Driving from Adelaide to Alice Springs: The Ultimate Guide

We’ve been asked many times would we write a guide to driving from Adelaide to Alice Springs.

This is probably Australia’s most iconic roadtrip – especially if you add in a side trip to Uluru-Kata Tjuta.

It’s everything you imagine: freedom, a sense of isolation, intense personal reflection, wildlife, vast horizons and blue sky, quirky outback towns, roadhouses and characters.

Given that we’ve travelled this road dozens of times, we really had no excuse for not writing this guide.

So, here it is, our: Ultimate Guide to Driving from Adelaide to Alice Springs.

You can now download an extended, more detailed 60+ page version of this guide as a PDF with bonus vehicle preparation and our unique outback packing guide here. 


Quick Facts:

Total distance: 1503km

Recommended Driving Time: 16 hours – at least ONE overnight stop is recommended

Estimated Fuel Cost: $250-$300 depending on vehicle and whether you’re towing. Allow around $1.70 per litre for fuel. (Please note that cost of fuel per litre can change and is an estimate only).

Fuel, food, accommodation: Port Augusta, Pimba, Glendambo, Coober Pedy, Cadney, Marla, Kulgera, Erldunda, Stuart’s Well

Longest Stretch without fuel: 254km between Glendambo & Coober Pedy

Mobile Phone coverage: Partial Telstra only coverage – see detailed itinerary below.

Suitable for caravans/camper trailers: Yes

Safety Advice – Ignore at Your Own Peril

Whilst you’ll be driving on the Stuart Highway – an excellent and mainly straight road, you’re driving in the Australian outback for most of this journey, you’ll need to do a few simple things to stay safe:

  • Rest Frequently. Stop and get out of your car every 2 hours. Rest for at least 15 minutes before you start driving again. Take some photos. Have a loo break. Find a geocache
  • Beware of animals on the road – kangaroos, camels, emus and cattle. You will see them on this drive. Take note: the most common cause of tourist fatalities after heat exhaustion in the outback is hitting large animals.
  • Be VERY cautious when over taking roadtrains. These guys are sometimes 55 metres long. You will need a lot of room to overtake safely.
  • Water. Carry a minimum of 10 litres per person per day.
  • Do not drive at night. EVER. There are too many animals on these roads.

If you’re worried about breaking down, please read MY experience of breaking down on this road as a solo woman traveller.

How to Prepare For this Journey

Driving from Adelaide to Alice Springs is a long way.

This can be a very tiring drive – especially if you drive too far in one day.

Having done this trip both together and solo, we have the following recommendations:

  • Make sure your car and your tyres are in good condition. Have your car serviced before you go
  • Carry basic tools & spare parts (fanbelts, spare tyres, radiator hoses, fuses) with you. They can save your life!
  • Learn how to change a tyre. Yes, ladies this means YOU, too
  • Make sure you understand the nature of this drive: VERY long stretches of road with no facilities and sometimes, not much to look at except endless horizon
  • Ward off fatigue and boredom by Geocaching, listening to an audiobook (Audible has a free trial), or stopping to take photographs along the way.

How to do this road trip :

Ideally, this trip is done at a leisurely pace, over 3 or 4 days.

Slow travel -with an emphasis on experience and enjoyment- is our travel philosophy.

We say this to you: SLOW DOWN. You will TRULY experience the outback deeply and more authentically than if you rush.

Camel-closeupSlow down!

Yes, you can do this trip overnight, or even in ONE long and very exhausting day.

But ask yourself this: will you enjoy it?

As experienced travellers of this road, we can tell you that those times when we’ve driven slowly and taken in all the sights and sounds of this iconic roadtrip are far more memorable than those times we’ve had to rush through this drive.

If you’re likely to only make this road trip once in your lifetime, then SLOW DOWN and enjoy the experience.

  • Leave Adelaide mid-to-late morning and plan to get to Port Augusta (300km)
  • Stay overnight in Port Augusta
  • Drive to Coober Pedy (537km) the next day
  • Stay 2 nights in Coober Pedy – there’s A LOT to see & do there
  • Drive to Alice Springs (684km) or Uluru (680km approx) the following day

There are a number of detours and side trips which we talk about in the itinerary below. Don’t be afraid to mix this journey up a bit – to go off and see Andamooka, Woomera or hang out at the bar in Kulgera Roadhouse.



Adelaide to Port Augusta

Distance: 306km

Fuel Available: Everywhere in Adelaide, then a number of places along the Port Wakefield Road/Princes Highway.

Travel time: 3.5 hours (allow more if the traffic getting out of Adelaide is bad)

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra reception is available all the way

This is probably going to be the slowest and the most frustrating part of the journey. There are times when I’ve left Adelaide city, and it seemed to take me hours just to get out of the city and suburbs.

To leave Adelaide, you’re looking to head north on Port Wakefield Road. This is also a national highway, the Princes Highway – also called ‘Highway 1’ in Australia.

The route is well signposted if you’re heading north out of the city centre. Just look for Port Wakefield Road and then stick to it.

Be careful when you get to the big intersection at a place called Gepp’s Cross, where the Port Wakefield Road intersects with Grand Junction Road. Go STRAIGHT ahead through this intersection, otherwise you’ll find yourself on the way to the Barossa Valley.

You now don’t need to turn off this road until you reach Port Augusta.

Heading north, you’ll come to a number of small towns, such as:

  • Port Wakefield itself (has a REALLY good bakery)
  • Lochiel (check the big, dry lake for the Loch Ness Monster)
  • Warnertown (slow down here – the police like to catch people speeding)

You’ll pass the turnoffs for the Yorke Peninsula (Kadina/Wallaroo), Port Pirie and the Flinders Ranges along the way as well.

Once you see the massive power plant in distance (not to be confused with the one at Port Pirie), you know that Port Augusta isn’t far away.

There are LOTS of places to stay in Port Augusta. I usually stay at the Shoreline Caravan Park in a cabin. However there’s a number of free camping places here as well.

Port Augusta to Pimba

Distance: 174km

Travel time: 1 hour 50 minutes (approx.)

Fuel available: Port Augusta & Pimba

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra reception is available all the way.

Free roadside campsites: North Tent Hill, Range View, Monalena Lagoon, Island Lagoon – find MORE free campsites here


This is where you really arrive in the outback. Drive through Port Augusta and look for the signs to Alice Springs and Darwin (go across the big bridge, and up a slight hill).

Turn right onto the Stuart Highway and say goodbye to traffic lights and bends. The next set of traffic lights you’ll see are at the intersection of the Stuart Highway and Larapinta Drive – 1200km away in Alice Springs!

The first part of the drive is through low, undulating hills, with lots of scrub around you. If you look over to your right, the hills you’ll see in the eastern distance are the Flinders Ranges.

For one last look at Spencer Gulf and the Flinders Ranges, stop at the Range View rest stop (61km km from Port Augusta). There’s also a toilet, water, tables & chairs, some good information signs and a geocache.

If you’re lucky, you should see quite a few emus on this part of the trip. Keep an eye out for them in spring especially, when you’ll see daddy emus with their chicks (the mums only lay the eggs, the dads care for the young.


Not long before you reach Pimba –and if you’re observant- look out to the left (west) and you might spot the remains of Nurrungar – a joint US-Australian ‘spy’ base. It looks like a few white golf balls in the distance.

The base closed in 1999 and is empty now, and there is a track going out to it and a lookout. I’ve never been out there, so I can’t say what the road is like.

A little further on you arrive at Pimba and Spud’s Roadhouse.

Pimba itself is pretty ugly to look at – a ramshackle collection of dilapidated houses with scarcely a tree in sight. However, you can get a meal and you can stay here.

Spuds Roadhouse, Pimba, South Australia

However, a more interesting (and attractive) place to visit and stay is located 6km up the road at Woomera. Turn right off the Stuart Highway and head past Spud’s Roadhouse/Pimba.

