With a few friends now making the move to Australia to work for a couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of Oz travel chat of late.
Well, I did live, work and journey across huge swathes of this country for 4 amazing years, so it’s probably fair to say I’ve got a bit of experience to share! In all honestly, I’d ask me for Australia adventure advice too!
So what about my highlights?
Well, it would have to be travelling in one of Australia’s remotest regions—the one and only Northern Territory.
From watching the great ball of the sun rise over the majesty of Uluru, to swimming in the crystal-clear palm-fringed pools of Mataranka, kayaking through the towering red gorges of Nitmiluk, to off-roading in rocky Limmen National Park, this region saw me encounter countless characters, swap untold stories, visit innumerous outback pubs and take more photos, see more stars and camp in more beautiful places than I could keep track of.
Yes, there’s no question that the Northern Territory blew me away and, with Australia now open again to the world and the excitement of long distance travel building once again, I can’t wait to return.
So here’s why visiting this incredible Australian region is an absolute must on your travel list in the next 12 months too…
- How to Visit Uluru for Less
- Ultimate Guide to Visiting Litchfield National Park
- 6 Breathtaking Spots Between Alice Springs & Uluru
This article was kindly sponsored by the Northern Territory tourism authority but, as always, all views are my own.
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
#1 Epic National Parks
Coming in at number one, it’s a rather obvious example, but it’s obvious for a reason. That’s because the national parks of the Northern Territory are totally mind blowing!
With many of the country’s largest and most iconic areas of protected land, there’s no question that if you want to see some seriously jaw-dropping landscapes and some truly vast natural spectacles, that the Territory’s national parks are the place to head for.
From the popular gems of Kakadu National Park (which is two thirds the size of Belgium incidentally) and Litchfield National Park (which boasts gigantic magnetic termite mounds among its many quirky attractions) to the more remote, but stunningly beautiful Keep River, Limmen and Judbarra National Parks, there’s plenty to choose from.
Each park tells its own story too—tales of a people and a land that have evolved together, unique and exquisite, in this remote, sun-baked and piercingly vivid world.
But these are not stories locked in museums, instead they are living, breathing stories, which visiting these national parks allows us to interact with—from camping under the stars to swimming in the waterfalls, from hiking dramatic trails to witnessing the ancient rock art, the national parks of the Northern Territory offer such a wealth of experiences that simply cannot be felt elsewhere.
No question then that the amazing national parks are absolutely one of the top reasons to put the Northern Territory on your bucket list ASAP!
#2 Bucket List Beauties
Speaking of bucket lists, there’s no way I could get through this article and not mention the fact that the Northern Territory includes some of the most iconic travel sights not only in Australia, but the world over.
Not least among them is the giant, commandingly silent authority of Uluru.
At a ripe 550 million years old, there’s no question this enormous monolith has stood the test of time and harnesses a power that is palpable as soon as you first glimpse her over the horizon.
A site of huge sacred significance to the Anangu people, the name Uluru means giant pebble—a wonderfully apt appellation that brilliantly captures both the unassuming grandeur, as well as the insanely impressionable nature, of this huge desert spectacle.
Set within the Uluru-Kata-Tjuta National Park, spending a few days here (I recommend at least 2-3) has to be one of the top reasons to visit the NT.
Hike around the base of Uluru, watch sunrise over the equally mesmerising (but far less famous) Kata Tjuta domes, dine under the stars and watch the Fields of Light at sunset, all while you bask in the presence of Uluru.
After Uluru and Kata Tjuta, don’t miss hiking the nearby King’s Canyon at dawn, if you still have the stamina!
Another amazing landscape, you can scale this one during the coolness of the early hours and then soak in an elevated view as the golden light of the day breaks over the vast enormity of the Northern Territory.
#3 Enormous on Adventure
So yes, if you didn’t get the picture already, then let me spell it out for you… the Northern Territory is big on adventure!
