Desert Dreaming

Leaving Alice Springs

Heading north along the Stuart Highway, you’ll leave Alice Springs and encounter the long straight highway, devoid of townships, but aplenty with nature. There are a few potential WWOOF Australia Host Farms along the way, mainly cattle and sheep stations.

The desert has been described as being more alive than a rain forest. But to experience the diversity and abundance of wild life and nature, you need to stop!

The trip between Alice Springs and Darwin is a 17 hour drive if you didn’t take a break. 1,500km in length without many corners along the way.

The first main town you’ll come to is Wycliffe, the UFO capital of Australia. Here you’ll find lots of paraphenalia on previous UFO sightings in the Outback.

Stop at the Roadhouse, take some refreshments and food, do some stretching and prepare for the long haul up the Stuart Highway towards the Devils Marbels.

alice to darwin map

Devils Marbles

About 400km north of Alice Springs, you’ll come across an amazing collection of red boulders, standing tall in the wide, vast Outback. Named Karlu Karlu in Warumungu.

I’m not sure if there are any volunteer opportunities around this area, but if you’re interested in hanging around, you only need start asking the locals.

Devils Marbles are a collecton of huge, red, round granit boulders. They vary in size from a tiny 50cm to six metres in diameter. They standout on the wide flat plains of the inner Outback.

This is a protected site in Warumungu country and spans an area of 1800 hectares.

Camping is allowed at the site, however there is no water or other amenities, so make sure you’re fully self contained if you’re staying overnight. It is truly a magical place to spend the night under the stars.

Legend has it, that spirit men used to come out of the Marbles and trick youngsters to follow them back … never to be seen again. So beware!

Daly Waters & Mataranka Springs

About 900kms north of Alice, you’ll find the world renowned Daly Waters Pub. An oasis in the middle of “whoop whoop”.

Drop in for a feed or cold beer (it’s 3km off the Stuart Hwy), before heading off to Mataranka Springs for a refreshing swim in the warm waters of natural springs.

There may be some opportunities in Daly Waters for some volunteer work, so be sure to ask the publican if he knows of any opportunities.

After travelling through so much desert country, with changing landscapes, you’ll be amazed arriving in what appears to be a tropical oasis. Palm trees adorn the pathways and lend shelter from the blistering desert sunshine.

This is also near the Savannah Way highway, which leads to some potential Host Farms suitable for WWOOFing or Volunteering. Before you head off, check the WWOOF Australia Map Search function to identify where the Cattle Stations and Tropical farms are.

But, in the meantime, stay at the Caravan Park, settle in for a few days rest from the dryness and wallow in the Hot Springs, before even thinking about doing any volunteer work.

Katherine Gorge & Pine Creek

Leaving the oasis behind, and back on the Stuart Highway heading for Darwin. But first along the track is Katherine. A small regional township at the intersection of the Princes Hwy, leading off to Western Australia.

Katherine Gorge is a site to behold, with cavernous cliffs, lakes and rivers. Teeming with wildlife, kangaroos and bats, this is a must to stop, catch your breath and do some sightseeing.

There are many walks, and there may be some good opportunities to offer your services in volunteering for a few days. Again, you always need to connect with the locals and make your own enquiries, otherwise you’re probably going to miss many opportunities for enmeshing yourself in the local culture.

Pine Creek is another Roadhouse stop, with many old relics of days gone by, when Buffalo was hunted from the back of a beaten up 4WD.  I don’t think there are any opportunities to do WWOOFing in this area, but it’s always worth checking the WWOOF Australia Map Search, as new Host Farms are always coming onboard.

Before you get to Darwin, you’ll also encounter the turnoff to the Kakadu National Park. No volunteer opportunities there, but I have heard there are some Aboriginal Stations not far away, which may be looking for WWOOFers.


You’ll have noticed the vegetation changing as you go further North towards Darwin. Larger trees and greener ground cover is the result of the monsoon rains and the plethora of mangrove swamps in the area.

Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory and the gateway to the massive Kakadu National Park. There is plenty to do in Darwin, as in any city. However, you will notice a markedly slow-down pace amongst the locals. Living in this climate has the effect of slowing everything down.

It’s a cosmopolitan city, ever growing and changing with the influx of outsiders and their cultural influences. Population currently stands at around 123,000 people.

There are quite a few WWOOFing opportunities in Darwin and surrounds, so get out your WWOOF Australia Mobile App and get searching on the Map Search page.