The North and Central regions of the Northern Territory experience some of the country’s greatest extremes in climate and landscape, from searing desert heat to monsoonal rainfall. The breathtaking natural wonders found in these landscapes are unique to Australia and are a must-see for travelers who want a full picture of the land down under. June to July is a good time of year to visit the Northern Territory however it is really a year-round destination depending on your travel itinerary.
In the Northern ‘Top End’ of the territory is the famous Kakadu National Park, a vast expanse of wetlands, waterfalls and lush forest that is now World-Heritage listed for its natural and indigenous cultural significance. The land is safeguarded by the indigenous Bininj tribe who, alongside the Australian Government, ensure that the delicate natural balance of the area is respected and preserved for future generations and for visitors from around the world. Indigenous people have inhabited the area for thousands of years and Arnhem Land, located within the bounds of Kakadu, has a primarily indigenous population with a rich cultural heritage that has been passed on through art, stories and music.
Arnhem Land extends from the centre of Kakadu up to the north coast and, with sprawling wetlands, winding rivers and pristine coastline, is home to thousands of native birds, animals and fish. An organised tour into the region is recommended as there are some entry restrictions for visitors however experienced guides can lead you to some of the highlights, including the best fishing spots. Barramundi is considered the prize catch, however golden snapper, coral trout and marlin are just some of the many other species that live in the clear waters. For those feeling adventurous, a four-wheel-drive trek into the wilderness is a thrilling way to take in the scenery, finished off with a camp-out under the outback sky.
The Northern Territory capital of Darwin is a relaxed harbour city with tropical weather and a diverse multicultural population. This is the perfect stop-over on the way to other tourist attractions in the North, with plenty to see and do in the city itself. Darwin has a fascinating history, particularly with regards to the Japanese air raid of the city in 1942, the largest attack ever on Australia by a foreign power. Bunkers, tunnels and airstrips can be explored around the city that was once a major military base for troops during the Pacific conflict of World War II.
The Katherine region stretches from the south of Darwin across to the Gulf of Carpentaria, marking the beginning of the remote expanse of the outback. Rural towns, functional cattle stations, winding rivers and arid plains are all synonymous with this quintessentially Australian area. The historic town of Katherine is located on the shores of the majestic Katherine River, the perfect base for those keen to experience the surrounding great outdoors. Within the Nitmiluk National Park, visitors can marvel at the ancient splendor of the Katherine Gorge from a helicopter, boat or canoe on the Katherine River, and explore the surrounding valleys and hills on foot to discover an abundance of aboriginal rock art.
For a dip in a waterhole without the fear of crocodiles, the Douglas Daly Tourist Park in the Daly River region is home to the Arches, a natural rock formation leading to a pristine and safe swimming hole, and the Douglas Hot Springs, where warm and cool waters intermingle. Heading south toward the Kimberly region is the Victoria River, a good place for visitors to bushwalk, camp, four-wheel drive and of course fish in another of the Northern Territory’s famous Barramundi fishing spots.
Further south is Tennant Creek, a flat and grassy region that is perfect for the many cattle stations dotting the landscape. This area is known as the Northern Territory’s ‘Heart of Gold’ for not only the local gold rush history, but also the welcoming nature of the residents. Tennant Creek still relies heavily on these precious materials for the mining industry and eager visitors can try their own luck at panning for gold or gemstones. The Tennant Creek Township and surrounds is rich in pioneering history, with the first overland Telegraph Line in Australia being built from the nearby repeater station in 1872, originally the only building in the entire area. South of the Tennant Creek Township is the Devil’s Marbles, the area’s most famous landmark and a sacred site for the local indigenous Warumungu population.
The heart of Central Australia is known as the ‘Red Centre’ for its dramatic red and brown desert landscape and unimaginably immense sky. Visitors are often overwhelmed by the vastness of this region, which is inhabited not only by humans but also by an abundance of wildlife such as dingoes, emus, introduced camels and an array of reptiles. Alice Springs is the main town centre in the area and has progressed into a thriving tourist hub, with plenty of luxury resorts and fine restaurants for those seeking some creature comforts while exploring the harsh surrounds. Visitors can enjoy the relaxed pace of the local culture whilst learning about the town’s eclectic pioneering history and ancient indigenous history in one of the many cultural museums and galleries.
Alice Springs lies in the centre of the Macdonald Ranges, a photographer’s dream landscape of rocky gorges and escarpments. Tour guides can take you to hidden treasures in the landscape such as swimming holes, ancient aboriginal rock art sites and native rock wallaby haunts. A four-wheel drive into the Tanami desert landscape north of Alice Springs or the vast Simpson Desert to the South is also an adventurous way to take in the quintessential imagery of the dry Australian outback.
