skip to main content

The Top End

Map showing the Top End area of Australia

The perfect cosmopolitan and outback holiday experience with iconic national parks, ancient culture, unique wildlife and exceptional local dining experiences.

Do the Top End – exotic and tropical

There are four distinct regions in the Top End of the Territory that offer amazing holiday experiences. Soak up metropolitan Darwin by doing the markets at sunset, watching movies under the stars, cruising the harbour or taking a day trip out to Litchfield National Park; nature’s very own water theme park.

60% of Aussie travellers believe Kakadu is one of Australia’s best kept travel secrets. Brimming with native wildlife, it’s a utopia for any animal lover. And it’s just three hours’ drive from Darwin.

The outback meets the tropics in Katherine. Fish it, camp it, hike it, swim it, canoe it – your choices are endless. If you’re after a softer adventure, take in Nitmiluk Gorge aboard a dinner cruise and stay in five-star luxury.

Escape to one of Australia's last true wilderness areas. Arnhem Land is one of the Top End's most spectacular natural destinations, with beautiful scenery, rugged coastlines, remote islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforest, towering escarpments and savannah woodland.

Do one region, or do them all.

Do Darwin

Darwin is a tropical city offering a blend of cosmopolitan and outback adventure and you can make it as action-packed or as laidback as you want it to be. There is no shortage of things to do in Darwin, from the famous Mindil Beach Markets and festivals, to eyeballing a croc in the Cage of Death.

Explore the history of Darwin and its Aboriginal culture, cruise on the harbour or just relax at the wave lagoon and soak up the outdoor lifestyle. When the sun goes down, Darwin comes alive with a multitude of entertainment venues including restaurants, theatres, nightclubs, and the casino.

Darwin sits on a harbour twice the size of Sydney Harbour and overlooks the Arafura Sea, offering an array of waterfront delights including superb dining, harbour cruising, fishing and amazing sunsets. There are also plenty of popular freshwater swimming spots nearby, such as Howard Springs, Berry Springs and Litchfield National Park - where you will find thundering waterfalls, crystal clear rock pools, native wildlife and bushwalking tracks.

Do nature

Darwin is surrounded by more than 20 national parks and reserves with some of the best swimming holes, waterfalls, wildlife spotting, bushwalking and hiking trails.

For the perfect day trip make sure you pack a picnic and head to Litchfield National Park. Plunge into crystal clear waterholes beneath the magnificent spring-fed waterfalls of Florence and Wangi, or soak in the gentle three-tiered cascade shaded by rainforest at Buley Rockhole. For a drier option, take the short walk through cypress pines and cycads to the Tolmer Falls viewing platform.

Cascading waterfalls, rugged escarpments, aboriginal rock art, giant crocodiles and exotic bird life. Kakadu National Park will change how you see the world. Experience the magic of this ancient land which is only a few hours from Darwin.

In Katherine you will find Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), just three hours’ drive south from Darwin. You can explore up to 13 spectacular gorges carved from ancient sandstone and an array of waterfalls by paddling a canoe at your own pace, on a guided cultural cruise, or by a high-powered speedboat tour. Helicopter rides departing from the nearby visitor centre offer an excitement-charged way to see the magnificent gorge system from the air.

Top destinations in the Top End

Things to see & do in the Top End

Get inspired

Drive routes in the Top End

Search & book

Find accommodation, tours, activities and events in the NT

#NTaustralia

#Uluru has been hit with some wild weather recently, including a supercell that passed right over it! It's estimated that only 1% of travellers to this legendary monolith get to see it when it rains, and the rock is enveloped in waterfalls 💦 Check out our IG story for more! Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, Kartikeya Sharma (via FB). #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT #ExploreUluru

