Travel Blog

Australia’s Northern Territory

Jun 12, 2019

Australia’s Northern Territory is best-known for its expansive Outback landscapes, and for the stunning red sandstone monolith Uluru in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But the Northern Territory is so much more. A visit to Australia’s Northern Territory with Travel Associates lets you explore Aboriginal culture, diverse desert and tropical ecosystems, and Australian art. The city of Darwin is the capital of the region and it is known for its excellent museums, foodie scene, and markets. Take a boat from Darwin to the remote Tiwi Islands and view the local artwork while connecting with a culture that maintains its traditions thanks largely in part due to the sheer isolation of the islands. Just down the road from Darwin, you can visit Kakadu National Park, which has some of the oldest rock art in the world.

The Northern Territory is home to many of the country’s celebrated national parks. If you plan to head into the Outback, you’ll likely spend some time in Alice Springs. With Alice Springs as your base, explore Uluru, the desert sandstone cliffs of Kings Canyon, the red dunes of the Simpson Desert, and cool off in a water hole in West MacDonnell National Park. The highlight of any journey to the Northern Territory is a visit to Uluru. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its sacred Aboriginal heritage, its stunning desert landscape, and dark night skies.

Darwin: City of Art, Cuisine, and Aboriginal Culture

The capital city of the Northern Territory of Australia is Darwin, the region’s port gateway into the Northern Territory and to the Australian Outback. But, before you venture into the interior, spend a little time exploring Darwin, known for its warm tropical climate, its Asian cuisine, and its Aboriginal art scene. Darwin offers a little something for everyone.

The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory boasts a breathtaking Aboriginal art collection. Learn about Australia’s Aboriginal culture and its maritime history through fascinating exhibits. After exploring the museum, spend some time checking out Darwin’s gallery scene. Art Galleries around town sell contemporary and traditional screen prints, carvings, tutini poles, and textiles from the remote Tiwi Islands. Browse the galleries, learn about Aboriginal culture, and find a one-of-a-kind souvenir to bring home. Or better yet, venture over to the Tiwi Islands to meet the artists themselves.

Then, there’s the food! Explore outdoor markets and restaurants, and discover Asian flavors drawn from influences as wide-ranging as Indonesia, Thailand, and beyond. Darwin’s culinary scene and outdoor markets draw many foodie visitors.

Darwin is best known as the gateway to some of the Northern Territory’s leading scenic attractions. Journey to Litchfield National Park where local Aboriginal guides can tell you Dreamtime stories and introduce you to the natural and cultural history of the area. The city is also just over a four-hour drive away from Uluru, one of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks.

Uluru: Enter Dreamtime and Sacred Spaces

Venture beyond the city of Darwin into Australia’s sacred heart. Uluru. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is one of Australia’s most iconic natural landmarks and is a sacred site to the Anangu people. While many photos of the national park focus on the red rock itself, the sky here really steals the show. Take a desert bush hike during sunrise and sunset, and experience the dazzling ever-changing colors of the sky in transition. After the sun sets, see some of Australia’s darkest night skies and enjoy stargazing experiences that can be enjoyed in few other places on Earth.

Ancient rock art in the park tells a tale of human history that goes back 30,000 years. Learn about Dreamtime and listen to native stories, or enjoy a meal created using ingredients that have been foraged and cooked using time-honored traditions. Meet the Anangu people who will show you how the stories in the stone have passed on their wisdom through the generations.

From active hikes to cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone in the park. Go bird watching and see some of the 178 bird species that live around Uluru. Visit the cultural center and learn about Anangu culture and art. Experience Australia’s real Outback at Uluru, and get a glimpse into the country’s fascinating interior. At night, fall asleep under a night sky that can be witnessed in few other places on Earth.

Off-the-Beaten Path on the Tiwi Islands

If the national parks in the Australian Outback are not remote enough, take a boat from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands. Tiwi Design on Bathurst Island is one of Australia’s artistic hubs. Browse the beautiful screen-printed fabrics. Meet the local Tiwi people, do a little fishing, and discover art treasures you can find nowhere else on earth. The best part about the Tiwi Islands is that they are seldom visited by tourists, so if you’re looking for something that will take you truly out of the way: the Tiwi Islands are where you may want to go.

The Northern Territory has so much to offer. Your Travel Associates consultant can plan your luxury vacation so you don’t miss a thing. Whether you want to see the art in Darwin, admire some of the oldest rock art in the world in Kakadu National Park, venture beyond the crowds to the Tiwi Islands, or check Uluru off your bucket list, your Travel Associates Advisor will take the time to get to know you, your interests, and match you with adventures in the Northern Territory that are just your style.