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Darwin Rail Trail - Trail Description



Darwin Rail Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: Darwin
Start/end: Darwin CBD to Howard Springs
Status: Open
Length open: 25.5km
Surface: Sealed
Terrain: Flat
Best seasons: Both seasons
Contact Region: Northern Territory
Bridge on the rail trail near Yarrawonga (2011)
Bridge on the rail trail near Yarrawonga (2011)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for wheelchairs Suitable for prams Suitable for scooters in line skates



  • A high standard rail trail that is part of Darwin's extensive network of cycle pathes.
  • Follows the route of the historic former North Australian Railway and many reminders of the railway remain


Access Points

  • Darwin CBD - McMinns St or Day/Harvey St intersection
  • Berrimah - Vanderlin Drive link to Casuarina
  • Yarrawonga (Palmerston)- over the shared pedestrian/cycle bridge off Roystonea Ave (near the Tiger Brennan Interchange at Yarrawonga )
  • Yarrawonga (Palmerston) - Tulagi Rd
  • Howard Springs - Whitewood Rd

Darwin to Yarrawonga (20km)

Older parts of the trail are now well shaded by trees after an extensive tree planting program.

In 2006 the Friends of the North Australia Railway restored a 700m section of the original track at The Narrows in Darwin and have re-sleepered the old bridge (with assistance from Darwin City Council). The Rail Trail runs alongside this historic section.

Yarrawonga to Howard Springs (5.3 km)

The cycle path has retained original railway embankments, hand-excavated cuttings, culverts and four remnant bridges as heritage features. By conforming to the railway corridor there has been minimal disruption to bordering eucalypt woodland and riparian habitats.

An interpretative shelter built at Yarrawonga and Howard Springs includes displays of local and railway history. Path-mounted solar-powered lights have been installed selectively.

Background Information

The first section of the narrow gauge North Australia Railway from Darwin to Pine Creek opened in 1888.  It was extended south to Katherine in 1926 and finally Larrimah in 1929, which was as far south as it got, never linking up to the Adelaide to Alice Springs railway.  Never the less it played a vital role in the development of the Northern Territory and Australia during the second world war.  However once the war was over improving roads and its isolation resulted in the railway being closed in 1976.

The new standard gauge Alice Springs - Darwin railway opened in 2004 and parts of the new railway were placed on the old North Australia Railway alignment. However some parts of the old line were bypassed, including that in the Darwin area allowing construction of this rail trail.


This rail trial is managed by the Department of Lands and Planning. Please report any issues at or phone 8924 7531.


November 2011

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1 comment

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13 October , 2014 by Gary

Rode this short trail 6 Oct 2014. I found the surface very smooth, clean and in good repair. Wide enough for other riders, runners and walkers to pass safely. The trip from Darwin City to Howard Springs took me 1.5 HRS. The waiting for traffic at the major intersections took a few minutes. There are a few signs to indicate the History of the Rail but more information is required at major or interesting locations. You have to leave the trail, but only a short distance to get drinks or food and these places can be easily seen from the trail. Overall, a great experience for a sixty plus gent from Victoria. Good cycling. Gary H.

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Darwin's Rail Trail Family Day for New Extension (NT)

(Posted: 03/09/11)

Come and celebrate the opening of the new Palmerston to Howard Springs section.


Northern Territory Rail Trail Walks

(Posted: 28/05/07)

Guided walks will be conducted at Katherine on the 9th June 2007 and Darwin on the 11th June 2007. More...