Australia, Camping, Central Australia, Northern Territory

Central Australia Road Trip With Kids (The Route We Took)

Central Australia Road Trip With Kids


Did you know that there are quite a few places to camp in Central Australia ? This means that you and your family can visit all of those iconic landmarks without having to remortgage the house.  Embarking on a Central Australia road trip with your kids to see Australia’s much loved icons is a ‘must do’ experience.

I recently completed an epic road trip from the East Coast of Australia to Uluru and back with my husband and young kids, camping in a roof top tent along the way.

central australia road trip with kids
The road into Tnoralla (Gosse Bluff) in Central Australia

I am the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of camping.  I much prefer hotels, however unfortunately my purse is not as large as my bucket list.

Plus I think that camping is a fantastic and fun experience for kids.  Don’t you ?

central australia road trip
Miss 18 months and Mr nearly 4 brushing teeth on the back tailgate at a free campsite in the Northern Territory

Getting to Alice Springs is fairly straight forward.  Any map will show you that there is really only a few ways in.

Below is the route that we took from Alice Springs to Uluru.  It lists all of the wonderful places we stopped and visited along the way. You technically should use a 4WD if you follow this route.

If you would like to see a complete guide, check out Travel Outback Australia’s page on the Red Centre Way.  I found this website particularly useful before we left.  They have quite a few cheaper camping alternatives listed.  Make sure you print out any information you need from this page as there is very limited internet out this way.

central australia road trip
Our camping set up for our road trip to Central Australia.  We have a fridge in the back of the car and we cooked off a portable gas cooker.



We stayed at the Big4 Macdonnell Range Holiday Park.  I don’t usually like to spend this much on camping, it sort of defeats the purpose of camping.  I can see why this place is so popular though.  It has much needed commercial sized washing machines, pools, playgrounds and jumping pillows.  It would be fantastic for anyone with kids old enough to go off and play by themselves. The showers were always hot and the toilets were always clean.

If you have some time in Alice Springs, check out the Alice Springs Desert Park.  It was a real surprise gem!  Alice Springs itself is an interesting town, and as that food is pretty expensive when you get to Yulara, it is worth stocking up now.

central australia road trip
Dingos at Alice Springs Desert Park

When you are ready to leave alice springs for your big adventure, head out of town West on Namatjira drive.


This road has so many awesome things on it!  Below are the places that we stopped and visited and whilst we would have loved to have explored every off-road, we just didn’t have the time.

STANDLEY CHASM:  Check out more information on my blog post, Standley Chasm with Kids (Central Australia)

Central Australia Road Trip

ELLERY CREEK BIG HOLE:  Check out more information on my blog post, Ellery Creek Big Hole with Kids (Central Australia)

Central Australia Road Trip

ORMISTON GORGE: Check out more information on my blog post, Ormiston Gorge with Kids (Central Australia)

Central Australia Road Trip

GLEN HELEN RESORT: We camped here overnight to a spectacular sunset.  You can get fuel and your permit for the upcoming Mereenie Loop Road here.

REDBANK GORGE:  Check out more information on my blog post, Redbank Gorge with Kids (Central Australia)

Central Australia Road Trip

TYLERS PASS:  This part of the road winds around a sharp bend, however it is very pretty with some photo opportunities along the way.

TNORALA (GOSSE BLUFF):  Check out more information on my blog post, Gosse Bluff with kids (Tnorala) in Central Australia

Central Australia Road Trip


You need a  permit for this road which you can get at Glen Helen Resort.  Don’t worry, it’s only a few dollars.  We thoroughly enjoyed this road and took it all the way to Watarrka National Park to see the spectacular Kings Canyon.


We camped at Kings Canyon Resort.  It has hot showers, clean toilets, washing machines and camp kitchens.  However the best thing about Kings Canyon Resort Camping area, is the sunset viewing area.

View from the sunset viewing platform at Kings Canyon Resort Campgrounds


Visiting Kings Canyon and doing the Rim Walk was one of the highlights of our trip to Central Australia.  Check out my blog post on doing the Rim Walk with kids: Kings Canyon Rim Walk with kids (Central Australia)

Central Australia Road Trip

When it was time to leave Kings Canyon Resort, we headed along Luritja Road until we hit the Lasseter Highway

We then headed West along Lasseter Highway until we hit Yulara, stopping at Curtin Springs along the way to stretch our legs. The next 3 days were spent exploring Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and we also paid a visit to Yulara and the Field of Light Art Exhibition.


Check out more information on my blog post: Uluru with Kids (Central Australia)

Central Australia Road Trip


Check out more information on my blog post: Kata Tjuta with Kids (The Olgas) in Central Australia

Central Australia Road Trip


Despite reading some reviews that this is a waste of time, I actually really enjoyed walking around these beautiful lights.

Central Australia Road Trip


We camped at the Yulara Ayers Rock Resort Campgrounds to base ourselves in this area. We didn’t book in advance and as a result, had to camp in the overflow area.  This means camping is a big red dust bowl instead of the nice green grass.  It turned out to be a blessing because the kids loved playing cars in the red sand.  Plus they only charged us $20 per night and we still had access to all of the facilities.

After 3 nights camping at Yulara, we headed home via the  Lasseter and Stuart Highways back to Alice Springs.  If we had more time, we would have gone back the way we came taking a slightly different route to do some more proper 4WDing.

Looking for some inspiration for your next get away?

To see more information on the places we visited in Central Australia with kids, check out this page: Central Australia & Northern Territory

To see all of my destination, head on over to this page: My travel destinations

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