From the natural waterholes in the Red Centre and caravans of Camels (yes, camels!) to the sprawling wetlands of Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, Australia’s Northern Territory has more diverse landscapes to explore than most countries in the world. For those who are looking for a spiritual adventure that offers stunning landscapes, incredible food and hours of stargazing, the Northern Territory is a destination with so much to see and even more to do.
Many are often intimidated by the thought of travelling deep into the Outback, but with some careful pre-planning and research, we guarantee that your trip to the NT will be one that you remember for the rest of your days! Today, we share our top 7 tips for travelling to – and navigation through – the Northern Territory, so sit back, relax and keep on reading to find out more.
Explore It All (But Not At Once)
Realistically, most of us only have a few weeks to spare when it comes to holidays. Unless you’re someone who is looking to backpack through the vast continent that we call Australia, chances are you won’t be able to explore the Northern Territory in its entirety. Afterall, with so many sights to see and things to do, it would be impossible to truly immerse yourself in everything the NT has to offer in a short period of time. This is why we highly encourage you to explore it all, but not at once.
Pick one area to explore, and do it exceptionally well – whether that be stargazing in the Red Centre desert, swimming at the Buley Rock Pools in Darwin (be sure to have a look at Darwin package deals for some great offers) or meeting with local Aboriginal artists to learn more about their craft and history. There are so many great experiences in each of these locations, so take your time and don’t rush these moments.
Start Your Day Early
One thing to consider is that the Northern Territory often sees daily temperatures soar above 30 degrees celsius, even in the Winter time. If you’re not a fan of the sweltering heat, the best way to explore the Northern Territory in comfort is to start your day early. This is especially important if you’re travelling with young kids or the elderly who may fade too quickly in the heat.
Aside from escaping the midday heat, another benefit of being an early riser is that you’ll be able to catch every spectacular sunrise that the land has to offer – and trust us when we say you’ll be blown away. Moral of the story? Get up early in order to ensure that you’re able to see and do everything you want before the heat makes it too tiring and unpleasant!
You May Not Have Reception
We live in a world that is ruled by technology, and not having reception is the ultimate nightmare for many people. However, it is important to remember that one of the best parts of exploring the Northern Territory may actually be the lack of mobile phone reception. Not being able to waste time on electronic devices will really allow you to immerse yourself in the experience, unwind and get away from the daily stresses of modern life.
If you are a little worried or uneasy about not being able to reach out to anyone in the middle of the outback (understandably so), we highly recommend you consider hiring or purchasing a satellite phone. Several satellite-phone hire companies have phones available for hire in Darwin and Alice Springs, but be sure to do your research in order to find out what kind of coverage you can expect.
Prepare For Long Drives
One thing to keep in mind is that there are often long stretches of road between tourist attractions, petrol stations and camping sites. Never underestimate how long it may take to travel around the Northern Territory, so plan your trip and carry supplies such as toiletries, snacks and water with you every time. We also recommend that travellers avoid driving at night, simply because it is safer for both you and the local wildlife.
Always Prioritise Comfort
Whether you’re exploring national parks, camping or simply enjoying a bushwalk in nature, dressing for comfort and protecting yourself from the elements is non-negotiable. This means wearing comfortable clothes and walking/running shoes, loading up on sunscreen, putting your hat on and of course, ensuring that you are always well hydrated. Most importantly, don’t forget your fly net (also known as a head net) – trust us when we say this is one thing you’re going to need during your explorations. You may feel a bit silly the first time you wear one, but will quickly get over that once you see others spending a majority of their time swatting flies away.
Experience Local Cuisine
The Northern Territory is known mainly for its glorious sights, but don’t let that distract you from the amazing local cuisine that you’ll find in the area. From indigenous bush foods to freshly caught seafood, the best meals you’ll find in the Northern Territory are are often served at pubs, markets, and bakeries. Be sure to buy a few jars of amazing Kakadu Plum jam to take home with you, and don’t forget to tuck in to local Mud Crab, Crocodile and freshly caught Barramundi.
For those who are interested in cooking, you could even sign up for a local bush foods cooking class/demonstration that will teach you everything you need to know about the unique and amazing NT culinary history.
Respect Aboriginal Culture
The Northern Territory is home to numerous sacred and spiritual sites that have sustained the livelihood of Aboriginal Australians for tens of thousands of years. As such, it is so incredibly important that explorers and travellers understand and respect local culture. For example, climbing the Uluru is forbidden due to the spiritual significance of the sight.
To learn more about sacred sites in the Northern Territory, be sure to visit the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority website. By acknowledging the NT’s deep cultural value, you can help to protect it and walk away having had an enriched and respectful experience.
And there you have it – 7 tips that are sure to prove useful in your travels around the Northern Territory. With the vast number of iconic natural treasures, ancient Aboriginal culture, birds, wildlife and dramatic landscapes, there are few things in this world that are as breathtaking as Australia’s Northern Territory.
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