Now that international borders are shut there is no better time than now to explore our own backyard. An often overlooked destination by Australians is our beautiful top end. Below we’ve gathered some of the best things to do in the NT including some things that may surprise you.
When we got invited to spend a week in the Northern Territory by NT tourism we jumped at the opportunity. It’s been high on our list for a long time but we never managed to make it happen. We were surprised at what we discovered! you too will be asking yourself, why didn’t we visit earlier?
4 things that might surprise you about the NT
Getting to the NT was so easy, only a short flight yet we felt like we were in another world. You’ll step off the plane and instantly feel the tropical NT energy embrace you. No queues or traffic either! Another misconception is that you’ll need a 4WD to get around. Truth is some of the best spots in Kakadu and Litchfield are just a couple hours drive from Darwin the roads are bitumen and easy as, so no real need for a 4WD.
Darwin Absolutely surprised us with its multicultural community. Its fusion of indigenous & international cultures all in such a small city. The best way to experience it is to take a visit to Darwins famous Parap markets where the aroma of asian street food combined with local arts & crafts will transport you to another world. Ask any Darwin local and they’ll send you to Parap markets to try its famous Laksa.
3. Swimming spots everywhere
We thought swimming wasn’t a big option in the NT with all the Croc talk. But we were so wrong! There are actually plenty of safe swimming sites all around Litchfield & Kakadu national parks, only an hour or 2 drive from Darwin. If you are in the CBD you can head down to Darwin Waterfront for the beach wave pool & water parks or over to Mindle Beach Resort to spend the day at the lagoon pool with a cocktail. Theres are even 4 patrolled beaches around Darwin to choose from in the dry season.
In Darwin you’ll find absolutely everything you would in a international city plus more. From trendy local cafes, amazing street art displays, exceptional cuisine & boutique shopping. The best thing about it is everything has a unique NT take on it.
Things to do in the NT
We started our trip in Darwin hiring a 4WD with rooftop tent. Taking 10 days to complete a loop we headed out east to Kakadu, down to Katherine, coming back up through Litchfield National Park then ending back in Darwin.
- Parap asian food markets for the Laksa & Vietnamese rolls.
- Mindle beach sunset markets
- Indigenous art galleries
- Shopping the local Boutiques such as Embella, Elevated & Viva La Body. Also you’ll find the famous Paspaley in town.
- Spend the day at Mindle Beach Resort
- Augmented reality graffiti tour. Make sure you download the app before you do the tour.
Stay in the wilderness
We had an amazing stay at the luxury Wildman Wilderness Lodge. We loved the peaceful energy of the wilderness. Even in this beautiful remote area there are plenty of things to do. The resort offers many amazing activities like:
- Bush tucker tours
- Wildlife & croc spotting river cruise
- Helicopter tour over the wetlands
Kakadu is a must see destination, Australia’s largest national park & World Heritage listed for its cultural and environmental significance. Some of our highlights from our time here:
- Walking treks up to Nourlangie & Ubirr rocks
- Camping under the stars with thunder storms rolling in
- Swimming in Gunlom falls (make sure you don’t miss this one) at the time of our visit the top waterfall was closed but we’ve heard is also amazing!
- Maguk falls walking trail
Katherine was a last minute squeeze into our itinerary and we are so glad we made it, we only wish we had more time to explore. Some popular activities in Katherine are:
- Swimming in the Katherine hot springs
- Walking trails at Nitmiluk Gorge
- Kayaking and river cruises
- Helicopter tours
Day trip to Litchfield National Park
This is a popular weekend spot for locals and day trippers as it is only an hour out of town and easily accessible. There are countless walking trails and swimming holes to explore. Our favourite was cooling off in the cascading plunge pools at Buley Rockhole.
- Best time of year to travel is in the dry season May to October
- Always be aware and read the croc safety signs
- You don’t need a 4WD to see the N.T’s highlights, but you’ll be able to access some of it’s extra gems if you do. We Hired a rooftop 4WD camper from Apollo and it was a great way to explore some of Kakadu’s more remote areas.
- If you time your trip like we did (Nov) and head just at the end of the dry seasons it can be a bit risky with weather but you’ll get a lot of destinations all to yourself. It was building up pretty humid by that time & we did get a few tropical downpours, never the less it all added to that top end experience.
- We highly recommend planning in advance and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each location.
Side note: All photos are edited with our Lightroom Presets you can download them here