The climate can be
very hot in the Northern Territory. Make sure that you are prepared.
Many people feel that the best time to go is in the winter which
is the dry season. During the winter the temperatures may still
reach into the 80's and 90's.
Some Key Attractions:
Darwin is the largest city in the Northern Territory,
with a population of approximately 70,000 people, and is Australia's
northern gateway. Darwin was settled to stop the French and Dutch
gaining a foothold in Australia and was settled in 1864. The Port
of Darwin was first named after Charles Darwin by British captain,
John Lort Stokes in 1839. Gold was discovered to the south of
Darwin in 1871 which led to a rapid expansion. Later, Darwin played
a major role for Australia in World War 2 as it became an allied
base against the Japanese. It is not a well known fact internationally
that Darwin was attacked by the Japanese 64 times during the war
and 243 people lost their lives. Darwin has had to face the wrath
of nature as well as war. On Christmas Eve in 1974, Cyclone Tracey
headed towards and hit Darwin with immense force. The city was
decimated by 175 mph winds, 66 people died, 30,000 residents were
airlifted out of the area and the city was eventually rebuilt.
Most of the site seeing for international visitors is outside
of Darwin and therefore Darwin is a good springboard to see what
the Northern Territory has to offer and to experience the Australian
The best way to get to Darwin, from other major cities such as
Sydney, is by air. There are
roads but we do not recommend this unless you are on a guided
tour or are experienced in driving through the hostile Outback.
Kakadu National Park is an 8,000 square mile park in Australia's
hot Top End and is listed as a World Heritage Area. The land is
owned by the Australian Aboriginals and is leased back to the
Government. The Park is a diverse and beautiful assortment of
geographical features as well as interesting flora and fauna.
There are 75 reptile species, 60 mammal species, 1,200 plant species
and 10,000 insect species. Major attractions in the Park include
Twin Falls, Nourlangie Rock, Gunlom Water Hole and Yellow Water
just to mention a few. The best way to get there is by road. The
park is 153km (95mi) by road from Darwin. Tours
of Kakadu are available and very worthwhile.
Arnhem Land is located in
the far North of Australia's Outback Northern Territory. There's
something extra special about arriving as a visitor to one of
the Top End's tiny, far-flung coastal communities. Hordes of free-spirited
children stop their beachfront acrobatics to mill around and chatter.
Friendly ladies in colourful dresses lead you gently by the arm
to their favourite museum exhibit. More...
Jim Jim Falls is one of Kakadu's most popular gorge destinations.
To reach it, you'll need to walk 1km through monsoon forest to
find the deep pool at its base, surrounded by soaring cliffs.
Twin Falls greets you with crystalline sandy beaches and dense
forest surrounding the permanent plunge pool that you can reach
by paddling up the gorge on an air-mattress.
Litchfield National Park is located 85 miles south of
Darwin and is a great recreational spot for swimming in deep crocodile-free
pools. There are waterfalls such as Florence Falls. Look out for
the giant termite mounds as a point of interest. The best way
to get there is by car from Darwin or take a tour.
Darwin Crocodile Farm: If
you want to see Australia's famous reptile, the crocodile, this
is the place. The best way to get there is by car or a tour from
Darwin as it is only 25 miles south of Darwin.
Katherine is a small town located 185 miles south of Darwin
on the banks of the Katherine River. It was home for thousands
of years for the Australian Aboriginals but is now a tourist town
and a spring board to various attractions such as the Katherine
Gorge and the Cutta Cutta Caves. Katherine Gorge is 30 miles from
Katherine and is a series of gorges running through red sandstone
cliffs. These gorges have been cut out by years of rain and they
are estimated to be over 1 billion years old. The best way to
tour this area is by boat.
Alice Springs is the other main
city in the Northern Territory and is built inland in the desert,
right in the middle of the Australian continent. It is the unofficial
capital of this area of Australia called the Red Centre. Alice
Springs developed in the 1880's after the overland telegraph was
built in the 1870's. The population is approximately 20,000 but
there are currently over 400,000 visitors per year as this is
a good place to base yourself to see some of the natural wonders
of central Australia.
Ten minutes from Alice Springs is the Alice Springs Desert Park
which is a 3,200 acre park which is home to 120 animals and 320
plants from this desert area. West of Alice Springs are the beautiful
MacDonnell Ranges which change colours with the changes in daylight.
Other attractions and activities include camel safaris through
the desert and balloon rides at sunrise.
The Larapinta Trail is an exciting new long distance walking
track through the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges across the
heart of Central Australia. When completed the Larapinta Trail
will span 250kms, beginning at the Alice Springs Telegraph Historical
Reserve and finishing at Mt Razorback. For the fainthearted, it's
not necessary to attempt the entire length, the Trail can be done
in individual sections.
Uluru (Ayers Rock): Perhaps
Australia's most famous feature, Uluru is approximately 290 miles
from Alice Springs and can be best accessed by car or tour. It
is also possible to fly to Uluru. Uluru was formerly known as
Ayers Rock and the name was changed when the Australian Government
handed the title over to the Australian Aborigines in 1985. The
Rock is sacred to Aborigines and it is shrouded in Aboriginal
myth and legend from years past. Uluru is on the World Heritage
list and is a single rock made up of sandstone which is rich in
crystalline minerals that make it's colour change throughout the
day. When it is wet, it is purple or black and on sunny days it
appears red or orange. Uluru can be climbed and is done so by
thousands of tourists every year. Be warned, it is over 1,200
feet high and many people don't make it all the way.
The Olgas are domed shaped rocks that rise to 1,790 feet
from the desert plains. They are 17 miles from Uluru and a walk
through these giant rocks is entertaining.
Tennant Creek is the second largest town in the Red Centre.
It was settled in the 1870s when it was chosen as a telegraph
station. Tennant Creek is 310 miles north of Alice Springs.
Devil's Marbles Conservation Park is located 65 miles
south of Tennant Creek and is home to a collection of huge spherical
boulders made of red granite. These rocks are estimated to be
over 1.5 billion years old.