Spotlight on Northern Territory: Top things to do in The Northern Territory

The Northern Territory exemplifies Australia’s famed ochre outback landscapes. From the legendary monolith, Uluru, to the rich Indigenous culture steeped into the red soil and World-Heritage listed Kakadu National Park, this destination is the ultimate mecca for an adventure seeker.

1. Arrive in style on the iconic Ghan Railway

Often hailed as one of the world’s greatest train journeys, the Ghan travels through the middle of Australia, taking her passengers past some of Northern Territory’s most iconic destinations. Choose to begin your Central Australian adventure from Darwin or Adelaide and watch as the rich, red outback scenery unfolds into vibrant green Southern hills.

Onboard, passengers can select from varying levels of luxury for their cabins and enjoy extensive restaurant menus, inspired by local ingredients and Aboriginal cuisines, featured dishes including grilled kangaroo fillet and saltwater barramundi.

For more information or to book your journey today, click here.

The Ghan outback train journey
The Ghan Platinum Service Twin Cabin
The Ghan Platinum Service Dining
The Ghan Platinum Service Cabin

2. Uluru and Kata Tjuta

No trip to the Northern Territory is complete without visiting the mammoth ancient rock formations of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The two legendary formations, Uluru and Kata Tjuta, are spread out across 20 kilometres and are steeped in the history and culture of the Anangu traditional owners of the land. Choose from three walking trails, including the most popular Valley of the Winds Walk, and learn about the significance of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t forget to catch a sunrise or sunset here to witness the landscape undergo a mesmerising colour transformation from vibrant red, to electric purple to burnt orange.

If you prefer to explore in comfort, go on a camel tour and experience the area from the Afghan cameleers’ perspective when they came to Australia in 1860 for the Burke and Wills expedition. From short 5-minute experiences to full-day safaris, expert cameleers and knowledgeable guides will make sure you experience the ecology and history of Uluru to the fullest.

2. Dine under the stars with Sounds of Silence and the Field of Light, Uluru

Continue your exploration of Uluru into the night and dine under the sparkling outback sky with Sounds of Silence. Your experience begins enjoying canapes and chilled sparkling upon a dune top, overlooking the whole National Park. Awe at the magical sunset whilst listening to the enchanting sounds of the didgeridoo before being welcomed to the interactive chef’s station. Here, you’ll be able to choose from a generous variety of freshly prepared bush tucker made from native bush ingredients.

You’ll end the night staring at the southern night sky as the resident star talker decodes various constellations, planets, and galaxies that are visible due to the exceptional clarity of the atmosphere.

3. Marvel at the Devils Marbles, Alice Springs

This collection of massive granite boulders have become internationally recognised as the symbol of Australia’s outback. Formed over a million years ago and standing up to 6 metres high, these geographical marvels are especially spectacular during dawn and dusk where the sun hits the rock, emitting a deep red hue.

Learn about the ancient Aboriginal mythology surrounding these formations on a short self-guided walk.

3. Walk through the Simpson’s Gap

One of the most prominent gaps in the West MacDonnell Ranges, the towering cliffs of Simpsons Range provites a permanent waterhole and plenty of opportunities to view Australian native wildlife. Located on a 231 walkin track through the Ranges, there are several short walks in this rea taking you past rare and relict plants and resident fauna, including the Black-footed Rock-wallabies. Learn about the Arrernte Aboriginal people and the dreaming stories connected to this important spiritual site as you take in the magnificent view od the range.

4. Traverse across Kings Canyon

Only 3 hours from Uluru, Kings Canyon is a majestic site located within Watarrka National Park featuring 300-metre high sandstone walls, flora-filled crevices, and desert views stretching towards the horizon. Home to more than 600 species of native flora and fauna, this destination is famed for its walks and circuits, the most iconic being the Kings Canyon Rim Walk. Dust off your hiking boots and let this six-kilometre track take you down into the Garden of Eden, a magnificent oasis-like rock hole filled with rare, verdant plants. Ascend back up to take in a polar opposite but equally as breath-taking views of the red sand dunes.

There is plenty more to do at this National Park, including guided tours, 4×4 tracks, camel rides, helicopter tours, desert dining experiences, and camping and resort-style accomodation.

5. Explore Kakadu National Park

As Australia’s biggest national park, this destination has plenty of exciting experiences to offer. You’ll find rugged escarpments, lush green rainforests, and ancient Aboriginal rock art that date back 20,000 years. Take a cruise along the park’s dramatic wetlands and spot native Australian wildlife including saltwater crocodiles, sea eagles, buffalo, and millions of migratory birds.

Kakadu is also famed for its many swimming spots and cascading waterfalls, the most majestic being Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls. Wander through the monsoon forests and boulders before coming face to face with magnificent 150 metre high cliffs, deep plunge pools, and white sandy beaches.

6. Cruise along the Katherine River, Nitmiluk National Park

If time permits, Kakadu’s neighbour, Nitmiluk National Park is a must-visit. Where the stark Australian outback meets the lush green of the Top end, this park is bursting with ancient Indigenous culture, plunging gorges, mystical waterfalls, and misty thermal springs. Board a riverboat cruise and trawl along the Katherine River, immersing yourself in complete tranquillity and wilderness. Gaze in awe at the eclectic range of native Australian flora and fauna and learn about the history of the local Indigenous people.

7. Splash around in a waterfall at Litchfield National Park

Located only an hour away from Darwin, this National Park is possibly the Northern Territory’s best-kept secret. The ultimate cooling retreat on a scorching summer day, this site bursts with stunning waterfalls and sparkling waterholes, all surrounded by monsoonal vine forests. The lush greenery and crystal clear gorges starkly contrast the enchanting sandstone pillars at the Lost City. With hundreds of native bird species and woodland flora to spot, the Park offers plenty of tracks to aid in your exploration, from easy, short walks to more challenging hiking and four-wheel drive circuits.

8. Explore Mindil Beach Sunset Market, Darwin

Head into town and experience the electric heart of Darwin’s culture and flavour by visiting their Sunset Market, held against the stunning backdrop of Mindil Beach. Over 200 unique stalls congregate during the Top End’s dry season (May to October) to offer an incredible festival for the senses. Over 60 food stalls serve up local specialties and mouthwatering cuisines from each corner of the world, while an eclectic mix of arts, crafts, and service stalls showcase the talent of local artists.

Awe at the endless collection of handmade goods and jewellery and settle down before the red sinking sun with a plate of locally caught barramundi or fragrant paella packed with mussels, steaming soft Japanese omelette or a refreshing mango smoothie!

Image credit: Tourism Australia, Uluru Camel Tours, Baillies Longitude 131, Matt Glastonbury, Nicholas Kavo

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Image credit to: Tourism Australia, Uluru Camel Tours, Baillies Longitude 131,  Matt Glastonbury, Nicholas Kavo

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