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  • Writer's pictureWandering Aus.

Northern Territory Bound Baby!

Top 10 Guide to the Northern Territory and the Red Centre Everything You Need to Know

For the southern and eastern states the cooler months of May through to September are either for surviving the cold rainy conditions hidden away inside, hitting the slopes in the snow country or heading north and chasing the sun! - something the Northern Territory has plenty of!

Uluru on Sunset

North of the equator, the winter months are referred to as the dry season. This brings beautiful sunny days and cooler balmy nights. We spent our last two winters exploring some of the best the NT had to offer, soaking up the sun whilst experiencing the culture of the territory.

The NT is easy to plan in loops either coming from the west, east or the south. These are our top 10 places to explore and in no particular order, we've added some helpful links along the way to help with your planning.

1. Uluru & Kata Juka

This absolutely magical place is one of those places that it doesn’t matter how many photos you’ve seen of it, none of them actually compare to standing in front of it. Uluru at sunrise and sunset is an absolute must. We recommend at least 2 days 3-4 is best. This will give you time to explore Kata Juka as well as completing the multitude of walks within the park. There are lots of experiential activities to do too, from camel rides and the field of lights.

Our Tip: Book experiences early, they book out fast and get to the sunset or sunrise spots early too, the carparks and good spots fill up fast.


2. Kings Canyon

Kings Canyon Rim Walk at Sunrise

Kings Canyon had us speechless! (and a little breathless) There is just nothing like it anywhere else in Australia. The shear size of the canyon is astonishing, it just makes you feel so small. The rim walk is an absolute must, if your fitness is up to it (once you get past the 500 odd rock stairs to start with you past the worst of it). Make sure you take the little side track to t

he Garden of Eden too, will not disappoint.

Our Tip: Kings Canyon at sunrise is like nothing else!


3. Finke Gorge National Park

We spent a few days exploring the Finke Gorge National park. There is a great 4wd track that runs from the Kings Canyon rd to Hermansburg, doable in a day, however decide to stop and camp at Boggy Hole, if you visit you’ll see why!

Finke Gorge NP is also home to Palm Valley, another ripper spot to set up camp and explore the park. Unfortunately the only access to Palm Valley is from Hermannsburg.

Boggy Hole and Palm Valley

Our Tip: It’s a great little cut through to Hermannsburg to access Palm Valley.


4. West Macdonnell Ranges

Whether you come straight from Alice Springs or the Mereenie Loop road from Kings Canyon, or even from Hermannsburg after exploring the Finke Gorge NP, the West Macs has a stack to offer all sorts of travelers. There are some serious hikes (Larapinta Trail), stacks of day walks and some awesome rock holes to cool off in. Allow a few days to explore all of the sights.

Our Tip: We worked our way east starting at Redbank Gorge camping 2 nights along the way, there is camping at a few of the gorges and some good free camps too.


5. Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles

Karlu Karlu - Devils Marbles are a photographers paradise

A very special spot to pull up to stretch the legs and even camp the night. Karlu Karlu - Devils Marbles has some nice walks to soak up the magnitude of these round marble like rocks. If you’re lucky enough to camp there on a Monday during the dry season make sure you get along to the Ranger talks around the campfire. Be sure to respect the signs about photography and access to certain sections of the park.

Our Tip: Book online early, sites fill fast in the peak season and there isn’t much overflow room


6. Mataranka, Bitter Springs & Elsey National Park

If you had to describe an inland, desert oasis, this place would be it! Crystal Blue water, palm trees of every variety and towering gums. There are plenty of options for camping. We stayed at the homestead one night to check out the Mataranka thermal springs and the night time show featuring Nathan Wippy Griggs and live music, another night in Elsey National Park and one at Bitter Springs was a favourite!

Palm trees, water lilies and clear blue skies in Elsey National Park

Our Tip: Get to the springs early! During the peak season the springs are a popular destination, around lunch time tourist buses from Darwin arrive, so avoid those times.


7. Litchfield National Park

Surprise Creek and Sandy Creek Falls in all their glory!

What a paradise of a National Park! If you plan your trip to Litchfield right you could and should be having a swim in some stunning rock holes and waterfalls every day! If not more!

We had a ball exploring Litchfield NP, soaking up the cultural aspects of this country as well as the swimming spots. Bring your walking shoes because all the best spots require some short hikes.

Our Tip: We found the key to Litchfield was to get to anywhere early! Places like Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole are easily accessed both by standard car and walking terrain are the busiest.


8. Darwin

The Ever Changing Colours of Darwin

A pocket size town that packs a punch! What a blast! There is so much going in Darwin it’s hard to fit it all in! Some of our favourites were the RFDS museum, Mindil Sunset Markets and the WWII museums and Oil Tunnels. There is so much to learn about the history of Darwin, all the way back to the First Nations people and their international relations before white man. The WWII history is still so vivid and raw with so lots to experience. The RFDS museum has to be one of the best interactive museums! Great for all ages! Don’t forget the Crocosaurus Cove, Fishing Feeding at Aquascene and The Waterfront Precinct!

Our Tip: Book accommodation well in advance, caravan parks, hotels and airBnB’s book out quickly during the peak dry season times.


9. Kakadu National Park

Kaka-make-sure-you-do! We loved exploring the Kakadu National Park, don’t listen to the haters, go and make your own mind up. We started our Kakadu experience with a jumping croc cruise. The guys at Adelaide River Jumping Croc Cruises were amazing, knowledgeable and a fair bit brave! Best explored in a four wheel drive, this will give you access to some of the best bits of Kakadu like Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls and Maguk. One of the must kaka-do’s is Ubirr at sunset, as is the Yellow Waters Cruise, they’re both truly incredible, like a scene out of the Lion King!

Ubirr at Sun Down

Our Tip: Don’t compare Kakadu to Litchfield, they’re two different places entirely.


10. East Arnhem Land - Nhulunbuy

The Colours of East Arnhem Land

Oh yeah! It’s a trek, 750 odd kilometres one way, but it’s worth it! East Arnhem Land is a stunning region of dense tropical forest that meets the silky sandy northern beaches. Plenty of things to do and see and a whole lot of history and culture to soak up. If you're travelling light there are some great campsites offered up by the Dhimurru Corporation or if you're towing, the Gove Boat Club has some lush green grass to set up on.

Our Tip: You need a couple of permits to visit Arnhem Land, one to access the road up from the Northern Lands Council and one from the Dhimurru Corporation to camp and visit some of the culturally significant destinations


Now it’s time for you to plan your NT Adventure! As you can see above, there is so much to do, so unless you have unlimited time, don't try and fit it all in at once. There is still plenty we’ve missed and can’t wait to head back to tick off.

Safe Travels

Jess + Mitch

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