The Northern Territory Australia is a huge and varied land, with many different fun-fuelled adventures to be had.
From the dry red outback to the tropical monsoon forest, there are plenty of adventurous things to do in Northern Territory.
Since the NT is such a big place it can sometimes be difficult to find what you’re looking for which is why I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in the Northern Territory for adventure seekers.
Also in this guide, I’ve included the best places to eat and drink, how to get around, and where to stay, and I guarantee by the end, you’ll be completely familiarised with the NT!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NT
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE NORTHERN TERRITORY?
The dry season, which runs from May to October, is the best time for you to visit the NT.
Apart from experiencing the best weather, the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets and the Darwin Festival are two of the most popular events which take place during this time.
HOW TO GET AROUND THE NORTHERN TERRITORY?
The easiest way to get around the Northern Territory is by flying between cities and you’ll find flights that operate between Darwin, Alice Springs, and Uluru.
But of course, if you want to explore the countryside and the attractions in between, I personally recommend flying to Darwin or Alice Springs and renting a vehicle to get around the territory.
If you prefer public transportation, you also have the option to travel on the Greyhound bus throughout the NT. Click here to book online in advance.
HOW LONG TO STAY IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY?
Even though the Northern Territory is a massive place, many of its most popular cities and landmarks can be seen in as little as five days, such as Darwin, Alice Springs, and Uluru. So, to scratch the surface, travelling part the NT for around 5 days is possible.
That being said, I recommend spending 10 days to 2 weeks for a comprehensive tour of the Northern Territory – you won’t regret the extra days spent on the road!
13 ADVENTUROUS THINGS TO DO IN NORTHERN TERRITORY
When most people think of Australia, they imagine the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef. But there is so much more to this country than just its well-known tourist destinations on the coast.
If you’re looking for a unique and adventurous travel experience, you’ll find it when you head inland to the Northern Territory.
See below for a list of the best things to do in the Northern Territory during your visit!
JET SKI ADVENTURE IN DARWIN
This is an activity that is perfect for those who want to explore the natural beauty of the Darwin coastline.
Book a tour with 00SEVEN and jump on board a Jet Ski guided excursion that will take you around the tropical Darwin coast.
This thrill-seeking adventure will allow you to get up close to marine life, discover Darwin Harbour’s history, and catch a spectacular sunset from the ocean.
The team at 00SEVEN will take you on an unforgettable journey, stopping at various locations along the way so that you can take in the sights and sounds of the harbor.
If you’re not comfortable being the driver, you can simply be the passenger for a reduced price.
00SEVEN’S ‘OFF-ROAD ADVENTURES’ – DARWIN
Departing from Charles Darwin National Park, Off-Road Adventures, the new addition to 00SEVEN’s sports activities portfolio, allows adrenalin lovers to have the time of their lives.
Get on in an off-road buggy and explore some of Darwin’s stunning terrain. With daily excursions available, you can choose one of four Bond-themed adventure routes – Moonraker, License to Thrill, Skyfall, or Octopussy.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable way to explore the rugged landscapes of the Northern Territory, look no further than this experience.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start rippin’ up some dirt!
MATT WRIGHT’S ‘DARWIN ADVENTURE BOATS’
The Darwin Adventure Boats tour by Matt Wright mixes his famous sightseeing tours with an exciting jet boat experience.
You’ll start the journey by boarding a jetboat at Stokes Hill Wharf and will tour Darwin Harbour at high speed, with several spins along the way.
After that, take a ride on the V8 Airboat, which is specially designed for thrilling undertakings and discovering marine wildlife.
RIDE A SEGWAY AT ULURU
Ever wanted to take a whirl on a Segway? Well, this is one of the best activities in the Northern Territory which you should definitely try during your trip.
Wake up at sunrise and cruise around the 10km long base of Uluru. Along the way, you’ll also have the opportunity to go to the stunning Mutitjulu waterhole.
There are various Segway Uluru tours available that run from the morning until sunset and each tour goes for around 3 hours.
GO ON AN ULURU HELICOPTER RIDE
Experience Uluru in a way that you’ll remember for years to come!
An Uluru helicopter tour is by far one of the most adventurous experiences in NT which allows you to see this sacred site and the dome formations of Kata Tjuta from an amazing birds-eye perspective.
Uluru helicopter tours run all day and the flight time is around 30 minutes.
If available, I highly recommend booking the chopper flight for either sunrise or sunset. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
TAKE A KINGS CANYON DAY TRIP
If you are seeking a big day full of adventure then a day trip to Kings Canyon is the tour for you.
Kings Canyon is located right in the middle of Watarrka National Park, just a 3.5-hour drive from Uluru.