Woomera was established in 1947, for the Anglo-Australian Joint Project. This was a ‘cold-war’ project between the British and Australian governments, which developed and tested long-range weapons systems (read: they fired rockets into the middle of nowhere… lots of rockets).


Ironically, many Aboriginal people I’ve worked with in the west of the Northern Territory and into Western Australia remember being moved out of their traditional lands in the 1950s, 60s and even the early 70s, as rockets tested here at Woomera were fired into what were then considered ‘unpopulated’ areas of Australia.

These displaced Aboriginal people often spent decades trying to move back to their lands – some, like many Pintupi people, ended up dying at places like Papunya, or walked out to create new settlements at Mt Liebig (Watiyawanu) and Kintore (Walungurru), never returning to their traditional lands.

If you’re interested in learning more about this, please watch the DVD ‘Benny and the Dreamers’. It will make you cry with bittersweet tears.

Woomera town reminds me of a 1950s Canberra suburb, picked up and dropped in the middle of nowhere. It’s worth a visit to see some of the rockets and for the fascinating visitor’s centre, which has detailed displays on the weapons testing programs there.

There is accommodation at the Eldo Hotel and the Woomera Caravan Park.

An interesting side trip is to Roxby Downs and Andamooka – however, we recommend doing this as an overnight trip.

There’s enough to see around Roxby, Andamooka and Woomera to keep you busy for a day or so.

You could also go from Roxby Downs along the Borefield Track and then join the Oodnadatta Track and head up to Alice Springs that way.

Read more about the Oodnadatta Track here.

Pimba to Glendambo

Distance: 112km

Travelling Time: 45-50min (approx.)

Fuel & food available: Pimba & Glendambo

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra 3G reception is available all the way

Free roadside campsites: Use Wikicamps to find ALL of the free campsites

From Pimba, you’re travelling through some interesting country, dotted with salt lakes and the occasional lookout stop that just begs a photo.

There’s a few Geocaches scattered along this section which make the trip more interesting, too.

As you travel north, you’re going to pass by some stunning salt lakes. My tip is to take a break and grab some photos at Lake Hart (you can camp here, too).


This is also one section of the trip where emus are quite commonly seen – so be on the lookout for them.

After not quite an hour, you’ll reach Glendambo, a tiny little settlement just off the Stuart Highway.

I’ve stayed at Glendambo quite a few times over the years (most recently in January 2014).


There’s a couple of accommodation choices here, and there are actually two roadhouses here –not just the big BP one.

There are cheaper backpacker’s rooms near the smaller roadhouse (southern end of town). You can also camp here.

I can recommend the basic, but clean motel rooms and the burgers in the big roadhouse.

Make sure you get a picture of Glendambo’s famous sign, too.

Glendambo, South Australia

Glendambo to Coober Pedy

Distance: 254km

Travel Time: 2 hrs 30min (approx.)

Fuel & food available: Glendambo & Coober Pedy

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra 3G for approximately 30km either side of Glendambo and then again coming into Coober Pedy.

Free roadside campsites: Check them out on Wikicamps

This is the longest stretch on the entire journey. You may wish to fill up your car at Glendambo if you have a small tank.

For me, this is always the most boring part of the journey.

It might be that I’ve just done this trip too many times – but I am really glad when I finally reach Coober Pedy. I feel like I’m almost home (ok – you’ve still got over 600km until Alice Springs, but you get what I mean).

On this part of the trip, you get a sense of complete and utter isolation –some would say ‘desolation’. There are very few trees – the vegetation is predominately bluebush and saltbush- and until you start to see the ‘mullock heaps’ coming into Coober Pedy, very little to look at.

Coober Pedy landscape, South Australia

Please do NOT think this is what the entire outback is like. It’s not.

As you’ll see soon, most of central Australia is FULL of mountain ranges!

In between Glendambo and Coober Pedy, there are no other roadhouses. There are no towns.

The turn off to the Prominent Hill mine (not open to the public), the Adelaide to Darwin railway overpass and the little piles of mining rubble from opal mines (called ‘mullock heaps’) as you start to get closer to Coober Pedy are the only real things to look at.

We really recommend breaking your journey at Coober Pedy and stopping here overnight (or longer). We have a whole section on this amazing, friendly little outback town, so check out these pages:

You could easily spend 2 or 3 days at Coober Pedy, visiting underground mines, houses and shops, taking a sunset trip to the Breakways and the Moon Plain (where Mad Max 2 & 3 were made).

I’d recommend trying the underground backpackers or budget accommodation at Radeka’s.

Martin, who runs Radeka’s, is a real sweetie. He helped me out immensely when I broke down in the outback ALONE!

Book accommodation at Radeka’s here.

Coober Pedy to Cadney Park

Distance: 155km

Travelling Time: 1 hr 30min (approx.)

Fuel & food available: Coober Pedy & Cadney Park

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra 3G reception is only available until approx. 30km north of Coober Pedy, then there is NOTHING

Free roadside campsites: Free campsites and reviews on Wikicamps

From Coober Pedy, you head north once more, passing lots of mullock heaps, and traversing some low, barren hills.

About 50km north of Coober Pedy, you’ll find the famous Dingo Fence. It sneaks up on you quickly and is quite unassuming –meaning it’s not particularly well signposted, so I recommend that you be ready to stop and take a photo.

Dingo Fence, Coober Pedy, South Australia

After the dog fence, you travel through some very large cattle stations, so keep an eye out for wandering cows.

The terrain also begins to change. You start to see many more acacia shrubs and eventually our beloved outback Mulga trees (very good firewood when it’s dry). There’s also a few more hills.

When you get to Cadney Park Roadhouse, you’ll be near the turnoff to the Painted Desert. This is worth a visit – but be warned: it’s a 4WD only track and you’ll need several hours to drive out it.

Cadney Park itself is neat, tidy little roadhouse. It’s actually our favourite place to stay and we will stay here on average 4 times each year.

Cadney Roadhouse, South Australia

There are 6 motel rooms (I think we’ve stayed in every single one of them), a large area for caravans and camper trailers with powered and unpowered sites at the rear, and nice grassy lawn for camping. There are also budget style ‘donga’ rooms, showers and a large camp kitchen area.

The roadhouse’s food is generally good –get the Cadney Burger- and there’s a Happy Hour from 6pm every night. The shop has basic grocery items – again, they are expensive.

Cadney Park to Marla

Distance: 80km

Travelling Time: 45min (approx.)

Fuel & food available: Cadney Park & Marla

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra 3G reception is available for approx. 20km radius around Marla.

Free roadside campsites: Find free campsites using this very inexpensive app

This is a fairly short stretch of the journey, with the prize of mobile phone coverage and a small supermarket at Marla.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this section is the amount of roadkill you see.

For some reason there seems to be more on this section than others. Roadtrains travelling at night and around dawn and dusk, collide with kangaroos and as you might expect, poor Skippy doesn’t stand a chance.

The only good thing about this is that you’ll see a lot of Wedge-Tailed Eagles feeding off the poor kangaroos who’ve been killed.

Along this section of highway, the terrain continues to soften, with more and more Mulga scrub, and a few dry creeks with Bloodwood trees lining them. Unless there’s been reasonable rainfall, these creeks will always have no water in them.

Marla is actually a small village, with a couple of dusty streets, a police station and a mechanical repairs workshop (they only do very basic repairs, however).

Marla, South Australia

The Roadhouse has a very large motel-style accommodation area, and a camping/caravan ground at the rear. The rooms are spacious and comfortable – we’ve stayed here several times in the past few years.

There are powered and unpowered sites. The camping area is dirt but it is quiet and away from the highway. The facilities are clean and well cared for.

The Roadhouse has meals and a large bar area. As mentioned above, there is a supermarket that is a lot larger than all of the other roadhouses on the Stuart Highway.

Marla marks the northern end of the Oodnadatta Track, and is also the turn off to Mintabie – a tiny opal-mining town east of the Stuart Highway.

Marla to Kulgera

Distance: 192km

Travelling Time: 2 hrs 10min (approx.)

