Amongst deserts and brittle scrub in the Northern Territory, creeks and rivers converge to become explosive waterfalls, while rocky gorges hide idyllic waterholes. These jewels of nature in the sometimes harsh landscape are what make the region so surprising.
On the Larapinta Trail the Birthday Waterhole is home to a diverse range of waterbirds, while a walk beneath the 300 metre sheer cliff faces of Kings Canyon will deliver you to a heavenly, palm-fringed swimming hole. The shady Kings Creek Walk heads to Kathleen Springs where you're also rewarded with a delightful spring-fed waterhole.
The swimming hole at the base of Edith Falls on the western side of Nitmiluk National Park is fringed with paperbark and pandanus, while 28 kilometres along the Jatbula Trail a sandstone plateau acts as a huge sponge seeping water into, and feeding the spectacular 17 Mile Falls.
To the west of the Bukalara Range, a short walk through the Caranbirini Conservation Reserve takes hikers to a waterhole surrounded by bizarre sandstone spires known as the 'Lost City' formations.
Kakadu and Arnhem Land
Kakadu's impressive Jim Jim Falls are 200 metres high, while the Gunlom Falls, though not as big, are one of the most picturesque spots in Kakadu. Further South, Koolpin 'the jewel in Kakadu's crown' houses an incredible gorge with stunning views from its plunge pool.
Also, be sure to take a ranger-guided boat cruise and a scenic stroll along the boardwalk in Arnhem Land to experience its beautiful Twin Falls.
Tolmer Falls, in Litchfield National Park cascades over high escarpments and a short stroll takes you up to a breath-taking viewing platform. The spectacular Florence Falls shower a plunge pool in monsoon forest, where you can take a refreshing dip before (or after) a scenic walk to the valley.