Go to Top

10 Must-See Places in the Northern Territory

Tiwi Islands

The Tiwi Islands are a tiny self-governed land council with a small population of around 2,000. The islands are steeped in indigenous culture and boast a thriving artistic community — visitors can come and learn screen painting and batik techniques, learn a little about Aboriginal culture, or just relax and soak in the beautiful island air.

Every March, the largest settlement (Nguiu) holds a Football Grand Final and Art Sale, where they sell off as many wares as they can before having some fun with a football tournament.

1

Image via Tourism Top End

The Defence of Darwin Experience

Cataloguing the history of Darwin during WWII, the Defence of Darwin Experience is an interactive museum piece that seeks to chronicle the Japanese attacks on Darwin and the continued effort of the ANZAC troops during wartime.

Starting with the 1942 bombings, the museum has exhibits showing the timeline of the war and a huge amount of artefacts from both Darwin at the time and from  troops on both sides of the conflict.

It’s a must-see not just for military history buffs, but anyone who’s interested in Australian history.

2

Image via Darwin Military Museum

King’s Canyon

Nestled in the Watarrka National Park, just over 300 km outside of Alice Springs, King’s Canyon is a gigantic gorge over 100 metres deep ringed with breathtaking views and exciting tracks to clamber down.

The canyon boasts a large amount of birdlife, from finches to peregrine falcons. Nearby you’ll also find the King’s Canyon Solar Power Station, where dazzling sheets of layered metal are a strong, man-made contrast to the natural beauty of the countryside.

The park is a little out of the way, but luckily a lot of tours will take you from Uluru (more on that later!) to Kings Canyon and back. It’s certainly worth your time to check it out, if only for that first moment of wonder overlooking the edge.

3

Image via Wikipedia

Kakadu National Park

171 km Southeast of Darwin, Kakadu National Park is almost 20,000 square kilometers of exquisite wetlands, stony outcrops, and lush vegetation teeming with animals, birds, and fish, and home to some of the best preserved sites of Aboriginal culture in Australia.

There are over 5,000 separate places where Indigenous artworks have been uncovered, including the famous Anbangbang Shelter (some of which is shown below). This site contains a rock-tapestry of which the true meaning is known by only a handful of indigenous artists (though there are signs put up to help those of us who didn’t grow up in the culture), and was still being added to as late as 1964.

4

Image via Wikipedia

The Magnetic Termite Mounds

Doesn’t sound like much, huh?

The Magnetic Termite Mounds in Litchfield National Park are shockingly beautiful, metres-high pillars in the ground erected by thousands of tireless worker, all facing in the same direction (hence the name).

Much more than their name suggests (the High Cathedral Mound is four metres high), and heartily recommended.

5

Image via Travel NT

Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery

Looking for a spot of culture? Check out the Museum and Art Gallery in Darwin. Showcasing the best talks, exhibitions, installations, and more art than you can shake a stick at, there’s a ton of traditional and cutting-edge stuff that’ll please everyone.

They also have an amazing Discovery Centre for little intrepid artists and scientists, open every day of the week, as well as a staggering 1.2 million natural history specimens.

6

Image via the MAGNT

Alice Springs Kangaroo Sanctuary

777

 

Image via the Sanctuary Instagram

Look at those Joeys. They’re adorable.

Brolga (pictured) has been helping out kangaroos for around a decade. The sanctuary also does guided sunset tours three nights a week, so if you’re looking for a dose of small and fuzzy (or big and fuzzy), the sanctuary should be your first call.

No trip to the bush can be complete without getting up close and personal with some kangaroos. Look at them!

See? Adorable.

Australian Aviation Heritage Centre

Gearheads in Darwin will love this one. Sporting a massive multitude of planes and aviation equipment (including a USAF B-52 bomber – one of only two on display outside the US!), the AAHC collects and displays planes.

Darwin has a long history of aviation. It was the touchdown spot of the first England to Australia flight, it contained the bulk of Australia’s air strength during WWII, and it was used as a base for overnight stops by Qantas en route to London.

They have civilian and wartime planes, crashed planes and whole planes, big planes and small. Fan of planes? Sick of us talking about planes? Come along, you might change your mind.

8

 

Image via Aus Aviation Heritage Centre

Kata-Tjuta

In old Pitjantjatjara legends of the dreamtime, the snake-king Wanambi lives on top of the tallest peak of these beautiful mountains. Naturally formed rock of the same complexity and colour as Uluru, they’re the perfect spot for a bushwalk or a picnic.

9

Image via Travel NT

TheValley of the Winds is a particularly popular destination for both guided and self-guided tours, but they’re a pretty popular spot for people to just pick a direction and walk through. There are dozens of walks around the bases of these towering beauties for explorers and strollers alike.

Plus, if you can’t get enough of that rich red rock, it’s only a short drive from Uluru! Speaking of which:

Uluru

It wouldn’t be a list without Uluru. This magnificent ochre-red sandstone mountain towers over the countryside around the Kata-Tjuta national park, and is recognised the whole world over as a symbol of natural beauty.

Some people might know it as Ayers Rock, but it’s usually referred to as Uluru nowadays due to its sacred nature to the local Anangu people.

The locals request that you don’t climb it (for the same reason), but it’s a fantastic sight in itself. Walking around the base of Uluru is a peaceful 10km trek in the shade of the great beast.

10

Image via Travel NT