The Northern Territory is the Australia the world thinks that we all live in… and don’t. Everything’s a whole lot different up here, and here’s how you can tell that you’ve arrived.

1. Everyone’s got a croc story to share

It doesn’t matter how pale or skinny the bloke next to you in the bar is; he’s got a heck of a croc story to share, just you wait and see. Since 1986, Australians have been lapping up the global attention and affection unleashed by Crocodile Dundee, before returning home to our apartments in the city where we hope to hell we don’t see a spider (Australia is one of the most urbanised countries on the planet). But up here, Croc Dundee does exist; in fact, he’s all around you… he’s probably sitting in front of you right now. Get anyone talking who’s been here longer than a dry season and you’ll hear croc encounters that would leave Paul Hogan slack-jawed.

2. No one wastes a sunset

They’ll tell you they don’t have a sentimental bone in their bodies; but no time is more revered around Darwin than sunset. Forget the evening news or Family Feud; each day at around six, Territorians pack out the beaches and foreshores to watch the sun dip into the Arafura Sea. The most famous viewpoint is at Darwin’s iconic Mindil Beach Markets, held every Thursday and Sunday evening during the dry season, where thousands congregate as live music plays. But if you’d rather escape the crowds, head just round the corner to the Darwin Ski Club or the Darwin Sailing Club.

3. You have to go a long way for your art

If you thought lining up for the Louvre proved you’re the arty type, you’re going to have to try a lot harder in the Territory. The best art up here has been created by Indigenous Australians for over 50,000 years. Take a ferry from Darwin to Tiwi Design on Bathurst Island and spend time with artists in this remote Indigenous community two hours’ boating time north of Darwin. Watch locals paint, screen print and carve and join in special art workshops. Tours leave Darwin every Thursday and Friday from April to December. Or take a charter plane to Arnhem Land and see ancient art still visible on remote caves. Some of the best can be seen at Davidsons Arnhemland Safari Lodge.

4. It’s hard to tell who’s catching who when the fish are biting

The Northern Territory is home to some of the best open water, river and estuary fishing on the planet. But there’s something you need to know before you go; this kind of fishing doesn’t come without its risks: nowhere in the world is fishing such a contact sport. No matter where you throw out a line, you can be sure there’s something lurking that thinks you’re probably just that bit tastier. There are few places to fish free from saltwater crocs, and the bull sharks jump clean out of the water in these parts. Watch out for blue-ringed octopus, too. Whether it’s blue-water, estuary or even billabong fishing, it’s best you keep your wits about you.

5. Lodges come complete with their own airstrip

Commercial airlines aren’t much good to you up here. Where you’re going, you’ll need to charter your own propeller plane. Unless you have the time for long, uncomfortable four-wheel-drives across hundreds of kilometres of unsealed bush roads, there’s often no option but to take a charter flight. But that’s a big part of the experience in the Territory; you’ll land on isolated, red-dirt airstrips in the middle of nowhere, built just a few hundred metres from your lodge. All the best lodges up here come complete with airstrips.