Crossing the outback: Queensland to the Northern Territory

After our lovely tropical beach, rainforest, and lush waterfall experiences, it was time to head off on our long journey to Darwin. It was pretty exciting, neither of us had been to the NT before, however, the excitement only lasts so long when you have two-four days of driving ahead of you. In saying that, it was a really cool experience watching the landscape change and it just solidifies my amazement at the variation of the landscape in our country. Not to mention the sheer size of this place!

We set off early in the mornings to try and beat some of the heat. We were really starting to feel it now as we sat in the van for 8 hours a day with the sun beating in on us. We took the Savannah route (which is above the main one which goes from Townsville) with the plan of heading south to the main road at Normantown, after which the road becomes a bit dubious if you don’t have a 4WD. We saw THREE emus on our first day of travel. I’ve only ever seen one in the wild before, these guys are crazy prehistoric looking birds. They kind of camouflage against the landscape, huh?


Our first main stop was Georgetown, where we got a new tyre to replace a balding one. Then we drove all the way across to Normantown, where we snapped a shot with this ‘big’ thing…an apparent replica of the largest crocodile ever caught in the area. Look at the size of that thing! Crazy!


Georgetown had not just one but TWO big things, so we were grab another snap before we headed south. Yep, it’s a big barramundi.


We headed as far as we could before the sun got too low (and all the little wallabies started to emerge by the side of the road) and stayed overnight at the Bang Bang rest stop. You can find street art in the strangest of places…


The following day, this happened to our tyre (not the new one, thank goodness).


I’ve never burst a tyre QUITE as bad as this before. Thankfully we had a spare to get us into Cloncurry where we could pick up another. We went a little further to Mt Isa and set up camp, as we had some other car issues that we had to attend to. This being our last stop in Queensland, I realised that I was yet to drink a XXXX beer (THE beer of Queensland), so we quickly remedied that. There is actually something to be said for drinking mid-strength beers in hot climates, that’s for sure.


The next day was back to outback driving. The scenery doesn’t change much for long stretches, so you get kind of excited when you see something like this.


I know…wild, right?

Oh, this one time we also got surrounded by cows.


FINALLY, we made it to the border. WAHOO!!


Then it was pretty much back to outback driving, with a roadhouse punctuating the trip every few hundred kms. One of them, smack bang in the middle of nowhere, had about four peacocks. Again, the things you see….


We found a rest stop just in time for sunset, and got to watch the sun go down on central Australia. It was pretty cool.


The next day it was all systems go. We were kind of tired of driving and being in the middle of nowhere, so we were on a mission. We had a kind of interesting drive, as coming the other way were all these solar cars for the world solar races. Some of them were crazy, they looked like little space ships. The poor drivers, it was about 40 degrees and they didn’t have any air con in those tiny little bubbles. They would have been ROASTING.

Finally, we hit Mataranka where we were blessed to find the thermal springs. We melted into the water and floated around for an hour or so, which really revived our bodies and spirits. It is not easy driving for days in 35-42 degree heat (with no showers). There’s definitely nothing glamorous about this lifestyle (but it’s rad fun!)


And with that, I’ll leave this picture heavy post there. I’ve got plenty more to add, so I’ll try and sneak another one in tonight while I still have reception. We’re actually in W.A. now, so I’ve got a bit of a backlog to get us up to speed…I’ll see how I go.


  1. Wow, you are really covering some ground! I can’t believe you are in WA.
    I have a photo of me in front of the NT sign too.
    The water looks so refreshing.
    Did you pass through Daly Waters ?

    1. I know, we are going full speed ahead now that we have a deadline! Hehe the border signs are a bit of a novelty aren’t they?

      Yes, we did pass through Daly Waters. I can’t remember now if we stopped or not – maybe just for petrol. I feel like they have a really old pub there or something. I know I read about it, but we were so zonked from the heat we were missioning to water as quickly as possible hehe

  2. Hi little bear!
    Due to a break down of our camper, we are stuck in Mount Isa now, dont know for how long…
    Can you recommend any vegan cafes or other options in town (within walking distance :))
    Thanx alot,

    1. Hi Hanz, thanks for stopping by! Sorry to hear obout your van breaking down….I know that feeling all too well unfortunately! We only stayed in Mt Isa one night, and just cooked our own food while there so am not too sure what the town is like in terms of veg food. I do remember they had good showers in the info centre though! i just did a quick Google search…it seems they have an African restaurant called Abyssinia – they might be good for some veg options? Also a Mexican fast food place, Zambrero might be able to whip up some bean burritos or something. Good luck!

      1. Thank you!
        Maybe it is useful for other travellers: last night we wrote to Buffs Club, who rang back very friendly and quickly. We got lots of vegan options there, also a nice risotto, stuffed mushroom and sweet potato fries.
        The chef Titus mentioned, that they always can prepare also different vegan meals, if they know one day in advance.
        So, this was our best vegan meal in an australian non-vegan restaurant..

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