Getting from Adelaide to Darwin


stuart highwayAdelaide and Darwin are on two separate sides, south and north, of central Australia. Even though getting from one to the other appears to be a somewhat straight line, don’t be fooled: That central part of the country is a place of uncertain, barren and unforgivable outback. Let’s not also forget about the massive size of Australia and how deceptive maps are in portraying the distance from one location to the next. I have a feeling this comes from the few states and territories that break up the land.

When going from Adelaide to Darwin, one must be prepared to cover a distance of 2618 kilometers as the crows flies (1626 miles).

>> Have a look at getting to Darwin from Sydney, from Perth, from Melbourne, from Brisbane and from Cairns.

Getting from Adelaide to Darwin by Plane

Direct flights from Adelaide to Darwin are going to set you back just under 3 hours (more precisely 2 hours and 40 minutes). You can hop on a direct flight from ADL to DRW on Jetstar and Qantas. JetBlue, for example, requires a change in Perth or Brisbane to make the trip. If looking for a cheap flight, check out the page on budget airlines that fly to Darwin to learn more. Otherwise, have a quick search below.

Search for flights to Darwin (DRW) from Adelaide (ADL), Melbourne (MEL) and Sydney (SYD) using the widget below.

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Getting from Adelaide to Darwin by Train

You can easily (I use the term lightly) get from Adelaide to Darwin by train by riding on the Ghan, a long-distance train line run by Great Southern Rail that crosses through the country’s outback and Red Centre. The Ghan could be classified as one of the most epic train journeys in the world, running 2979 kilometers and two nights each way. To complete the journey in comfort, you can choose from a sleeper cabin or just go for the Red Day Nighter lounge chair for a more budget experience. Be sure to take part in the whistle stop tours along the way to both get out and stretch your legs and also add more fun to the journey.

>> Read more about train travel in Australia.

Getting from Adelaide to Darwin by Car

Driving from Adelaide to Darwin is no laughable task. The distance in a straight drive is 3045 kilometers, a driving distance of 1 day and 12 hours. To make it from one side of Australia to the other, you simply take the Stuart Highway pretty much the entire way.


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This driving route through the heart of Australia is known as the Explorer’s Way, which is suiting because the Stuart Highway the route follows is named after the first person to travel from north to south in Australia – John McDouall Stuart – an explorer in every sense of the word. Luckily, nowadays the road from Adelaide to Darwin is sealed.

From Adelaide, you head north on the Stuart Highway being sure to stop off at locations like Coober Pedy, Ayers Rock and Alice Springs.

Getting from Adelaide to Darwin by Bus

By Greyhound bus, you can traverse the continent of Australia from south to north in a 47 hour ride. Buses on this route will need to change in Alice Springs, of course, so why not hop off for a few days and start the tour of Australia’s outback while making the journey? Tickets on Greyhound, at this current time, run around $600, but it is a wise decision to look into their hop-on, hop-off packages in order to make the most of the time and the money. Riding in a bus gives you some comfort in the sense that you can just sit back and watch the scenery pass (instead of driving yourself), but it doesn’t allow for very much stretching room. You can walk around in a train, and planes are always going to be a fraction of the time. Another idea would be to join an Australia tour that will help you get from A to B while also introducing you to the best parts of the country in the process!

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