The spectacular drive between Darwin and Broome, also known as the Savannah Way, imposes itself as one of the best outback road trip adventures in Down Under. From crocs sunbathing in gorges and palm trees sprouting from red cliffs, to canoeing down the Ord River and endless bird-watching opportunities, this route will offer a plentitude of memorable moments.
Darwin to Katherine
The journey starts with a half-day drive along the Stuart Highway from Darwin to the outback gem of Katherine. You’ll get a chance to feast your eyes on the rugged landscapes, breathtaking waterfalls and lush green gorges of Nitmiluk National Park. You should definitely take a boat or canoe tour through Katherine Gorge or fly above the stunning series of gorges in a helicopter.
If you are interested in Aboriginal culture, travelling south to Manyallaluk and spending some time with the locals is a must, stopping by to marvel at limestone Cutta Cutta Caves. When it comes to accommodation, you can stay overnight in the township of Katherine or even camp at the very gorge if you are a more adventurous type.
Katherine to Timber Creek
Driving down the Victoria Highway, you should turn off for the spectacular Flora River Nature Park, where you can canoe past tufa dams and lush vegetation, in addition to walking down savannah woodland and floodplain. Further down the same highway you should check out the immense Gregory National Park for stunning views during the Escarpment Lookout Walk or some fine examples of rock art offered by Joe Creek Walk.
Cruising down the Victoria River at sunset will allow you to spot countless boab trees and saltwater crocodiles. If you want to see hundreds of these amazing reptiles up close, pay a visit to the Coolibah Crocodile Farm. In the southern part of this amazing park, you can drive the rugged Bullita Stock Route (about 90 km) or walk to the Limestone Gorge. You can sleep at Timber Creek or camp at the Bullita Homestead.
Timber Creek to Kununurra
Continuing your journey to Kununurra, after many kilometers of boab trees, you’ll find the Bullo River Station, spreading on roughly half million acres, where you can muster cattle, fish or simply rest for a while. Keep River National Park will welcome you just before crossing the Western Australia border. Here you can see the Rainbow Serpent on rock at Nganalam and Aboriginal rock art at the Keep River Gorge.
On the other side of the border, you’ll hit Kununurra, where you should cruise the Ord River and huge artificial Lake Argyle, or fly over the vast Argle Diamond Mine, beehive-like mounds of the Bungle Bungles or splendid Mitchell Falls. Discover fabulous scenic walking tracks in the Mirima National Park and enjoy a bird-watching feast at Lily Creek Lagoon.
Kununurra to Halls Creek
Heading towards Halls Creek, you can detour either through Wyndham, the northernmost town in Western Australia, or the El Questro Station. Further down south in Bungle you’ll arrive at the Purnululu National Park, a World Heritage site, as well as the Bungle Range with its towering striped rocks.
Following the Domes Walk will lead you to Cathedral Gorge, in the park’s southern part, while you hike your way to Echidna Chasm and Mini Palms Gorge in the north. Halls Creek, an old gold prospecting town, is also an interesting stop, as here you can swim in springs and gorges, and also pay a visit to Wolfe Creek Crater, left by a meteorite, nearly 50 m deep and 1 km wide.
Halls Creek to Broome
On the last leg of your journey, Fitzroy Crossing is a good starting point for cruising Geikie Gorge, accompanied by Bunuba Aboriginal guides, or burrowing through the mystic underground passage of Tunnel Creek. Going to Derby, you’ll inevitably pass the Boab Prison Tree, reportedly used as a prisoner lock-up in the past. On the Derby’s town wharf, you can see tides as high as 10 metres or fly over the famous horizontal waterfalls in Talbot Bay.
Crossing the Fitzroy River will get you into Broome, where you can visit Chinatown to explore its exotic pearling heritage or take a relaxing sunset camelback ride down Cable Beach. Lighthouse-tipped Cape Leveque awaits you further north, but make sure you stop at the Beagle Bay Aboriginal community to see the Sacred Heart Church with its mother-of-pearl altar. Finally, Roebuck Bay is where you’ll find the world famous Broome Bird Observatory for the ultimate bird-watching experience.
Exploring the Savannah Way offers you a unique chance to see many natural beauties that the outback has to offer. With this in mind, how about getting a free transfer car and setting off on a truly fascinating spring road trip?