The Northern Territory is too often neglected on the travel itineraries of visitors to Australia, and as a Northern Territory resident, I can see why. The Northern Territory is an enormous place, and from a distance looks very empty. Despite having an area of more than 1.4 million square kilometres, only around 260,000 people live there!
Still, there are a number of reasons to take a chance and a trip to the oft-forgotten wild territory of Australia. Here are just five to get you started.
Darwin Is A Taste Of Tropical Asia
Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory, is a town like few others in Australia. Tropical and balmy all year around, my coastal hometown is as much Asia as it is Australia, and it’s closer to Indonesia than to most southern cities. An enormous international and multi-cultural population make Darwin full of unique offerings. From the bustling Asian-style weekend markets at Rapid Creek and Parap, to the tropical beaches like Mindil famed for their sunsets, this is one town where you never feel in a hurry. Laid back to the extreme, Darwin is a great base and a reason all on its own to see the N.T.
The Red Centre Shines
Once you’ve experienced the tropics, you might be forgiven for thinking there can’t be much more on offer in the N.T., but you’d be wrong. As well as being a tropical destination, the Northern Territory also encompasses the ‘Outback Australia’ most people picture when they imagine Australia. The red sand deserts and open skies are perfect for those wanting to get away from it all, and even with all that empty space there’s so much to see. No trip to the Red Centre would be complete without a stop at Uluru, or the nearby Kata Tjuta. The more intrepid folk will probably appreciate the likes of the Devil’s Marbles, or even Kings Canyon.
Swimming Is The Activity Of The Day
Anyone looking to take a dip will find themselves spoilt for choice in the Northern Territory, as long as they’re mindful of the risks. The Northern Territory is known for its proliferation of deadly salt water crocodiles, with an estimated 100,000 animals calling the territory home. Luckily, the hard work of our local park rangers means many incredibly stunning swimming locations are crocodile free, and totally safe to swim in. For a day trip from Darwin the splash-tastic Litchfield National Park is a must, with several suitable swimming spots. Further along there are hot springs at Mataranka and Douglas Daly, canoeing on the Katherine River, and off-the-track adventures in Kakadu.
Don’t Forget The Amazing Hiking
If you aren’t quite sold on swimming with beasts, there’s no shortage of other activities for visitors to the Northern Territory. Avid hikers will be more than busy with the wealth of gorgeous trails and hikes in this starkly beautiful Australian landscape. From the Katherine Gorge to Uluru, there are many steps to walk in exploring the Northern Territory. Whether you’re an experienced hiker undertaking the Larapinta Trail, or a day hiker taking a wonder through Litchfield National Park, the Territory is waiting to be discovered.
Australia’s Cultural Centre
The Northern Territory has the highest population percentage of Aboriginal people in Australia by a landslide. With nearly 30% of the N.T. population consisting of Australia’s first peoples, this is definitely the place to see one of the world’s oldest cultures in action. From rock art to traditional dance, there are Aboriginal festivals and many knowledgeable Aboriginal tour guides at key locations who are uniquely qualified to talk about the country they call home. If you want to experience the richness of Aboriginal Australia, there’s no better place than the Northern Territory.
So, is that enough to motivate you to add the Northern Territory to your next travel itinerary? It’s just the beginning!