A trip to Australia is not complete without visiting the World Heritage listed Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park, South West of Alice Springs. This area contains the big two geological and spiritual wonders of the country – Uluru/Ayers Rock and Mount Olga/Kata Tjuta. Uluru is a place of great significance to the indigenous people of the region, and is best viewed from a respectful distance. West of Uluru is Kata Tjuta (also known as the Olgas), a 500 million year-old giant dome of rock that towers above the height of Uluru. Both these giant stone structures change colour in different light conditions, from reds to dusky blues, a truly breathtaking image to behold. 300 kilometres north east at the west end of the George Gill Range in the Watarrka National Park is Kings Canyon, a vast sandstone chasm that is Australia’s answer to the Grand Canyon. An early-morning bush walk around the constructed pathway above the canyon is the best way to take in the impressive vastness.
Occupying most of the central outback of Australia, the Northern Territory is the dusty red heart of Australia offering a gateway to beautiful natural wonders. Known mostly for Ayers Rock or Uluru, the Northern Territory is the home of dreamtime stories and helps maintain the Aboriginal heritage throughout the country. The tropical climate of the capital city Darwin provides relaxation and paradise on the beaches with pulsating nightlife.
Looking at a beach covered in palm trees, a deep, beautiful body of water in front of you and a bustling city behind you, Darwin offers the laid back feeling every tourist and local craves so much. With iconic wonders just a short drive away and an ancient Aboriginal heritage seen everywhere in the town, this unique city will capture your heart every day.
The heart of the territory however is Ayers Rock, a red guiding light for the centre of the country. Standing 350 metres high, it resembles the nature of an iceberg with more than two times its area reaching below the visible rock. Not only a natural wonder, Ayers Rock holds a special significance for the Aboriginal people and is the home of dreamtime stories from thousands of years before our time.
Kakadu National Park blends the famous rugged outback of the Northern Territory with tropical wetlands and waterfalls. Full of typically Australian billabongs and wildlife, Kakadu is just 3 hours from Darwin and is most popular for 4 Wheel Driving through the creeks and swimming in the gorges and many luscious waterfalls. While Kakadu is World Heritage Listed, it summons you to explore the landscapes.
Northern territory houses one university, Charles Darwin University, an institution at just a young 22 years old. The University has over 5000 students, although most choose to travel to larger urbanised areas to study.
Land Rights in the Northern Territory is a big priority, with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 establishing the basis for Aboriginal people to claim rights to traditional parts of the land. Aboriginal heritage is a big part of the Northern Territory and maintains a reputation for the rest of the country’s ancient Aboriginal traditions and culture.
Although the Northern Territory does not offer the national scene of sport any teams in any competitions, many sports are still played locally. Sports include Australian Rules Football, Cricket, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Motorsport and Baseball.
The Northern Territory is truly Australia’s real outback with iconic natural landscapes, traditional and ancient Aboriginal culture, and secluded and beautiful natural attractions spread throughout the territory. Relaxing in the Northern Territory is like reconnecting to the land and the people of authentic Australia.
Northern Territory (NT)
With its dry hot weather and vast desert landscape, the Northern Territory seems to encompass what many people imagine Australia to be like. It is also the home to the iconic Uluru, one of the world’s most famous natural landmarks. It stands at 350 metres and is located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, one of many World Heritage Listed parks.
170 kilometres away from the capital city of Darwin is another famous national park that is also listed as a World Heritage Site. Kakadu National Park is one of the biggest parks with a landmass over 2,000,000 hectares it is filled with untouched aboriginal art sites and unique landforms.
Every year the Darwin Festival is held. It celebrates the arts and cultural community in Darwin like comedy, music, dance and theatre. There is also the Speargrass Festival, held in July and offers locally specialised activities such as screening of locally produced films, basket weaving, Frisbee golf and communal organic cooking.
The Northern Territory comprises one sixth of Australia’s total land mass, and is Australia’s most sparsely populated state.
However it can lay claim to being the home of the country’s most significant natural features.
This is a state rich in natural attractions and the culture of Indigenous Australians.
The Northern Territory with its deep red interior is regarding by many as being the genuine Australian outback and as home to Uluru (Ayers Rock) it is the most important state for large numbers of visitors.
There are two distinct geographical regions that make up the state – the Top End, which includes its capital city Darwin, and Central Australia, which is home to Uluru and Alice Springs.
The Top End features low coastal beaches and mudflats flanked by thick mangrove plantations. This is tropical territory and there are only two climatic seasons up here – wet and dry.
During the wet, from November to March, there can be true tropical conditions with high temperatures and massive amounts of rain. Some parts of the region experience annual rainfall totals of 1500mm!
Once the wet season passes the Top End experiences sublime weather with balmy temperatures and little if any rainfall.
The Northern Territory is the Federal Territory of Australia located in the centre of the mainland continent bordering Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland with the Arafura Sea, Gulf of Carpentaria and Timor Sea and being an important gateway to countries such as Indonesia and East Timor. Between 1883 and 1889 railway was build between Palmerston and Pine Creek where cattle and mining was established and at one time Victoria River Downs was the largest cattle station in the world and now having economic sectors such as mining and tourism with mineral resources such as gold, zinc and bauxite, significant uranium deposits and energy productions resources mostly being off shore with oil and natural gas in the Timor Sea.