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Heading south from Darwin along the Stuart Highway, you will eventually reach Alice Springs in Central Australia, or The Red Centre as it is also known. Along the way there are several places to stop to break up your 1500km journey. The Daly River also follows Stuart Highway along until Mataranka, and offers fishing on the river. The area also holds the Merrepen Arts Festival during June/July hosting local arts and crafts.

Batchelor and Adelaide River are the first places you will come across. Batchelor offers a swimming pool and a beautiful butterfly farm. There are several places to stay whilst in Batchelor, as well as at Adelaide River which has many airstrips as well as a cemetery for the people who dies during the Japanese air raids in 1942-3.

Darwin SunsetJust south of Adelaide River you can leave Stuart Highway and join a more scenic route with some pleasant places along the route. Places include the Butterfly Gorge National Park which has several campsites, and as the name suggests butterflies, Douglas Hot Springs National Park with numerous hot springs as well as a camping area and the spectacular Robyn Falls.

Further south again is Pine Creek an old gold mining town. You can find out about the history of Pine Creek from the Gun Alley Gold Mining as well as the Pine Creek Museum. You can also get to Kakuda National Park from here, as well as visit the small pub at Grove Hill along the original road to Darwin and the pretty Umbrawarra Gorge National Park, with its own campsite and croc free swimming pools.

Katherine GorgeJust before you reach Katherine you can follow the track to beautiful Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk) National Park, stopping at Edith Falls on the way. There are campsites in both areas, where you can relax amongst the beauty of the scenery. Edith Creek offers swimming in a pretty pool at the base of the falls, although watch out for freshies. You can also walk to some more pools as well as the rapids above the waterfall. Walking is also worth while in the Nitmiluk National Park, as there are some wonderful tracks.

Katherine StreetFrom Katherine you can head across to Western Australia, which is only 513km to Kununurra. You will recognise the varying landscape and Boab trees as you approach Western Australia. Also be prepared to deposit of any fruit and veg. The Victoria Highway also floods during the wet season, which is surprising looking down at the river from the Victoria River Bridge during the dry season.

There are numerous nature parks you will pass on your way to Western Australia. The first is the Flora River Nature Park, which has a campsite so you can stop off. The river is very pretty with small waterfalls created by the limestone tufa outcrops.

Further west is Timber Creek where you can join a boat trip to spot fish, turtles, salties and freshies. From here you can also visit the Gregory National Park which is good for fishing and walking and also has several campsites. Call the Bullita Ranger Ph:(08) 8975 0833 or the Parks and Wildlife office Ph:(08) 8975 0888 for details about the park.

The final park you will come across in Northern Territory is the Keep River National Park. There are some wonderful sandstone formations which you can explore from the numerous walking trails. You can also camp at Gurrangalng and Jarrnarm.

Mataranka ResortSouth from Katherine there are several towns dotted along the highway on the way to Alice. The first one you will come across is Mataranka. The main attraction to Mataranka is its gorgeous thermal pool, set amongst beautiful rainforest. The Mataranka Homestead Resort is a short walk from the pool and makes the perfect end to an exciting day of canoeing and rowing on the Waterhouse River.

Nearby Elsey National Park is also a great place to stay. If you are a fishing enthusiast then you should head along the Roper Highway just slightly further south along the Stuart Highway. Roper bar is situated on the edge of the Arnhem Land and offers great fishing.

Larrimah is further south and has a good museum. Daly Walters is further south from here and home to the oldest pub in Northern Territory and also with an aviation history to it. After Newcastle Waters you will pass through Elliott which is a cattle town, before reaching the border to the dry land of central Australia at Renner Springs. Fishermen should head along the Carpentaria Highway to Borroloola for great Barramundi fishing. Alice Springs Street

You can find out about the town in the museum within the old police station. From Borroloola you should visit the Barranyi National Park, Bukalara Rock Formation and Caranbirini Waterhole.

Further south now approximately 550km from Darwin and 500km from Alice you will reach Tennant Creek and nearby Three Ways. Both places are a long way from anywhere, and Tennant Creek is only the second large town (along with Katherine) that you will come across on the journey between Darwin and Alice.



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