View on Instagram

Welcome to Little Bondi - one of #EastArnhemLand's many hidden gems. The north-eastern corner of the NT is home to numerous stretches of white sand bordered by the vivid blue waters of the Arafura Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria. There are several stunning beaches within a relatively short driving distance from Nhulunbuy (Gove), the region's main township, where travellers can spend their days fishing, camping and exploring the diverse landscape. Not far from Little Bondi (Baringura), you'll also find Turtle Beach (Ngumuy) and Macassan Beach (Garanhan). Make sure you look into travel permits with the Northern Land Council or the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation before your trip 👍 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @_markfitz! #SeeAustralia

View on Instagram

We've got tickets for a billion-star experience, keen?! An easy day trip from #AliceSprings, Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve is renowned for its sandstone bluffs and cliffs with different bands of coloured rock. Best accessed by a four-wheel drive vehicle, this lesser known geological wonder is particularly stunning in the early morning light or late afternoon sun when it changes from ochre red to orange and purple. However, if you're staying overnight in the campground, make sure you stick your head out of the tent during the night - with no artificial light nearby, you'll be able to see the stars like never before ✨ Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @carmenhuter! #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

View on Instagram

Come for the swimming, stay for the photo opportunities 👌 There’s nothing better than relaxing in a natural spa, and they don’t come much better than the free hot springs in the town of #Katherine. Crystal clear and luke warm, surrounded by lush pandanus and monsoon forest, the pools are a favourite spot for locals and travellers.  Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @prends_tes_tongs_on_se_casse! #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

View on Instagram

As darkness falls and #Uluru is thrown into silhouette, the #FieldofLight illuminates ✨ The exhibition, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara, is Bruce Munro's largest work to date, with more than 50,000 slender stems crowned with radiant frosted-glass spheres. The installation covers an area of more than seven football fields and invites visitors to wander through the network of pathways and watch this fantasy garden softly change colour from sunset to sunrise. The Field of Light is running until 31 December, 2020. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @aroundq! #SeeAustralia #ExploreUluru #RedCentreNT

View on Instagram

Witness the magic of #Kakadu National Park from above 🚁 From this spectacular vantage point you’ll see the most astonishing side of @Australia's largest national park... ancient sandstone plateaus, sheer escarpments, endless savannah forest, white sand beaches, winding rivers and expanses of floodplains. One of Kakadu's most impressive waterfalls, Twin Falls is a sight to behold year round whether it's in full flow or reduced to a trickle during the drier months. With the wet season fast approaching and ground access soon closing, a scenic flight is a must over the summer months - the mighty rock formations and surging water make for unforgettable viewing! Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @jewelszee! #SeeAustralia #SeeKakadu #DoKakadu

View on Instagram

Just a hop, skip and a jump from #AliceSprings, you'll find our outback version of a 'beach' - Ormiston Gorge! Out of all the gaps and gorges in the West MacDonnell Ranges, it has to be one of the most impressive 😍Comprised of orange and red quartzite, and formed by massive geological forces, it's not your typical swimming spot... but that's what makes it so special! With summer fast approaching, we'll be grabbing a picnic rug and our bathers and heading here - you can even pick up a coffee from the kiosk. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @savvy_social.  #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

View on Instagram

Going, going... gone! #Uluru was hit by a passing storm yesterday arvo - at one point the rain was so heavy it almost disappeared from sight! Ten minutes later the clouds cleared... just in time for #sunset 🙌 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @yo_hisa0425! #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

View on Instagram

If you're a big fan of waterfalls like us, a visit to #Litchfield National Park is definitely a must! Fed by twin falls and fringed by shady trees, Florence Falls ranks as one of the park's front runners, particularly as it's swimmable almost year round. Reaching the fall's glistening jade-green swimming hole is half the appeal 👉 the walk is short, easy and showcases the dramatic contrast between mighty sandstone escarpment and lush monsoon forest. An easy day trip from #Darwin, Litchfield may be a fraction of the size of Kakadu, but when it comes to swimming opportunities it packs a serious punch 👌💦 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @cbowles14!  #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

View on Instagram

Keep in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, deals and travel information about the Northern Territory. Data privacy statement