First Time Traveller’s Guide to the Northern Territory Outback

You can’t really say you’ve been to the “Land Down Under” until you’ve experienced the Northern Territory outback firsthand. And what an experience it would be! Imagine driving your camper van rental and setting up camp in the vast desert inland of Australia; a region teeming with life, surrounded by mountains, deserts and savannahs.

"IMG_6541" BY Rob Chandler via under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at BY Rob Chandler

And because we want you to make the most out of your much-deserved holiday, we’ve compiled a few simple tips that would make your first time travels around the Northern Territory outback safer and more memorable.


1. Early Starts Are A Must

"Closed due to extreme temperatures" BY Robert Young via under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 2.0. Full license terms at BY Robert Young

Keep in mind that it can get very hot in the NT outback during the day. Even if you visit at the end of the winter season, temperatures in the region can easily get higher than 30 degrees Celsius. Make sure that you get up early to do all the activities you planned and visit the places you want. For example, head out to Kings Canyon immediately after sunrise and watch as the canyon is slowly bathed in colour. An early start allows you to get the most out of your trip before the heat makes the outing uncomfortable and tiring.

2. Be Prepared For Long Distances

"Driving from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs" BY Simon Brown under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at BY Simon Brown

One of the things that you need to be prepared for about the Northern Territory outback is that tourist attractions, convenience stores and petrol stations are separated by long distances. This is why having a reliable camper van rental is a must. You need to make sure that your driving around in a safe and comfortable vehicle throughout the trip. You also need to make sure that you have plenty of water with you at all times.

The roads between major tourist spots are easy to drive on but it takes time to get to these different locations. Before you leave, plan your trip carefully and make regular pit stops to recharge and stretch your legs.

3. Gas Up When And Where You Can

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Like we said, you need to prepare for long drives between attractions and this means making sure you have enough petrol at all times. So fill up the tank when you can, where you can. If you’re driving your camper van rental to Uluru for example, start with a full tank so you don’t need to refill the entire tank when you get there, where petrol is a little pricey. Again, there are plenty of petrol stations between attractions. Make a stop and fill up the tank to avoid problems as you go along your trip.

4. Stock Up On Food

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Okay, so this may seem like a no-brainer but you really have to make sure you have enough food for the trip. Not only because you’d be camping out in remote areas within the region, but eating in roadhouses can be a little pricey. Besides, if your camper van rental comes with its own kitchen, why spend a lot of money on restaurants when you can whip up tasty meals in the comfort of your vehicle? Stop at Alice Springs to stock up on food and drink.

5. Fly Nets – Not Fashionable But Essential

"Flies!" BY Alberto .... via Under a Creative Commons Attriution CC BY 2.0. Full license terms at BY Alberto ….

Fly nets have a long way to go before being considered fashionable but when you’re in the Northern Territory outback, you shouldn’t leave your camper van rental without wearing one. As we said earlier, the outback is teeming with life, and unfortunately this includes flies that are just too friendly.

So if you don’t want to spend your entire trip swatting at flies that are buzzing over your head and around your face, buy fly nets for yourself and for your companions. Why let your trip to beautiful outback ruined by pesky flies? Just take the fly nets off when taking photos and put them back on afterwards.


The Northern Territory outback is without doubt, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whether you’re visiting the region for the first or tenth time, it is important to make sure that you’re doing it right. And we hope that these 5 tips can help you do just that.


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