Fuel & food available: Marla and Kulgera.

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra 3G reception is only available until approx. 20km north of Marla, then there is NOTHING until Erldunda.

Free roadside campsites: Wikicamps shows you EVERY free & secret campsite

Here the terrain begins to become more like what I think of as central Australian: you’ll see Witchetty Bushes, Mulga, Ironwoods, Corkwoods, low ranges and little dry creek beds.

Keep an eye out for horses along this section and as you enter the small hills along the way.

There’s a sense of anticipation building because just twenty kilometres from Kulgera you’ll come to the somewhat monolithic border crossing between the Northern Territory (NT) and South Australia. This is definitely worth stopping at for a photo or two.

NT-BorderYes, that’s us!

From here, you’re in the NT and you can legally travel at 130km/h where signposted.

About 1km over the border is the Victory Downs/Mulga Park Road. This is also the BACK WAY to Uluru – the way you go if you’d like an adventure and want some dirt. Unless you’ve got a 4WD, stick to the Stuart Highway.

You’ve got an easy 20km trip until you come to Kulgera Roadhouse, which bills itself as the ‘first and last pub in the Territory’.

Kulgera-cutoutsThe infamous ‘Kulgera cutouts’ – home to many a silly photo!

At Kulgera, you’ll find reasonable meals, a bar, a grassed campground, motel, cabin and backpacker’s accommodation here. There’s also a police station and a few historic station (Americans: read ‘ranch’) buildings.

Kulgera is also the turnoff to the Lambert Centre, Finke (Apatula), Mt Dare, Dalhousie Springs, Old Andado, and the Old Ghan Track (an alternative rough dirt road to Alice Springs).

Kulgera to Erldunda

Distance: 85km

Travelling Time: 45 min (approx.)

Fuel & food available: Kulgera & Erldunda

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra 3G reception is only available for approx. 20km radius around Erldunda.

Now you’re really in the Northern Territory and on a great stretch of road. There’s a few interesting sandstone rock formations near the roads along the way, and a few dry creeks.

As this is a very short stretch, there’s not a lot to stop and see – just keep going until Erldunda where you’ll have mobile phone reception again.

Erldunda is the turnoff to Uluru – Ayers Rock, so if you’re heading that way along the Lasseter Highway, please read THIS ITINERARY for another detailed trip description.

Driving to Uluru? Click here for a detailed itinerary.

Erldunda Desert Oaks is a big roadhouse with a lot of accommodation and camping options. We’ve tried them all – the motel rooms are basic and comfortable, but a little overpriced.

Erldunda Roadhouse, Northern Territory

The backpacker’s rooms, which are in dongas, may be a little dingy for some – but they are cheap and warm. There’s also powered and unpowered caravan and campsites.

Be warned: if you’re planning on staying at Erldunda in June through to September, I STRONGLY suggest that you book your accommodation as it gets very busy here!

There are several good free camping options not too far away – one in a gravel pit just a few kilometres along the Lasseter Highway, and a stunning campsite at a roadside stop set amongst sand dunes and desert oaks, about 30km north of Erldunda along the Stuart Highway.

Erldunda to Alice Springs

Distance: 199km

Travelling Time: 2 hrs 10min (approx.)

Fuel & food available: Erldunda, Stuart’s Well, Alice Springs

Free campsites: Check out Wikicamps for all free campsites

Mobile phone coverage: Telstra 3G reception is only available until approx. 20km north of Erldunda, then there is NOTHING until about 40km south of Alice Springs

Now you are on what we think of as the ‘home straight’.

In around two hours, you’ll be knocking back an ale or a cider in Alice – our home town!

ALSO READ: Driving from Alice Springs to Uluru which describes in detail this section of the journey.

Along the way, you’re going to pass through increasingly mountainous terrain: you’ll pass the Palmer Ranges, drive through the James Range, past the Waterhouse Ranges and finally, you’ll see the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges – where Alice Springs is nestled.

There is a roadhouse, Stuart’s Well, which is roughly halfway along this stretch of the Stuart Highway, and the Outback Camel Farm is located next door.

Stuarts Well

You’ll pass a number of possible side trips or overnight camps:

Finally, you’ll reach Alice Springs  – and yes, as it’s our home town we’ve created a huge array of resources and advice:

Want an easy print version of this page PLUS vehicle preparation and exclusive outback packing guides? Get it here: 

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We really hope you’ve enjoyed and found this page useful. It actually took several weeks to put all the information together, edit and then publish here for you, for FREE.

We’d really appreciate it if you SHARED this post on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter if you’ve found it useful.

Driving Adelaide to Alice Springs, Alice Springs, outback roadtripDriving Adelaide to Alice Springs, Alice Springs, outback Australia

Also, if YOU’VE driven this iconic route, we’d LOVE to publish your story. Get in touch with us here for details.


  • Amanda, thanks for sharing such a comprehensive guide to driving from Adelaide to Alice Springs. It is great that you have provided information about phone coverage (or lack thereof…).

    I was recently contacted by a concerned father from overseas after he had not had any contact from his daughter and friends who were driving from Darwin to Uluru. I sent him the links to the phone coverage maps so he could see how little coverage there is outside the more populated areas – I love the advertising claims that xx network covers ’95-99% of the Australian population’, and of course international visitors do not really realise that most of the Australian population lives on the east coast and close to the townships – and in between those there is a lot of empty space without any phone signal, unless you have a satellite phone… Fortunately he got back to me a couple of days later and advised that his daughter had finally made contact…

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your kind words – it’s an epic post (like many of our posts tend to be), I’m just a little shame-jobbed that it’s taken me so long to get this one up here.

      We do this trip around 4 times each year, and every time there’s a little bit more Telstra reception. You can actually get it for most of the way to Coober Pedy -thanks to the two big new mines (Prominent Hill and the other one whose name escapes me)- but it is a little patchy, so best not to rely on it there.

      Yes… I am one of those 4% who does not live where the other 96% live, and I will often go for several weeks when I’m away doing bushwork without any phone or internet reception.

      Let us know if you’re ever in Alice and we’ll show you around and buy you an espresso martini! You too have a fabulous site, and you’ve put a lot of hard work into it 🙂

      Kind wishes- Amanda

      • lina DAVERN says:

        Hi Amanda
        thank you for taking the time to put this together.
        We are travelling to Alice from Sydney in a couple of weeks. I was very nervous at the thought of driving from Adelaide to Alice but after I read and studied your guide I am somewhat less apprehensive.
        thank you

  • kerryalina says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I just wanted to say thank you for putting so much valuable info together! I’m doing this trip in a week (I know, I know – flies and heat, what was I thinking!!) and I was borderline terrified before I found this post. Feeling much more prepared now 🙂

    Thanks again!

    • Amanda says:

      I’m so glad you’ve found it helpful, Kerryalina. It’s VERY hot up here at the moment, so make sure your air con is working. If you feel like catching up when you get to Alice, let me know – send me an email via the contact us form on the website. Happy to catch up for a coffee or drink to welcome you to Alice.

      Drive safe 🙂

      I’m a trained (but now retired) yoga instructor BTW. My maternal grandmother taught yoga until she was 80 (she’s now 96) so it could be in my genes. I’ve never done Bikram, though. Simply haven’t had the opportunity.



  • Matt McKillop says:

    Hi Amanda!

    Thank you for writing up this article, it’s a wealth of knowledge for people planning a trip through this amazing part of the country. I have a quick question in hoping you can help me with; I’m planning to ride my motorcycle up to Kata Tjuta on the Easter long weekend (or as far up as I can before having to return safely, as I only have four days). My question is this – my bike, using standard pump fuel, has around a 330 KM fuel range. I’ve done 1000 km day rides before heading East from Adelaide, but there are lots of large chain service stations. Given the remote locations and the public holidays, I’m concerned I’ll be nearing the end of my range only to find that the ‘ma &’ pa service station/grocer is closed due to the long weekend. Do you think this is a valid concern, or will fuel stops be plentiful?

