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5 Unique Getaway Gems to Discover around the Northern Territory

Simpsons Gap Alice Springs Northern Territory. Photographed by Maurizio De Mattei. Image via Shutterstock

The perfect oasis for any type of traveller – the Northern Territory has it all.

An escape from reality, the Northern Territory is home to some of Australia’s most charismatic destinations that offer a bewitching take on what we’d usually expect from an outback getaway.

Embracing the outdoors and shining a light on what it truly means to get back to nature; Northern Territory indulges visitors with beautiful sunsets, dining opportunities and cultural experiences. An oasis, to say the least, the Northern Territory is ideal for true wanderlust explorers who don’t mind taking the path less travelled to experience unique attractions. The Northern Territory is the ultimate playground for those seeking a blissful combination of adventure meets relaxation.

Jabiru

Under a three-hour drive east of Darwin’s CBD, guests will find an oasis like no other – Jabiru. Perfect for adventurists and explorers combined, Jabiru provides Australians with an opportunity to explore some of the most bewitching natural sights the Northern Territory has to offer. Front and centre is the Kakadu National Park – Australia’s largest national park which covers 20,000 square kilometres. It is home to an expansive collection of flora and fauna, various terrains and even a number of prehistoric Aboriginal rock paintings. For this, we’d recommend a 90-minute tour along Jim Jim Creek with Yellow Water Cruises – you might even spot a crocodile or two.

Or, if you’re in search of something to get the adrenalin pumping, hike or even 4WD (available June to November) from the carpark to Jim Jim Falls where you’ll be greeted by a 150-metre high cliff with its very own waterfall that cascades into a deep and swimmable plunge pool. Otherwise, if you’d rather appreciate Jabiru from up above, there are a number of scenic flights where you can appreciate the gushing Twin Falls with a view like no other. Finish your day by setting up tent at the Cooinda Campground and Caravan Park that has its own pool, restaurant, bar, laundry and gift shop as well as a petrol and airstrip facilities.


Litchfield Park

For a detour to remember, just over an hour-and-a-half south of Darwin is Litchfield Park. Perfect for the traveller who likes to enjoy exploring on foot, this area is filled with an abundance of natural wonders which are certain to amaze you. Attracting over 260,000 visitors each year, Litchfield National Park is known as Northern Territory’s water wonderland – home to a range of clear watering holes to dive in and enjoy. For your visit, we’d recommend visiting Wangi Falls, one of the most well known springs – and easily accessible too; Florence Falls is a cascade of natural watering that waterfalls into a spring-fed plunge pool; and finally the 101-metre Tolmer Falls is the main attraction after a near two-kilometre looped walk.

If you’d rather stay dry for your visit to Litchfield Park we’d recommend discovering more of nature on foot. Following the boardwalk, visitors will encounter two-metre tall graveyard-like headstones which are magnetic termite mounds. Wildlife enthusiasts can also look out for an array of fauna including wallabies, sugar gliders and flying foxes to name a few. Otherwise, hanging off Batchelor Road is the renowned Batchelor Butterfly Farm which allows visitors to get up close and personal with majestic Australian butterflies, thanks to their walk-through experience.


Darwin

Looking to stay in the heat of the city? Darwin has got you covered! Perfect for foodies and those who want to relax after their many adventures through some of Northern Territory’s enchanting natural wonders, Darwin offers everything from waterfront views to towering city escapes. Starting your Darwin food exploration, we’d recommend booking a table at Hanuman Restaurant which serves up a spicy mix of Asian-fusion. Or, if you’d rather enjoy some front-row seats to the water instead, Pee Wee’s At The Point offers just that thanks to their romantic dinner setting overlooking Fannie Bay. Finally, make your way to the open-air Deckchair Cinema in Darwin Harbour. Just remember to pack a picnic blanket, pick up your favourite bottle of wine from the bar and enjoy one of the many classic films previewed.

For those who like to put a bit more of a kick into their trip, Crocosaurus Cove is Darwin’s very own zoo which is home to the thrilling Cage of Death – an opportunity for visitors to come face-to-face with saltwater crocodiles in the safety of a clear perspex cylinder cage. And, if you’d like to shake up your Darwin visit with some extra heat, be sure to stop by one of Australia’s best tequila barsHot Tamale – and try their Smoky & The Kiwi ($17) cocktail. Don’t forget to have a flick through their agave bible too – home to over 300 types of agave spirits for you to try.


East Arnhem

For the true explorers at heart and those who don’t mind branching out of their comfort zone, East Arnhem is the perfect destination, found at the most northern tip of Northern Territory. Despite the long haul from Darwin – 782-kilometres or a 10-hour drive – East Arnhem encapsulates the perfect combination of relaxation meets adventure. Diverse, remote and rugged, East Arnhem is home to some of Australia’s greatest untouched areas and pristine white sanded beaches are just as magical as one another.

A slice of paradise, East Arnhem is perfect for those wanting to escape the crowds, connect more with local culture and explore off the beaten path. For your visit, start by immersing yourself in a range of cultural experiences and historic sites. With a strong sense of traditional Aboriginal culture, here you can learn from the locals by visiting art and craft centres or taking part in an interpretative walking trail. Next, take the near hour-and-a-half ferry trip to Groote Eylandt –  known for its natural and marine environment – this is the perfect destination to help you explore more of what East Arnhem has to offer. Tuck in for the night at four-star Groote Eylandt Lodge which has everything from a swimming pool to day spa and golf course and then, spend your day at the Anindilyakwa Arts centre – a thriving hub of creativity that encapsulates the work of local artists.


Alice Springs

Found in the heart of Australia’s distinct red outback, despite what you’d presume, there’s more to Alice Springs than just its distinct red soil that inhabits the area. First, to help you cool off, make your way to some of Australia’s most renowned natural gorges including the ever famous, extremely Instagrammable Ellery Big Hole in the West MacDonnell Ranges. Otherwise, if you’re in search of a watering hole that’s not overfilled with travellers, make your way off the beaten track over an hours drive west of Alice Springs to Serpentine Gorge.

The site of the Carpet Snake Dreaming, Serpentine Gorge is renowned for its special significance to the Western Arrernte custodians. Here visitors can be amazed at the flocks of birds which move in from the countryside to this waterhole. Finally, end your day by feasting at Alice Springs very own family-friendly, old-school Italian restaurant, Casa Nostra. Apart from the classics including pizza and pasta, for over 30 years now, Casa Nostra is renowned for serving up some of Australia’s best vanilla slices – so be sure to pre-order to avoid missing out!


We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Looking for the most luxurious way to enjoy Australia’s wildlife? Our guide to the 10 best glamping campsites around Australia will have you packing your bags. Or, if you’re in search of some more travel inspiration, keep up to date with our Australian travel here.

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