Getting from Perth to Darwin

by Brooke on September 17, 2011

by Brooke | September 17th, 2011  

darwinIt’s not the most common route when traveling Australia, getting from Perth to Darwin, particularly because these two capital cities are two of the most remote in the country. The distance from Perth to Darwin as the crow flies is a lengthy 2,646 kilometers (1,644 miles), starting in the southwestern corner of Western Australia and ending up in the northern section of Northern Territory. This article covers all the various ways of getting from point A to B including plane, train, car, bus and boat.

Getting from Perth to Darwin by Plane

Flights from Perth to Darwin take around 3.5 hours on a direct flight. Direct flights are quite uncommon, but Qantas offers a direct flight along the route. Other routings may include flying across the country to a hub city, such as Brisbane, before heading to Darwin. If looking for a good deal to Darwin, start by researching cheap flights to Darwin. Otherwise, have a quick search for fares below.

Search for flights to Darwin (DRW) from Perth (PER), Brisbane (BNE) and Sydney (SYD) using the widget below.



Getting from Perth to Darwin by Train

There is no train line from Perth to Darwin, directly at least. In fact, there is no train network north of Perth in Western Australia. To go from Perth to Darwin by train, the only option is to use Great Southern Rail combining the Indian Pacific and the Ghan. You can ride on the Indian Pacific from Perth to Adelaide, the hub for GSR, and then catch the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin. This route would take several days to complete and be quite costly as well. On the plus side, the route is one of the most scenic in the world, taking you across the barren Nullarbor and through a sea of red dirt while traversing the country.

Getting from Perth to Darwin by Car

Driving from Perth to Darwin is a feat that should only be taken seriously as the average route will be about 2 days in driving time alone. Since the areas of civilization on this route can be few and far between, planning is always imperative. The quickest route, according to Google Maps, is 4041 kilometers in length using the Great Northern Highway and National Highway 1. You would head north and inland until hitting Port Hedland and moving east and north to Broome and Darwin.


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Another, slightly longer, route is one heading up the Western Australia coast (instead of inland like the option above). This route clocks in at 4,164 kilometers heading north to Carnarvon, curving around the corner of Exmouth before meeting at Port Hedland like the route above.


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A third, and much longer, route takes you inland until hitting Adelaide and driving through the center of Australia to Darwin. This route clocks in at 5,106 kilometers, driving along the Nullarbor before heading north on the long Stuart Highway.


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Whenever driving this route, it is important to research, grab a good road map and remember to follow Australian driving rules. Perth to Darwin by personal vehicle, car or campervan, will require a bit of attentive road scanning (watch out for kangaroos).

Getting from Perth to Darwin by Bus

Getting from Perth to Darwin by bus will take about 62 hours with Greyhound. This route heads north from Perth up to Broome where there is a bus change before taking off to Darwin. A ticket on this route runs in the $752 range. Greyhound is a nice and flexible bus option in Australia with many ticket options like a hop-on hop-off pass. If looking to make the most of the journey, it may be worth your while to check out an organized bus tour covering the route, that way you get tours in a number of stop-offs along the way.

Getting from Perth to Darwin by boat is a possibility if hitching a ride on an Australia cruise heading around the country. Check out the Australian cruises page for more information.

Photo credit.

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