  • John B says:

    Thanks for giving us this comprehensive guide to driving Alice to Adelaide and Uluru, the information you have provided will undoubtedly ensure anyone heading your advice and safety trips will have a most enjoyable trip, I am so looking forward to mine. JB

  • Ann Silver says:

    Hi Amanda, GREAT information thank you! My brother and sister-in-law are coming over from South Africa next year and we’re making the big trek to see the magnificence of Uluru in June. Is this a good time to tavel? Also, can’t decide if we should take a campervan or just a 4WD and stay along the way. What would be your recommendations?

    • Amanda says:

      June is VERY busy at Uluru -it’s peak tourist season- so do be prepared. It’s a good time to travel, but do keep in mind that it will be COLD. If you are only planning to travel on the Lasseter Highway and Stuart Highway, these are excellent bitumen highways, and you won’t need a 4WD. If you are planning to travel via the Red Centre Way (also known as the Mereenie Loop), then you will need a 4WD.



  • sarah montgomery says:

    We are thinking of following your route, however, we have 3 children & wondered if anyone would recommend doing this with children aged 6, 10 & 12??

    Thank you

  • Matthew says:

    Thanks for this write up, it’s very comprehensive. We’re currently looking at doing Launceston Tasmania to Alice springs. This is going to be a big help I feel. I can’t wait to go now haha, I love Australia and I’m sure our 5yr old will enjoy this trip immensely

  • Oakkar says:

    Hi Amanda ,
    Thks for ur trip plan. I live in Alice n plan to travel Melbourne by road trip. Is Toyota Yaris seden ok for that trip. Is the road safe for seden cos this is my first time? Now I know how’s condition of road from Alice to Adelaide. But for the whole trip is that ok with my car? Thks

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Okkar,

      As long as you car is serviced regularly and in good running order, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be fine to drive to Adelaide. The Stuart Highway is sealed all the way – just like it is here in Alice. Keep your fuel topped up and you’ll be fine.



  • Chelsea and Lachy says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Just wanted to say a huge thank you for putting together this guide! As 21/22 year olds on our first road trip through the outback the information and advice you have given was invaluable and made our trip much safer and more enjoyable.
    All the best,
    Chelsea and Lachy

  • Stephanie says:

    Oh my god this was so unbelievably helpful. Thank you so much for covering EVERYTHING! look forward to doing this drive!!

  • Janet Francis says:

    Thank You, Thank You. Amanda and Gary.
    What a fabulous site Very well put together Itinery. Both I and my husband cannot get over how well you have put all this together so well! Thank you.
    We are thinking of doing a trip to Alice Springs in our little holden 4door hatch and wondered if it would make thetrip from Gawler to the Alice without any problems. it is a reasonably new car, 2010 model and automatic. would you recommend anything to do or take apart from the obvious. when we do it will be in mid April and possibly for a week, maybe two.

    Thank you again for a help full, fantastic well put together website.

    Regards and thank you. Cheers.
    Janet and Max

  • Slav says:

    Great information, this looks so well-done!!!!!!! Could I just ask about your opinion on the Darwin-Alice Springs road, is it somewhat comparable? 🙂 Thank you!

  • Alison says:

    I’ve just been reading up on Coober pedy as I’ll be stopping there today – yesterday was a pleasant 24 degrees in glendambo but I’m expecting a hotter day today…. Hopefully there’s underground – or at least undercover – parking for the car also? I haven’t been able to find any info on this however will ask around here before I set off this morning. Thanks for the detailed guide 🙂

  • joely says:

    Sending some gratitude to you for this guide. I’m planning to drive Alice Springs down to Melbourne in December and I’m starting to have a look around for some good guides and tips. I really look forward to this drive and after living out bush for a bit I know what it’s like to drive in the dirt and on long, empty roads with wonderful cattle peeking from the side of the road haha.
    Thanks again for writing this 🙂

  • Isabelle & Jean-Claude says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Thanks a lot for all these informations!
    We just returned to Luxembourg, Europe, after our trip in a campervan from Melbourne to Uluru, Kings Canyon and Alice Springs.
    All your tips and descriptions were so very useful and entertaining.
    We particularly appreciated Coober Pedy and adored stopping for the night at the roadhouses.
    Isabelle and Jean-Claude
    (no flies, no heat at our place…) 🙂

  • Diane Rewi says:

    This site was very useful for our drive to Alice Springs. The husband and I did it in mid October this year and loved every minute of it including flies and heat. Think the temperatures ranged from 25 [Adelaide] to 40 and were surprised how well we coped both being in our 60’s and from NZ. Pleased we walked around Uluru early in the day. However must say Coober Pedy was not our thing! Would I do it again? Definitely.

    Nga mihi nui

  • Lauren says:

    Hi Amanda.

    Thank you so much for publishing this! We are undertaking a round trip from Adelaide to Coober pedy and this article is so helpful!

    I do have one question though. Is it necessary to have a petrol canister to do this journey? I noticed you said the last petrol stop is 257km from coober pedy.

    Thank you from very grateful backpackers.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Lauren,

      That will depend on the size of your fuel tank. Having said that, I drove a small Holden Barina from Adelaide a few years back, and had no problems. Simply fill up at Glendambo and you should have plenty of fuel to get to Coober Pedy. As a rule, if you are worried, fill up your fuel tank at EVERY opportunity and you’ll be fine.

      Hope this helps,


      • Munee says:

        Hi Amanda
        Thankyou for such a nice post. Do u live in Alice? I recently got a job in Alice and thinking to move there with my wife, 3 yrs old son and 4 months old daughteer. Need some advice from u, i fu can please

  • elise dalley says:

    Hey, what a great and informative read! just wondering if there was much rubbish strewn along the side of the road when you’ve driven this stretch? Thanks

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Elise,

      There is often a lot of roadkill (dead kangaroos and emus etc) on the road. Further up (past Coober Pedy), you’ll sometimes see old cars which have broken down that usually belong to Aboriginal people who can’t afford to have them fixed up – many times these cars are trashed by other people. Around the roadside rest stops, unfortunately, there is often a lot of toilet paper as many travellers do not clean up after themselves. Otherwise, there is generally not a lot of rubbish along the roadsides.

  • Akbar says:

    In June 2014, I drove from Alice Springs to Port Pirie in one day and then back to Alice Springs after staying a day in Port Pirie. The journeys took me 17 hours per limb, with 4 hours of night time drive each way (Glendambo to Port Pirie onwards and Marla to Alice Springs on return). I did not stay overnight anywhere on the route. Each time I think of the night drive in desolate landscape, it makes me feel incredibly stupid and send shudders down my spine, especially when I was accompanied by my wife and my toddler daughter. I did not know the dangers of night driving back then, yet I did not see any animals on road (If I had, I wouldn’t have been around to tell the tale anyways). I hope not many people are as stupid as I had been. But now I am much more careful ever since.

  • Julitha Carlton says:

    Hi Amanda, we are leaving Bundaberg on May 14 heading for Uluru and beyond, just read your amazing blog with so much detailed information has certainly given me of lot of comfort with this. I have a question you mentioned all the ranges on the Journey to Alice Springs, I’m assuming that the road will be steep in some spots, is the majority of the roads flat. Also as your blog appears to be a few years old has the price of Fuel gone down in between towns and are some places cheaper than others. I am Driving a Mazda 6 towing a Jayco Camper and my Fuel consumption is not the best when towing. It is only me and my Autistic son doing this 10 week adventure.

  • Babs says:

    What a great read and wealth of information! I did this trip in 2006 Except my trip was Darwin to Adelaide with a few side trips to Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Uluru. I’m wanting to do it again with a side trip to King’s canyon also. Would love a write up from Alice up have you written one or do you know of one. I’d also be leaving from Gippsland Vic making it a little longer :). Thank you for your grwat write up on such a beautiful part of Australia 🙂

  • Michelle says:

    thank you for taking the time to write about this trip in such detail. We are leaving in 4 weeks from Melbourne to Alice and of course Ayers Rock. this information is great and has helped us plan this part of our holiday.


