After selling our beloved Val the Van, we decided to experiment with a campervan relocation. This is when the rental company allows you to drive their vehicle from A to B in a short time frame for a fairly low cost. We managed to get a good deal on a fancy little Apollo camper for three days between Darwin and Alice Springs. We had to pay a refundable bond, but only paid $16 for the three days hire. We even got a small contribution to our fuel costs.
The Stuart highway is pretty much one straight road that runs between Darwin and Alice Springs. If you have ever imagined driving in Australia, this is the landscape your dreams are made of. The bright blue sky stretches endlessly above you and the road disappears into the distance. The hot sun beats down and dusty red earth surrounds you covering everything. Towns marked on the map turn out to be nothing more than petrol stations, with quirky characters who could easily be psychotic murders.
We spent around six hours a day driving in the northern territory, in order to cover the 1500km. It was somewhat repetitive and there was always the danger of losing concentration but we tried to keep alert by singing along to our favourite power ballads.
We stopped at a few places on the way, including a night camping at Karlu Karlu, also known as the Devils Marbles. These large granite boulders provide an eerie addition to the otherwise flat unassuming landscape. They glow beautifully at sunrise and sunset and are great for exploring. Karlu Karlu is one of the most popular outback attractions and gets very busy, arrive early to ensure a camping spot.
It was an epic drive and we were really glad we did it ourselves rather than on a bus journey, although we were quite relieved to reach the relative civilisation of Alice Springs.