Darwin is the country’s smallest capital city but in spite of that, this is a place that gives visitors all kinds of options for leisure and adventure. Some of the best vacation opportunities in the region though are found a little ways from the city itself, so picking up a car hire in Darwin is key to getting the most of your time in the Northern Territory. With the freedom to use Darwin as a base for your adventures, all kinds of different opportunities open up to intrepid explorers. From the wild diversity of Kakadu to the barren sands of the Outback, road trippers from Darwin have some truly special experiences ahead of them.
Without a set of wheels however, you won’t be getting far. Hunting through dozens of different car rental websites isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, but fortunately there’s a better option. AirportRentals.com.au collects all the best deals from a wide range of rental suppliers and lets you see them all in one place.
Booking a Darwin Airport Car Hire
The entire process of booking a cheap car hire from Darwin Airport is extremely straightforward on AirportRentals.com.au. Just throw a few details into the search boxes, like when you need the hire and your planned pick up/drop off times, and hit the big yellow Search button. Then comes the easy bit. You’ll be presented with a list of rental deals and you just have to pick the one you think is best! It’s also possible to filter down your choices by rental brand, transmission, vehicle type, etc. Once you’ve made your pick, the actual booking part of the process will be done in just a few minutes.
Car Hire Brands at Darwin Airport
You’ve got a lot to choose from when it comes to car rental suppliers at Gold Coast Airport. All the car hire companies near the airport work out of in-terminal rental desks, meaning that picking up your rental is a cinch. As well as top names in car hire like Avis, Thrifty and Budget, you can also pick from smaller brands like Redspot, a local Aussie provider, or Firefly which works out of the Hertz desk.
Darwin Airport Information
Darwin Airport underwent a major overhaul in 2015 with more space for both domestic and international travellers - there’s only one terminal for domestic and international services, which makes it easier to find your way to the right rental depot. Free WiFi is available throughout the airport - all you have to do to access it is connect to the DarwinAirport network on your device. You can find ATMs all around the airport, so there’s no need to worry about not having enough cash on hand, and there are even change machines on the ground floor near Giancarlo Café and Bar.
Driving in Darwin and beyond
When it comes to basic road rules, driving in Darwin and the Northern Territory in general isn’t too different from hitting the road anywhere else Australia but there are one or two things to look out for when you’re driving out of Darwin. One important thing to remember is that the weather can get pretty extreme in the tropics of the Northern Territory, so always drive to the conditions, never attempt to cross flooded roads or bridges unless you’re 100% certain of the water depth and road condition, and check the weather forecast before you set out. Also, there’s a chance you’ll come across wildlife crossing the road, especially at dawn, dusk and night - keep an eye out to avoid accidents. Just to make sure the basics are covered: if you’re not from Australia, you should know that everyone here drives on the left hand side of the road. It’s not really a big deal once you get your head around intersections - as long as you’re paying attention you should be fine. For more advice on navigating Aussie roads, you can check out our Australia driving guide.
Getting from Darwin Airport to the CBD
Darwin Airport really isn’t that far at all from the city centre and it’s pretty easy to navigate from the airport into the CBD. Head out of the airport on Charles Eaton Drive, cut across west on Osgood Drive, then take a left on Bagot Road. This will take you straight to Stuart Highway (1) which can bring you the rest of the way into the city.
As we mentioned just before, the road rules in the Northern Territory are pretty much the same as those you’ll encounter everywhere else in Australia. In built up areas the default speed limit is 50 km/h, but this may vary - always keep an eye out for speed signs. There is one section of the Stuart Highway which is totally de-restricted when it comes to speed, so drivers can use their own judgement to limit their speed. Elsewhere outside of built up areas, the limit is usually 110 km/h - again, keep a lookout for signs to let you know when you’re entering these zones. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05% - though if you’re on a learner/provisional licence or don’t have a NT driver licence, the limit is absolutely zero. Essentially, you should be totally alcohol free if you’re planning to drive on Northern Territory roads.
Darwin Petrol Stations
When you pick up your car hire from Darwin Airport, you should be able to head on your merry way without having to worry about fuel for a while, as car rentals generally come with a full tank. But when your trip is wrapping up and you’re getting ready to turn over the keys to your rental vehicle, you’ll need to find a service station near Darwin Airport to fill up, because it’s standard for all rental suppliers to require you to return the car with a full fuel tank. BP on Bagot Road is relatively close to the airport as is United Petroleum on Bagot Road and Coles Express Casuarina on the corner of Dripstone and Trower Roads.
Road trips from the Darwin
While you’ll probably want to stick around Darwin for at least a day or two to explore the city, don’t forget that there are dozens of mind-blowing destinations within road trip reach, so get out your map, check out a few itineraries and set a course for adventure.
● Kakadu National Park
This is one of the best places in the nation to get a taste of what life what like on this continent millions of years ago. Kakadu National Park is absolutely brimming with life of all kinds, partly due to how many different kinds of environments sit side by side inside this enormous park. More than 280 kinds of birds call Kakadu home, not to mention the dozens of mammal and reptile species that roam the park, making this a wildlife lover’s nirvana. There’s a fair bit of human heritage here too, as aboriginal Australians have lived in the area for at least 40,000 years and there’s plenty of prehistoric sites remaining for visitors to discover.
● The Red Centre
Prepare yourself for a long haul trip into the centre of Australia to discover some of the country’s most iconic and awe-inspiring landscapes. After passing through the city of Katherine it won’t be long before you’re driving through the red sands of the Outback. From odd little highlights like the UFO Capital of Australia to the ancient sandstone bulk of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) there’s plenty of amazing highlights along the way to break up the long peaceful stretches of isolation and alien landscapes.
● A Tropical Wilderness
If you’re up for a bit of adventure and aren’t afraid to leave the beaten track, a trip from Darwin to Broome could be just the thing. Although you don’t have to take a 4WD vehicle on this trip, it’ll definitely open up some amazing opportunities that you won’t be able to take advantage of otherwise. For example, Purnululu National Park, with its wild vistas and spectacular striped sandstone range (known as the Bungle Bungles) is only accessible by 4WD. Then there’s the Gibb River Road, which is legendary for its natural beauty and extreme remoteness. Don’t forget to bring a lot of extra water and a few cans of spare petrol with you - in the case of an emergency, it could well save your life.
● Overlander’s Way
If you head east instead of west from Darwin, you can end up traversing Overlander’s Way, following in the footsteps of some of Australia’s original European pioneers. This trip gives you a great overview of what Australia can offer, ranging from urban attractions, tropical wilderness, dusty Outback, the sparkling waters of the Coral Sea and colourful sea life of the Great Barrier Reef. Whether you finish up your trip in Townsville, Cairns, or want to keep exploring even further afield, a journey from Darwin to the east coast will leave you with all kinds of stories to make your friends jealous.
Darwin Airport Car Rental Pick Up Depots
Sure, this section isn’t quite as fascinating as cool road trip destinations, but regardless you might find some helpful info here, so give it a quick glance over at least. All the car hire suppliers near Darwin Airport are located in-terminal, which makes picking up your rental and heading on your way a cinch. Car rental brands with desks at Darwin Airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot, Thrifty. You can find Auto Europe at one of other rental depots (check with your supplier which one exactly), Apollo and Firefly can be found at the Hertz desk and Keddy by Europcar operates out of (you guessed it!) the Europcar desk.
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