The Northern Territory is home to some big-ticket tourism destinations, including Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kakadu. These regions of the Northern Territory are meccas for a reason. They are some of the most visually stunning locations in Australia. There is no disputing that the imposing grandeur of the monolithic Uluru or Kata Tjuta at sunset are must-sees. However, these ancient landscapes also offer a unique opportunity to learn about Australia’s Indigenous history.
These places hold a strong cultural significance for the traditional owners of the land. The Indigenous art sites of Kakadu are unique examples which showcase the interaction of humans and the environment. The vast wilderness area of Arnhem Land in the north-east is absolutely spectacular. However, it is Aboriginal land and outside access is restricted to allow Aboriginal cultures to exist in the traditional way.
However, the Territory also has plenty of other great experiences on offer in addition to these popular sites. In the north, around Katherine, there’s plenty to see and do. Katherine is aptly known as the place where “the outback meets the tropics”.
The Hot Springs are a must-see, as are the Cutta Cutta Caves about 30km out of town. The Nitmiluk National Park features a spectacular series of cascading waterfalls and pools on the Edith River, which make for great swimming spots.
You don’t even need to leave the bitumen to see the spectacular MacDonnell Ranges, which are just outside Alice Springs. Another extraordinary site worth visiting just outside Alice is the Ewaninga Rock Carvings, a collection of Aboriginal petroglyphs.
A number of Australia’s best four-wheel drive tracks also centre on The Alice. These include the Old Ghan Railway Loop, the Plenty Highway, Binns Track and the Tanami. Each of these tracks is totally different and pass through a diverse range of environments. What can’t be argued is that all of them offer up unforgettable scenery, challenges and adventures.
While Kakadu is the best known, there are plenty of other incredible national parks to be found. Davenport Ranges National Park is one of the lesser-known conservation areas but is jam-packed with incredible scenery and waterholes.
The Amelia Creek Meteorite Crater is a spectacular formation and is well worth a visit. If you want to get extra adventurous, you can take the Frew River 4WD Route to Old Police Station Waterhole, which is a gorgeous spot to camp.
The Judbarra National Park also offers some picturesque locations and Jasper Gorge is a particular highlight. The beautiful gorges, waterholes and waterfalls of Litchfield National Park rival those in the Kimberley. There’s nothing quite like cooling off in the crystal clear water of one of these waterholes after a long, hot, dusty few weeks on the road.
Highlights in the south of the NT include the stunning Rainbow Valley, the striking rock formation of Chambers Pillar and the geographical centre of Australia.
You can also enjoy a step back in time at Old Andado Station and maybe even a cuppa if you’re lucky. Or maybe you’d like to drive part of the Finke Desert Race track, albeit at a slighter slower pace than the competitors!
With so many diverse experiences and locations on offer, you could easily spend years just exploring the Northern Territory!