  • misha says:

    Hey thank you for all the info.
    I’m planning to ride from Melbourne to ulura.

  • Esther Harrison says:

    Great information thank you, has helped plan our trip. Leaving from Adelaide on Tuesday.
    Any thoughts on whether it is better to do Kings Canyon then head to Uluru then Alice Springs or go to Uluru, then Kings Canyon and onto Alice Springs? We can’t decide!

  • Jo says:

    Thank you so much for this invaluable resource! We’ve just returned from an Adelaide -Ayers Rock -Adelaide trip in 2 x motorhomes and this guide was an invaluable resource. Furthermore, the $7.49 I paid on the wiki camps app was the best money I’ve ever spent! Thanks so much, regards, Jo

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Jo,

      I’m so glad our info was useful to you. Comments like yours make all the hours we put in with the website worthwhile,


      Amanda & Gary

  • Anthony says:

    Hello, I am planning to drive from Adelaide to Ayers Rock after reading this great guide however when i tried to search for a rental cars to be picked up from Adelaide Airport and return to Ayers Rock airport, the cheapest daily rental (Toyota Yaris) is AUD 480 per day which has totally shocked me. It seems like the only available car company who offer this is Hertz. And if I were to return to Alice Spring instead, only Europcar is available and the daily rental is just as expensive.

    I understand there is a surcharge for picking and returning in a different location but the price can’t be 15 times more expensive than a normal daily rental (If pickup and return in Sydney, the daily rental is only AUD30!) . I would be greatly appreciated if you could enlighten me if there are any options that you would recommend as i really want to driving from Adelaide to Ayers Rock then take a cheap flight from Ayers Rock back to Sydney after that.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Amanda says:

      Sorry Anthony, but there ARE no cheap rental car options. We’ve written about the great outback car hire rip off elsewhere on the site. We have been told this is because overseas tourists to the NT have far more motor vehicle accidents than anywhere else.

      You would try Wicked Campers – they might be a better option.

  • Gill Pennock says:

    Hi Amanda. Thank you so much for this, we are heading up to Alice from Canberra in September, via Adelaide. My partner has limited knowledge of driving in the Outback so this is just what I needed to warn him about trying to drive too far in a day. You’ve also allayed my concerns about comfort stops, though I did cope with the Broome to Derby road trip on my own!!
    Thank you again for the information, Gill

  • Peter Vandermeer says:

    Hi,Amanda, what can I say, have been searching the net for information, we are heading up to Alice Springs from Melbourne 1st August,luck was with me by finding your site about a month ago, so much info, thank you for your dedication, ye-ha, wife Judy is rearing to go, see you in Alice, cheers

  • Judy says:

    Just makes me want to get up and go …thank you for great info

  • Judy says:

    Great info thank you

  • Jatin Shah says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Great Post!! Appreciate the valuable information. This will be very handy when we travel on the 24/12 From Melb-Port Augusta & on the 25/12 from Port Augusta to Uluru. My question or concern is, would there be fuel stations open (for trade) on Christmas day. Can you please guide.

  • Heke Te Arihi says:

    Hi Amanda, great article. Would like to know, is summer okay to drive to
    Alice Springs? My biggest concern is how hot will it be and what effect will this have on tyres. Would start at Port Augusta then past Alice Springs heading back to Queensland.
    Kind regards

    • Amanda says:

      Hi there Heke,

      We drive to and from Alice to Adelaide or to our second home in outback South Australia every summer. As long as your tyres are not too worn, you shouldn’t have any problems. That is my *main* advice: very hot conditions aren’t kind to worn tyres. We’ve never blown a tyre on the Stuart Highway.

      We have blown worn tyres (two within 15 min) driving on the Oodnadatta Track in January when it was 47 degrees. We were carrying two spares, so we were lucky! We were able to get one fixed in Coober Pedy and then continued home via the Stuart Highway.

      Hope this helps,


  • Heke says:

    That’s great Amanda. Yes very helpful.
    Have a wonderful new years.

  • Alix says:

    Hi Amanda,
    This is an exceptional guide, thank you for taking the time to put it together and share it so generously. I am driving from Sydney to Darwin at the end of this month – via Coober Pedy and Stuart Highway. I’ve been reading a lot about getting a bull bar (fixing it to my Subaru Forester) – and can see arguments for and against. Once in Darwin, I will mainly be driving on urban roads. Would you recommend it solely for this drive? We are not intending on driving at night, and taking our time – 7-8 days to complete the drive. What would your recommendation be?
    Many thanks again,

  • Therese Johns says:

    If you drive to alice from adelaide do you have to go south again the some way you came.?

  • Steven says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Great information. I notice that you have said the distance from Coober Pedy to Alice Springs or Uluru is about 680km, but when I check with Google Maps I get about 710km to Alice and 734km to Yulara. Do you think this is should be done during the winter months or would you recommend breaking the journey into two?



    • Amanda says:

      Hi Steven,

      I’ve just checked my photo of the mileage sign at Coober Pedy and I assure you it’s 686km to Alice. Promise. I’ve driven this road soooo many times. I have no idea where Google is getting those extra km from!

      • Steven Ting says:

        Thanks so much for your reply and your facebook post. How long does this section of the journey usually take?

        • Amanda says:

          Hi Steven,

          Although you can drive from Port Augusta to Alice in one day, trust me when I say that it’s a very LOOOONG day! It’s about 11-12 hours of driving in total.

          If you’re in a hurry, break up the trip with an overnight stop at Coober Pedy or one of the roadhouses or many, many free roadside rest stops along the way.

          If you’re not in a hurry, then my advice is to break the trip and spend a couple of days in and around Coober Pedy.



          • Steven Ting says:

            Hi, I meant how long is the drive from Coober Pedy to Alice? I’m definitely going to spend a couple of days in Coober.


  • Rama Gollapudi says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I have read your experience described here atleast 20 times till now. It is really very helpful and informative and I like the no-nonsense approach of your writing. Finally, I am making the trip to Uluru from Melbourne this July. I have booked a campervan for a family of 4, stopping at Port Augusta and Marla on the way and Coober Pedy while returning. My only concern was phone coverage. Do you recommend renting a satellite phone? Thanks, Rama

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Rama,

      No, I don’t recommend hiring a sat phone for this trip. Get a Telstra sim card for your phone. There is almost complete coverage from Port Augusta to Coober Pedy nowadays, with coverage also at Glendambo, Erldunda and of course, Uluru. The Stuart Highway is a busy road, and if anything happens where you do break down outside of mobile phone coverage, someone will stop to help you. I’ve broken down on the Stuart Highway ALONE and I’ve been helped by passers-by. One time it was an Indian family from Melbourne who helped me!

      I hope this puts your mind at ease, Rama. Enjoy your trip.



  • Rama Gollapudi says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks so much for your advise. I do have Telstra already so that should suffice. I will let you know how the trip went mid-July.



  • Annette says:

    Hi Amanda, the time you have taken to put all your knowledge is writing is amazing and oh so helpful. I am travelling over from NZ to Adelaide, hiring a campervan and heading up to Alice Springs. Your info about phone coverage, fuel, food etc is most helpful but where are we able to fill gas cylinders. We have the rental for about 17 days so will need to fill up. Many thanks.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Annette, I’m assuming you mean bottle LPG gas cylinders, not LPG for vehicles.

      You can refill LPG gas cylinders at all major centres: Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Yulara, Kings Canyon, and of course, there are numerous places to refill in Alice Springs. Many fuel stations even refill, so keep an eye out for these.

      Enjoy you trip!


  • Erin says:

    Hi Amanda! Thanks for your detailed trip description, it has already proven handy in planning our trip. Would you recommend renting a campervan or a car (+ hotel)? We are planning a round trip to Uluru form Adelaide in July.

