The territory is a land rich in Aboriginal heritage and rugged, natural beauty. Step back in time among the rock art of Kakadu and Arnhem Land, experience the sacred solitude of Uluru and King's Canyon, then canoe, bushwalk, bird watch, camp and four-wheel drive your way through Katherine. Drop into the outpost of Alice Springs and soak up Darwin's balmy mix of food and cultures.
The Red Centre
Sandy plains that stretch far beyond the horizon provide the backdrop to some of Australia’s best-known natural wonders and Dreamtime stories, shared around a campfire under a star-studded sky. At sunrise and sunset, the light on Uluru’s surface creates such astonishing chameleonic displays that it’s easy to see why a world of Aboriginal mythology has been woven around it. To the west is Kata Tjuta (the Olgas): dramatic rock domes some 200 metres taller than Uluru itself. Alice Springs is the Red Centre’s main hub. Trekking, camping and four-wheel driving tours to the Simpson Desert can all be organised in advance, as can trips to the nearby McDonnell Ranges, which run east and west out of Alice and are home to hiking trails, swimming holes and several prehistoric rock carving sites.
The Top End
While the state capital Darwin offers balmy weather and a surplus of outdoor festivals and markets, the real attractions of the Top End can be found beyond the city limits.
Litchfield, the traditional home of the Wagait Aboriginal people, is the closest national park to Darwin. Monsoon forests, towering termite mounds and unusual rock formations are typical sights in a park that includes much of the Tabletop Range along with several waterfalls and rock pools that are perfect for swimming. To the east lies Kakadu, often referred to as ‘the backyard’ and full of famous landmarks like the 250-metre-high Jim Jim Falls. More remote still is Arnhem Land: 91,000 sq. km of Aboriginal-owned wilderness whose sprawling savannah, wild coastline and tangled rainforests provide some of Australia’s most authentic adventures.
Head south from Arnhem Land and you’ll reach the Nitmiluk National Park, a stunning series of sandstone gorges that can be explored by foot, canoe, or as part of a boat cruise.