Uluru, Darwin & Northern Territory
Home to many of Australia’s most iconic destinations, the Top End and the Red Centre in Australia’s Northern Territory offer diverse natural and cultural landscapes that are nothing short of inspiring. Full of rich and fascinating experiences, the NT is a great unspoilt frontier.
Find out more about these exciting destinations below.
At the heart of the Red Centre lies Uluṟu (Ayers Rock). An Australian natural icon and World Heritage listed site, visiting this area is an incredible experience. You will feel the magic of the place as you sip a glass of wine and watch the sunset around the rock. At first light or dusk, the radiance of the rock and the colours painted across the sky are certainly something to witness. Uluṟu holds deep cultural significance to the Aṉangu people, the traditional Aboriginal owners of the region. On a guided tour and base walk you’ll discover the spirituality that resonates from this ancient monolith, view ancient rock art and learn how the rock came to life during the Dreamtime. As night descends on this magical location, take part in an Aussie Barbecue experience and dine under a star laden sky in the middle of the outback.
40 kilometres west of Uluṟu you’ll discover Kata Tjuṯa (The Olgas). Kata Tjuṯa, meaning ‘many heads’, is a geological marvel consisting of 32 rock domes that have weathered more than 500 million years. Explore this area on an adventurous trek through the Valley of the Winds or take a more leisurely walk into Walpa Gorge.
The famous outback town of Alice Springs was established by early explorers who built a repeater station along the Overland Telegraph line in 1872 to relay messages from Darwin to Adelaide. You can still see the historic Telegraph Station today. There's a lot to do in and around Alice Springs; visit Australia's largest Aboriginal art gallery, learn about desert reptiles and marsupials at Alice Springs Desert Park, ride camels through the desert or 4WD into the oasis of Palm Valley. Take a tour around town and visit the iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air. Enjoy a panoramic view of Alice from Anzac Hill and see the MacDonnell Ranges that flank the town, stretch across the horizon.
To the west of Alice Springs lies Kings Canyon. This grand chasm slices the earth 270 metres deep and casts a sheltering shadow over lush palm forests and native animal species, protecting them from the harsh desert environment. Choose to take an energetic guided climb to the canyon rim and see magnificent views of Watarrka National Park, or take an easier walk through the boulder-strewn canyon floor.
Darwin is not just your average beach resort holiday; it’s a culturally diverse city with a historic past and a spectacular landscape. The tropical city is warm all year round with a balmy climate that inspires a relaxed lifestyle. Explore the colourful Mindil Beach Sunset Markets or head down to the harbour where you'll find lots of restaurants and outdoor cafés serving authentic Top End dishes like barramundi (fish), mud crabs or crocodile. Speaking of crocodile, you certainly don't want to miss seeing these guys in action. Take a cruise and see jumping crocodiles and other local wildlife!
If you’re interested to learn about Darwin's role in World War II or the devastation of Cyclone Tracey, visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, the Darwin Military Museum and the remaining historic WWII bunkers found in Charles Darwin National Park. Darwin is the best place for you to venture out and explore the Top End. Take a day trip to Litchfield National Park where you'll see incredible termite mounds, stunning waterfalls and rainforests. Take a dip at the base of the falls, soak up the scenery and try a slice of the delicious mango cheesecake found at Litchfield Café. Or why not take a quick flight or ferry to the Tiwi Islands and experience the artworks and stories of an ancient indigenous culture.
World Heritage listed Kakadu is the largest national park in Australia covering more than 110 000 square kilometres in the north-east corner of the Top End. Kakadu's rivers, plains and wetlands are home to more than one third of Australia's bird species plus other wildlife like crocodiles, kangaroos, wallabies, reptiles and fish. A cruise on the waterways of Yellow Water Billabong and the East Alligator River is the best way to get a close-up view of Kakadu and its flora and fauna. With the permission of the local Aboriginal people, go ashore at Arnhem Land and observe a part of Kakadu that is entirely owned by Aboriginal people. The proud history of Aboriginal people in Kakadu is represented in rock art dating back around 20 000 years. Walk around Ubirr or Nourlangie and see this amazing history for yourself. Once at the top of these rocky outcrops you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding wetlands and escarpment country that make Kakadu so unique.
It’s said that Katherine is ‘where the outback meets the tropics’. 300 kilometres south of Darwin, Katherine is the third largest town in the Northern Territory and has a pioneering history dating back to 1862. The stand-out of the region is Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Choose to cruise through the gorge with a local guide or climb to the top and witness a stunning sunset while looking over the billion year old sandstone and Katherine River. It’s the perfect way to finish a busy day.
For an authentic Aussie outback social experience, be sure to have a cold drink at Daly Waters Historic Pub. It's the oldest pub in the Northern Territory and has a quirky character that will leave you laughing.