Getting there & away
You can reach/leave Darwin by bus on three routes: the Queensland route through Three Ways to Mt Isa; the WA route from Broome and Kununurra; or straight down the Track (the Stuart Hwy) to Alice Springs. Greyhound Australia (13 14 99; www.greyhound.com.au; Transit Centre, 69 Mitchell St; information counter 6am-3.45pm Mon-Fri, to 1.30pm Sat & Sun) runs daily services via Katherine on all of these routes.
Backpacker-type buses offer good alternative transport, as they stop at many sights along the way. Desert Venturer (1300 858 099; www.desertventurer.com.au; per person $520) makes four-day trips between Darwin and Cairns year-round.
If you’re planning to buy or sell a car, you can go to a dealership (see Motor – Used in the Yellow Pages), check noticeboards at hostels and internet cafés, or try the Traveller’s Car Market (0418-600 830; Peel St; 8am-4pm), where you play dealer, sitting with your vehicle.
Darwin has numerous car-rental operators; most offer a range of vehicles, including 4WDs:
Avis (8981 9922; www.avis.com.au; 89 Smith St) Also at the airport.
Budget (8981 9800; www.budget.com.au; cnr Daly St & Doctors Gully Rd)
Europcar (8941 0300; www.europcar.com.au; 77 Cavenagh St)
Hertz (8941 0944; www.hertz.com.au; cnr Smith & Daly Sts)
Thrifty (8924 0000; www.rentacar.com.au; 64 Stuart Hwy, Stuart Park)
Top End 4WD & Car Hire (8941 2922; www.topend4wd.com.au; 1 Westralia St, Stuart Park)
Hiring a campervan for a week or two of touring can be worthwhile when you consider that cooking facilities and accommodation are included.
Backpacker Campervans (1800 670 232; www.backpackercampervans.com) Unlimited kilometres on a variety of vehicles, including a 4WD option.
Britz (8981 2081; www.britz.com) Huge range of limitless-kilometre vehicles.
Kea (1800 252 555; www.keacampers.com) A fleet of fully self-contained vehicles (including bathrooms) as well as a 4WD camper.
Wicked (1800 246 869; www.wickedcampers.com.au) Unlimited kilometres in budget vans (with CD player and bed linen); there’s an esky instead of a fridge.
Bookings for the Ghan are recommended and can be made through Trainways (13 21 47; www.gsr.com.au).
Darwin’s train station is 15km east of the centre, down Berrimah Rd. A shuttle bus meets all services; it departs from the Transit Centre and costs $10.
Direct daily domestic services are operated by the following airlines. Smaller routes are flown by local operators; ask your travel agent.