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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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#NTaustralia

We're coming to you from Edith Falls (Leliyn) at first light 🙌 When it comes to sweet swimming spots, you're certainly spoilt for choice in this part of the Jawoyn-owned Nitmiluk National Park. Located only 40 minutes' drive from the town of #Katherine, the falls are a nature lover's paradise with an upper and lower pool, along with a number of walking trails. There's a kiosk on site and a grassy camp ground if you're keen to stick around and explore more 👍 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @cleocohen!  #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

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Start the day on a high in the West MacDonnell Ranges 🚁 @elisecook recently hopped on a #sunrise scenic helicopter flight at Glen Helen Gorge, soaring over Mount Sonder, Ormiston Gorge and the spectacular mountain ridge lines. Surrounded by the majestic MacDonnell Ranges, @GlenHelenLodge is the ultimate base with easy day-trip access to the whole West MacDonnell National Park.  Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, Elise! #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

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@marioholzheu recently found "his favourite spot in the Northern Territory" while exploring #Kakadu National Park - Maguk Gorge! This lesser known park attraction is home to an emerald plunge pool screened by pandanus palms and surrounded by some of the oldest rocks in the world. While most people take the 1 kilometre trail to the main bottom pool, you can choose to climb above the falls where you'll find a series of smaller plunge pools with crystal clear water and amazing views. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, Mario! #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

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The #DevilsMarbles are one of the most impressive places in the world to stargaze. With no artificial light in the Aussie outback to interfere, the night skies are unbelievably bright 🌟 These large granite boulder are located an hour south of #TennantCreek in the traditional country of the Warumungu, Kaytetye, Alyawarra and Warlpiri people They call the Devils Marbles 'Karlu Karlu', which literally translates as ‘round boulders'. The only accommodation in the conservation reserve is a simple camping area with fireplaces - campers should be well equipped and carry their own fuel and water. Alternatively, there's a small hotel nine kilometres down the road 👍 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @melissafindley! #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

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Glow and behold.... the stunning sandstone walls at Standley Chasm are lit up an hour either side of noon by the reflecting sunlight, creating a breathtaking display of rich colour 🙌 The easy 20 minute walk to the chasm takes you through a lush gully, dotted with ancient ferns and cycads that have survived in the shadow of the arid hills from a long-gone wetter age. Located just 40 minutes from #AliceSprings, it's one of the many stops along the West MacDonnell Ranges - central @australia’s adventure mecca. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @kalebamosphoto! #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

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Ever wanted to learn about traditional aboriginal lifestyle: camping on the beach, hearing about cultural stories and traditional art, trying your hand at spear fishing and crab hunting? Then it's time to head to #ArnhemLand. Based on Yolngu homelands, @Lirrwi Tourism offers a choice of day and week-long itineraries during the Australian winter months - some of these trips even include a visit to this unbelievable location, Lonely Beach 😍 Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @iamsavi! #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

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#Litchfield National Park is a land shaped by water 💦 Over the millennia, the relentless flow has created a dramatic landscape of sheer escarpments and deep gorges, not to mention some of the most inviting swimming spots in the Top End - including stunning Florence Falls. Take a couple of days to explore the 1,500 square kilometre park, studded with hiking trails, gushing cascades and croc-free waterholes - there's plenty of explore! There are several major freshwater swimming holes fed by beautiful waterfalls, most of which are open for swimming and almost all accessible by conventional 2WD vehicles. Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @carmenhuter! #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd

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Redbank Gorge is one of those unexpected outback places that we promise you'll go home raving about! Less than two hours' drive west of #AliceSprings, the gorge sits at the base of Mount Sonder, the fourth highest mountain in the NT. Take the two kilometre return walk from the car park along the creek bed to the gorge where you'll find a permanent waterhole - a refuge for many animal and plant species. Over the summer months many travellers like to take a li-lo or tyre tube and float through the narrow chasm - you'll feel like you've entered a secret place hidden from the rest of the world! Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, @koojo. #SeeAustralia #RedCentreNT

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"It might not be flowing, but the landscape around the falls is pretty speccy!" We couldn't agree more, @jasandjoes_longroadhome! At 200 metres high, the colossal Jim Jim Falls is #Kakadu National Park's biggest waterfall. As the region moves into the wet season, Jim Jim will soon close as the tropical summer heavy rains fall across Kakadu submerging vast tracts of land and fueling these massive falls. It's still currently possible to walk through the monsoon forest and over boulders to the base of the falls, however you'll need a 4WD vehicle to get there! Cheers for tagging #NTaustralia, Jas and Joe. #SeeAustralia #TourismTopEnd #SeeKakadu

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