Welcome to the outback of popular memory. This is the vast expanse red desert and searing heat you have seen in movies. In the center lies Uluru (Ayers Rock), a giant, awe-inspiring rock in the middle of nowhere. Uluru has long held great significance to aboriginal populations and is now the center of a small hub of tourism. You can dine alongside the rock at sunset under the epic starscape or voyage out to walk the impressive rim of King’s Canyon.
Flights can drop you into Alice Springs, a quirky outback town. From here you can see the rock or hop aboard the Ghan train south to Adelaide or north to Darwin. On the way north, you’ll pass through the great boating waterway of Katherine Gorge, the star of Nitmiluk National Park.
At the far north is Darwin, the capital of the ‘Top End.’ The city is a melting pot of Asian and Australian cultures. From here you can head off to a number of amazing national parks. There’s the aforementioned Nitmiluk, Kakadu and its ancient aboriginal rock art, and Litchfield – home of giant termite mounds and not-so-small man-eating crocodiles known locally as ‘salties.’
For those interested in aboriginal culture, there’s Arnhem Land, a large territory wholly owned and run by aboriginals. Entry for foreigners requires a local guide. The experience is unlike anything else in the country.
Australia Northern Territory – Top Activities
Watch the sunset over Uluru
Ride the Ghan train through the outback to Darwin
Carefully watch crocodiles at Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks
Map of Australia
Courtesy of Tourism Australia. Click to view full-size map.