While Australia has some incredibly refined and picturesque cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and many others, if you yearn for a taste of adventure, then heading north might be just the compass direction for you.
Australia’s Northern Territory presents the opportunity for a unique blend of stunningly beautiful scenery to explore and a whole host of exciting activities to experience that are quite unlike anywhere else.
Founded by explorers and prospectors in the early 1900s, Alice Springs is a hub of activity and tourism in the midst of a vast desert area. Desert trekking, camping and exploring via four wheel drive off-roaders is a great way to kick off your outback adventure.
For something even more impressive, there are still gem prospecting areas that you can visit and receive expert guidance in how the early explorers fossicked (searched and sifted) for gemstones. You can even try a little fossicking yourself!
Darwin is the urban hub of the Northern Territory, where you will most likely fly into and out of. The area is rich in cultural heritage sites and centres, with plenty of museums to help you sate your curiosity.
Everything from Aboriginal history, to early colonialism to the world wars and all the way through to modern times can be explored in great depth and detail in and around the city.
Darwin also sports a beautiful harbour that is perfect for a leisurely stroll and taking in the sea air.
Photo by abmiller99
Kakadu National Park
Photo by Lost In Australia
A vast national park of outstanding natural beauty that ranges across approximately 200 kilometres, Kakadu contains a hugely diverse range of flora and fauna with over 280 species of birds alone. Exploring this vast wilderness is best done by car, and in parts on foot, to get the maximum effect of the awe-inspiring sights and sounds that are a delight to visitors of all ages.
Watching the sunrise and sunset from the rocky plateaus of the park is a must if you can fit it into your schedule. There are also numerous examples of ancient Aboriginal cave art to both delight and educate you.
Photo by Rita Willaert
Photo by Nicolai Bangsgaard
The long, winding gorges and rivers of Katherine offer the perfect opportunity for kayaking in grand style. Easy to learn if you’re new and cheap to hire out, a spot of kayaking is an ideal way to take in the spectacular sights as well as work up an appetite for some hearty Australian tucker.
Uluru – Ayers Rock
Photo by TheCreativePenn
A trip to the Northern Territory wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Uluru, otherwise known as Ayers Rock. Both names are commonly used as a reminder of the combined cultural heritage that Australians have inherited. The vast rock stands at 348 metres in height with a circumference of 9.4 km.
While climbing Uluru/Ayers Rock is still permitted, the issue is a controversial one as it is a sacred site for the Aboriginal Anangu people who own the land. They don’t prohibit the climbing of the rock, but would prefer it if visitors chose not to. Until climbing is firmly barred by the Australian government, you will have to make up your own mind whether or not you want to make the climb.
Regardless, the site offers spectacular views at any time of day, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
Photo by Peter Nijenhuis
Jumping Croc Cruises
Photo by neeravbhatt
Throughout the Northern Territory there are numerous places to experience the spectacle of seeing crocodiles leaping up from a river to snatch a juicy meal from passing croc-cruising boats. Catch a closer look at the powerful jaws doing what they were designed for, but still from a safe enough distance!
Photo by Stephen Barnett
Top image by paul_benjamin