The canyon is famous for its walking tracks, rock climbing, and its views of chasms and cliffs.
You can also complete a 2km walk along the creek that opens up to some spectacular views of the canyon rim.
This tour is a full 12-hour day, but if you’re up for the challenge you won’t be disappointed!
GO SWIMMING AT ELLERY CREEK BIG HOLE
Located in the West MacDonnell ranges near Alice Springs, Ellery Creek Big Hole has definitely earned its place on this guide of things to do in the Northern Territory.
With the Red Centre being famed for its desert-like terrain and climate, taking a dip in the waterholes like Ellery Creek Big Hole is a welcome break from the heat.
Surrounded by tall red cliffs and a sandy beach, thousands of years of flooding have carved its way through the rocks and formed this spectacular waterhole.
Now regarded internationally as a significant geological site, Ellery Creek Big Hole has to be on your list of Northern Territory attractions to see.
RIDE IN A HOT AIR BALLOON – ALICE SPRINGS
Riding in a hot air balloon in the NT is an absolute must and which is why I have included it in this guide of things to do in Northern Territory.
Floating over the West MacDonnell Ranges, above the breathtaking Red Centre of Australia, and looking down on the rugged landscape below, has to be one of the most memorable experiences of any trip to Australia’s Red Center.
With a selection of half-hour or one-hour flights, you can tailor your own adventure.
At the landing site, enjoy a selection of refreshments such as champagne, fruit juice cocktails, and snacks whilst taking in the breathtaking desert of Australia.
WATCH THE SUNSET AT BARUWEI LOOKOUT
Located at the western end of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, you can find the Baruwei Lookout which is by far my personal favorite viewpoint in the NT, especially at sunset.
The trail to Baruwei Lookout is clearly marked and features a combination of concrete paths and steel staircases that lead you up the large boulders to the very top of the cliffs that envelope the gorge.
Baruwei Lookout walk is around 1.8 km return, and the Loop walk is 4.8 km.
When you reach the summit, you’ll find a large wooden viewing platform that boasts extensive views over Nitmiluk National Park and Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge.
The best time to visit Baruwei Lookout is at sunset as you are able to witness the last rays of golden sunshine setting over the mountains in the distance.
GO KAYAKING IN NITMILUK (KATHERINE) GORGE
If you are looking for a little bit more of an adventure, you can choose to do some kayaking or canoeing down the gorge.
If you have the opportunity to join one of the kayaking tours, you can expect to see eagles, cockatoos, wallabies, land monitors, and if you are lucky enough maybe some freshwater crocodiles.
There are tours that can take you to explore smaller parts of the Katherine River, or you can choose to dedicate a full day to explore more of the gorge.
Do note that if you wish to enjoy the kayak and canoe experience you should aim to visit between May and December, as the levels of water can force these activities to be cancelled during the other months of the year.
VISIT KATHERINE HOT SPRINGS
Katherine Hot Springs is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a natural hot spring to relax in and take awesome shots.
The springs are surrounded by beautiful scenery, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy if you decide to stay for a while.
The hot springs themselves are located in a secluded spot, so you can really enjoy the peace and quiet while you soak.
There are also a few different pools to choose from, so you can find one that’s just right for you.
The best time to visit is sometime between May and September. Did I mention that coming here is free of charge?!
TAKE A DIP AT BULEY ROCKHOLE
Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park is a stunning location featuring cascading rock pools and lush forest surrounds making it a perfect place to refresh after a day full of adventures in the Northern Territory.
With a selection of cascading falls and around a half dozen rock pools, you’re spoilt for choice.
Float around and soak it all up, let the water roll over your shoulders, and see away a few hours bobbing around in the pools of Buley Rockhole.
Fancy something a little more challenging? There are short walks dotted around for you to explore the dense bushland, as well as the Tabletop Track and the tricky four-wheel drive tracks.
HIKE TO NAWURLANDJA LOOKOUT
Nawurlandja Lookout in Kakadu National Park offers breathtaking views of Nourlangie Rock across Anbangbang Billabong and also boasts sweeping views of Arnhem Land escarpment.
This World Heritage-listed site in Kakadu offers some of the most spectacular views in the Northern Territory and acts as the perfect spot for photographers, adventurers, and travelers alike.
There are over 5000 Aboriginal Rock Sites here at Kakadu National Park and a few of those are located here.
Spend time wandering around these rock sites, soaking up the history and reading all about how these rock sites became places of such massive cultural importance.
If hiking is your thing, take the 40-minute round-trip walking trail. Navigate your way through the bushland, around the base of Nourlangie Rock, and back up to the lookout itself.
All things considered, it’s by far one of the best things to do in the Northern Territory!
