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Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

Considering the danger of driving at night with the wild animals on the road, would you recommend -

1) Watching the Ubirr sunset and driving back to Jabiru in the dark

or

2) Going to Ubirr in the afternoon (missing the sunset) and driving back to Jabiru in daylight hours.

Thanks

14 replies to this topic
Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
7,095 posts
94 reviews
1. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

Will you have a hire car ?

If you do, check what the conditions are and also ask - ring the local office to double check.

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
4,714 posts
50 reviews
2. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

Hamiriver is right, many car hire companies do not allow driving after dark in the NT, if you ignore this and have an accident you will void your insurance. Best to check with them.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

Thanks for your advice. We are hiring a campervan

Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
1,705 posts
25 reviews
4. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

I had a Britz campervan but it was back in 2012. I know I could not drive on gravel roads but do not remember anything about night driving. I drove back carefully, certainly below the speed limit, to Jabiru after watching the sunset at Ubirr, I would not have wanted to miss that. My sister, who is much older than me, walked back to the carpark before the sun actually set as the track is rather rough. I was grateful to some people who also returned early and assisted her. There were lots of people there and I should think most would have been driving rental vehicles.

Alice Springs...
Destination Expert
for Alice Springs, Kings Canyon, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Red Centre, Northern Territory
Level Contributor
792 posts
1,944 reviews
5. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

Hi TravelPMG,

I have sent you a PM (personal message) regarding this matter.

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
7,095 posts
94 reviews
6. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

1Travel it would be good to share your thoughts as this question is popular.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
142 posts
75 reviews
7. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

TravelPMG - what did you end up doing? We are wondering the exact same thing for our upcoming trip. We so want to see the sunset and we have a rented 4WD, but it would mean driving at dusk which does void insurance. How does everyone get around this?!

Darwin, Australia
Level Contributor
18 posts
8. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

Without going into the legal/risk side of whether or not your hire car is covered after dark or not I offer the following opinion about driving back from Ubirr sunset (with the benefit of 7 years of living and working in Kakadu/West Arnhemland).

Slow down : Consider 80km/h as a maximum speed after dark in the park and 60/70 km/h or lower is fine if there is some uncertainty ahead. Plenty of of people will go faster but they take a toll on the wildlife, have solid bullbars and some run out of luck.

Stay alert : Wallabies are unpredictable and can severely damage an unprotected hire car. Buffaloes and horses also roam at night and can be hard to see.

Expect and protect wildlife : Travel at a speed such that you can see enough to brake safely and stop for (or go around) wildlife. A camper doesn't stop as easily as a sedan so adjust. Not everyone likes snakes but a park is there home so its not cool to run over them. Nobody likes to hit a bird and the night birds are particularly stupid (actually they are dazzled by the headlights, but same effect)

Watch for fatigue : If its been a big day be aware of the risk of fatigue, this is no place to be asleep at the wheel.

Let faster cars overtake : Some locals and tours will want to go faster, let them past as easily as they can

Don't stress : If you've got your speed right then you and the wildlife will get along just fine, and if your lucky enough to get some decent moonlight it can be a really interesting experience.

Also, don't forget to take a torch to Ubirr sunset and some mozzie repellant, you'll appreciate it on the way down

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
4,714 posts
50 reviews
9. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

I would say people avoid this by just taking the risk. I have driven the road plenty of times after sunset in my personal vehicle, without incident, but then I am not bound by hire car conditions.

I’m sure plenty of people do this drive in hire cars but only you can decide if you are willing to take the risk of voiding your insurance if anything happens.

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
7,095 posts
94 reviews
10. Re: Ubirr Sunset & Driving at Night

One of the worst things people do is panic swerve to go around animals- hence the prevalence of rollovers and cars going off ghe side of ghe road. Even at 80 you will roll your car with a sudden movement.

Old thread peeps..

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