  • Vageesh Nonavinakere says:

    Dear Amanda,
    Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your experience, knowledge, guide and advice on Road trip to Uluru/Alicesprings. My brother-in-law and his friends are arriving from India for a Great Australian Road Trip. We are planning a very long road trip starting from Melbourne via east coast all the way to Cairns and drive through NT to Alice Springs to Uluru to Melborune via Adelaide. We are planning approximately 10,000km over a period of 18 to 20 days. We are planning to start around second week of November and reaching Uluru around late November. How will be the weather like during mid to late November in NT area? I am a bit concerned about the heat, will it be too hot to drive and visit Uluru during that time? Your advice on night driving in that area is NOTED. In fact we are planning some night driving ( a few hours on some nights), but after reading your post I am rethinking now. We will be driving with Kluger and will make sure that I will get it serviced before starting. Will it be safe to go off road with Toyota Kluger (AWD)? I have never tried, but dirt road should be fine but on sand dunes could be an issue. I have noted your advice re fuel stations, phone coverage, overnight staying, spare parts/wheel and sight seeing locations. I am very excited about this trip and will share my experience upon completion of our road trip.

    I would love to hear some tips from you re our proposed road trip. Any advice and guidance is highly appreciated. We are still sussing out accommodation at several places.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience and advice on your Road Trip. If I need any further advice, would you mind if I contact you directly.

    Take care?


    Vageesh N

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Vageesh,

      Thanks for getting in touch. This will be a quick response as we’re packing for a long trip. Firstly I congratulate you on wanting to a road trip rather than fly everywhere. It is fairly ambitious to do this amount of travelling in the time period allocated. November is likely to be warm to hot, say mid 30s at least. This will mean that all or most activities should be done early in the morning. It would not be too hot to drive but hot weather places a little more strain on your vehicle. Providing it is in good mechanical condition however it should be ok.

      We are not saying don’t drive at night but it is not recommended due to the potential for large animals to be on the road. The Kluger should be ok on all road surfaces but I wouldn’t push my luck driving off-road.

      Take regular breaks and allow time to look at things, try not to lock everything into place as something may occur that prevents you from arriving at that time.

      Cheers, Gary
      If you need to contact us email us at traveloutbackoz@gmail.com.

  • Vageesh Nonavinakere says:

    Dear Amanda and Gary,

    Thank you for your quick reply. As suggested, will plan accordingly. If i need further advice, I will contact you on your email provided. Thank you again and have a great long and safe trip of yours. Will be in touch!



  • bhu vidya says:

    Thanks so much for the article. It gave us a few invaluable tips for our recent school holiday road trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs / Ularu and back again.

  • Sharmaine and Jessica says:

    Thanks for a great guide for this epic journey. How fortunate you all must be seeing it so often!
    My daughter and I are heading off tomorrow and I feel so lucky reading your insights today.
    While I realise you are now away if you do happen to read my post and are able to reply I would be very grateful, as I have just read to take 10 litres of water per person… And wondering if this is only when camping?
    I hired a sat nav just in case and hope not to have to use it.
    If you are in Alice at the beginning of August would love to meet up as our yoga mats are coming along and maybe we could meet for a yoga session or 2
    Happy and safe travels
    Namaste ?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Sharmaine,

      Thanks so much for your kind comments and I’m thrilled that you’ve found our site useful. Regarding water, I strongly recommend carrying 10-20 litres no matter where you’re travelling in the outback, even if you’re not camping. Buy the ‘skinny’ 10 litre containers, as they’re easier to pick up and stash in your vehicle.

      I’m not sure where I’ll be early August at this stage. I’m currently in South Australia, but if I’m back in Alice, I’ll send you an email.



  • HH says:

    Thanks so much for all the information you have posted. You have helped us decide our travel plans

  • Pauline Dean says:

    Hi Gary and Amanda, we had a holiday in May leaving from Adelaide and ending at Alice Springs. The information you supplied in you article was extremely helpful for our trip. So a big thank you to you. Sorry it took so long to pass on our thanks.

  • Jon Moore says:

    Thank you so much for this information! I am planning to make this drive when I come to Australia for the Grand Prix in March. This was VERY helpful and now the journey seems so much less overwhelming.

  • Tina says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you so much for writing this blog. It is very informative. We are a family of four, 7 and 10year old. Planning a road trip from sydney to Alice spring beginning of January. Will it be too hot in NT. Also is it safe to camp? Thanks Tina

  • Margaret Morgan says:

    Dear Amanda
    Thank you so much for your valuable information. We had to go to Alice Springs for an event. We could have flown but I have lived here for over 40 years and had never seen the outback so we decided to drive. People said we were too old (we are in our 70s) to travel the Oodnadatta track and camp but thanks to you we did it and absolutely loved it. The highlight was camping on the east side of the track at Algebuckina bridge. We were totally alone. Absolutely magic. My only comment is we didn’t know about the dingos at Kings Canyon and they stole our dinner! They actually managed to open our eski and enjoyed a $10.60 T-bone steak. We had to drive straight back from Alice and I thought the Stuart Highway would be long and boring but it certainly wasn’t. Didn’t even get to hear most of the e-books we had downloaded. I aslo loved your town. We spent a long time planning this trip and your help was invaluable.
    Thank you so much
    Margaret Morgan

  • Mark says:

    Thankyou. Your blog and your site seeing advice helped make our family trip from Port Augusta to Alice Springs amazing.

  • Peta says:

    Hi Amanda,
    So glad I found your site! We were thinking of doing this trip via a campervan in winter with 2 kids. We were planning two weeks to do the whole trip so plenty of time to stop and explore. However, being winter will it be too cold? Thinking of the nights in a campervan and also the swimming holes we would want to explore.

  • Yas says:

    Hi Amanda,

    This is AWESOME!!! You’ve inspired me to drive up from Melbourne to see Uluru.
    I am hoping to take my 2WD Golf up, I’ve read everything you’ve written and I will heed all of your advice. Just one question: Do the fuel stations carry 95 LPG or higher? The german automobiles wont take 91 unfortunately and I dont want to get stuck! Or I just need to know how many jerry cans to carry to make it through the longest stint without 95.
    Thanks in advance!

  • Marcella Gagliardi says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you for your beautiful site!
    In few days I will be in Melbourne to meet my doughter. I don’t see her since 1 year and I’m very exaited. I’ll rent a 2WD car and drive the Ocean Road to Adelaide and then up to Ayers Rock, included Ururu. We would like end our tour in Darwin but I’ve some doubts about the weather. What can you suggets me? Is it better to fly back from Ayers Rock?
    Thanks a lot

    Marcella from ITALY

  • Paul says:

    This is a ‘must read’ before a trip to the ‘Alice’. I am coming up in March for a couple of weeks exploring by bicycle and am looking forward to discovering a part of Australia that is long overdue for a visit.

  • Derek Snow says:

    Hi Amanda,

    What an interesting read, i read from start to end and was enthralled to say the least – thank you. Is the Stuart Highway fully sealed from Adelaide to Alice Springs ?? …. We are looking at doing this drive in a Ford Fairlane Ghia (Auto Sedan) in September 2018 (2 adults, and a girl aged 16, and boy aged 12)… what’s your thoughts ??


    Derek (Qld)

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Derek,

      Yes, the Stuart Highway is most definitely sealed all the way from Adelaide to Darwin and has been sealed for several decades. Your gran’s Hyundai could do this road easily, so a Ford Falcon will have no troubles. I’ve even driven it in a tiny Barina!



  • Bev says:

    Hi Amanda, what a comprehensive fact sheet for us, thank you! Just wondering is there way that your most recent relevant review/ comment eg 2018 comes up at the top instead of having to scroll through as it starts at 2014 and no doubt many changes from 2014.

  • Karen Rose says:

    Amanda, you gem! I’m planning this road trip currently and this page is the most useful and informative I have come across. THANK YOU 🙂

    I’ve been looking at other pages on your site, and elsewhere on the internet, about the roads between Cairns and Uluru/Alice Springs. Have you ever driven to or from Cairns and do you know whether this route is also sealed and possible in a 2WD camper?

