Darwin Motorcycle Rental/Hire
Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory (or NT) and it’s often the start or end point of a Motorcycle Adventure through the red heart of Australia. Renting a motorbike for a ride in the Northern Territory instantly gives you access to some of the most incredible adventure motorcycle touring and scenery that Australia has to offer. Beautiful beaches, fantastic geological features, ancient human history, Marine reserves, coral reefs, Kakadu National Park, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine Gorge and crocodiles!
Darwin Motorbike Rental Collection Points
Compass Expeditions offers the opportunity to rent a BMW motorcycle when booked in advance and collected from a Motorcycle Shop or other location in Darwin in the Northern Territory. Most rentals beginning or ending require a one way fee to be paid, but get in contact via e-mail because we may have a motorbike already located in Darwin at the time you are interested in, which could mean that a one way fee is not necessary.
Where to ride in the Darwin, Northern Territory Region
Starting or ending a motorbike rental in Darwin quickly gives you access to some beautiful National Parks, beaches and provides a fantastic stopping point for Around Australia Motorcycle Adventures or Darwin to Melbourne Motorbike journeys. The NT is a huge state, which is very sparsely populated compared to the other states of Australia.
Weather in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory of Australia has two very distinctive climate zones that you need to be aware of when planning a motorcycle rental in the region.
In the far north of the state including Dawin, Kakadu National Park, Katherine, The Gulf Country, Arnhem Land and most of the Savannah Way the year is divided into the summer wet season and dry season. They are called that for a reason so it is important to plan your motorbike adventure accordingly.
The Wet Season stretches from November until April and during these months you can expect high humidity with monsoon rains (in January) and thunderstorms. Often the temperatures range from about 25 degrees Celcius (77 F) through to around 33 degrees Celcius (91 F). Most days the temperature will increase and then reach a point where the afternoon or evening thunderstorms create spectacular displays and by January these become monsoon rains which dump huge volumes of water until the air cools and the temperature drops and the sun comes out again.
It is still a fantastic time to visit the Tropical North as the rivers are running at full capacity, waterfalls have huge amounts of liquid life tumbling over them, the area is lush, green and alive. The rain generally falls in the late afternoon and evening but there can, of course, be days when there is rain all day or over several days. The implication when riding a motorcycle in the far north is that roads can suffer closures and this is especially true of the Savannah Way as rivers can be running too high to cross.
The Dry Season in the far north is the most popular time to visit with mainly dry weather running from May until October, temperatures ranging between 21C (70F) to 32C (90F) and cooler evenings. The rivers reduce back down to normal levels and many of the crocodiles from places like Katherine Gorge are relocated back to lower level rivers to make it safer for visitors.
The Red Centre and Outback Australia
Weather in the areas south of the tropical north such as Alice Springs, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Devils Marbles, Kings Canyon, Tennant Creek, etc is much drier with semi-arid conditions and distinctive seasons that make it possible to ride motorcycles all year round. The summer months of December–February sends average temperatures high to range between 20C (68F) and 35C (95F) but sometimes there are temperatures exceeding 45 Celcius (113F). The winter months of June–August creates average temperatures between 3–20C (37–68F) so it is important to plan well for those cooler evenings. Spring and autumn in the red centre brings temperatures in between these extremes and makes for some fantastic motorcycle adventures. At all times though it is important to heed the signs about road closures as large fines are issued to those who ride on a dirt road deemed to be unfit for vehicles due to the surface being destroyed by wheel ruts in the mud, etc.
It is important to plan in advance and to know what temperatures can be expected at your chosen time of travel as the extremes of temperature and rural nature of the areas can cause issues when proper care is not taken. Advise others when you are travelling and check in with them once complete and during your trip so that help can be called if needed. We strongly recommend renting a Satellite Phone when travelling through these outback locations.
The capital of the NT is an adventure playground that is popular with all age groups and with good reason. It’s surrounded by beautiful beaches, Islands and National Parks full of waterfalls, streams and rivers. The surroundings offer hundreds of Outback Tracks, which you can explore during your motorbike rental, and there are plenty of camping options. There are parks to see the giant crocs in action, Aboriginal Cultural centres, Museums, Art Galleries, fishing and guided tours that start from here.
