The Northern Territory. A state filled with natural wonder, a rich and diverse culture with an array of activities on offer that will fill your adventurous travel cup.
My first trip to the Northern Territory, although quick, blew my mind and has left me wanting to go back for more. Travelling within Australia has always been easy and stress free and I have been wondering a little too often of late, why I haven't set time aside sooner to explore our beautiful backyard! Here we don't have to worry about exchanging currency, finding a free WIFI connection to work out where the hell we are, or be cautious of where to eat in an effort to avoid any possible stomach upsets! The air is fresh, the landscape is diverse and getting to the NT will have you on a plane for no longer than 4.5 hours.
If there was ever a time to start ticking off that Aussie Bucket List it's now. And I am going to help you start at the top (of Australia that is!). Here is my shortlist, as the real list is long!. A little selection that will hopefully tick a few of your NT travel boxes and get you inspired to travel again soon.
Grab a car and off you go!
That sense of freedom you gain by having your own set of wheels really opens up the doors to truly discovering a destination. It means that when things don't go to plan or aren't so great, you just pack up and head to the next spot. The Northern Territory is a GREAT destination for a road trip. And you will be happy to hear that 95% of its attractions are accessible via sealed highways so if you don't fancy hiring/paying for a 4WD, you don't have to!
TOP TIP: After picking up your car head straight for the shops to find yourself an esky and some ice bricks! Fill it with snacks and lunches (and cold beverages!) so you don't have to waste time in search of food day after day. A picnic rug comes in very handy too. We spent a day exploring the many waterfalls at Litchfield National Park, and having our own packed picnic meant we could park up for the day and just relax. We cleaned and donated our esky to a Vinnies store before flying home. I don't think it would have stayed there for long!
WHERE TO FIND ROAD TRIP INSPIRATION
The Northern Territory Tourism Website is a goldmine! It is full to the brim of useful resources, all free, all at your fingertips. They also include information about NT's road rules, a must read because things are a little different in this northern state! And another tip from us, re-think driving after dusk. Insurance on car hire is sometimes void for night driving due to the increased risk of damage from wildlife.
Here are our favorites:
Greater Litchfield Loop: Darwin - Litchfield National Park (return)
Natures Way: Darwin - Kakadu - Katherine
Red Centre Way: Alice Springs - Uluru - Kings Canyon
All the downloadable maps you will need can be found here.
Connect with others: Small Group Adventures
After months of lockdown what you need may just be an small group adventure, that you don't have to spend any time planning, which allows you to connect with others and make new friends all while exploring and learning about the Northern Territory.
The tours I am about to recommend are operated by Australian companies that have been allowing travelers to explore our country for upwards of 50 years. They have unrivaled relationships and connections with local suppliers that have taken years to establish. This means that if you choose to explore the NT with one of these companies, you are guaranteed to have an experience that you simply couldn't plan yourself!
Top End & Arnhem Land Adventure ⭐⭐⭐
ex Darwin. Priced from $1595 twin share
Operated by Intrepid Travel
Group size: Min 6, Max 15
This 5 Day tour is one for the young and young at heart! A real outback adventure which includes staying in tented camps, evenings by the campfire while star gazing, hiking hidden trails to explore rockpools and secret billabongs, and an array of unique cultural encounters enriched with the knowledge from local guides.
Kakadu's Ancient Secrets ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
ex Darwin. Priced from $3010 twin share
Operated by Inspiring Journeys
Group size: Min 10, Max 22
5 days exploring Litchfield NP, Kakadu & Katherine
-Travel via Luxury 4WD vehicle with a dedicated Journey Director and Expert Driver
-Included is a stay at Wildmans Wilderness Lodge & five-star Cicada Lodge!
-Immerse yourself into the rich Aboriginal Culture
-Sunset Dinner Cruise along Katherine River included
-Sustainable travel kit, including backpack & water bottle are provided
-Plenty of leisure time to relax and unwind
-Airport transfers are also included
All aboard! The Ghan Rail Experience
Now here is a bucket list item if there ever was one. An all inclusive 3Day/2Night rail journey on The Ghan will not disappoint! Adelaide to Darwin or visa versa, this is a great way to start or end your next trip to the Northern Territory.
Advance Purchase savings are on offer when booking The Ghan up to six months in advance. You do have to pay in full at time of booking, but it could save you upwards of $500! The Ghan have cabins to suit both couples and solo's. With cabins designed specifically for solo travelers, you will NOT have to pay a 'single supplement' when travelling on your own or with a friend who also wants a solo cabin.
ON TRAIN EXPERIENCE
-In-cabin music channel and journey audio commentary
-All-inclusive dining in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant
-All-inclusive Australian wines, beers, base spirits and non-alcoholic beverages
-Luggage allowance of 60kg per guest
-Complimentary shuttle bus available in Darwin to selected hotels
OFF TRAIN EXPERIENCES & TOURS
-Nitmiluk Gorge Cruise
-Katherine Outback Experience
-Simpson Gap Discovery Walk
-Alice Springs Desert Park
Optional: Helicopter flights, Camel experiences, and winged scenic flights (extra charge)
Our final offering... A MYSTERY ESCAPE!
Yep, you heard it here first folks, in 2021 we will be offering a no planning required Mystery Escape to the Northern Territory!
All you have to do is complete a short survey and pick the weekend, and we will surprise you with a unique itinerary we think you'll love!
You can even gift it to a friend or family member, who will no doubt grant you 'the best gift giver ever' status immediately! A packing list and a time to be at the airport will be sent one week prior to departure. When you open your envelope to reveal your itinerary is up to you, but we promise the suspense will be worth it!
If any of the trips above have you checking your calendar for the next school holidays dates or annual leave openings, I'd love to help you plan the next phase. Border openings and using travel credits are a new thing we are needing to navigate, so get in touch with us here at Make It Travel for a seamless holiday planning experience.
Phone Sara on 0422 468 297
or simply click over to our contact page to send through a message