Australia's hidden gem: Why your next holiday should be to the Northern Territory

Left: Standley Chasm at West Macdonnell Ranges, Northern Territory. Right: Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park.
Left: Standley Chasm at West Macdonnell Ranges, Northern Territory. Right: Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park. Photo credit: Getty Images

From the mighty Uluru to pristine waterholes nestled amongst picturesque gorges, Australia's Northern Territory is a world away from your stereotypical holiday across the ditch. 

For travellers looking to get off the beaten track and experience adventure found nowhere else on Earth, the Northern Territory is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.

Here are just a few reasons why the Northern Territory should be your next holiday destination.

Jaw-dropping nature

Think of the Northern Territory and there's a good chance the first thing that comes to mind is an image of the mighty Uluru. Long revered by Aboriginal peoples of the region, Uluru - the largest rock in the world - is an otherworldly sight not to be missed.

A number of excellent walking trails surrounding the rock, ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty, let you take in the awe-inspiring size of Uluru at your own pace, from various short walks to a 10.6km loop around the full base of the rock. It’s even possible to take in the sights from the back of a camel or on a segway if walking isn’t your thing.

It's not just Uluru's stunning landscape that will leave you entranced though. With two World Heritage national parks and over 50 other national parks, nature reserves, conservation areas and marine parks, the Northern Territory is a true nature lover's paradise.

Take a dip in pristine waterholes

One of the Territory's most unique attractions is its abundance of beautiful and refreshing waterholes. 

Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory.
Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park, Northern Territory. Photo credit: Getty Images

Waterfall lovers can take a dip under the breathtaking Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park, just 90 minutes out of Darwin, while if you prefer to go with the flow - literally - then tubing through Redbank Gorge is a relaxing way to take in the breathtaking scenes of the gorge. Located in the West MacDonnell Ranges, around two hours from Alice Springs, Redbank Gorge is a stunning chasm boasting ancient ochre cliffs and an abundance of unique plant and animal species.

Meanwhile, the hot springs at Mataranka, a small town south of Katherine, is the perfect place for visitors to slip into warm crystal-clear water, relax and soak up the surrounding scenery.

Wonderful wildlife

Australia wouldn't be Australia without its weird array of deadly wildlife. The Northern Territory is chock-a-block with places to observe animals both in the wild and in wildlife parks.

If you like to get your heart racing, then don't miss out on the Jumping Crocodile Cruise where brave participants get up close and personal to an apex predator without any cages or perspex glass on the Adelaide River. For something a little bit more relaxing, try a sunset camel ride in Alice Springs or make the most of the Northern Territory's unique bird-watching opportunities. 

Adelaide River of Darwin in North Territory.
Adelaide River of Darwin in North Territory. Photo credit: Getty Images

A taste of the north

Northern Territory is not all crocs and desert though - food lovers will also love the region's unique and delicious offerings on the plate. From world-class Asian-inspired restaurants in Darwin to authentic bush tucker experiences in the Red Centre, Northern Territory caters to all tastes.  

For those who love a pint of beer with a difference, the Heli Pub Crawl takes you to five far-flung pubs around the Top End, giving you stunning views of plains, lagoons, rivers and wildlife along the way. 

Authentic Aboriginal culture

When it comes to the possibility of having an authentic Aboriginal experience, it's hard to beat the Northern Territory. One not-to-be-missed place to connect with the oldest living culture on Earth is the World Heritage Kakadu National Park, which with more than 5000 sites featuring Aboriginal rock art contains some of the oldest indigenous art in the world. 

Visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre to hear the creation stories of the Aboriginal peoples of the area or take a sunset cruise and learn about how the local Bininj/Mungguy people lived along the Yellow Water Billabong. Another popular activity to learn more about Aboriginal culture is to take part in the Maruku dot painting experience with local Anangu artists in Yulara, near Uluru.

Tiwi Islands Scenic Flight.
Tiwi Islands Scenic Flight. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Tiwi Islands, two and a half hours' ferry ride from Darwin, also provide a great opportunity to check out Aboriginal art and culture. Comprised of the two main islands of Bathurst and Melville, the Tiwi Islands can be visited in a day trip from Darwin. 

Check out the thriving local art scene on the islands or sit down with the 'morning tea ladies' - a group of Tiwi women elders who serve damper and billy tea - and find out why these are dubbed the "Island of Smiles".

With so much on offer, the Northern Territory really has to be experienced to be believed.

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Article created in partnership with Tourism Northern Territory.