12 ideas to gift a Northern Territory holiday
For a gift that means more and is different to anything else this holiday season, give the gift of travel. And what better gesture for family or friends than an unforgettable travel experience in the NT.
Here are 12 must-do activities just waiting to be unwrapped…
1. Ride a camel at sunset
Introduced to the outback by the Afghans in the 19th Century, Central Australia is home to the largest herds of camels. A fun and memorable way to finish the day is a sunset Pyndan Camel Tracks tour. Take it easy on the back of a surprisingly comfortable local as you traverse the Ilparpa Valley and take in the sights of the MacDonnell Ranges. Thank your new best friend by feeding him afterwards.
2. Get back to nature in Kakadu
Yellow Water Cruises allows you to discover the large number of wildlife that call the World Heritage-listed national park home. Sit back and listen to a knowledgeable guide while keeping an eye out for crocodiles, birds such as the delicately-sized Jacana hopping across the lily pads, as well as buffalo and wild horses. The daily cruise operates year round and is located next to Cooinda Lodge within the national park.
3. Greet the desert dawn in a hot air balloon
Soaring high across Australia’s Red Centre at sunrise in a hot air balloon is one of the most breathtaking ways to appreciate the vastness of the region and the remoteness of the town. Take off before dawn and watch the sun rise over the rugged landscape. You might even spot a red kangaroo or two! Finish your balloon experience with a glass of sparkling and some delicious baked goods. Perfection!
4. Escape to the ultimate beach retreat
You’ll find your own relaxing island paradise nestled on Bremer Island — Banubanu Beach Retreat, a 15-minute flight from Gove Airport or 40 minutes by boat from Gove Harbour. This exclusive retreat accommodates only 12 guests at a time with an elevated restaurant, bar and pool overlooking the western bay, which offers stunning views of the Arafura Sea. The region of East Arnhem Land is famous for its natural beaches, abundant sea life, rich Yolgnu culture and its lush tropical surrounds.
5. Dine under the stars at Uluru
Sounds of Silence is a unique dining experience with a 360 degree view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta at sunset. Start the night with canapés followed by a gourmet barbecue of native game, bush salads and fine Australian wines. Finish your evening with an Aboriginal dance performance and a tour by laser of the night sky, guided by the resident ‘star talker’.
6. Explore the mighty Nitmiluk Gorge
If you fancy yourself as an adventurous, do-it-yourself type, then hiring a canoe and heading through Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge is the experience for you.Feel the oars pushing through the water as you set your own pace, taking in the magic and the enormity of the impressive gorge system.
7. Fly high over Australia’s largest national park
Take to the skies for spectacular views over World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Booking a scenic flight with Kakadu Air Services between November–April rewards visitors with jaw dropping scenes of the waterfalls over Jim Jim and Twin Falls. Scenic flights depart regularly from Jabiru Airport and Cooinda Lodge.
8. Fish for the famous barramundi
The Northern Territory is a world-class fishing destination with a vast network of waterways offering a variety fishing options for the beginner to experienced fisherman. Cast a line in tropical paradise with one of the Top End’s selection of guided, custom and private fishing charters including heli-fishing tours, taking you to the most remote and exclusive locations.
9. Learn about local Aboriginal culture
Join a dot-painting or wood-carving workshop with local artists at Maruku Arts, a collective of some 900 Anangu artists from 20 remote desert communities around Uluru. Sit with the artists and learn about the ways of the desert, the symbols used in their art and local bush medicine. You might even pick up a few words of Pitjantjatjara.
10. Cruise Darwin Harbour at sunset
Catch a famous Darwin sunset aboard a luxury catamaran, a restored pearling lugger or a comfortable two-storey vessel on a cruise around beautiful Darwin Harbour. There are many tours to choose from, where you can enjoy a three-course dinner, seafood buffet, canapes and sparkling wine, or pick up fresh fish and chips.
11. Hit the MTB trails, adventure style
Take mountain biking to the next level in the Red Centre – see Alice Springs and the West MacDonnell Ranges from the sky before you hit the trails! Alice Springs Helicopters offer transfers for you and your bike to three selected landing sites, providing direct access to some of the region’s most exclusive MTB trails.
12. Get up close to a jumping crocodile
A holiday to the Top End isn’t complete without seeing a crocodile in the wild. When travelling from Darwin to Kakadu along the Arnhem Highway, make the time to board a jumping crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River.
Looking for more travel ideas? Check out these NT itineraries.