In Australia’s Northern Territory, there’s a need for speed. Among its largest states, it’s also Australia’s least populated, meaning that much of its terrain is no man’s land. Here, “just short drive away” can mean a three, four or even five hour endeavor. Luckily, it’s home to the country’s highest speed limits. Quick translation: road trip.
The routes are extreme and endless. Sections of its most isolated roads are breathtakingly apocalyptic, where the earth is scorched—seriously—and soulless, and the rocky road itself is beat red. And yet, there are points—like Darwin, its coastal capital—that are serene, with sandy beaches and stunning sunsets. Pro tip? Leave it to the pros. While it’s possible to take the wheel yourself (4×4 rentals through Britz are ubiquitous), the Northern Territory’s gargantuan sprawl, unsealed roads and countless dead zones are better sorted by a hired navigator. Boutique companies like Offroad Dreaming lend expert, local guidance.
But no matter who leads your itinerary, it will be long and wild—drive fast, and be sure to hit the brakes at these bright spots.
Keith Flanagan is a writer, eater and consummate traveler who loves the journey home to Brooklyn, NY as much as the open road.