08 May, 2019
Last updated on 29 June, 2022
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Posted by Spaceships Crew
The road from Sydney to Alice Springs makes for one of the best road trips in Australia. Take in the wild beauty of the outback, discover cultural gems in little roadhouses, and soak in the wonder of Uluru. You don’t need a lot of special skills or equipment, just a ride, a GPS and time... Oh and of course lots of good road trip tunes!
Your route from Sydney to Alice Springs
The Stuart Highway spans the entire 2,834 km (1,761 miles) distance between Darwin and Port Augusta. The principal north-south route in Australia, the Stuart Highway earned the nickname “The Track,” and most locals will refer to it by that name, so be prepared. The good news is that The Track keeps your primary route simple. So, you can worry more about stop-overs and sidetracks, the true heart of any great road trip.
Driving straight from Sydney to Alice Springs with no stops takes just over 28 hours. Of course, that would be an awful road trip, so expect to spend several days behind the wheel. There are plenty of amazing attractions along the way worth investigating for a couple of days.
Leave time in your schedule for some unscheduled stops. Road trips always have a few surprises, and if you want to take a short detour to visit a park or town, do it. The fun is in the journey, right?
Australia is known for some adventurous roads. Good news! While the Stuart Highway may be your route to adventure, it’s actually sealed. Travel in a campervan to make this one-of-a-kind road trip as relaxed as possible.
Cities and towns between Sydney and Alice Springs
Yulara is just 18 km (10 miles) from Australia's most popular natural wonder. It’s a perfect base camp for regional adventures, and it offers plenty of comfy, modern amenities you might be missing. Resorts and tourist spots offer pools where you can cool off before heading back to the road in addition to plenty of great restaurants, an art museum, and a gorgeous installation called the Field of Light.
About an hour outside Alice Springs, you’ll find Stuart’s Well. It’s like something out of a quirky adventure novel, complete with camels. Stop for a safari, a bite, or supplies at the Roadhouse.
When you reach Alice Springs, be sure to check out the reptile centre, botanical garden, Anzac memorial, and all the little local businesses you'll only find here. It's a unique place, set in a very unique part of the world, and it embodies that beautifully. Even if you only stop for a few hours, it's worth it.
There are dozens of natural wonders on the road from Sydney to Alice Springs. Some of these places may be a little out of your way, but isn’t that the charm of a road trip? The Henbury Meteorite Craters show where heaven met Earth, and the Rainbow Valley Conservation Center shows the outback's wild natural diversity.
Each park and roadside attraction is unique, offering a pinch of whimsy or a glimpse of stunning natural beauty. Refresh yourself with a trip to the Finke River, and look up to wonder at Mt. Connor. Watarrka National Park lets you slip down into King’s Canyon and take on the Canyon Walk.
This goes without mentioning wonders like the MacDonnell Ranges, of course. There just isn’t enough space here to list everything worth visiting. Keep your phone charged and handy. Take advantage of Wi-Fi at restaurants, hotels, and roadhouses to see what surprises are near you or near tomorrow’s route. Remember: your GPS is your best friend.
The ultimate Australian road trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the ultimate Australian landmark: Uluru. The great rock rising out of the scrub and brush practically glows in the sun, and it’s one of Australia’s most well-known national monuments for a reason.
Probably the highlight of your Sydney to Alice Springs road trip: Uluru
Driving gives you the power to start, stop, and wander at your leisure. Bring a tour book if you want some professional insights. Maybe your copilot can read it aloud on the drive up. No book will do this natural wonder justice, though, and be ready to leave the car or camper to get to know this mesmerizing landscape up close and personal.
Daytime reveals lots of little surprises and fascinating details. It also opens up the view. That said, stick around for sunrise and/or sunset. These are the best times to not just see but really experience Uluru.
Are you ready for adventure?
The Stuart Highway opens up Australia for road trips. Little detours dot the route, and you’ll pass more natural wonders than you’ll ever have time to fully explore. Your biggest problem will be narrowing down your itinerary.