The great fabled land of the Northern Territory is often a place shrouded in great myth and mystery, a kind of lost world, where the Outback begins and many of the rules of “normal” life seem to disappear. Whatever you’ve head about the Northern Territory in Australia there are 2 things that definitely hold true. 1. It’s freaking huge and 2. There’s a lot to see and do here. So, to help you get the best out of your time in the NT, here are my list of the 10 best places to visit while you’re there.
10. Alice Springs
Almost slap bang in the middle of the country, you have to visit Alice Springs at least once to get a feel for what Northern Territory towns are like. With a great sunset watching spot from Anzac Hill in the middle of town, to the awesome galleries that dot its main streets and the Botanic Gardens just a short drive from the centre, there’s more than enough to amuse you here. Plus, if you’re in Alice Springs during September, you really can’t miss the infamous Todd River Race!
9. Mataranka Springs
North of Alice Springs, the great Mataranka Springs are a delight that can’t be missed if you’re visiting this part of the country. In what feels like a jungle swimming pool, you can easily relax in this natural thermal spring as the wonderful tropical rainforest around you makes for the perfect setting. Bliss!
8. Litchfield National Park
Near the town of Batchelor, about an hour south of Darwin, Litchfield National Park is a must on any Northern Territory itinerary. From the gorgeous swimming holes at the bottom of Florence Falls, to the wonderful views, wildlife spotting and enormous termite mounds – this place is a great showcase for how diverse the Australian Outback really can be.
The big daddy of them all, Uluru is a towering rock that seemingly juts out of nowhere from the desert landscape around. Allow at least a few days to visit this Northern Territory spectacle as there is so much to do here. From walking around the base of Uluru, to snapping the sun setting behind it, eating dinner alongside it or riding a camel past it, there’s loads of different ways to soak up the truly magical location of this most famous icon.
6. Kings Canyon
Cutting right into the earth of the Outback, Kings Canyon opens up like a massive crack in this otherwise dry and flat land. Providing many plants and animals with a valuable water supply, the Valley of Eden here is a lush oasis that can only be seen via a hike around the Canyon. The time to start this walk is at dawn, so that you can see the colours light up the incredible skies around. Well worth the early alarm call, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in the Northern Territory.
The buzzing capital of the Northern Territory is a backpacker’s haven, loaded as it is with pubs, bars, clubs and hostels. No one ever came to Darwin and didn’t have a good time, so make sure you get the most from your trip here too. In addition to drinking, why not check out some of the wonderful local markets around; watching the sunset from Mindil beach is not to be missed either!
4. Devils Marbles
This fascinating geological spectacle is about 500km north of Alice Springs, and seems to literally come out of nowhere. It’s well worth an hour’s stop however, to stroll around the amazing boulders and snap some pictures of these precariously balanced and fascinating feats of nature.
From one set of boulders to another, the Kata-Tjuta rock formations – contained in the same National Park as Uluru – are every bit as amazing as their famous rock cousin. To see the best of these amazing natural formations, I suggest undertaking the Valley of the Winds walk – a good day hike that leads you right through the middle of these fascinating rock groups and gives you stunning glimpses of the landscape around.
2. West McDonnell Ranges
To the west of Alice Springs, the West McDonnell Ranges are a hotbed of natural formations that provide more than enough for a great day trip of sightseeing out from the city. From Glen Helen Gorge to the Simpson’s Gap and Standley Chasm, marvel at the rock structures here and swim in many of the accompanying pools that provide a refreshing break from the Northern Territory heat.
1. Kakadu National Park
And finally, my best recommendation for the best place to visit in the Northern Territory Australia, goes to the ever-wonderful Kakadu National Park. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site for both cultural and natural reasons, as well as the largest National Park in Australia, this massive spectacle requires at least a few days to really explore it. From sunset watching at Ubirr, to spotting the ancient aboriginal rock art and croc-spotting on a river tour, there is so much to do and see in this huge wetland that you’ll barely be able to scratch the surface. It’s worth trying however as this is a truly breathtaking part of the NT to visit.
Have you been to the Northern Territory? What was your favourite place? Do let us know in the comments box below.