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The Top End is a top spot for family touring

There really is something for the whole family to enjoy while on holiday in the NT, as Travis Godfredson and his tribe discovered.

Choosing a family holiday is like choosing a pizza. The challenge is finding the right toppings to make everyone happy. For our next holiday, I wanted something spicy yet safe for the kids; something fun and adventurous in a natural setting. And my wife? She wanted something exotic but affordable. We placed the order for a family-sized slice of the Northern Territory.

Our adventure started in Darwin. Despite being a capital city, it feels more like a big country town. Open-air plazas are lined with shops that have something for everyone. Ice-creams, pearls and Akubra hats are only a heel’s click away. Food lovers will be drawn to the sweet and savoury smells of the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets which operate during the dry season from late April to late October. Homemade crafts and trinkets adorn the stalls and the sizzling treats on offer are a highlight, served under the warm glow of a Top End sunset.

The Top End can be pretty warm, but the good news is there are plenty of places for the kids to cool off. And the better news is many of them are free. Leanyer Recreation Park and Howard Springs Nature Park featured high on our family’s fun-o-meter and, best of all, they’re sheltered in shade cloth and completely free! In fact, most of the springs dotted around Darwin are no-fee affairs.

The adventure rating steps up the further we head out of Darwin. About two hours south is Litchfield National Park and its Buley Rockhole. We meander to the cool, clear waters spilling from pool to pool and Mum enjoys a natural massage courtesy of the cascading water. We’ve barely finished our smoothies before discovering the nearby Wangi Falls. The cavernous gorge is fed by trickling waterfalls starting high above, where kites circle surveying the humans below.

East of Darwin, the Kakadu National Park is full of must-see NT experiences. Gunlom brings out our inner explorers. Everyone, including four-year-old Molly, climbs for 45 minutes to be rewarded by an amazing view of Kakadu. We enjoy it from the plunge pool overlooking the gorge – as you do.

In Kakadu lies a spectacular natural plunge pool at the base of the sheer rock walls of the Maguk Gorge. The whole family treks for about a kilometre to a crystal-clear pool fringed with monsoon forest to snorkel with banded grunters and long-tom fish. After a bit of a rest and lunch at the bush camping area close by, which offers barbecue facilities, we climb up to the top of the waterfall to check out the amazing view. It’s a moderately difficult climb so a refreshing dip in the pools at the top of the falls certainly hits the spot.

The Top End can be pretty warm, but the good news is there are plenty of places for the kids to cool off. And the better news is many of them are free. Leanyer Recreation Park and Howard Springs Nature Park featured high on our family’s fun-o-meter and, best of all, they’re sheltered in shade cloth and completely free! In fact, most of the springs dotted around Darwin are no-fee affairs.

The adventure rating steps up the further we head out of Darwin. About two hours south is Litchfield National Park and its Buley Rockhole. We meander to the cool, clear waters spilling from pool to pool and Mum enjoys a natural massage courtesy of the cascading water. We’ve barely finished our smoothies before discovering the nearby Wangi Falls. The cavernous gorge is fed by trickling waterfalls starting high above, where kites circle surveying the humans below.

East of Darwin, the Kakadu National Park is full of must-see NT experiences. Gunlom brings out our inner explorers. Everyone, including four-year-old Molly, climbs for 45 minutes to be rewarded by an amazing view of Kakadu. We enjoy it from the plunge pool overlooking the gorge – as you do.

In Kakadu lies a spectacular natural plunge pool at the base of the sheer rock walls of the Maguk Gorge. The whole family treks for about a kilometre to a crystal-clear pool fringed with monsoon forest to snorkel with banded grunters and long-tom fish. After a bit of a rest and lunch at the bush camping area close by, which offers barbecue facilities, we climb up to the top of the waterfall to check out the amazing view. It’s a moderately difficult climb so a refreshing dip in the pools at the top of the falls certainly hits the spot.

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