Still undecided on your next vacation destination? You don’t have to look far. While it’s tempting to book a flight to some faraway country, everything an Aussie traveller could want can be found in the Northern Territory.
Going swimming in pristine waters? Check. Sailing while enjoying a glass of wine? Check. Filling your Instagram feed with stunning #wanderlust photos? Check.
And for those of you keen for a bit more adventure – there’s plenty for you as well, include hiking, road tripping, festival hopping, and going to outback pubs.
The Northern Territory is full of hidden gems, but it’s not always easy to find them (they are hidden, after all..). So we’ve put together a damn good list of 11 things to do up north that you’ve (probably) never heard of before:
Chill by the beach with giant sea turtles
100km southwest of Darwin, you can find Bare Sand Island which is a natural breeding ground for Flatbacks and Olive Reedleys. Every full moon, you can even witness these majestic creatures laying their eggs!
Go see the rarest bird species in the world
With the Northern Territory being home to diverse and expansive ecosystems such as deserts, wetlands, mangroves, savannah woodlands, and monsoon forests, it’s no surprise that it’s also home to over 400 bird species.
Some of the rarest birds living in the NT include the Hooded Parrot, White-throated Grasswren, White-lined Honeyeater, Banded Fruit-Dove, and Helmeted Friarbird. Who said bird watching was boring?
Set off across Uluru and Kata Tjuta on a Harley Davidson
Uluru Motorcycle Tours lets you feel the wind in your hair as you travel through Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The company offers clients adrenaline-packed tours of the Outback either as riders or as passengers on a legit Harley Davidson Heritage Softail motorcycle.
Experience the Outback from the back of a camel
Dubai? Nah. It’s actually the NT! Ditch your camper and hop on these so-called ‘ships of the desert’ as you explore the striking red landscape during sunrise or sunset. Some of the places these camels traverse include the picturesque MacDonnell Ranges, and Uluru.
Travel old-school and take a ride on a legendary train
Named after the Afghan immigrants who transported cargo by camel along the same route, The Ghan is an iconic train that runs along almost 3,000kms of rail. It starts its journey in Adelaide, then traverses through the Red Centre and the Top End.
The entire trip takes three days and gives the most surreal views ever. One moment you’re seeing a never-ending desert landscape, the next you’re traversing through a lush rainforest. Beat that, Hogwarts Express!
See the Top End from the best seats in the house
Forget drone photos. Charter a helicopter or a plane and see the beauty of the Top End with your own eyes. Tours will take you across the area to see its most spectacular sights from a different perspective. Highlights include ancient escarpments such as Dinosaur Valley and stunning waterfalls such as Jim Jim and Twin Falls.
Take to the skies once more and freefall towards Uluru
If a helicopter ride isn’t exciting enough, maybe jumping off a plane will get your heart pumping? Adrenaline junkies can get their rush by getting on a plane and tandem skydiving towards Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Talk about a breathtaking view!
Swim with crocs and live to tell about it
Ok not exactly the biggest secret ever, but where else could you get the chance to swim alongside a massive crocodile without having your limbs bitten off?
At Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin, visitors enter a glass enclosure, called the Cage of Death, and then get lowered into the reptiles’ enclosure. It’s here that the handlers feed the crocs while divers get an up-close, 360-degree glimpse of these scary creatures.
Find your inner peace
At the Ayers Rock Resort, host Denby Sheather will help you connect with nature through stretching, meditating, laughing, singing, and dancing. But instead of doing it all in a studio, you’ll do it in Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, where you can realise your full potential by tapping into the place’s sacred culture.
Wake up to the most majestic sunrise ever
Pack your things in a campervan and head out for one of the North Territory’s many camping grounds, which include Ayers Rock Campground and the luxurious Kings Canyon Resort. Can you imagine waking up to a scene like this?
Witness the epicness of a sky full of stars
If you thought the sunrise was amazing, wait until the sun sets and the night arrives. A landscape devoid of light pollution makes for the perfect place to see stars as far as the eye can see. A campfire, the company of good friends, and an awe-inspiring view. Sounds like a good way to end the day.