When it’s cold and windy in the southern states our dreams automatically move north; seeking the sunshine and long, dry days. We visualise open spaces filled with red dirt and green scrub; swimming in a pool (cold beer in hand) beneath a waterfall cascading over wet rock covered in ferns; and endless wetlands covered in creatures so magnificent they simply take your breath away. In short, we just want to become temporary ‘territorians’ and spend some time exploring the NT.
And the hordes of people who have the same idea mean a trip to the territory must be planned in advance. Caravan parks fill to overflowing in the tropical dry season and free campsites simply disappear by mid-afternoon. That’s not to say you won’t find isolated places up here — they abound in Australia’s least populated state — but the roads that connect them are few and the distances are long, so it is inevitable that tourers will sometimes converge.
The strange beauty of places like Kakadu, Uluru, Litchfield, Kata Tjuta, the Devils Marbles and Kings Canyon are why this place is so popular. Factor in their physical remoteness and they can’t help but be impressive. A big rock? Not so special really. A big rock in a landscape flat for kilometres around? Astounding.
Aim to hit the tracks with 4WD engaged, and visit some of the bush camps the blacktop tourers will miss. Take the tinnie and sample some of Australia’s best fishing — just make sure you are always on the lookout for saltwater crocs.
Give yourself time to watch the sun set over Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the Devils Marbles. Scare yourself silly overtaking a road train and crossing a crocodile infested creek. Splash out on a scenic flight to truly understand just how vast and empty the land here is.
Immerse yourself in the red dust and ever-shining sun of an NT dry season and feel your very soul warm up. If you have the chance, spend a few months up north and experience something very like an endless summer.
DISCOVER THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
- Explore Kakadu
- Travel to Uluru
- Discover Uluru and Kata Tjuta
- Camper's guide to Kings Canyon
- Visit The Devils Marbles