Getting to the Northern Territory

We knew we wanted to explore the Australian outback, but we still had to think about 1) where we were going to start our trip and 2) how we were going to get there.

We considered starting at two different spots: the small town of Alice Springs or the town of Yulara which was the nearest to Uluru (Ayers Rock) marked by the blue arrows below:

Credit: Wikimedia

We ultimately settled on starting our trip in Alice Springs for a few reasons:

  • We wanted to explore the area in a complete loop, starting and finishing at Alice Springs.
  • We wanted to drive down the unsealed Mereenie Loop Road because it came highly recommended for that authentic outback experience.
  • Car rental and fuel would be more expensive at Uluru.

There are no direct flights into Alice Springs from Singapore (or anywhere else internationally, for that matter), so to get there, you would have to fly into an Australian city and take a separate domestic flight to Alice Springs.

We ended up choosing Darwin over other cities because it was the cheapest option. We didn’t plan on spending much time there, and ended up regretting it. Oh well, we’ll be back for Darwin eventually!

Our route:

  • Singapore to Darwin on Jetstar4.5 hours, SGD$504 all-in per pax
  • 2-hour gap between this and the next flight (I was worried the flight would be delayed and we would miss the next one but the stars aligned, the prophecy was fulfilled and we managed)
  • Darwin to Alice Springs on Qantas2 hours, approx. SGD$460 per pax (unfortunately, Qantas is the only domestic carrier that flies there – locals consider their prices to be a rip-off!)


The Northern Territory is one big state
Darwin Airport’s departure lounges


Other travel options from Darwin to Alice that we considered and rejected:

  • Bus – it would have taken too damn long
  • Train – expensive!

The good news is that quite a number of international airlines fly to Uluru. Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas and Scoot all fly direct from Singapore (Scoot is the cheapest, starting at SGD$900+), so if you want to see the red rock, there’s your chance. We just didn’t go with this option for the reasons mentioned above.

So yes, travelling to Alice was a bit of a hassle but it was well worth it!

Read on about our first day in Alice Springs.


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