Australias Northern Territory is one of those places on earth, where you can feel that you are in a completely unique world of its own. It’s one of the most sparsely populated states on this planet.
From tropical rainforests, waterfalls and mangroves up north to vast deserts and spectacular rock formations down south, the Northern Territory has got it all. In addition, the NT is the place where you can still feel the presence of aboriginal influence the most. You will be able to learn about the aboriginal and modern history of virtually every point of interest here.
During our big road trip around Australia, we’ve spent a few weeks in this amazing part of the country. Here’s a quick overview of our highlights that will give you serious wanderlust to visit Australias Northern Territory:
Visit Australias Northern Territory
Located in the beautiful Litchfield National Park, Florence Falls is a great place to take a dip and refresh from the heat and humidity. Don’t worry though, the area around Florence Falls is barred from crocs!
If you want the waterfall to yourself make sure to arrive early, before all the tours come at around 10/11am. This waterfall can get very busy (up to around 40 people), and although it’s a fairly large area it can feel very small with that many people clambering in and out.
Unlike Florence Falls, you cannot access the base of Tolmer Falls. This is actually the closest you can get (unless you fly a drone over it). Although you can’t physically get to the waterfall, it may be even more stunning due to it’s location and surroundings. Hidden away in a narrow gorge, you get to realise the vast landscape around the Northern Territory, which is simply magnificent.
Arguably the most popular and famous waterfall in Litchfield National Park is Wangi Falls, due to its accessibility, incredible loop trek and the ability to go swimming in it at certain times of the year.
Unfortunately, we were very unlucky as the look trek was closed due to maintenance and swimming was banned due to flood levels and the presence of a croc! When there is a sign saying do not swim crocodiles have been recently sighted, they’re not joking around so please obey these signs!
Despite, most things being closed at Wangi Falls, there are a few good viewing platforms at eye level, but the angles for photography are a little limited from here.
Have you really been to the Northern Territory if you haven’t seen a crocodile!? The rivers and mangroves around Darwin, for example in Kakadu National Park, have a lot of them, so please please do not even think about going swimming in any of the rivers or waterholes in the area, unless it specifically states you can!
In fact, no other place in the world has a higher density than some of the rivers around Darwin, for example the Mary River, which is not too far from where we took this photo:
You can see Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park either by hiking, by kayaking, from a boat or from a helicopter, or any combination of these. Being one of the most famous sights of the Northern Territory, it comes as no surprise that Katherine Gorge is quite commercialised.
You can go on expensive tours and excursions, and the campground and other accommodation is rather pricey too. Nevertheless, Katherine Gorge (which is actually a complex of 13 different gorges) is a stunning place with lots of photo spots and activities on offer.
Bitter Springs is a swimming hole with crystal clear and light blue spring water. It was the clearest water we’ve ever snorkelled in, better than in a public swimming pool! Just be careful with your feet to not kick up all the bits from the ground which make visibility worse for everybody.
The Devils Marbles are some great looking rock formations, some round as marbles, some split in half like an apple, and some just randomly stacked on top of each other. There are thousands of perspectives to explore, and you can also camp right next to these unique rocks on the Devils Marbles campground. This is a must do as the stars out here are insane too!
Ellery Creek Big Hole
Ellery Creek Big Hole is a popular spot for locals to go for a swim. It’s less than an hour from Alice Springs and offers water to swim in year round! It might just get a little cold in winter.
Camping at Finke Riverbed
This is what camping in the Northern Territory feels like! A dry river bed with nobody in sight and a spectacular sunset on the horizon…
Located not far from Alice Springs, Serpentine Gorge is a little gorge at the bottom, but take some steps up the rock face and you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular canyon views!
Ormiston Gorge is very close by as well, and is said to be the most photographed gorge in the area thanks to its stunning reflections.
To get to Kings Canyon, you can drive about four hours on paved roads from Uluru, or about five hours on paved and unpaved roads from Alice Springs.
If coming from or going to Alice Springs, don’t miss out on al the beautiful gorges listed above. Kings Canyon is a beautiful canyon full of surprises, especially after some rain. We were lucky to have some rain the day before our visit, thus creating stunning reflections like the photo above.
Do we need to say any more? The Northern Territory is also home to what is most likely the world’s most famous rock: Ayers Rock / Uluru. It’s even more spectacular at sunrise or sunset when it starts to glow red and orange. If you’re here, don’t miss out on Kata Tjuta or The Olgas, about a 45 to 60 minute drive away in the same national park.
The turn-off for Rainbow Valley is located about an hour south of Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway. From there, allow another 30 minutes on a sand track until you reach Rainbow Valley. There’s a campground right next to this beautiful place in the middle of nowhere, so you can easily spend a couple of nights here and go for some hikes.
This is probably one of the more rural and outback sights we’ve listed, however if you really want to visit Australias Northern Territory like a local this is the best sight yet!
If these pictures make you want to visit Australias Northern Territory too, please do so by hiring or buying a 4×4 capable car! Lots of natural beauty is hidden behind long dirt tracks which can become hard to navigate especially after some rain.
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