Exploring the

Northern Territory

Soul-stirring and steeped in spirituality, the Northern Territory is an achingly beautiful part of Australia, home to larger-than-life scenery and six dramatically different seasons.

With its ancient Aboriginal connection, the stories of the Dreamtime are shared on cliff-face galleries, creating the greatest and oldest collections of rock art in the world.

Home to the smallest population of any Aussie state or territory, the NT is big on landscape and natural beauty. Here, indigenous culture looms large, lush nature reserves are a rock wallaby’s hop from town, and the feeling of having entered a parallel world never goes away.

Top things to do

Explore the Red Centre

Uluru is far from the only awesome thing to see in Australia’s Red Centre. To the north-east, the mighty Kings Canyon cleaves deep into the earth. Trek to the rim for views across the bluffs and gorges of Watarrka National Park, or through the West MacDonnell Ranges, which stretch for hundreds of kilometres, harbouring gorges and rock pools. It’s one of those trips-of-a-lifetime that is almost always underestimated, but the Red Centre sure packs a punch when you get there.

Chill out in Darwin

Closer to Bali than it is to Brisbane, Australia’s smallest capital blends 56 nationalities, a perky pulse and a laid-back tropical air. From the steamy weather right down to the faces you’ll see in its streets, Darwin is exotic. The city hosts incredible Asian food markets, galleries and museums walled with beautiful Indigenous art, and in the dry season (May to October), a continuous line-up of bumping cultural festivals.

Go Wild In Kakadu

Where better to get back to nature than in Australia’s largest national park – covering almost two million hectares of wilderness? Enter the unique World Heritage-listed landscapes of Kakadu and discover outdoor galleries of ancient art. Swim under insta-worthy waterfalls, hike through the deep red gorges, cruise the Yellow Water wetlands and learn from Indigenous people about how their ancestors related to this land.

Experience the world’s oldest living culture in Arnhem Land

Stunning scenery, abundant wildlife and a total lack of pretension – only a privileged few get the chance to come to Arnhem Land. A focus on the pristine natural environment, rather than on man-made luxuries, combined with the deeply spiritual feel of the area – the Yolngu people are thought to have lived here for at least 50,000 years – make this a very special place. Whether you go for the fishing, for the wildlife, the beautiful beaches or the extraordinary art and cultural festivals, you’re guaranteed to come home changed by what you’ve seen and done.

Take a road-trip

Whether you’re starting in Darwin, wanting to explore the Red Centre, or gearing up for the drive from Alice Springs to Uluru, the Northern Territory has no shortage of incredible road-trip itineraries that’ll take your breath away. How about hitting the road for the Kakadu self-drive road trip? Or heading though the heartland to Devils Marbles? No matter what kind of driving holiday you like – you’ll find it in the NT.

Must See Sights

See Uluru change colour

Close up, Uluru is powerful, awe-inspiring and intimidating. From a distance, Uluru famously changes colour, anything from blue or violet to glowing red. There are numerous ways and places to watch the sun rise or set over this remarkable pebble (a term coined by explorer Ernest Giles in 1872), from the back of a camel or a roaring motorbike to a romantic candlelit table set for two underneath a millions stars.

The waterfalls of Litchfield National Park

Equal to, if not more stunning than Kakadu, Litchfield is an easy day trip from Darwin. Quite apart from boasting one of the best waterfalls in the Northern Territory, Litchfield National Park features marvels like the Lost City (ornate blocks of weathered sandstone pillars), the cooling swimming holes at Wangi Falls (which are also conveniently wheelchair accessible), and the breathtaking views from popular Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole.

The Tiwi Islands

The remote Tiwi Islands (Melville Island, Bathurst Island) off Darwin are worth it for so many reasons: art, culture and fishing just to name a few. Think you’re sports-mad? Wait until you experience the Tiwi Islands grand final in March. But start in the morning by taking a stroll around the Tiwi Islands Art Sale. You’ll learn more about the cultural history of the islands, and for a reasonable price you’ll get to hang a piece of that history on your wall.

Reflections in Nitmuluk Gorge

Worn centimetre by centimetre from the red sandstone over the millennia, Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge snakes its way for 12km along the Arnhem Land Plateau on its way to the sea. You can walk, canoe, boat or fly above series of 13 stunning gorges, but however you decide to explore this magical place, make sure have a camera with plenty of memory space.

Best Accommodation

An undeserved reputation for just rough and ready accommodation options, the Northern Territory has far more options than many would expect. From luxury lodges and extra glamorous glamping to million-star camping and crocodile-shaped hotels in the wilderness there’s accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets in the NT.

Accommodation in Kakadu comes in all styles to suit every traveller. For those that like a little (or a lot) more comfort then Bamurru Plains Lodge or Wildman Wilderness Lodge on the edge of Kakadu are the pick.

In Uluru Longitude 131 is perhaps the most iconic accommodation in the country but there are many many options for all budgets that we explain in our ‘everything you need to know about Uluru’ guide.

Katherine is similar, with campsites and rustic and affordable options to the more indulgent Cicada Lodge. 

Like any captial city, the accommodation options in Darwin are almost endless (we would like to see a boutique hotel someday) but perhaps the best all rounder is the waterfront hotel in Darwin.

Camping

Natural beauty is the Territory’s finest asset, so it makes sense to spend a night or two under the stars. Here’s our pick of the Northern Territory’s best camping for the chance to wake up in the desert, next to thermal pools, or deep in a national park.

Top Foodie Experiences

The NT’s an outdoorsy type of place so it’s only natural that it’s home to two of the country’s most memorable ways to dine alfresco. There’s nothing quite like the assault on the senses that is walking among the food stalls of Darwin’s Mindil Beach Markets. It’s a tropical fantasy come to life. And there’s nothing like watching the setting sun paint Uluru in a cloak of changing colours while dining on a desert dune at the Sounds of Silence or Tali Wiri dinner.