To see some lesser known adventure spots of the Northern Territory, embark on a Binns Track self-drive adventure. This 2,191km track takes you from Mt. Dare at the border of South Australia and the Northern Territory, through Alice Springs, up to Timber Creek, all while touring through vibrant natural landscapes. With these abundant opportunities for outdoor adventure, at least five days should be taken to experience this route. Being on the road for this length of time, and needing to cross some untamed terrains, a 4WD vehicle, like the Britz Outback or Britz Safari, is ideal. Not only can these handle off-road tracks, but they can ensure comforts are with you throughout the drive.
8 - 10 days
Mt Dare to Timber Creek
Best Time of the Year
May to October
- Mt Dare to Timber Creek
- Devil's Marbles
- Witjira Nat Park
- Alice Springs
Mount Dare to Alice Springs
Distance 773km - Driving Time 17 hours
The adventure starts at Mt Dare in South Australia. Watching a sunrise over the panorama of sand is a memorable start to this journey. Travel through the scenic Witjira National Park which features along Oodnadatta Track for around 90km. Being on the edge of the Simpson desert, there are up to eight-metre high sand ridges that you will get the chance to marvel at as you pass. Along the way you will see Molly Clark's Old Andado Homestead which makes an ideal spot for a break from the wheel and a picnic lunch.
Accommodation to suit all budgets can be found in Alice Springs, inclusive of camping sites. Visit the attractions in this outback town in the heart of Australia - including the Royal Flying Doctor service and Reptile Centre - and gain some cultural experiences such as a bush-tucker tour with Indigenous locals.
If you aren't in a rush, which you shouldn't be when on holiday, take a few days out from the Binns Track to hike along the trails in the West MacDonnell Ranges that neighbour Alice Springs. Picturesque gorges and natural pools can also be found, perfect for a refreshing swim.
Alice Springs to Gem Tree
Distance 140km - Driving Time 2 hours 20 mins
Departing from Alice Springs, continue through Ruby Gap National Park which is the site of the first mining rush in Australia following the discovery of rubies in 1886. Explore the remote and rugged environment where you can spot an array of wildlife, especially close to the river bed. Since this isn't a long leg of the journey, you may consider detouring to Ross River Homestead to learn about outback history and have the opportunity to go on a scenic helicopter ride over the West Macs.
Follow Stuart Highway from Alice for about 68km, and then Plenty Highway for another 70km to reach Gem Tree Caravan and Tourist Park. Called the 'gateway to the gemfields' there is a lot of hands-on activities to get involved in while here. Take a fossicking tour to experience the thrill of finding rich red gems in parts like Mud Tank. Come nightfall, enjoy a set menu dinner at the renowned Campoven kitchen, also featuring entertainment under the stars.
Gem Tree to Tennant Creek
Distance 510km - Driving Time 7 hours
Plenty Highway and Stuart Highway are the roads to follow again on this leg of the Binns Track road trip. Drive through the Davenport Ranges National Park in the Barkly Tablelands. Ideal for 4WD enthusiasts, there are serene walking trails and swimming locations you can reach.
On the way from the Ranges to Tennant Creek, be sure to detour to Devil's Marbles - huge granite boulders scattered across a valley near the settlement of Wauchope. Find out about some of the ancient legends surrounding these - being secrets, only a few of these are allowed to be shared with visitors. While there are no official walking trails at this site, there are a few informal self-guided tracks that can be taken.
Tennant Creek, the fifth largest town in the Northern Territory, is ideal for a stay. While here, visit the town's Social History Museum at Battery Hill to discover the mining story of the town, as well as the Nyinkka Nyunyu Arts and Cultural Centre to learn about the lifestyle of the local Indigenous people.
Dunmarra to Timber Creek
Distance 600km - Driving Time 7 hours 30 mins
An easy self-drive, continue along the Stuart Highway to reach Dunmarra. You will pass several cattle stations and panoramas of limestone. Stop to learn some history about the Frew Ponds Overland Telegraph Line Memorial Reserve and soak up the fresh air as you hike along a trail that meanders between 52 of the original Oppenhiemer poles. Set up camp at caravan parks in Dunmarra for a relaxing night before the last leg of the road trip.