What’s new in the Northern Territory? 2020 edition
Enjoy the burgeoning culinary scene, see some old favourites from a new perspective and light up your NT nights – literally. Oh, and did we mention you can take a helicopter to swim in a private waterfall? When you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always something unexpected on offer in the Territory. Here’s what’s new…
Light up your Territory experience
Head to Alice Springs to witness the raw beauty of the MacDonnell Ranges come to life in a celebration of culture and art at Parrtjima – Australia’s only Aboriginal-inspired light festival. The annual event held in April combines traditional painting with state-of-the-art light shows, creating a truly unique experience.
Earth Sanctuary Space Camp
A new era of space tourism in Australia has begun with the Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre in Alice Springs opening the nation’s only space camp. Adding to the Earth Sanctuary’s award winning eco and astronomy tours, the Space Camp holds six intergalactic-style domes within the desert surrounds of the sanctuary. Guests can glamp in style or roll out a swag under the stars. The Space Camp has been created to educate travellers on the solar system and can be hired for events and large groups.
Treat your taste buds with a bush tucker experience
The Northern Territory is not just a sensation for your eyes, nose and ears – your taste buds also get a treat. Bush tucker, the term for Aboriginal Australian cuisine, is much older than most European cuisines, combining native herbs, animals, vegetables, spices and indeed insects, to create unique and memorable flavours. There’s something for everyone, no matter your taste preference. The new Intrepid Native Food Tours are building an outstanding reputation for itself.
Take your taste buds on a trip through Australia’s Aboriginal history by sampling kangaroo and emu, along with lemon myrtle, desert lime and wattle seed. Indulge in local dishes like the quandong, a native Australian wild peach.
International Laksa Festival
After its successful inaugural year, Darwin’s International Laksa Festival returns in November. Influenced by the capital’s tropical climate and proximity to South East Asia, the month-long event celebrates Darwin’s obsession with laksa. Restaurants and eateries across Darwin will serve up their best laksas or laksa-inspired dishes – from laksa ice cream to laksa sausages. This is a must for foodies.
Glamp in style under the stars
Camping should no longer be considered roughing it! Glamping – glamorous camping – has been the rage for some time now, and Kings Canyon Resort shows how to make the most of an outback stay.
Wake up in the peaceful surrounds of the Red Centre and start your day of adventure with a hike along Kings Canyon Rim Walk, a heli-tour over the vast outback land, an educational indigenous cultural experience or an exciting quad biking ride. After drinks at the sunset viewing platform and dining on Australian sourced produce, end your day in the glamping style tented accommodation with all the creatures comforts you need.
Tiwi Island retreat
As an experienced chopper pilot and star of National Geographic’s hit TV show Outback Wrangler, Matt Wright is able to access areas that would otherwise be impossible to reach. His unique outback lifestyle and knowledge of helicopters, boats and airboats has led him to develop some of the most unique tourism experiences in the world.
Tiwi Island Retreat is a new Top End experience that offers all-inclusive packages, tours and activities. Think stunning beachfront views and your choice of jam-packed adventure: fishing, mud crabbing, swimming in remote waterholes, and locally led Aboriginal cultural experiences within the community.
Pedal around the township of Katherine
Although the Northern Territory has some of the best guided tours anywhere in the world, independent travellers may like to explore the NT at their own pace. With Pop Rocket Cafe Bike Hire and Cycling Adventures, you can hire both on and off-road bikes to explore the newly established Katherine Riverlink Trails. Head through the stunning natural wilderness on your own time or join a guided tour to learn more about the beautiful Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and its surrounds.
Get out on the water to experience the wild and the wonderful
You don’t have to be an expert to get up nice and close with Australia's native wildlife. Go cage diving with tiger sharks off the coast of Darwin with Darwin Red Devil Charters and get your adrenaline pumping.
Wildcard Luxury Cruises will take you across East Arnhem Land to some of the untouched wilderness the Northern Territory has to offer. Enjoy a spot of fishing or just sit back and take in the sights on one of Australia's most luxurious cruise experiences.
Then there's the City of Darwin Tours’ catamaran Kuru, Darwin's newest tourist vessel, which offers sunrise and sunset tours, plus several different charter options around the Top End.