A trip to Australia’s Outback will be the most rewarding road trip you embark on in Australia but there are essentials to remember. It’s a long road through Northern Territory and there will be little to no people or shops for vast stretches of road. It’s also important to know the must-see hotspots and what to bring for your adventure such as a lot of fly spray, water and petrol. Take these handy hints onboard from Lainey Quinn () and get ready for a trip of a lifetime.
Essential Tips to Remember
Stock up on water, petrol and food before you head off on the notoriously long drives between the main attractions and cities. The Northern Territory may offer an abundance of sights to see – but unfortunately not as many petrol stations or shops. In fact, gas becomes more expensive the closer you get to Uluru and can cost up to AUS$2.17 per litre. With gas being the most expensive part of your journey, you don’t want to make it more than it is.
Bring fly nets. Even when it’s not summer there will be thousands swarming around your face 24/7. You don’t want to be walking through the desert in crazy hot temperatures needing to take your top off to use as a fly swatter!
There are two types of climate zones in Australia’s Northern Territory, the tropical Top End (Darwin, Katherine Gorge, Kakadu and Arnhem Land) and semi-arid Central Australia (Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, the Barkly Tablelands and Uluru). Depending on what your itinerary entails, it would be worth checking out the weather for the areas you plan to visit before you book it. For example, the temperature can exceed 40ºC in Central Australia during the summer months, so make sure you are prepared for extreme weather conditions if that’s when you plan to visit.
There are countless unique experiences to embark on in the Outback. Did you know that you can take a helicopter ride and swim in a secluded waterfall or sail into the sky in a hot air balloon while the sunset illuminates the sky? Or how about exploring a Lost City in Kings Canyon or going on a crocodile cruise along the idyllic Adelaide River?
The Tjungu Festival will return to Ayers Rock Resort for the fourth year in a row between 25th-29th April 2018 and will be showcasing the best of Australian indigenous culture. The vibrant, cultural festival is a four-and-a-half-day family-friendly event and is free entry for everyone.
While on your trip through the Red Centre of Australia, make your way to the Field of Light Uluru, an outdoor light gallery with over 50,000 solar lights and Parrtjima, Australia’s only Aboriginal-inspired light festival. If you’re a golf lover, head to the Alice Springs golf course, which is ranked in the top 10 desert courses in the world. If you are not afraid of the dark, make a stop at the world’s largest desert nocturnal house at the Alice Springs Desert Park.
Check out more must-do experiences below in Lainey’s Top 10 Places to Visit in Australia’s Northern Territory.
Natural Wonders in the Outback
There are plenty of natural wonders to explore in the Outback, so it’s time to get your hiking boots on! Both Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks are a short drive from Darwin and feature stunning waterfalls, natural swimming pools and walking trails. The Finke Gorge National Park is a lush oasis with breath-taking scenery and bush walking trails and is worth a few days visit. Or why not try your hand at camel trekking in the Simpson Desert? A lot of the National Parks have camping grounds and are a suitable alternative for accommodation for a small price.
A few cans of insect spray are highly recommended while walking through the bush in Northern Territory’s National Parks. Horseflies and mosquitos will be out in force, especially when it gets cooler in the evenings. A lot of water is also very necessary – and also a fully charged phone with a map application installed such as Google Maps.
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Top 10 Places to Visit in Northern Territory
- Ayers Rock (Uluru)
One of Australia’s most famous landmarks, Ayers Rock is an incredibly majestic rock found in the red hot desert in Uluru and is a must see during your Outback adventure. The climb to the top of this massive sandstone monolith is steep at times but totally worth the view. Unfortunately, it will be closed to tourists from October 2019 onwards so put it on your bucket list for 2018.
Head to the stunning capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin, and immerse yourself in fascinating art, culture and culinary delights. If Aboriginal artwork sparks your interest, there is world-class ancient Aboriginal rock art in Kakadu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where there are free guided tours during dry season.
- Alice Springs
A unique, remote town, Alice Springs is home to enthralling excursions to consider during your Outback experience. Visit the Alice Springs Desert Park and Frontier Camel Farm and explore the rugged landscapes. Don’t miss the Henlen-on-Todd Regatta, the world’s only boat race without water.
- Tennant Creek
Head north from Alice Springs to Tennant Creek, an ex-gold mining town steeped in history. Visit the famous Devil’s Marbles and the Barkley Tablelands, a remote but beautiful area, definitely worth a few days of exploration.
- Katherine Gorge
Grab your bikini and get ready for pounding waterfalls, natural swimming pools, watering holes and lengthy walking tracks. Canoeing is also very popular here and it’s a great way to see the Gorge in all its glory.
Head to Mataranka from Katherine Gorge and relax in the warm thermal pools that attract many tourists each year. Elsey National Park and Bitter Springs are two hotspots you should consider visiting after you are finished chilling out by the thermal pools.
- Adelaide River
Get up close and personal with crocodile along the Adelaide River, a tropical paradise brimming with wild birds, botanic wildlife and river monsters! There are plenty of different croc cruise types that suit all ages and rushes of adrenaline.
- King’s Canyon
Have you always dreamt of exploring a gargantuan canyon with massive rock formations, secret pools and literally no-one else around? Head off on an adventure through King’s Canyon and experience the Lost City and Garden of Eden.
- Seven Spirit Bay
Proving its remoteness, the only accommodation for tourists in Seven Spirit Bay requires an aircraft to get to. Situated in Arnhem Land, the verdant beauty and untouched wildlife of this vast land is an experience in a lifetime and is highly recommended.
- Litchfield National Park
Only a 90-minute drive from Darwin, a visit to Litchfield National Park is a must do. The park is thick with bush walks, plunge pools and termite mounds. Visit the Butterfly and Bird Farm at Batchelor, the closest town to Litchfield, and prepare to be amazed by the beautiful wildlife.