Australia’s wild frontier is home to some amazing experiences.
There are some things that you can only do in the Northern Territory. From amazing wildlife encounters to tubing through a desert gorge, from exploring a breathtaking outback light installation to sinking your teeth into some unusual bush tucker, these exclusive NT experiences are guaranteed to be holiday highlights.
Watch a croc attack … from safety
Predators don’t come much more fearsome than the saltwater crocodile, and the Northern Territory is home to around 80,000 of these impressive beasts. To see them in action – without putting yourself in harm’s way – head out on a Jumping Crocodile Cruise on the Adelaide River, around 65km east of Darwin. Departing four times a day, the cruise gives you the opportunity to see crocs propelling themselves high out of the water to snatch at pieces of meat dangled from lines – not a sight you will quickly forget.
Wander through a field of light
It’s no secret that sunset at Uluru is a memorable experience. For the rest of this year, however, magic will be at work during the night time as well. As darkness falls, an astonishing art installation will light up the plains spreading out from the rock. Created by acclaimed installation artist Bruce Munro, Field of Light consists of 50,000 glass spheres that will illuminate the night with an ever-changing panorama of coloured light. It’s a magical sight, and one that will only be on show until March 2018.
Catch a million dollar fish
There is plenty to tempt keen anglers in the Northern Territory, from mangrove jack and barramundi to massive offshore fish such as cobia, which can grow to 50kg in size. Perhaps the most exciting prize, however, is the chance to hook yourself a million dollars. As part of the Million Dollar Fish campaign, each year a specially tagged fish is released: catch it, send in a photo, and you will give your bank balance a serious boost. There are 100 consolation prizes: nab one of these tagged fish and you will be $10,000 richer. Now that’s a good catch.
Go tubing through an Outback gorge
Here’s something really unexpected: a wet and wild water experience in the heart of the Red Centre. The West MacDonnell Ranges are known for spectacular gorges; places like Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm are among the area’s most-loved attractions. Less well known, however, is the remarkable Redbank Gorge. Around two hours drive from Alice Springs, what sets Redbank apart is the permanent waterhole that laps the walls of this narrow defile. Rent an inner tube from nearby Glen Helen homestead to experience the amazing sensation of floating through the gorge. Just be warned: that water is surprisingly chilly!
Cuddle a baby kangaroo
Alice Springs’ Kangaroo Sanctuary is a special place, where orphaned kangaroos are rescued and rehabilitated. Wherever possible, they are released back into the wild; if that can’t be done, the young ‘roos take up residence in the 76 hectare sanctuary. Tours take place four times a week, starting at sunset when kangaroos wake from their daytime sleep. Learn more about kangaroos and about the Sanctuary’s work, and maybe even get to cuddle one of the young joeys.
Boggle at boats made of beer cans
Yes, it’s true! In Darwin, they build boats out of beer cans, and then battle it out for naval supremacy. The scintillating spectacle takes place every July at Mindil Beach, when the Beer Can Regatta sets sail. The warm-up events include thong throwing (that’s flip-flops for the non-Australian), kayak races and sandcastle competitions, but the main action is the Battle of Mindil, when the beer boats compete to find an object hidden underwater. Sabotage is not only allowed but encouraged, with water cannons and flour bombs adding to the fun.
Eat a witchetty grub
To anyone accustomed to fertile fields and orchards, the landscape of Central Australia looks downright inhospitable. However, Indigenous people harvested a surprisingly rich variety of bush tucker and medicine from their surroundings. Sign up for the Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience at Kings Canyon and you will get to sample a range of these foods, including – for those who are game – the protein-packed witchetty grub. You will also get to try your hand at making clapsticks and learn the secret language of dot paintings.
Take a turtle tour
Pick the right night, and you may get to experience a very special ritual that takes place on the islands off the coast, near Darwin. Between April and September, flatback and olive ridley turtles make their way to a number of remote islands to lay their eggs in the sand. Sea Darwin runs an early-evening Turtle Tracks cruise that lets you witness this astonishing event for yourself. Along the way you will learn more not only about these magnificent marine creatures, but also about Darwin Harbour’s fascinating history. Guests who come late in the season may even get to see the hatchlings digging their way out of the sand and heading straight for the sea.
It’s about time you did the NT. Visit northernterritory.com to start planning your adventure.
Ready to experience the NT’s best walks? For more information about planning a trip to the Northern Territory, visit Wotif and get a great deal on a holiday.