Darwin

Darwin has this relaxed and addictive tropical vibe and feels more like a big town than a city. Whilst Aussies in the south are all rugged up during winter, the locals in Darwin are basking in the warmth of the sun, think 30+ degrees daily, making it a perfect winter getaway.

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It’s the gateway to the Top End, but in itself a historic and vibrant city that deserves a few days. Highlights include their famous sunsets (don’t miss Mindil Beach Markets or dinner at the Ski Club for sun down), East Point Military Museum, Crocosaurus Cove, the wave pool and waterfront precinct, and Mitchell Street’s pubs and bars.

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield makes for a great getaway from Darwin as it’s only a 90 minute drive from the city, and is one of the best places in the Top End to go swimming, with waterfalls plunging off the edge of the escarpment into crystal-clear, safe swimming holes and rockpools (no crocs).

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Add in monsoon rainforests, giant termite mounds, wildlife, historical sites, walking and 4wd tracks, Litchfield attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Don’t miss Buley Rockholes, Florence Falls, Wangi Falls, and the magnetic termite mounds.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu is a profoundly spiritual place and world heritage-listed for its cultural and natural values. At 20,000 square kilometres (half the size of Switzerland) it’s Australia’s largest national park and offers brilliant wildlife viewing, stunning landscapes, cultural experiences, unique flora and fauna, adventure, and incredible sunsets.

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Highlights include; Yellow Water Billabong cruise, Gunlom Falls, Barramundi Gorge, Ubirr Rock Art and Nadarb Sunset, Nourlangie Rock Art, Jim Jim Falls, Koolpin Gorge.

Katherine Gorge

Located in Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River which have great ceremonial significance to the local Jawoyn people, who are custodians of Nitmiluk National Park.

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One of the popular ways to explore Katherine Gorge is on a morning sunrise cruise where you’ll see the colours of the gorge come alive in the morning sun. You can also do a self-kayaking trip and walk to Barrawei Lookout, a 3.2km loop walk which offers great views over the gorge.

Alice Springs

The Alice is the spirited outback centre famous for the personality of its locals. It makes for a great base to explore the red centre but also has it own natural wonders, including the MacDonnel Ranges which surround it.

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Visit the school of the air, the Old Telegraph Station Reserve, Desert Park, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Simpsons Gap, the Kangaroo Sanctuary (home of Kangaroo Dundee) and of course the east and west MacDonnel Ranges.

Uluru

Uluru truly is the spiritual “heart of Australia”. You’ve probably seen hundreds of photos and TV commercials, but it’s a place you have to see, and feel, for yourself. Made of arkosic sandstone, Uluru stands 348 metres high and is taller than The Eiffel Tower and 2.5 times the height of Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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There are many ways to take in the magic; see a sunrise and sunset, do a sunset camel tour, walk or cycle the 10 kilometre base, take a scenic flight, join the free ranger guided Mala Walk, and eat dinner under the stars at the Sounds of Silence dinner. Don’t come for a day, stay a while.

Kata Tjuta

Just 50 kilometres down the road from Uluru is the equally as impressive, Kata Tjuta (formerly the Olgas) and are a group of 36 large domed rock formations. The highest point, Mount Olga, is approximately 546 m above the surrounding plain, 198 m higher than Uluru.

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Again see a sunrise and sunset, do the Valley of the Winds walk, the Walpa Gorge walk, and the dune walk.

Kings Canyon

Put the 6 kilometre Kings Canyon Rim Walk on your NT to do list. Get started early to see the sun rising above the sheer 100 metre high sandstone walls and deep gorge, and it’s lovely to walk amongst the dome shapes and see the colours change as the sun continues its journey up.

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Along the walk detour to take in the Cotterill’s Lookout and the Garden of Eden, and in the afternoon head to the Kings Canyon Resort for a sunset beer overlooking the ranges.

West MacDonnell Ranges

The Red Centre Way drive from Uluru to Alice Springs takes in the beautiful West MacDonnel Ranges, a region of stunning gorges, waterholes and hikes, including the famous Larapinta Trail which stretches 223 km along the backbone of the West Macs.

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Must visits along the Red Centre Way include; Glen Helen Gorge, Redbank Gorge, Ormiston Gorge, Serpentine Gorge, the Ochre Pits, sunrise at Mt Sonder, Ellery Big Hole and Standley Chasm.

 

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