HERE’S HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ONCE IN A LIFETIME NT ADVENTURE
Australia is renowned for its spectacular and unique natural environment. Although we’ve got beautiful beaches and good surf breaks, there is so much more to experience beyond that!
Many people would argue that the best way to discover Australia is to hit the road. You might wonder where you should go to experience the real Australia then? Too easy: The Northern Territory.
We have mapped out a few spots for you where you will find the ultimate Northern Territory experience. You will discover adventurous 4WD tours, cultural centres and national parks. The best part? In the Northern Territory, you will find traffic fading away, vast stretches of untouched landscapes and lots of opportunities to interact with our country’s fascinating Indigenous heritage.
Prepare yourself for a cultural and natural experience you will never forget. As the oldest living culture in the world, there is a lot to learn from our Indigenous ancestors. Immerse yourself in this beautiful and exciting culture, find out how the traditional owners used to hunt, collect foods and navigate through the deserts and rainforests. First stop – Alice Springs.
Alice Springs is the gateway to central Australia. We decided to begin our imaginary road trip here! We will then be travelling north through Tennant Creek and Katherine towards the Top End. This is one of the least densely populated areas in the world.
A great place to start your NT journey is at Tailormade Tours. With over 40 years of experience, Tailormade Tours will in each tour give visitors a mix of history, environmental appreciation and local culture. Visitors can either choose one of their planned tours or choose to design their own.
For those who can handle speed and heights, Alice Springs Helicopters can take you on a tour which is a perfect way to discover the spectacular views of Central Australia’s desert ranges. Here visitors have a wide range of different tours to choose between. Alice Springs Helicopters work closely with many Indigenous organisations, and with permission of the community, visitors can take an ‘Aboriginal Art Heli Tour’. This tour enables visitors to see a world recognised art centre from above.
Another perfect place to immerse yourself in Indigenous culture is at Alice Springs Desert Park. The site is of significant importance to the traditional owners of this land. Here visitors can try the ‘Living Desert Experience’. This is an early morning walk where visitors will learn stories of the desert and explore how it might be to live in this environment. If you’re a night owl, check out the park’s ‘Nocturnal Tour’ where visitors are led by expert guides and have the chance to see some of the region’s most rare and endangered species.
Only 5 hours north, travelling through vast deserts, you will find Kelly’s Ranch in Tennant Creek. The owner, Jerry Kelly, will provide you with the ultimate outback experience. No matter whether you have got previous experience or not, Jerry will have you covered. He provides horse-riding lessons to visitors of all ages and ranges from beginner to experienced. Beyond learning how to ride a horse, you will also have the opportunity to learn more about the local culture from Jerry. He is an Indigenous Australian and a traditional owner of the region.
Kakadu National Park
A further 10 hours’ drive north you will find Kakadu National Park - a spectacular area of outstanding natural beauty and cultural significance. It is UNESCO World Heritage site for both its natural beauty and cultural values.
Here you can find Cooinda Lodge Kakadu, the base of the world-renowned Yellow Water Cruises. From here you will have convenient access to Kakadu National Park. You can choose between staying in their lodge or campground. Either way, you will live beneath a canopy of trees and amongst unique wildlife, flora and fauna. If you are lucky, you might even spot a crocodile hanging around! At Cooinda Lodge Kakadu, you will have the chance to head out on the Yellow Water Wetlands, where you can either go for a cruise or on a fishing trip. Feeling adventurous today? Take their Kakadu Gorge and waterfalls tour! For those who are looking for a cultural experience, Warradjan Cultural Centre is located only 1km from the lodge. You will find paintings and crafts from local Indigenous groups on display.
If you’re after an exclusive tour of the Kakadu area, Ayal Aboriginal Kakadu Tours will take you to the major Aboriginal rock art sites in the area where you will be guided through stone galleries. Your guide, Victor Cooper, will welcome you to his land. You will learn more about how Aboriginal people used to live, hunt and gather. Ayal Aboriginal Kakadu Tours have a variety of tours to choose from, both group tours and private chartered tours.
Another opportunity to get out into nature is to hook up with Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris. Visitors at Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris will have the rare opportunity to get access to the registered Aboriginal sacred site of Mt Borradaile. This area is still owned and managed by traditional custodians. Catering for all ages, when taking one of their tours at Mt Borradaile, visitors will have the chance to experience one of the most remote and restricted areas in Australia. Even better: when you are back from one of their epic tours, there is no need to stress about leaving on time. Just stay overnight in their camp!
This concludes the first part of our two-part series across Northern Territory. Stay tuned for part two...
[Cover image: Cooinda Lodge Kakadu / website]