Welcome to the Northern Territory, Australia

We’ve landed in one of the biggest, most spectacular museums on the face of this planet ⁠— the Northern Territory, Australia. 1.4 million sq km of exhibition space awaits, brimming with art both ancient and alive, ready to challenge your sense of adventure and scale.

18 June 2019

There is nowhere else like Australia’s Northern Territory. From pristine coasts to the beauty of its Red Centre — the heart of the outback centred on the town of Alice Springs — its wild landscapes are filled with unique experiences. This is the real outback, where people from all over the world immerse themselves in its diversity and are awed by its untouched wilderness.

Come and check out the spectacular landscapes, amazing wildlife, ancient culture, unique dining experiences and friendly locals; this place has all the ingredients for a trip of a lifetime.

Getting to the Northern Territory is easy. Darwin, the region’s modern and multicultural capital city, is only 4.5 hours away from Singapore by air. You can also jump on a domestic flight from most Australian capital cities to airports in Darwin, Alice Springs or Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock).

NATURE ⁠— PERMANENT EXHIBITS

Other museums may have million-dollar artworks, but how many have million-year-old art?

The Northern Territory is one of the least populated environments on the planet, with landscapes left almost untouched since the dawn of time. It is home to UNESCO World Heritage-listed national parks and world-famous natural icons that draw thousands of visitors a year.

In the Top End — the top half of the Northern Territory — head to Australia’s largest national park Kakadu National Park. Covering an area of nearly 20,000 sq km, Kakadu is rich in natural beauty and has an abundance of native wildlife. It has earned its World Heritage listing for both its cultural and natural values.

Sunset at Uluru, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

You can board a cruise on the famous Yellow Water, a billabong brimming with birds and wildlife, and soak up amazing sunsets at Ubirr while admiring the vast wetlands and floodplains. Nature comes alive at Nitmiluk National Park in Katherine (300km south of Darwin) as you cruise or canoe on the mighty Nitmiluk Gorge or swim at Leliyn / Edith Falls.

To truly immerse yourself in this special place, take a five-day hike on the Jatbula Trail to explore hidden rock holes and waterfalls. Find your spot and relax in the thermal pools at Mataranka Hot Springs or Bitter Springs and let the warm, turquoise water work its magic. In an easy 90 minutes’ drive from Darwin, you can also explore the waterfalls of Litchfield National Park. It is a popular destination for a day trip, but with so many swimming and camping spots to choose from, it is well worth spending a night or two here. Camp or book a cabin.

As the spiritual heart of Australia, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is like a land of giants — the sheer size of its natural attractions will leave you speechless. Walk, cycle or ride a segway around the base of massive rock monolith Uluru and discover caves, crevices, and little-known waterholes and lush woodlands that line this sacred Aboriginal site.

Be sure to explore another great natural wonder in this area, the 500-million-year-old rock formation known as Kata Tjuta. Don’t miss a sunset or sunrise at Uluru when the light turns its massive surface from ochre brown to burnished orange, intense red and all the colours in between. Have the dinner of your life, tucking into gourmet outback fare under the stars and deep in the desert against the backdrop of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

In the Red Centre, nature’s playground is on either side of Alice Springs in the West and East MacDonnell Ranges. Discover outback waterholes, amazing rock formations and even a tropical oasis in the desert at Palm Valley. With plenty of spots to camp and hike at, there’s no shortage of ways to lose yourself in one of the world’s most inspiring landscapes.

CULTURE

Unlike a certain well-known painting, ours aren’t hidden behind glass, velvet ropes and hordes of tourists.

There are hundreds of Aboriginal languages, customs and laws woven together across the Northern Territory to tell a story that’s more than 50,000 years old. Visit ancient rock art galleries in Kakadu or take a cultural tour to meet the locals and experience traditional skills first-hand.

Just outside Darwin, visit Pudakul for a traditional welcome and introduction to local customs. Or take a short ferry ride or flight across the harbour to the Tiwi Islands to see original artworks, meet their artists and learn the stories behind the art. Further down the track in Katherine is Top Didj, where you can sit with a traditional elder, hear his stories and learn how to hunt and paint.

In Alice Springs, join an Aboriginal chef for an unforgettable campfire dinner to taste some local bush tucker — foods gathered from the wild — and learn about traditional gathering skills under the stars on RT Tours Australia. At Maruku in Uluru, hear desert stories, discover art, and have a go at creating your own masterpiece.

In all these interactive experiences, you’ll get to know the Northern Territory’s strong Aboriginal culture — direct from the traditional custodians of the land.

WILDLIFE ⁠— LIVE EXHIBITS

Sorry, our live exhibits don’t perform tricks, pose for photos or let you ride them. Then again, would you really want to?

View thousands of species of native flora and fauna around the Northern Territory in the wild, at wildlife parks, and on wildlife tours and cruises. Wildlife in this region flourishes across an expanse of varying ecosystems, from desert plains to monsoon tropics.

