The Northern Territory is the place for unique, intrepid and quintessentially Australian experiences. Renowned for its natural beauty and diversity of landscapes, the Northern Territory is wild, vast and unpeopled. Home to a plethora of national parks, endless desert plains, verdant rainforests and incredible eco-systems, you’ll be left speechless at every turn. The opportunities for exploration are endless, as is the list of things to do, see and experience. It’s been tough trying to whittle down this list to give you the low down on our favourites, but we’ve done it, and here they are. Your bucket list might just be five items longer after this.
Ride Across the Mary River Floodplains
One of the best ways to start your day in the Northern Territory has to be an early morning air boat ride across the Mary River floodplains. These lush wetlands support a unique eco system that allows creatures such as saltwater crocodiles and buffalo a vast array of bird life to thrive. The morning is a great time to get a glimpse of these exotic animals before they retreat from the midday sun, and the suitability of the air boat to these conditions allows you to really get into the thick of the plains. If you visit during the dry season, the waters recede enough for 4WD tours to take place. You’ll feel like you’re on safari as you cruise in your open topped vehicle on the lookout for the diverse range of species that call this stunning destination home.Read more
Dine at Uluru
Perhaps Australia’s most iconic feature, Uluru is a natural wonder of epic proportions. At the very heart of the country and surrounded by endless desert plains, one look at this monolithic rock and you’ll be lost for words. Watch as the colours of Uluru change throughout the day and as dusk falls, get ready to settle down for a delicious meal in this perfect wilderness. Starting with canapés and sparkling wine in view of the red rock, you’ll then move on to a bush tucker inspired three course gourmet meal followed by lessons in Aboriginal tales from an expert story teller. The whole experience is incredibly atmospheric and before you know it you’ll have realised the true significance of Uluru, making the icon that much more beautiful. And the icing on the cake? Well, it has to be the stunning blanket of stars you’ll see burning brightly in the night sky, unmarred by light pollution in this far flung corner of the world.
Cruise the Yellow Water Billabong
The Yellow Water Billabong can be found at the end of Jim Jim Creek and are the most famous wetlands in Kakadu National Park. We’d recommend you hop on a cruise at either sunrise or sunset to ensure you see the best of the wildlife and enjoy the quietness of the dawn or dusk. You’re likely to see crocodiles and buffalo grazing on the flood plains, as well as a plethora of stunning bird species. It’s a great way to experience the lushness of the national park and if you’ve come from the red centre it provides the perfect watery contrast to your arid travels thus far.
Discover Ancient Indigenous Rock Art
The Northern Territory has an abundance of important historic sites and beautiful examples of Indigenous rock art. It’s a territory that offers an insight into a 50,000 year old culture and there are plenty of Aboriginal guides willing to tell you the story of Australia’s past. Both Central Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory have perfectly preserved rock art. If you’re in Central Australia, hire a guide to take you around the East MacDonnell Ranges, which boast a variety of rock art sites as well as petroglyphs dating back 10,000 years. At the top of the Northern Territory, Kakadu and Arnhem Land are brimming with sites that are easily accessible. Park Rangers will be close at hand to tell you the story of the art before you, making a trip to the NT both inspiring and educational.
Experience Darwin’s Urban Charm
Darwin has an unmistakeable small town feel that goes hand in hand with its tropical climate. Don’t let the city’s slow pace fool you though, this cosmopolitan hub is growing quickly and the city now boasts a food and culture scene to rival the rest of Australia’s better known cities. For many it’s the gateway to the Outback and national parks, but don’t rush through, take some time to live the Darwin experience. Wander through vast galleries celebrating Indigenous art, enjoy a meal by the sea as the boats rise and fall with the harbour tides and join Darwin’s youthful crowd at one of its many bars. Darwin provides yet another angle to the already diverse nature of the Northern Territory. Trust us, you’ll never be bored.
Image © Tourism NT