Car rental Darwin: tips, recommendations & cheap booking

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Important info & helpful tips

Car hire Darwin

In the far north of the state of Northern Territory, Darwin is located opposite the Timor Sea, which is bordered by Indonesia. Here it is always warm and in the rainy season additionally wet. Darwin is often perceived as a civilized bastion in the wild northern Australian bushland. In the tropical metropolis, inhabitants of Asian origin, Europeans and Aborigines characterize the colorful and very multicultural cityscape. To explore the vast and extremely striking surroundings, it is essential to get a suitable rental car in Darwin.

At one of the world's smallest internationally connected airports, planes land from all major Australian cities – some even from Singapore, Bali, Jakarta, Malaysia and the Philippines. The modern terminal resembles that of a provincial airport and has customer counters for the car rental companies Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty. More than elsewhere, the time of year determines what type of car is appropriate.

Condition of the roads

In general, the climate in Darwin is divided into a dry season from May to October and a rainy season from November to April. During the transitional periods of about four weeks each, "pre-trips" and "after-trips" can affect the condition of the roads. In addition to heavy rainfall of up to 300 millimeters per square meter per day, cyclones can damage the roads. Closures are always to be expected in the rainy season and the transition weeks. Rainfall can turn rivers into raging torrents far away and locally unnoticed.

Driving into the city


Darwin Airport is located about 15 kilometers north of the city center. The layout of the city, however, stretches widely across the entire spit of land on which it is located. If you want to drive to a northern part of the city, for example, you can cover a much shorter distance to your destination, as the airport is centrally located on the headland. The traffic volume is almost always low. The exit of the airport points in northern direction. Those wishing to drive to the western parts of the city, including the city center, follow McMillans Road and Bagot Road each to the left until they meet Stuart Highway (1).

The Stuart Highway leads to the right directly into the city center with the Central Business District (CBD). A precise parking system applies in the CBD, allowing for different parking times and rates. A brochure can be requested from the car rental companies or on the official internet portal of the city of can be downloaded.

Recommended excursions by rental car from Darwin

There are many great highlights to explore with the rental car from Darwin. But even for getting around the sprawling city, having your own vehicle is highly recommended:

Extensive urban area

The north-south extension of Darwin is about 25 kilometers in a west-easterly direction ten kilometers. Orientation is easy and a possible "trial" always lasts only a few hundred meters until a coast, the airport or the Stuart Highway comes into view again. If you have a larger rental car and a tent or a campervan or motorhome at your disposal, you can also consider a stay at one of the campgrounds in and around Darwin.

Mindil Beach & Night Market

Mindil Beach

The closest beach to the city center is Mindil Beach, which is about two kilometers from the CBD. The eponymous and highly recommended Mindil Beach Sunset Market does not take place on the beach, but on the western edge of the green area "The Gardens. In the dry season there is a lot of activity here twice a week from the early evening onwards. The stalls represent and illustrate the geographical situation of Darwin perfectly. Southeast Asian cuisine, Aboriginal art, crocodile and kangaroo meat and a huge selection of fish are typical local representatives. In addition, the varied live music contributes to an always relaxed atmosphere.

Casuarina Beach

At the northern end of Darwin lies the far stretched Casuarina Beach. It is often deserted and bathers are not to be discovered for kilometers. In and around Darwin's coasts live the huge saltwater crocodiles, which partly reach the harbor and the beaches. In addition, the life-threatening cube jellyfish appear here more frequently in the rainy season. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to pay attention to warning signs.

Jumping Crocodiles

Jumping Crocodile

If you want to approach the crocodiles without danger, drive 65 kilometers west with your rental car. After about 35 kilometers on the Stuart Highway, visitors have to turn left at Humpty Doo onto the Arnhem Highway (36). Just before the bridge over the Adelaide River, on the right side of the road, is the site of the Adelaide River Queen Cruises. On the boat tours crocodiles are lured from the boat with pieces of meat, which they grab in meter-high jumps. A campground is attached. Those who want to join an organized tour from Darwin can of course do so.

Kakadu & Litchfield National Park

Kakadu National Park

After a further drive on the Arnhem Highway of about 100km the Kakadu National Park begins. It is considered one of the most beautiful national parks on the continent and should definitely find its place on the to-do list of any visitor to the region. Tourist infrastructure (including accommodation) is available. Whether Ubirr, the Mamukala Wetlands, the East Alligator River, the Jim Jim Falls or the Twin Falls, here nature lovers get their money's worth. In addition, a side trip to the neighboring Litchfield National Park, which is often called the small version of the Kakadu National Park, is worthwhile. This is also characterized by a rich flora and fauna as well as many great sights that show the Northern Territory from its best side.