Top 10 Experiences To Have In Australia's Northern Territory

View of the canyon

3.69min read

Published 10 February 2015


You haven’t experienced the real Australia until you have taken a journey to the Top End. From the steamy streets of tropical Darwin to the dry rich red centre, here are our top 10 suggestions of things to do, ensuring you see the best of the Northern Territory.

1. Darwin Harbour Cruises

 Aerial shot of a city and pier
Darwin harbour - where it all begins

Not surprisingly top of the list is a sunset cruise off Darwin harbour.

Sunsets can be breathtaking in Darwin and there is no better way to see one than on a cruise off the lush tropical mainland.

There are plenty of cruises to choose from whether it be a four course dinner cruise, seafood BBQ cruise, champagne cruise or fish and chip cruise.

Sunset cruises run from April to October.

2. Mindil Beach Sunset Markets

Everyone loves a local market and Darwin’s popular Mindil Beach Sunset Markets are a must.

The market is home to more than 50 tantalising food stalls featuring Portuguese, Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian and Brazilian treats. You certainly won’t go hungry here.

There are also more than 130 craft and health stalls offering everything from gourmet treats, jewellery, clothing and ceramics to massage and other holistic treatments.

The market is on every Thursday to Sunday evening between May and October, 5pm-10pm.

Mindil Beach Markets are an easy three-kilometre walk from the city centre.

3. Kakadu Guided Culture Walk

A trip to the Northern Territory wouldn’t be the same without a visit to the ancient land of Kakadu. And there is no better way to experience the rich indigenous history of this land than with an experienced guide.

Be prepared to be mesmerised by the raw stunning scenery littered with cascading waterfalls, Aboriginal rock art and wildlife.

Kakadu is a two-hour drive from Darwin.  If your time is tight choose a tour, if not, be adventurous and do a self-drive. Kakadu is a well-developed park so it’s not too difficult to do it yourself and there is a varied range of accommodation on offer.

4. Canoeing Through Katherine Gorge

 Tourist enjoying kayak
Paddling through the gorge

Katherine Gorge with its rugged facades and striking waterfalls is well worth the three-hour drive from Darwin.

If you are up for an adventure the best way to view the gorge is by canoe. Canoes can be rented for half day, full day or overnight.  If you are keen to do more than one gorge you will need to rent a full day hire or overnight due to the distance you will need to paddle.

Be warned, you will need to have some degree of fitness to progress to the second gorge as it’s a 12.2-kilometre round paddle.

Experienced paddlers can venture as far as the fourth gorge where they will be rewarded for their work with more Jawoyn rock art and a picture perfect picnic site.

You can make your own way to Katherine Gorge or if you want to relax and let someone else do the driving there are daily bus tours from Darwin.

Canoeing Season is April to October. Rentals available between 8am and 4.30pm. Booking recommended.

5. Katherine Sunset Dinner Cruise

 Aesthetic view of a river within two rock mountains
Cruising down Katherine River

Looking for a more relaxed option to experiencing the wonders of Katherine River and the Nitmiluk National Park?

Book yourself a romantic sunset dinner riverboat cruise and enjoy stories of the local Jawoyn people as you sit back and relax with a glass of champagne while taking in the wondrous scenery of the gorges.

The sunset dinner cruises run from May to October.

Know more about this stunning part of Australia. Australia's Amazing Top End

Check out the Top End tucker. A Foodie’s Guide to the Northern Territory

6. Visit The Devil's Marbles/Karlu-Karlu

 Two large rocks on top of a mountain
You can see how they came by the name

The small town of Tennant’s Creek lays claim to the geological phenomenon called The Devil’s Marbles.

These huge granite boulders are strewn through a shallow valley about 110 kilometres south of Tennant’s Creek and are a hit with keen photographers.

This is a sacred site for the local indigenous people and they believe the boulders are the eggs of the rainbow serpent.

The best time to view these giant rocks is at sunrise and sunset due to light turning them a magnificent fire red.

7. Desert Park – Alice Spring

Kids and adults alike will love discovering the red centre's cute and crazy critters at Alice Springs Desert Park.

This great eco park showcases creatures of the region in specially re-created natural habitats. Visit the nocturnal house, home to rare creatures such as the bilby and spotted devil.

Learn desert survival tips from local Aboriginal guides, or take a night tour and go in search of the elusive animals of the night. The park is open daily and is seven kilometres from Alice Springs.

8. Day Trip To Rainbow Valley

 View of the canyon
Spectacular Rainbow Valley

Pack a picnic and head off to Rainbow Valley to enjoy the daily unveiling of the sandstone bluffs and cliffs that come alive with colour at sunrise and sunset.

Unpack your picnic and sit back to enjoy the spectacular show of colour and light.

Rainbow Valley is located one hour and 30 minutes from Alice Springs.

9. Kings Canyon Sunrise Rim Walk

Tourist on top of a mountain
At the top in Kings Canyon

To get the best out of your trip to Kings Canyon book yourself in for a sunrise rim walk and you won’t be disappointed.

The walk starts off a bit challenging with a 500-step climb to the summit, but it is well worth the effort for the breathtaking panoramic view of towering sandstone cliffs, palm-filled crevices and an ever-changing palette of colour that rolls out to the horizon.

The walk takes about three and a half hours and can be quite strenuous.

Kings Canyon is a four-hour drive from Alice Springs and a three-hour drive from Uluru.

Staying overnight is a great option and you can choose between hotel or backpackers accommodation or the caravan and camping site.

10. Sounds of Silence Dinner – Uluru

 Sunset view of a desert with a flat mountain
Sunset over Uluru

The Sound of Silence Dinner is a must do for travellers visiting Uluru.

This unique desert dining experience kicks-off as the sun prepares to set over Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Canapés and refreshments are served as you take in the spectacular sunset to haunting throb of a didgeridoo. Dinner is a gourmet BBQ of native game and bush salads, accompanied with Australian wine.

It is followed by an indigenous dance performance and an enjoyable tour of the night sky by an expert star gazer.

Book well ahead for this dinner as it is popular.


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