Cross Australia’s northernmost frontier for an Outback adventure in canyons, deserts, and crocodile-filled billabongs.
Vast desert landscapes, balmy tropical heat, and some of Australia’s most dramatic terrain—the Northern Territory is a region to be savoured. Give yourself ample time to explore the national parks’ ancient Aboriginal rock art; hike through sweeping gorges; or set out on an epic road trip all the way to the Red Centre. Here, each season offers its own appeal. Dry season (June through Sept) is the best time to hike, surf, or camp out in the wilderness, while in wet season (November through April), wildlife cruises and waterfalls are at their most impressive.
Darwin is the gateway to the Litchfield and Mary River national parks, where you can pitch a tent along the riverside, spot wildlife on a bushwalk, then cool off in a natural swimming hole. For the best of both worlds, stop at one of the city’s beachfront campsites and explore the parks on a day trip.
Cruise among crocs, uncover Aboriginal rock art sites, and swim in natural waterholes at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Bush campgrounds provide an opportunity to get back to nature, while the park has over 30 marked rainforest hiking trails.
Venture to Alice Springs, Australia’s Red Centre, to hike around King’s Canyon, hear Dreamtime stories of Aboriginal heritage, and lose yourself in the endless desert landscapes. Adventurers can roll out a swag beneath the desert stars and wake early to watch the sunrise over Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
South of Darwin, the Katherine River is flanked by rocky gorges and savannah grasslands where you can hike, camp, or kayak away from crowds. In Nitmiluk National Park, you can also soak in natural thermal springs, visit ancient caves, or swim at Edith Falls.
Campers venturing to the northernmost corner of Arnhem Land are rewarded with deserted beaches, rocky promontories, and hidden waterfalls. You need a permit to visit the traditional lands of the Yolngu people and a four-wheel drive is best for getting around, but it’s worth the effort to discover one of Australia’s most undeveloped pockets of wilderness.