    I will be sure to share your post and look forward to reading more from you!

    Again, thank you so much.

    Karen, UK.

  • Paolo says:

    Hi Amanda,

    me and my wife will be in Australia in december. We would like to try this route, renting a 4wd car and driving from Adelaide to Alice springs. Since we are not Australians and we never had such an experience (we’re mountains people, used to completely different lands) I ask you if you think this is a way that can be safely run by unexperienced people (unexperienced not about driving, but about the environment).
    Second question is about temperature: I know it will be hot in december, but what does actually hot means?
    Last question: we will have to rent a car, then (I think) we will not have all the extras you recommend on the website for travelling outback. If we will drive along the mainroad, do you foresee possible dangers or is it a quite, easy long drive and we must just care about fuel and water?
    Thanks for any answer you will give me.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Paolo, yes it will be hot, probably around the high 30s deg C and maybe even 40 plus. A normal car will do this journey. Just follow our guide on our we post about driving from Adelaide to Alice Springs. Allow at least a couple of days to do this journey and more if you want to stop and see other things along the way. It is about 1500km of sealed road, easy to follow and you need to watch out for animals crossing the road, especially in the morning and late afternoon. I hope this helps. Gary

  • Max says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for the beautiful information. I would start my travel on 24th March 2018 from melbourne to Darwin. Is this the right time and weather conditions? I have to reach Darwin by 28th March. I have a Toyota Camry Hybrid – 2012. Is it the good car to go ahead for this drive. Any thing in specifics I have to take care of. I woiuld be using the TOM TOM GPS as well. Does it work where there is no phone signals?
    My apologies for as asking so many questions but I think it is worth it as I am travelling this long for the very first time in my life and with my talkative wife. 😉

    Your help and advise will be greatly appreciated.


    • Amanda says:

      Hi Max, the car is ok but you have not allowed very much time for this journey! It is about 8 hours drive from Melbourne to Adelaide, plus it will take you about 15 hours from Adelaide to Alice Springs and then about the same from Alice Springs to Darwin and this allows for only fuel stops. The GPS will work fine as it runs off satellites not the phone network. I really think you should have allowed more time for an approximate 3730km trip. Be aware of animals on the road early mornings and around dusk. I hope your wife can drive too as you will be very tired with all this driving. Gary

  • Max says:

    Thanks Amanda,

    I am adding one more day to my journey, so it will be 8-10 hrs drive everyday. And yes my wife would be driving as well.

    Thanks again for the info.


  • Ricky says:

    Hi Amanda
    My wife and I are currently traveling round this stunning country in a Ford Falcon Futura mk 2. We are on our way back to Scotland after nine fantastic years in Melbourne we are in Noosa at the moment and we head off to Cairns on Sunday, and then as they say the fun begins ,
    We plan to go to Perth “Esperance ” via Alice springs and Uluru
    Is this possible and if so are the roads sealed and are there places to stop overnight with petrol stations etc
    Could I tap into your vast knowledge and expertise and ask you for a safe route
    Much obliged

    Ricky Scoular

  • Ricky says:

    Ps we are not scheduled back in Scotland until mid May

  • Graham Burgess says:

    I am driving my little 1929 Austin Seven roadster from Adelaide to Alice Springs leaving 1st June. As my car is slower than the usual modern cars I will be watching the rear view mirror for road trains that might want to overtake. I will scamper off the road if possible to avoid risk to myself and to my little car called Rita. I don’t have seat belts or all the mod cons so I am always aware of the need to see to my own safety traveling the way our forefathers did outback. Earlier drivers of Austin Sevens didn’t have the comfort of tarred roads and they managed so I guess I will manage quite well also. The information in this site is of course valuable for fueling stops on the way and I thank the authors for the trouble taken to publish all the nitty gritty stuff as well, which I reckon can be the most important on any trip. I will have a back up car that will hopefully come to look for me should my little 89 year old rocket spit her dummy along the way. Little Rita crossed the Nullarbor earlier this year without incident so I hope she will get me to Alice without any problems. I will be self sufficient and not need help other than maybe finding my way back to my tent in the dark. ( At my age a couple of times each night) I don’t expect a map is of any benefit when there is only one road to Alice. The descriptions of the roadhouses is good information and I will surely use the dining delights that desert roadhouses are famous for. That includes a cold beer after a long desert road trip. Thanks to this site for giving me confidence for the journey.
    Regards Graham

  • Jac Pleass says:

    I just want to say thanks so much for all the great advice and info on this blog. We are just back from our two week trip from Melbourne to Alice and back again, and what I learned here in preparation was invaluable. I got my Kia Carnival serviced before we left, packed the boot with water, and planned our stops and accommodation. We only drove in daylight (though the low winter sun meant it was a bit hairy driving into Coober Pedy in the early evening, getting there later than I’d planned…we stopped too long at Lake Hart, but totally worth it!), stopping every hour or so to swap driving with my mum. Saw a few animals (emus, sheep, cows, crows and a couple of beautiful eagles on the way home) but only had one lot cross in front of us, a ewe and her little twins. Luckily I was concentrating and had enough time to stop for them. We stopped overnight in Adelaide and Coober Pedy both ways…using Airbnb and motels – I’m not a camper, sorry! Maybe next time I’ll brave the smaller towns and take more time…this time we wanted a good week in Alice to spend with my brother, wife and little niece. Thanks again for this blog, I’ve just reread it and loved knowing this time exactly what you are talking about with each place…it was truly an incredible experience. Cheers, Jac

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Jac,

      Really glad to hear you enjoyed your adventure and it’s given you a taste of the outback and the confidence to do so again. Sounds like you saw plenty of wildlife, and the Eagles are always special to see.

      Thanks again for your kind comments and hope you continue to explore the outback,


  • Jayne Johnstone says:

    Loved reading your trip details from Adelaide to Alice. We are planning a trip next year (2019) from Mackay to Perth and return. Wish there were more people writing the way you do with so much information. We were going to cut out Alice, Coober Pedy, and Uluru but thanks to you, we are definitely going to do it, even though we will be back tracking.

  • Devi Mishra says:

    Hi Amanda, I am planning to drive from Sydney to Alice Spring, Uluru and back to Sydney in Late April next year. Your blog is excellent source with comprehensive coverage to plan the trip. Such a good info at one place. I will be driving diesel engine Range Rover Evoque.I have two questions – 1. is diesel fuel available at all service stations/roadhouses? 2. I am planning for SLOW DOWN driving i.e. enjoying the whole journey and places on the root. How many days should be enough.

  • Elissa says:

    Hi Amanda!

    This is such a great post! It is so informative and detailed – I especially love the “things to look out for” portion for each town. I’m so looking forward to my trip next May! My boyfriend and I are from Singapore and will be using this guide for our trip as 1st time road-trippers! Are there any specific advice that you think we should know? And i’ve been looking around for camper-van but can’t seem to fix on a company. Are there any companies that you would recommend?


    • Amanda says:

      Hmmm…. You could try Wicked Campers, although be careful as they don’t always allow people to drive on dirt roads. Otherwise, Britz – but they’re VERY expensive, unless you can find a rental relocation.

  • Elissa Lee says:

    Hi Amanda!

    This is such a great post! It is so informative and detailed – I especially love the “things to look out for” portion for each town. I’m so looking forward to my trip next May! My boyfriend and I are from Singapore and will be using this guide for our trip as 1st time road-trippers! Are there any specific advice that you think we should know? And i’ve been looking around for camper-van but can’t seem to fix on a company. Are there any companies that you would recommend?