It’s a fairly small city but there are plenty of accommodation options, bars, restaurants, theatres and relaxing with a beer after a hard day exploring is highly looked forward too.
It is a hot, humid city so it’s important to pick the best time to travel to the region.
Modern crocodiles have existed for 100 million years and while they did get hunted ruthlessly many years ago, their number has since rebounded due to conservation efforts. Saltwater Crocodiles can grow up to 7 metres long and weigh up to 1000 kg although chances are the biggest you would see is 4 – 5 metres. There is a fairly good chance that you could encounter a crocodile in the wild especially if you are spending some time in the north. They can be found from Broome in Western Australia all the way around to northern Queensland and this means that you must pay attention at all times when near the water. They can be found swimming out in the sea as well as in rivers, miles inland from the coast so always pay attention to the signs advising about the dangers. It is safest to assume that any body of water could contain potentially dangerous crocodiles and to not take unnecessary risks. Fresh water crocodiles are smaller and not known as man-eaters but, while less of a danger, they can still inflict painful bites.
There are many parks such as Crocosaurus Cove, Crocodylus Park and other options for seeing these amazing creatures in a safe environment. About 65 km to the south of Darwin on the Arnhem Highway towards Kakadu are several Jumping Crocodile cruise operations that demonstrate the Saltwater Crocodile’s tendency to leap vertically out of the water in order to catch prey near the waters edge.
Litchfield National Park Famous for its flat Magnetic Termite mounds that the insects build in a north-south direction, to regulate the heat in the hottest part of the day, and also for its numerous waterfalls, Litchfield National Park lies about 100 odd kilometres to the South West of Darwin on the Stuart Highway. With many swimming holes, and bush walks it is a popular area and is worth a visit.
Mary River National Park
Located 150 km to the east of Darwin off the Arnhem Highway, the Mary River National Park is a fantastic option to explore with plentiful bird life, the largest number of saltwater crocodiles in the NT and plenty of experiences to be had throughout the waterways, pools, river and wetlands. Note that there can be road closures during the wet summer season (October to April).
Kakadu National Park
Covering some 19,000 square kilometers and located just 170 km southeast of Darwin, Kakadu National Park is one of the main highlights of Australia and well worth a visit during a Melbourne to Perth Motorbike Adventure or during a Darwin Motorcycle Hire.
Local people have been in this area for more than 50,000 years and there are various cultural and Rock Art examples that testify to this heritage. Rangers also can give more information about this fascinating history and we highly recommend learning as much as possible about the region and history while staying there.
The geography of the park includes stepped cliffs, gorges, escarpments, flat plains, flood-lands, basins and waterways and with the seasonal monsoons from January to April causing vast rainfall and flooding the region has an incredible diversity of plant and animal life through the forests, shrubs and wetlands.
More than 1700 varieties of plant inhabitat the park and the waterways and surroundings are alive with 117 species of reptile, 25 types of frog, 74 types of mammal and numerous bird and insect species, especially in the wetlands. A Yellow Water Billabong cruise is a journey that will become embedded in the memory banks. A great opportunity to see the saltwater crocodiles, birds swooping and hunting for meals, snakes and some beautiful scenery on the billabong.
One of the most important facts to remember before entering Kakadu is the huge population of Saltwater crocodiles to be found in the waterways, lakes, ponds and surrounding area. A large part of Crocodile Dundee was filmed around the park and certainly some of the lessons from that movie should be heeded.
While it is safe to swim in some of the other parks, if care is taken, it is very important to pay attention to the signs located within Kakadu which point out the dangers and where you definitely should not be swimming.
There are good camping options within the park and various accommodation options to consider.
Nitmiluk National Park
Continuing south from the Arnhem Highway/Stuart Highway junction you’ll find the 20 Million year old Nitmiluk National Park with the main feature, Katherine Gorge, carving its way through the ancient sandstone and broken up into a series of waterfalls and rapids.
There are options here for kayaking and canoeing through the gorge as well as flat bottom boat tours. Swimming here during the dry season is generally considered safe due to the removal of saltwater crocodiles at the end of each wet season back down to the lower lying waterways. Once the wet season begins the waters rise and the “salties” are able to make their way back up river and into the gorge.
