By Kraig Becker
Catch A Sunset On Darwin Harbor
Located on Australia’s northern coastline, Darwin is a bustling community with plenty to offer visitors. The city has a raucous nightlife, fine dining and a laid back vibe that is uniquely Australian. But the city also happens to boast some of the best sunsets you’ll find anywhere on the planet. Controlled burning during the dry season adds texture to the sky that shines through in spectacular fashion at dusk. The result is a breathtaking view of a sky on fire that is best taken in aboard a boat on Darwin Harbor. There are plenty of boats available for hire and passengers can even enjoy dinner out on the water as the sun slowly dips below the horizon. It is a simply magical way to end the day.
Take A Dip In Litchfield National Park
Located an hours drive from Darwin, Litchfield National Park is a lovely forested setting that also happens to be home to some of the best swimming holes in all of the Northern Territory. A short hike grants access to Florence Falls or Buley Rockhole, two idyllic locations that offer picture-perfect waterfalls and deep, refreshing plunge pools. Beautiful and romantic, both should be on the must-do list for anyone who visits the region.
Stroll The Mindil Beach Markets
Ask the locals what you should do on a Thursday or Sunday evening and without fail they’ll tell you to visit the Mindil Beach Markets. Located in the heart of Darwin, the markets offer a dizzying array of food, drinks and other touristy goods sold up from colorful stalls that line the walkway. Once you’ve managed to actually select something from all of the culinary choices, wander out onto nearby Mindil Beach itself and watch one of Darwin’s famed sunsets from the sand. It is a fun, communal experience that has been a local tradition for years.
Spot Wild Crocs On The Mary River
The Mary River wetlands area is a wild and spectacular ecosystem that provides visitors with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a wide variety of wildlife, including numerous bird species. The river is also one of the best places to spot both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles (“freshies” and “salties” as they are known to the locals), which can often be found sunning themselves along the banks. These large and fearsome predators can grow to be more than five meters in length and are essentially the perfect eating machines. So while the Mary River may look inviting, you’ll definitely want to stay out of the water.
Hike To Stunning Waterfalls in Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is one of the premiere destinations in all of the Northern Territory and for good reason. It features sweeping and varied landscapes that include towering rock walls, isolated canyons and lush wetlands. But the real hidden gems are the various waterfalls that dot the landscape. The best of those are Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls, which can only be reached by 4×4 and a bit of a hike. Those who make the journey are rewarded with views that must be seen to be believed. The falls reach their peak following the wet season in December and January, but are worth a visit any time of the year.
Go Barramundi Fishing
With an abundance of golden snapper, black jewfish and Spanish mackerel the Northern Territory has some of the best fishing in all of Australia. But it is the Barramundi that draws anglers from across the globe to the region as they go in search of the country’s premiere sport fish. Known for their aggressive and predatory nature, the barra can put up quite a fight. And since they grow to more than three feet in length, and weigh in excess of 100 pounds, getting one of these monster fish into the boat is a real accomplishment.
Visit A 3000 Year Old Art Gallery
Kakadu National Park isn’t just about beautiful landscapes, although it certainly has plenty of those. Kakadu has also been home to aboriginal tribes for thousands of years and their ancient artwork still adorns the rock walls in sites known as Ubirr, Nourlangie and Naguluwur. These indigenous artists painted the things they saw around them, including crocodiles, kangaroos, turtles and fish. When they were originally created, these images served as instruction manuals, cookbooks and warning signs, telling others how to survive in the region. Today, they are a window into the distant past that is both humbling and fascinating.
Swim In The Oldest River On Earth
The Northern Territory is home to one of the oldest river systems on the planet and visitors can swim in water that are estimated to be between 300 and 400 million years old. The Finke River flows from the MacDonnell Range to the Simpson Desert in the south, stretching for more than 370 miles in length. During the wet season it can swell to raging rapids that are completely inaccessible, but during the dry season it becomes a series of shallow waterholes that give visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in a river that is hundreds of millennia old.
Trek The Larapinta Trail
Looking for a real adventure? Want to experience the Outback in all of its wild and untamed glory? Then you’ll want to hike the Larapinta Trail – all 138 miles of it. This walking path is divided into 12 sections and culminates at the summit of the 4528-foot Mt. Sonder. Along the way, trekkers will cross the famous Simpson Gap, Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge, discovering breathtaking views and rugged backcountry along the way. Hike a few sections or walk it end-to-end, either way it will be a life changing experience.
The most popular and iconic destination in all of the Northern Territory is Uluru or Ayers Rock as it is also known. The massive sandstone dome rises out of Australia’s Red Center and is arguably the most well known destination on the entire continent. The World Heritage Site is sacred to the aboriginal people and features more of their ancient artwork. Visiting Uluru may be the most touristy thing to do in all of Australia, but it is also a classic experience that shouldn’t be missed.
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