What to pack for your trip to the NT

Posted: 18 March 2022

LET’S face it, after languishing through two years with no travel time we’re all a little rusty at packing.

A process that was puzzling before the pandemic – remember that internal pre-departure debate that started with something like “how am I going to fit all that stuff into my suitcase” – is now downright intimidating as we try to recall the rules for building an on-the-road wardrobe.

And then there were all the accoutrements like powerpacks for digital devices, extra SD cards for the camera, compression socks for flying, pegless washing line, and Bluetooth speaker for listening to relaxing tunes during downtime.

Can you remember where you stored all your travel accessories when the world went into lockdown? Or the combination for your suitcase lock? And with Australia welcoming international visitors once more, is your passport still in date?

While packing for a city stay or long weekend in the country takes thought, that process is amplified when preparing for a getaway to a dynamic destination like Australia’s Northern Territory.

To help prepare for an escape to the Top End or Red Centre – and the many kilometres in between Uluru and Kakadu – AAT Kings is helping by putting together suggestions on what not to forget when bound for the Territory.

Litchfield National Park Mandatory Credit Tourism NT Carmen Huter Restrictions DIGITAL ONLYImage credit: Tourism NT & Carmen Huter

THE FUNDAMENTALS

Regardless of when or where, a few items can never be left at home when vacationing in Australia’s northern latitudes.

Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide is essential so take long and light layers that protect skin from sunburn, source sunscreen with a high SPF, add a broad-brimmed hat, and pack the sunglasses to protect the eyes from glare.

Staying hydrated is vital when you are adventuring in the NT. A reusable water bottle means staying suitably hydrated doesn’t include an unsustainable investment in single-use plastic.

Practical walking shoes are another must, whether they be hardy hiking boots for adventurous tracks and trails, comfortable sandals for city strolling, or – yes, we are brave enough to suggest the much-maligned – a pair of Crocs for those sudden wet-season storms.

ULURU, WHAT TO PACK

Australia’s Red Centre is universally celebrated for being a sun-baked landscape, but blue-sky days are often followed by cloudless nights that turn chilly when heat generated during the bright hours ascends straight to the stars after the desert darkness descends.

Pack warm clothes like a fleece jacket and thermal underwear for nights by the campfire or early-morning exploring, woolly socks to keep toes toasty and blissfully blister-free, and even a beanie or gloves for after-dark dining in the desert.

DARWIN, WHAT TO PACK

Northern Australia is famous for having just two seasons, with the wet stretching across the months surrounding the new year and the dry settling during the year’s middle months.

Those visiting the Top End between November and April will see an abundance of the wet stuff falling from the sky accompanied by spectacular light shows but, because it’s still wonderfully warm, it doesn’t interrupt the well-provisioned from embarking upon adventures and explorations.

Pack quick-drying clothes, which not only breathe when in tropical humidity but reduce the chance of enduring wet fabric after a shower, and take footwear that continues to be comfortable and perform well when soaked.

A boaties dry-bag is good for keeping belongings dry during a sudden rain storm and a torch or headlamp providing illumination when out stargazing to spot the Southern Cross, and a pacamac or light rain jacket will perform better than an umbrella when rain tumbles.

At the other end of the year it’s long layers that work best during the dry, providing protection from the sun and adding warmth when cool evening breezes drift after sunset, and city strolling means sandals and flip-flops are more agreeable than hiking boots.

KAKADU, WHAT TO PACK

A sojourn inside Kakadu National Park means walking, so pack sturdy shoes. Whether you want to explore Indigenous art, savour a fiery Far North sunrise, or soak in a freshwater pond at the top of a waterfall, you’ll want your feet to be comfortable when exploring the wide open spaces that await.

Several pairs of togs (swimmers, bathers or cossies!) go in next, because putting damp bathers onto a hot body is never fun, with a sarong or Turkish towel not only enough to dry off and cover up after a dip but eliminating the need to carry a bulky and slow-drying towel.

Bring a torch for exploring around after dark, insect repellent to keep the buzzing things at bay, and snacks to push blood sugar up when away from shops and settlements.

EXPLORE THE NORTHERN TERRITORY WITH AAT KINGS

Joining a guided holiday helps remove the uncertainty from travel, especially in this post-pandemic era as we navigate the “new normal”, and AAT Kings has an impressive inventory of enticing itineraries that take in the Red Centre and Top End.

Outback Adventure is a 15-day expedition that starts in Adelaide and climbs through the heart of the continent to take in the Flinders Ranges, Coober Pedy, Uluru, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs, Katherine Gorge and Kakadu National Park before finishing in Darwin.

Those seeking something a little shorter, and set on staying inside the Northern Territory, should consider Outback Safari or Northern Territory Explorer with these itineraries taking 11 days to journey between Uluru and Darwin while visiting the notable locations flanking the Stuart Highway.

AAT Kings has been taking curious travellers on tours that visit iconic locations and hidden gems around Australia and New Zealand for more than 100 years and promises the security and support needed to hit the road with everything required to guarantee a smooth journey.

The company’s knowledgeable travel directors provide insightful perspectives on each destination and work hard behind the scenes to deliver the rare cultural experiences that form holiday memories that last a lifetime.

Indigenous culture Mandatory Credit Tourism Australia James FisherImage credit: Tourism Australia & James Fisher

By AAT Kings
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