With some of the most mind-blowing landscapes I’ve seen anywhere in the world, not getting amongst it as much as you can when you’re here just seems like a waste!
So you know me, two feet straight in!
From hiking to kayaking, swimming to climbing, it’s all up for grabs in the NT, along with some manmade fun too—think helicopter rides over Litchfield National Park, exhilarating hot balloon rides over the MacDonnell Ranges, quad-biking at Kings Creek and skydiving over Darwin—there’s no end to the once in a lifetime adrenaline kicks you can get while you’re here.
And somehow, in this giant, emboldening landscape, it feels hard not to go big, to face the fear and to do it anyway!
But to do it safely I might add, because thankfully while the Northern Territory feels wild and untamed, you can absolutely rest safe in the knowledge that any activity you enjoy here, will be fully regulated and checked.
That’s the beauty of the NT you see – it’s the off-grid adventurous wildcard within the easy and organised world of Australian travel… the perfect combination in my book!
#4 Easy to Escape the Crowds
And the Northern Territory is also a good place to get away from the crowds.
If you want a destination that’s more off the beaten track, more adventurous, more of the grassroots Australia, then this outback region has to be the one.
If you’re looking for something different (that isn’t trundling up to Cairns from Brisbane in a campervan like everyone else) then the NT is definitely for you.
And if you’re looking for unique culture, fascinating heritage, stunning scenery and a sense of getting amongst it all—you definitely need not look any further!
#5 Vibrant Cities
You can also experience an unforgettable time in the region’s cities too.
Darwin, the capital, is amazing. Full stop. If it doesn’t rank as one of peoples’ favourite places in Australia, I honestly wonder what’s wrong with them!
Steamy, sun-drenched and sublimely supine, Darwin is the outback town where life is simultaneously brash, bold and bizarre.
It’s the hub of life in this region and, while it offers a wild time to those who seek it out, it’s also a place to relax and unwind – take a dip in the wave pool, visit the superb museum and art gallery or peruse the charming Mindil markets.
Darwin makes a great place to base yourself in the Northern Territory and to learn more about the incredible history of this region and its people.
But beyond that, like much of the NT, it’s a city that’s hard to describe in words. Rather it’s a city that has to be seen, smelt and savoured to be understood.
So too is Alice Springs—the small city that lies in the heart of the country.
A classic launch point for adventures to Uluru, Kata Tjuta, King’s Canyon and the breath-taking MacDonnell Ranges, Alice Springs also boasts a diverse and lively local culture that seems to bursts out of nowhere amidst its desert surrounds.
From beautiful galleries and a botanic garden, to cute cafes and independent accommodation choices, the quirky outback feel is all yours for the taking in this unique Northern Territory destiantion.
#6 Remote Road Trips
And finally, the last reason on my list of why you absolutely should adventure in the Northern Territory this year is because of the sensational road trips you can experience in the colossal area.
If you were going to jot down the world’s best driving adventures, I really think it goes without saying that driving up through the middle of Australia would be pretty near the top—just picture passing Uluru, Alice Springs, Nitmiluk, Litchfield, Kakadu and Darwin as you motor up in your campervan, windows down, hairdryer hot air blowing in, as music plays and the red desert, open road stretches before you.
But don’t let me get carried away here, because there’s also plenty of other options for road trips in the Northern Territory too, including the sensational Savannah Way which passes from east to west through the state and will certainly have you seeing a lot more of the off the beaten track gems the NT offers.
So if you’re planning on counting more stars than you’ve ever even known possible (which is very likely given the lack of light pollution in the Northern Territory), or camping in some of the most remote and awe-inspiring scenery you’ve ever encountered, then enjoying an unforgettable adventure in the NT has your name all over it!
Learn more about planning your trip here.
SAVE THIS TO PINTEREST!
And there you have it, my guide as to why an adventure in the Northern Territory this year, is a must!
Have I convinced you to book a trip there yet?
Still have some questions?
Then drop them into the comments box below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!