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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

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If you're travelling through the West MacDonnell Ranges, don't forget to make a stop at Standley Chasm, where the rock appears to have been split by a giant pick-axe! A relatively short and easy drive from #AliceSprings, the chasm cuts through the tough quartzite to form a natural alleyway. It was created by surging flood waters over thousands of years and is an important cultural site for Western Arrernte women. If you're keen to learn more, you can join a half day tour with @angkerlestandleychasm that includes authentic cross-cultural presentations, bush tucker and art workshops. Our tip: visit at noon when the sun is right over head - this is when the chasm really lights up!  Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @talman.  #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

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Summer holiday goals in #Litchfield National Park 🙌 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 National Park, but when it comes to swimming opportunities it packs a serious punch 👌💦 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @backpackerhumpback!  #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

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Cue the #LionKing soundtrack... 😜 No matter how many times you've seen it in photos, nothing comes close to viewing #Uluru in real life. The giant monolith is best seen at dawn and sunset, as the light changes and the rock seems to glow. The national park has five viewing areas dedicated to experiencing and photographing this beautiful scene. Our tip: While Talinguru Nyakunytjaku is the main sunrise viewing area for Uluru, the Kata Tjuta dune viewing area pretty much guarantees you a beautiful shot of the icon with a long lens as @stephan_daprato discovered!  Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, Stephan. #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT #ExploreUluru

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Spotted: The seasonal waterfall at Southern Rockhole! This glorious waterfall only flows for a limited time over the wet season - talk about exclusive! The tropical summer gem can be found at Nitmiluk (#Katherine) Gorge, an 8 kilometre (return) walk from the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre, along the Windolf trail (via Yambi walk). If you're not keen on walking, you can choose to swap the hike for a ferry ride, which brings you within 150 metres of the swimming hole and waterfall. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @anaantonovna! #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd #NitmilukNT

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What a marble-ous sight! These huge granite boulders, one of the NT's many geological wonders, can be found scattered across a wide valley, 100 kilometres south of #TennantCreek. The #DevilsMarbles or Karlu Karlu, as they’re called by the traditional owners, were formed naturally, slowly eroding over millions of years into their strange and sometimes gravity-defying shapes. Stay overnight at the nearby campground to see the large boulders change colour in the early morning light and setting sun. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @savvy_social!  #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

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Start the New Year feeling on a high! Ubirr is one of the many places in #Kakadu National Park that truly feels like a land that time forgot ✨ Home to some of the Park's most famous rock art, Ubirr is steeped in Aboriginal culture and tradition. The 1 kilometre circuit walk passes several art sites before leading up to this stunning lookout over the Nadab floodplain. With 360 degree views of the wetlands and rocky escarpment, the lookout is the ultimate place to sit back at #sunset and take in the changing colours of the surrounding landscape 🙌 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @tonicutler! #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd #SeeKakadu

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The hidden beaches atop the northern point of @Australia’s rich #EastArnhemLand are hailed as some of the NT's and even the country's most remote and stunning coastlines. East Woody Beach (Galaru) and East Woody Island (Dhamitjinya), connected via sand banks, offer azure waters, expansive stretches of coastline, tropical sunsets, untouched forests, inland waterways and plenty of activities. Just 3 kilometres away is East Arnhem Land's main centre, #Nhulunbuy, where there are a handful of accommodation options available. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @_markfitz! #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

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This is what peak hour looks like in the Red Centre! 😜🐪 Spot kangaroos and birds, watch the ranges glow under sunset skies and take in the peace of the desert on a camel ride through the Ilparpa Valley with @pyndan_camel_tracks, just outside of #AliceSprings. The camels are gentle and well trained, thanks to ‘camel man’ Marcus, who’s been working with them for 30 years. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @talman!  #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

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An evening of dining under the sparkling outback sky with views of #Uluru and #KataTjuta (#TheOlgas)... need we say more? Your Sounds of Silence dinner experience begins with canapes and sparkling wine served on a viewing platform overlooking the national park. As the sun sets and darkness falls to the sound of a didgeridoo, join your table of fellow travellers for an unforgettable night of food, aboriginal culture and star gazing ✨ Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @ExploreUluru! #SeeAustralia #RestaurantAustralia #ExploreUluru

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