  • Phil Hurn says:

    2nd to 13th September 2018

    my trip info and photos on the link above
    Ever since was a kid wanted to drive to Alice Springs from Adelaide..
    YEA! I at last have done the trip.. what an incredible experience
    I don’t like driving here in NZ but I just loved driving each day as I did this trip on my own

  • Hi Amanda! My husband and I are retiring in a few months and are planning a trip to Australia which will include a road trip from Adelaide to Coober Pedy then on to Uluru. We are spending a few days in each place then flying back. We are renting a Toyota RAV4. I was slightly hesitant about the drive until I read your site. Now I am so excited! Thank you so much for all the detailed information! I’m hoping that you could update us on the ever changing cell phone coverage. Should we rent a Sat phone just in case we break down? Thank you! Our 4th oldest child is a yoga teacher!

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks Christine. Firstly, you DO NOT need a sat phone if you’re doing this trip. This is a major highway trip, so there’s a lot of trucks, other travellers, etc on the road. I’ve even broken down on this road in a wee little Barina – I didn’t need a sat phone to get help. You can read my story here: . Save your money and do a mine tour in Coober Pedy. The mobile phone coverage on the Stuart Highway/Lasseter Highway is all Telstra (patchy) and Optus in Cadney and Kulgera roadhouses. Hope this helps and enjoy your trip.


  • deb says:

    Brilliant information. My wife and I are going next year July August. All the information you have stated is invaluable. We’ll use your blogs as gospel when going. Just a small question, are the nights cold during those months? Thanks again.

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Deb,

      Yes the nights are quite chilly in July and upto mid-August. We regularly have below zero temps in July in the wee morning hours. Bring warm clothes as well as some shorts/t-shirts.



  • Hi! This page is terrific, Amanda. I just purchased your Travel Outback book from Amazon. It said on your other page you can download it as a PDF, but the only options were for various readers. So it had to go to my Kindle. Is there a way?It would be great if you’d have this page as a PDF – is the same info in that book? I haven’t looked it over yet.

    We’re planning a month-long trip to Australia in April 2019. So far have a 2-week NSW train pass route planned. Second-guessed doing that, but too late now. So went with our route. Ending in Brisbane.

    Now trying to see what/where next. Want to see as much of the country as possible in our time. We’re retired & don’t exactly have a time-frame. But we are trying to keep our budget as limited as possible. Only have our plane travel to Aus. – so back home is flexible.

    Uluru is a must-see. So what’s your suggestion on getting there & when per our entire trip planning?

    Cairns for the Reef is also a must. We’re thinking now maybe air to major cities & then car rentals to interior/outback options. The train thing was so time-consuming to get places, especially when compared to similar routes when driving! (Should’ve known!! But thought it would be nice to have to not drive awhile.) Our other must cities: Perth & Darwin. Lastly Melbourne. So do you have any suggestions, tips for us? Much appreciated, if so.

  • Nick says:

    Thanks so much for all the hardwork that went into this invaluable travel guides to an Oz icon highway. ?

    This helped plan my ride last year to spectate at the Finke Desert Race and really helped my Adelaide to Alice ride. ?????

    Back here now to plan 2019 ride. Cheers. N.

  • Sarah says:

    Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for this post! We have just picked up a motorhome and are on our way now! My big 30th present from my husband. Your tips around stops and phone coverage are great as I’ve been able to let family know, and as we are travelling with a toddler, we know how long to keep him occupied between stops 🙂
    Wish us luck!! 🙂

  • Lesley Oliver says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. We followed your plan & recommendations & had a great time. It was a great travel guide.

  • Richard says:

    Hi Amanda i just recently found out about this useful chat forum and as im planning to drive in a rent a car from pt Augusta to Darwin in September with a mate i would appreciate if you could provide me with some useful information.

    I have never done this drive but am used to long distance driving as i regularly drive nonstop from melb to noosa and back. I plan to do this drive nonstop apart from petrol and loo stops..I will do the required planning and find out about the servos and motels along the way. But in case i do decide to overnight do you know of any motels or servos along the way which are open 24hrs. If we drive at night at a significantly reduced speed around 80kph is it still dangerous ? and which are the most dangerous spots for active wildlife?Also are there any other dangers to be aware of along this route?

    Your answers would be greatly appreciated.Thanks Richard.

  • Jenny English says:

    We’re just back from Melbourne to Alice Springs and back via East and west Macs,Kings Canyon, Uluru etc We took a month to be sure to stop and spend time at places as you recommend. We drove our Subaru Forester so didn’t do any off road driving. the roads are great and you can get to many places in an AWD or 2WD.
    This post was so helpful – in firstly conceptualising our trip and in the planning and doing! Thanks so much Amanda for taking the time to share your experience and passion. People’s experience is so much better than government websites.
    We had a fabulous time, Central Australia is so beautiful and diverse as you say. It will be great when Uluru is closed to climbers – it certainly means there are lots of people on the road at present.
    Safe travels to you and to others taking this amazing trip.

  • Eric Parsons says:

    Hi Amanda and Gary, great issue and info on road trip to Alice Springs. Having travelled this road every year myself in the past twenty years or so your information is just as important today as ever was, As a health and emergency ambulance person I can agree very strongly with your safety tips, trip planning and preparation. Travelling these distances with my wife and in the beginning two very young daughters you cannot be too carefull. We enjoyed Alice Springs so much on our first trip that we stayed and worked there until our kids finished schooling. One of our daughters keeps on at me for another camping trip and visit to Alice still every year, great to catch up with friends in the Territory. Over the years we have assisted people who have found themselves in trouble from simple breakdowns to vehicle roll overs, Will be on our way again after covid [19] is finally beaten, cheers and keep safe from Eric and family 12/04/2020

  • Gavin says:

    Can I suggest instead of Glendambo that people stay at Kingoonya. For 3 main reasons. 1. The pub has way more outback/bush atmosphere than Glendambo (I’ve spent weeks at Glendambo, trust me on this), including hot outdoor fires in the cooler months (you might have to ask John to light one if numbers are low). 2. The beers are cheaper. 3. The food is better.

    It’s about 18km further ‘up the road’, however you have to leave the Stuart Highway just past Glendambo, and it’s not the smoothest of roads often, so 4WD is more suitable but 2WD can get there unless really wet which is rare in this part of the world. There is a second longer dirt road that leads back to the Highway, the pub will point that out if you ask.

    The campground is free, firewood provided free, but the caravan park is cheap and much closer to the pub and has hot showers. There are cabins at the pub but somewhat rustic and a shared bathroom. There is fuel at the caravan park and usually cheaper than Glendambo.

    Oh reason #4, a very small town but with wonderful friendly people, do yourself a favour and take the chance to get to know them – like a lot of country folk, they won’t invade your space, but will happily chat if you want to.

  • Lauren says:

    I really enjoyed this information. I’m actually a kid but it was very helpful for my school project, thank you again.??

  • Lauren says:

    Also how much would it cost to travel by car from Adelaide to Alice Springs? I couldn’t seem to find the information.

  • Stephanie says:

    Hoping to get to finally do our road trip in the coming weeks…fingers crossed! Would you think that you could keep to your driving itinerary in a motorhome or towing a van? Or are your driving time estimates factored more for standard vehicles? I’m wondering if we could get from Coober Pedy to Yulara in a motorhome in one day?

    • Gary says:

      Hi there, the driving times are worked out approximately on 100kph so given this distance is a little over 700km, yes, it is possible. Why rush if you have a motorhome? There are quite a few alternative stops along the way but of course this is up to you. Enjoy your travels. Cheers

  • Stephanie says:

    Thanks Gary, we plan to arrive at Yulara to meet up with another travelling party and then we will definitely be slow travelling around the area and on our return journey.

  • Laura Deane says:

    Thank you so much, Amanda and Gary, for this fantastic information. I’m planning a solo road trip from Adelaide to Darwin around May/June this year, so finding this page has been amazing! So helpful. I now feel officially much less daunted.You know there are always good people in the world, but hearing about your experiences of breaking down and getting help from lovely people certainly bolsters my faith in humans! I’m so looking forward to doing this. It’s going to be amazing! I knew enough to get to Kingoonya, and that’s how I found your page 🙂 So glad I found it! Thank you, Laura

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