in twin-share, permanent tents inside the park.

Total driving time: about 4.5 hours
Total walking distance: about 3 kilometres/1.8 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This is truly one of the most spectacular and surprising national parks you’re likely to find. There are numerous walks and sights to see, but be sure to put Dales Gorge, Oxers Lookout and Weano Gorge on your to-do list. Spend the day exploring, swimming, hiking and relaxing in this bush paradise.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Karijini National Park Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Pack up your towel and walking shoes and head out for another day exploring Karijini with your guide. Swim in waterholes, hike along rocky trails and splash about in waterfalls. Anything you didn’t tick off the list yesterday you can chase up today – whether it’s a snooze in the sun, a strenuous hike to a lookout or a cooling dip in a swimming hole. Paradise!

Total driving time: about an hour
Total walking distance: about 6 kilometres/3.7 miles
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get ready for a long day of travel as you leave Karijini and travel through the vast bushlands and cattle stations of the Pilbara region en route to the west coast. The sparsely populated Pilbara desert is known for its red earth and rich mineral deposits. Spend the night at an exclusive campsite at Yardie Creek, located near Exmouth in Cape Range National Park.

Total driving time: about 6-7 hours
Accommodation
  • Yardie Homestead Caravan Park (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enjoy a day of freedom and relaxation in Yardie Creek. Nestled on the shores of the Indian Ocean, it’s a great place to soak up some sun and explore the surrounding beaches. Depending on the season, you’ll have the option to snorkel or scuba dive in search of whale sharks or manta rays. Perhaps take a walk to Vlamingh Head Lighthouse or simply soak up the sun on Turquoise Bay’s pristine beach. In the afternoon, travel to beautiful Coral Bay. Its gorgeous waters contain Ningaloo Reef, one of the largest fringing coral reefs in the world, and a rich diversity of marine life.

Total driving time: about 1.5 hours
Total walking distance: about 2 kilometres/1.2 miles
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ningaloo Reef Marine Park
Optional Activities
  • Snorkel with the Whalesharks (April to July only) from - AUD350
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Spend the majority of today at Coral Bay, exploring the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. The marine park is home to 250 species of coral and over 500 species of fish. Snorkel, scuba dive or cruise the reef in a glass-bottom boat to observe the tropical life teeming below the surface. You might prefer to take a joy flight over the reef for spectacular views from above, or head out on a quad bike tour of the local area. Snorkel equipment is provided, but all other activities will be at your own expense and subject to availability.

Total driving time: about 1.5 hours
Total walking distance: about 2 kilometres/1.2 miles
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Glass Bottom Boat Cruises from - AUD37
  • Whale Watching (seasonal) from - AUD85
  • Snorkel with Manta Rays - half day trip - AUD165
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we cross over the Tropic of Capricorn. You probably won’t notice it, but what crossing this latitude means is that from here on south the sun will never be directly above you. You should still wear a hat though. Your main stop for the day is Shell Beach, which, much as name would suggest, is a beach made of shells. What’s quite incredible about the place however is the amount of shells there are. Locals have been using them in various industries for years, yet they still cover a stretch 60 km long and up to 7 metres deep. Continue on towards Monkey Mia Beach, famous for its friendly bottlenose dolphins.

Total driving time: about 6.5 hours
Total walking distance: about 1 kilometre/0.6 miles
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
In the morning, visit the dolphins again before heading on to explore the World Heritage area of Shark Bay. See the stromatolites at Hamelin Pool. These marine rock formations are some of the world’s oldest living fossils, and suggest what the earth might have looked like 3.5 billion years ago. Head south from here to Kalbarri. If time permits, visit Murchison River Gorge and the rocky arch of Nature’s Window in Kalbarri National Park. You’ll then head to your accommodation for the night.

Total driving time: about 4 hours
Total walking distance: about 5 kilometres/3 miles
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kalbarri National Park Entrance
  • Monkey Mia Dolphins
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Cruise through the coastal gorges of Kalbarri National Park, stopping at Dongara, a seaside town gifted with great surf, soft sand beaches and massive dunes. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to test your skill at sandboarding, then it’s on to the thousands of limestone pillars that rise out of the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. Wander around and explore the random rock formations and then kick on to Perth, where the trip ends upon arrival (in the early evening).

Total driving time: about 4-5 hours
Total walking distance: about 2 kilometres/1.2 miles
Included Activities
  • Nambung National Park (Pinnacles) Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
No accommodation is provided for tonight. If you plan on spending the night in Perth, please make sure to book your own accommodation prior to departure.

Meals

18 breakfasts, 20 lunches, 18 dinners

Transport

All Terrain vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (8 nights), Hostel (9 nights), Permanent safari camp (with shared facilities) (1 night), Permanent, furnished tented camp (with shared facilities) (1 night)

Included activities

  • Lake Argyle
  • Cathedral Gorge Walk (Bungle Bungle)
  • Echidna Chasm Walk
  • Gibb River Road
  • Manning Gorge
  • Galvans Gorge
  • Adcock Gorge
  • Windjana Gorge
  • Bell Gorge
  • Tunnel Creek exploration walk
  • Broome beach activity day and Broome sights tour
  • Karijini National Park Entrance
  • Ningaloo Reef Marine Park
  • Kalbarri National Park Entrance
  • Monkey Mia Dolphins
  • Nambung National Park (Pinnacles) Entrance

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Tour commences in Darwin on Day 1 at 6.50 am and finishes in Perth on Day 22 at approx 6 pm. Onward travel must be booked the following day.
2. This trip is for FIT AND ACTIVE people and involves very basic camping and challenging hikes.
3. This trip requires a sleeping bag.
4. Minimum Age on this trip is 18 years old.
5. Trip runs in reverse, see tour code PD22.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Darwin to Perth Overland trips score an average of 4.5 out of 5 based on 8 reviews in the last year.

Darwin to Perth Overland , August 2018

Kim Patterson

Darwin to Perth Overland , August 2018

James Grayson