Mataranka Thermal Pools
Worth a stop along the way are the thermal pools at Mataranka to wash the dirt off from the adventure so far.
Daly Waters, Tennant Creek and Devils Marbles
In the heart of the outback along the Stuart Highway is the town of Daly Waters which has a historic pub that is worth a look at along the way. Plenty of souvenirs from visitors from all over the world have been pinned to walls including foreign currency, flip-flops and much more.
Tennant Creek lies about 1000 km south of Darwin and 500 km north of Alice Springs on the Stuart Highway and while it is well known for its Aboriginal Artwork and historical significance it is mainly just a fuel and accommodation stop in the journey.
The Devils Marbles is an incredible geological formation of rounded boulders that appear to be placed across the landscape 393 km north of Alice Springs. The Stuart Highway passes right between the boulders and it is a fantastic place to stop and get some photos during a Darwin to Melbourne motorcycle journey. Formed over millions of years by mechanical and chemical processes, the erosion has worn away the sandstone covering that lay above the granite and exfoliation has gradually rounded off the edges of the granite so that now they appear to balance atop the rock surface waiting to be propelled by a giant hand across the surface. Sunrise and sunset is a fantastic time to see the boulders due to the play of light across the surface and the colour of the rock appearing to change in the red/golden light.
Alice Springs or simply Alice is the 3rd most populated town in the Northern Territory with just under 30,000 people. It lies approximately the same distance from Darwin as it does from Adelaide, in South Australia, and surrounding the town is the vast Australian Outback and the McDonnell Range.
It is possible to rent one of our motorcycles from Alice Springs or to start or end a one way trip from Alice if arranged in advance, but this will require one way fees to be paid for the motorcycle to be moved there from one of our other locations. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
The West and East MacDonell Range offer 4×4 tracks to ride, walking and hiking opportunities, swimming holes, camping spots and plenty of wildlife to view in this incredible landscape. In the east Macs is the N’Dhala Gorge which has thousands of rock carvings, cave art and historical and cultural sites of interest. There are also many areas rich in gems in this region of the Northern Territory so keep you eye out for likely candidates during your travels.
Hot Air Balloon over the Outback
There are options for early morning Hot-Air Balloon flights over this beautiful region and there is no method of travel more incredible then silently floating above the red earth in the heart of Australia.
One of the Territory’s most spectacular sites is Kings Canyon, which offers steep 100 metre cliffs down to Kings Creek which runs through the bottom of the canyon. There are a few walks here to be enjoyed and the 3- 4 hour Kings Canyon Rim Walk follows the top edge of the canyon in a loop back to the start while there is also the option of a walk along the base of the canyon.
There are accommodation and camp options and Kings Canyon is located approximately 6 hours ride from Alice Springs via the paved route.
This world famous landmark is the spiritual heart of Australia and represents great cultural significance to the Pitjantjatjara people of the region (who refer to themselves as Anangu – People). Located approximately 450 km by road from Alice Springs, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (located 58 km away by road) are the two main features that make up the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
No matter that you may feel that you have seen the image of Uluru/Ayers Rock multiple times, there is no comparison to the sense of awe and wonder that you feel when you are in the Red Center and the smooth, eroded surface of Uluru glows out from atop the flat plains in the evening sunset.
The huge sedimentary rock feature rises some 348 metres above the surroundings plains and channels what small amount of rain that falls in the area down the side to the plants that ring Uluru.
Riding a motorbike to Uluru should be a part of any major motorcycle journey in Australia and, as well as the natural beauty of the features, there is also a huge cultural significance and traditions that are fascinating to discover with a local Pitjantjatjara Guide.
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
Another landmark of great importance to the indigenous people of this region is Kata Tjuta meaning “many heads” in the Pitjantjatjara language and its obvious to see why they have received this name. The 36 domes of rock protrude from the desert floor to a maximum height of 546 metres, which is a couple of hundred metres taller than Uluru/Ayers Rock. Estimated to be around 600 million years old these rocks are worth seeing and if you are in the area, chances are you won’t be able to miss them.
All photos and video – Compass Expeditionsby