Top 10 Things To Do In The Northern Territory
Those in the know say that the incredible Northern Territory with its many diverse attractions should be on the very TOP of every traveller’s bucket-list.
From exotic wildlife, fantastic fishing, rugged coastlines, remote islands and awe-inspiring natural attractions to spectacular sunsets, wetlands, waterfalls, trails, cruises and an eclectic mix of culture and history – the Northern Territory is beguiling, beautiful and breathtaking. It’s also big.
In fact it’s bigger than big. It’s huge.
France would fit in there twice and the whole of the UK would nestle in six times – comfortably. In fact, if it were an independent country, the Northern Territory would be the 20th largest in the world. And that’s why if you’re planning to visit the vast reaches of Australia’s real outback, you need the inside track.
Here’s our list of the top things to do in the Northern Territory:
1. Visit Uluru
Uluru is possibly Australia’s most famous landmark and there’s so much more to this ancient and sacred site than a big rocky monolith rising from the desert.
A visit to the Cultural Centre will deepen your experience and understanding of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, plus you can learn about Anangu culture and the natural environment through the many exhibits and free presentations.
Experience the legendary sunrises and sunsets from one of the designated viewing spots or from atop a camel, Segway or Harley Davidson or simply find your own quiet spot from which to contemplate the colours and contours of this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re feeling energetic, the 10km loop around the base of the rock on foot or by bicycle will give you a fascinating perspective on the fauna and flora of the area, plus there are a number of other tours and activities on offer such as dot painting workshops, rock art tours, bush tucker talks and ranger-guided walks.
2. Rushing waterfalls and calm swimming pools at Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park is a favourite getaway for locals as well as tourists because it’s an easy day trip from Darwin and offers a plethora of spectacular natural attractions. One of the very best things to do there is to swim beneath the cascading Florence and Wangi Waterfalls and in the refreshing coolness of the tiered rock pools of the Buley Rockholes. Tjaynera Falls (Sandy Creek) is a little off the beaten track but well worth the effort. Pack a picnic or fire up the barbeque at the family-friendly rest areas and you’re guaranteed a day to remember.
3. Sunset at Karlu Karlu
Even the names of places in the Northern Territory are bewitching. Karlu Karlu (also known as the Devils’ Marbles) will leave you breathless – especially if you get to this boulder-strewn valley in time to experience the dramatic colours of a fiery sunset. Immerse yourself in the culture of the Warramungu people with an interpretive walk and pitch your tent for a true outback experience.
4. Sunset at Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta is the Aboriginal name for ‘The Olgas’, a series of 36 massive rock domes soaring out of the desert landscape not far from Uluru. The name means ‘Many Heads’ and this cultural landmark is best experienced in the setting sun when the colours on the rocks are at their most mesmerising. Numerous walking trails are on offer – from easy strolls to more strenuous hikes including the renowned 7.5km Valley of the Winds walk – and there are plenty of panoramic viewing spots.
5. Cable Beach by camel
There’s no better way to experience the 22km stretch of pristine sands of Cable Beach than by camel – and if you book your ride at sunrise or sunset, you’ll be guaranteed instaworthy pics to drool over.
6. King’s Canyon Rim Walk
This spectacular 6km loop around the rim of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park is reasonably challenging but the rewards are spectacular. Breathtaking views over the sheer sandstone cliffs into the depths of the gorges 150 below, the Garden of Eden oasis which is home to 400-year old cycads and a permanent waterhole and the ‘Lost City’ – a collection of striped sandstone domes await those who’ve made the trek into the Red Centre – plus you get to pass through Priscilla’s Crack, made famous by the 1994 movie ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’.
7. Ancient art in Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is home to one of the world’s greatest concentrations of rock art sites, with some paintings up to 20 000 years old. The local word for rock art is ‘gunbim’ and these ancient paintings provide a fascinating record of Aboriginal life over the centuries. The main sites are at Ubirr and Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) where you can see images of animals, traditional x-ray art, Dreamtime figures and depictions of early contact with European people. Kakadu is also known for its amazing scenery and natural attractions like the Gunlom waterhole, the Yellow Water Wetlands, the Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls, Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge) and Mamukala Wetlands – the list goes on, so don’t miss it!
8. Mindil Beach Sunset Market
This vibey and relaxed market showcases the best of Darwin with its huge range of food stalls, local art and crafts, homewares, souvenirs, jewellery and clothing – complemented of course by the beautiful beach and kaleidoscope sunsets that this chilled tropical city is famous for.
9. Cruise Nitmiluk Gorges
Nitmiluk National Park is a vast area of sandstone escarpment with 13 stunning gorges just waiting to be explored on foot, by canoe, boat or helicopter. Plan a dawn cruise to experience the majestic beauty and sheer size of the soaring Nitmiluk (Katherine) gorges at their photographic best with crisp air, twirling mist rising above the smooth water’s surface and the sights and sounds of wildlife starting to stir. You’ll also see Aboriginal rock art and can enjoy a refreshing swim in the pristine waterholes.
10. The outback by floatplane
We’ve saved the best for last. If there’s one thing you do in the Northern Territory, it should be a discovery trip of this pristine wilderness region by floatplane. An easy day trip from Darwin, your tour will take you right up close to the NT’s extraordinary sights, sounds and wildlife with low level aerial views, calm water landings, exhilarating airboat rides and leisurely river cruising. Plus try your hand at fishing for a prized barramundi, swim in a croc-safe enclosure and enjoy a delicious barbeque in the peaceful seclusion of your private billabong.
You can choose from a half-day trip from Darwin, a full day Litchfield tour or an indulgent overnight discovery tour – and you’ll be guaranteed a true outback experience with professional organisation, experienced pilots and fun, friendly and informative local guides.
For more information or to book your exclusive action-packed NT discovery tour with Outback Floatplane Adventures, visit www.outbackfloatplaneadventures.com.au or call their friendly team on 08 8981 4881.