Cage of Death, Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin

There are over 400 species of birds here, including a handful of endemic and rare species, attracting thousands of domestic and international visitors who come to tick off their list of must-sees! The Northern Territory is also home to 150 mammals such as kangaroos, wallabies, the rare Northern quoll, cute sugar-gliders, and loads more. Over 300 reptiles including saltwater and freshwater crocodiles can be seen in most rivers and billabongs in the Top End, or at wildlife parks around Darwin. There are 50 species of frogs, 60 species of freshwater fish and several hundred species of marine fish too. The Northern Territory really is the best place to get your nature and wildlife fix.

The best way to see the region’s wonderful wildlife is to join a tour or visit one of the wildlife parks. In Alice Springs you can cuddle a joey at the Kangaroo Sanctuary, meet dingoes at the Alice Springs Desert Park, and pat a blue-tongued lizard at the Reptile Centre. In Darwin, you can hold a baby crocodile at Crocodylus Park, Territory Wildlife Park, or brave the “Cage of Death” at Crocosaurus Cove.

Don’t miss a cruise on one of the Northern Territory’s many waterways. Sign up for a turtle tracks tour with Sea Darwin to watch baby turtles make their way back to the big blue. A great way to see the wildlife of rivers and wetlands is on a guided cruise. Check out the cruises on Corroboree Billabong, just 1.5-hour’s drive from Darwin, or on the famous land-locked Yellow Water Billabong in Kakadu National Park, where you’ll see submerged crocodiles, wild horses, buffalo and other wildlife. During the wet season, these areas flood and attract millions of migratory birds.

‘Nabilil Dreaming Sunset’ dining cruise at Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge

FOOD & DRINK

Where museum food is as eye-opening as its exhibits.

With the culinary influence of more than 50 nationalities, which make up the Northern Territory’s population, diners will be spoilt for choice here. Ditch the dining room for an open-air market or dine under the stars and feast on fresh flavours prepared with colourful influences. You’re guaranteed fresh produce in the Northern Territory’s culinary hotspots, with menus commonly featuring barramundi, prawns, squid and mud crabs, prepared with Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Greek, Indian, and traditional Aboriginal influences.

Take a Territory food tour to uncover the best regional produce. From authentic outback fare to tropical fine-dining, the Northern Territory offers a delectable spread you won’t find anywhere else.

Here are the top five Northern Territory food and wine experiences:

  1. Catch a wild barramundi and enjoy it for dinner
    The mighty saltwater barramundi is a Territory icon, prized the world over for its exhilarating fight, strong runs and enormous leaps out of water. It is also a superb table fish with soft, moist and delicate flesh that can be prepared a hundred different ways. Join one of the many fishing tours in the Top End and reel in a gleaming silver barramundi under the watchful eye of an experienced guide. That night, have it prepared by your hotel chef or cook it yourself for one of the freshest meals you’ll ever eat.
  2. Sample Territory bush tucker with a traditional guide
    “Bush tucker” refers to wild foods that have sustained Aboriginal people for generations. Take a bush tucker tour in the Top End or Central Australia to learn about the local animals, fruits, seeds and nuts that have been the lifeblood of people in the Northern Territory for thousands of years.
  3. Mingle with locals at the markets
    Indulge your taste buds with fresh, authentic flavours at Darwin’s famous foodie markets. Sit on the sand with happy locals and visitors from all over the planet at the world-famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (Thursday and Sunday evenings, during the dry season from April to October). Drink in the famous Darwin sunset as you tuck into a diverse range of food offerings, boasting influences from every corner of the world — from Thailand and India to Brazil and Portugal.Try fragrant paella bejeweled with mussels, a Japanese omelette drizzled in sticky sauce, a dish from the many Asian-inspired vendors or a fresh mango smoothie. On the weekends, five suburban spaces in Nightcliff, Parap, Rapid Creek, Palmerston and Coolalinga are transformed into open-air hawker markets where locals go for their weekly supply of fresh fruit and vegetables, authentic laksa and curries, and fresh juices.

Sounds of Silence Dinner at Uluru

  1. Dine under the stars
    Dining under a canopy of a million stars is a true Northern Territory experience, and there are many opportunities to do so. The magical Sounds of Silence dinner at Uluru is Central Australia’s ultimate starry dining experience. Sip champagne on a red desert dune as the setting sun lights up the magnificent Uluru, then enjoy a gourmet feast of delicacies like barramundi, kangaroo, crocodile and bush salads perfectly paired with Australian wines.After dinner, a “star talker” takes you on a tour of the spectacular night sky. Further north in Katherine, slow your pace at the magnificent Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. On the tranquil “Nabilil Dreaming Sunset” cruise you’ll learn about the area’s Jawoyn Aboriginal people as the setting sun casts a fiery glow over the gorge, followed by a three-course dinner by candlelight.
  2. Enjoy a drink as the sun sets
    Sunset is a particularly magical time in the Northern Territory, and enjoying a drink as the sky is painted in hues of orange and purple is a quintessential experience. Pull up a chair at a waterfront bar, around a desert campfire or on the verandah of a colourful outback pub. Hop aboard a camel and ride it to dinner, toasting your mount with a cool drink afterwards. Sip champagne on a yacht or catamaran as you cruise the glittering Darwin Harbour or pack a picnic for a sunset dinner on the beach. There are so many ways to celebrate sunset in the Northern Territory, and visitors count it one of their dearest memories.

To view many more attractions that the Northern Territory has to offer, visit www.northernterritory.com/sg