Things to do in Northern Territory, Australia - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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6 Highlights of the Northern Territory: Darwin to the Red Centre



The Aussies call it “The Top End” but we know it as The Northern territory. Known as the “real Australia”, it is the epicentre of Australian culture and history. A visit to the Northern territory is an essential part of any Aussie adventure, so we’ve compiled a handy guide for you to get the most out of your journey along Stuart Highway into the Red Centre. 

Darwin Cruise1. Darwin & Surrounds

Aussies that live here call life in Darwin “Life at the top” and it’s not just because of their geographic location. After flying into Darwin, take a couple of days to explore this unique “cosmopolitan” city. Over 60 nationalities and even more ethnicities make up the population of this exciting tourist destination. 
Things to do in the city include taking a boat out to do a spot of fishing for Australia’s most famous fish, the Barramundi; or if you wanted to get right up close to some crocs, there’s Darwin Crocodile Park: Crocosaurus Cove located in the heart of Darwin City. 
Take a day trip to Litchfield National Park to swim in crystal clear water, under beautiful waterfalls. Or explore monsoon rainforests and see magnetic termite mounds. Another worthwhile day trip is to the Tiwi Islands where you will see Aboriginal culture, heritage and art up close. Oh and the occasional Aussie rules game!   

2. Kakadu National Park

Veering off Stuart Highway, 171 Km southeast of Darwin, this UNESCO World Heritage park is nearly half the size of Switzerland and definitely worth a visit. There are over 5,000 Aboriginal art sites which show that Aborigines have been living here for over 20,000 years. Follow in the steps of Crocodile Dundee as you bushwalk through the enormous park to explore the huge variety of protected species of wildlife and plants. Visit Jim Jim Falls, the largest waterfall in the park and do some fishing on the Yellow River but watch out for the saltwater crocs!

3. Katherine Gorge 

Back on Stuart Highway, the track will take you 244 Km Southeast of Darwin to the town of Katherine and the ancient Katherine Gorge in the spectacularly beautiful Nitmiluk Park. There are 13 gorges in Nitmiluk National Park which have walls of more than 70m in height which carry on for 12 Km along the Katherine river. If you stay in the town of Katherine itself, you should also make time to visit the Cutta Cutta Caves and take some time out to relax in the Katherine Hot Springs. 

4. Tennant Creek & the Devil’s Marbles

Continuing along Stuart Highway, you will arrive at Tennant Creek, which is the fifth largest town in the Northern Territory (although the population is only just over 3,000). Just outside this town you can learn all about life on the Cattle Stations, a reality for many Australians. At Kelly’s Ranch, you can experience nature, Aboriginal culture and bush tucker on horse trail rides with owner Jerry Kelly who is an indigenous Australian. 
100 Km outside Tennant Creek are the Devil’s Marbles, an anomaly of nature. See the giant, gravity-defying boulders of red granite which the Aborigines believe are clusters of hair dropped by an ancient ancestor.  

5. Alice Springs

Staying on the Stuart Highway will take you all the way to the famous Alice Springs, the exact geographic centre of the continent of Australia. Alice Springs is a town that is bustling with history and culture. You should spend a couple of days here to get a good feel for life in the outback. Take a dawn camel ride deep into the Simpson Desert to explore the wildlife and visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service (does anyone remember the Flying Doctors TV show?!), followed by a dinner of delicious bush tucker in one of the fine restaurants. If you are here in August, you should get to see the infamous Henley-on-Todd Sailing Regatta. A boat upon a dry river, firing flour bombs is something that shouldn’t be missed! 

6. The Red Centre & Uluru

Take Lasseter Highway off Stuart to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and you will go deeper into the Red Centre to visit the famous Uluru or Ayer’s Rock as it is more commonly known. The monolith has been a sacred symbol for the Aborigines for thousands of years. It is 348m high but amazingly 2.5Km of the rock is underground. It is best visited at sunset when the colours on the rock are at their most intense—it is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. For more information on the Red Centre, read our previous blog post here. 

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