The Top EndDarwin, Katherine, Kakadu & Arnhem Land
The ‘Top End’ of the Northern Territory is a tropical oasis that consists of Darwin (the NT’s capital city), World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, remote Arnhem Land in the north-east corner, and the Katherine region, where the tropics meet the Outback.
The vibrant city of Darwin is the perfect base to explore the region, offering a blend of modern amenities and cultural attractions.
From the towering waterfalls and ancient rock formations of Kakadu National Park to the pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Tiwi Islands, there is no shortage of incredible sights to see and explore.
Darwin is a modern, tropical city that offers a special blend of cosmopolitan and outback adventure. You can make it as action-packed or as laid back as you like. There’s no shortage of things to do in Darwin.
Wander around the many stalls selling local art and craft and serving food from every corner of the earth—Thai and Indian to Brazilian and Portuguese—at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. Watch a movie under the stars at the Deckchair Cinema, or join a three-course dinner cruise on Darwin Harbour (many times the size of Sydney’s). Board the hop-on, hop-off bus to take in the city’s sights.
Explore Darwin’s rich history and its Aboriginal culture at the many excellent art galleries and history attractions. Ride the swell at the Wave Lagoon and soak up the outdoor lifestyle at the Waterfront Precinct with its restaurants, cafés, shops and sprawling lawns. Or jump on a fishing day tour out of Darwin to land a famous barramundi.
Pack a picnic and take the easy day trip to Litchfield National Park (1.5 hours from Darwin) to bushwalk through rainforest then swim under spring-fed waterfalls at Wangi and Florence falls or soak in the tiered rock pools shaded by rainforest at Buley Rockhole.
Board the ferry or a light plane to the Tiwi Islands to meet local Tiwi artists, explore the islands and make your own piece of art.
When the sun goes down, Darwin comes alive with some of Australia’s best restaurants and eateries, bars and pubs, theatres, nightclubs and an international-standard casino.
Oodles of Aussie and international travellers think Kakadu is one of Australia’s best-kept travel secrets. And it’s just three hours drive from Darwin.
Kakadu is World Heritage-listed for both its natural and cultural values—and for good reason. Kakadu is brimming with native wildlife, some 280 species of birds and giant crocodiles. See them on an early-morning cruise on Yellow Water Billabong.
Kakadu’s Aboriginal rock art is some of the oldest and best-preserved in Australia. Visit the rock art galleries at Ubirr, Nourlangie and Nanguluwur and see their fascinating record of Aboriginal life over some 20,000 years.
And Kakadu has some of the Top End’s most iconic landscapes—waterfalls, rugged escarpments, sandstone outcrops and rainforests. Explore it yourself or join one of the many tours running from both Kakadu and Darwin.
Do Arnhem Land
Experience ancient Aboriginal culture, dramatic landscapes and true Australian wilderness in Arnhem Land, one of the last untouched regions of the world.
This remote 90,000 square-kilometre reserve to Darwin’s east is wholly Aboriginal-owned land and has some of the Top End's most spectacular natural destinations, with beautiful scenery, rugged coastlines, remote islands, tropical rainforests and wetlands, towering escarpments and savannah woodland.
Stay in a beachfront eco retreat or explore Arnhem Land’s natural treasures at a safari lodge.
Into fishing? Arnhem Land is renowned for its prime, untouched fishing habitats teeming with prized sport and reef fish. Fishing lodges are dotted all over Arnhem Land, or you can join a charter from Darwin.
The Outback meets the tropics in Katherine, a town three hours south of Darwin and home of the famous Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge.
Katherine has plenty of accommodation options and is your base for taking on the area’s many opportunities for adventure: fishing, camping, hiking, swimming, soaking in hot springs, cave tours, helicopter flights, canoeing, speed-boating, four-wheel driving.
Bring your hiking boots—Katherine is home to one of the world’s best bushwalks: the five-day, 58km Jatbula Trail that takes in waterfalls, monsoon rainforest, stone country and Aboriginal rock art, camping alongside swimming holes.
For a softer adventure, take in Nitmiluk Gorge aboard a dinner cruise and stay in five-star luxury at the resort right at the gorge.
The Nitmiluk Visitor Centre explains this icon’s significance for the Jawoyn and Dagomen people.
Inspiration for your Top End trip
Top destinations in the Top End
Things to see & do in the Top End
Book your Top End itinerary
Sometimes spontaneous decisions are the best ones we make! If you're feeling ready to take the next step, here's a perfectly curated 7-day Top End itinerary that you can book in just a few clicks.
Nature’s Way 7-day itinerary
For a road trip holiday that highlights the best of the Top End, look no further than the Nature’s Way. In one week, take a self-drive adventure that starts in Darwin, travels through the natural wonders of Kakadu, Nitmiluk and Litchfield national parks, and loops back to the capital.
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Top End deals & offers
Darwin beachside escape
3 nights for two adults from $799*
Million Dollar Fish Darwin, Litchfield & Kakadu Escape
5 nights from $1,399pp*
Fly to Darwin from $149*
Fly from Sunshine Coast