WHERE TO STAY IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
There are plenty of great places to stay in the Northern Territory and your choice of accommodation depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re after a luxurious and relaxing experience or if you’re after something a little more adventurous, here are my top picks.
TROPICAL POOL VILLAS AT MERCURE AIRPORT RESORT, DARWIN
Mercure Airport Resort has recently completed its new outstanding pool villas providing a luxurious alternative for your next trip to Darwin.
Each room features a large king bed, a Nespresso coffee maker, and a private veranda equipped with a pool overlooking the Rapid Creek bushland.
MATT WRIGHT’S LUXE AIRBNB ‘FRESHWATER RETREAT’ IN DARWIN
Freshwater Retreat, a new luxury, and stylish property in Darwin includes the four-bedroom house ‘The Wright House’ which is an incredible tropical paradise.
Also, they offer four fashionable safari-styled villas with their own outdoor bathroom and kitchenette, as well as a shared gym, a big saltwater pool, and even a turtle pond.
The 18-person capacity of Freshwater Retreat is especially helpful if you’re planning a large get-together.
On top of that, you’ll be near the most exciting landmarks in Darwin – 2 minutes to the Nightcliff foreshore and Darwin Airport, 5 minutes from the Rapid Creek Markets, and only 10 minutes to Darwin CBD.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
If you’re looking for a great Australian restaurant to eat or a bar to drink your favorite cocktail at, then the Northern Territory is the place to find it.
There are plenty of amazing places to choose from, no matter what type of food you’re in the mood for. Here are some of my top picks.
PHAT MANGO – DARWIN CBD
Phat Mango is a restaurant located in the central business district of Darwin, that serves new-style Australian food.
Martin Bouchier, a Finalist for Australian Chef of the Year 2018 and winner of Variety of Chefs 2019, runs Phat Mango marvelously.
The cuisine at Phat Mango is influenced by local ingredients and traditions with a focus on simplicity and seasonality.
The Menu at Phat Mango is ever-changing, but you can often find succulent dishes such as Char-grilled N.T. Prawns, Stuffed Zucchini Flowers, and Fried NT Squid & Cuttlefish.
Phat Mango is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, making it the perfect spot for a casual meal or a special occasion.
EBB & FLOW – CULLEN BAY MARINA, DARWIN
This vegan tropical-themed restaurant and bar, which has become one of Darwin’s best vegan restaurants, offers a delicious whole-food plant-based cuisine with waterfront views of the lovely Cullen Bay Marina.
The menu features an array of vegan tapas, raw salads, and wraps, as well as delicious mains such as House Gnocchi and Mushroom Burger.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy some good food and relaxed vibes in Darwin, then this is the spot for you. Come on down and check it out!
DOM’S BAR & LOUNGE, DARWIN
Dom’s Bar & Lounge is a cocktail bar that specializes in premium spirits and local natural ingredients.
It’s one of the best, if not THE best bar around, and due to their recent expansion, their unique mango drink ‘Territori-Tini’ took home the public choice award for the Darwin Mango Cup in 2020.
If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check out Dom’s Bar & Lounge – you won’t regret it! And if you’re looking for a delicious mango cocktail, their Territori-Tini is a must-try.
THE MEETING PLACE, KATHERINE
The newest cafe and juice bar at Katherine Town Square has its doors and it’s the perfect place to enjoy yourself.
The Meeting Place offers freshly squeezed juices, salads, smoothies, homemade scones, outstanding donuts, and ice cream on a daily basis.
They are open every weekday from 10 am to 4 pm and every Friday evening for happy hour drinks.
OUTBERRY BRAZILIAN ACAI, ALICE SPRINGS
With its wide range of Acai bowls and drinks, Outberry Brazilian Acai offers a taste of Brazil to Alice Springs.
Since its opening, it has become a local favourite, providing the ideal healthy combo you need for the day, especially in the summer.
DIFFERENT IN EVERY SENSE
Famed for its outback landscapes, rich Aboriginal culture, and otherworldly attractions, a trip to the NT is an awe-inspiring adventure.
The highlight of my trip to the Northern Territory was soaking in the history, beautiful scenery, and ancient Aboriginal culture.
This is evident across the state from Darwin to Uluru, and everywhere in between.
TOP TRAVEL TIP
A top travel tip when visiting the Northern Territory is to book tours of the attractions where available.
This is the best way to learn the history from a professional guide and get the full experience of a place.
WHAT TO PACK FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
When visiting Northern Territory, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
Must-Have Travel Essentials
Hidden Money Wallet
Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!
Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!
The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!
Quick-Dry Travel Towel
The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!
Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!
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FINAL THOUGHTS – THINGS TO DO IN NORTHERN TERRITORY
So here you have them, these are the most adventurous things to do in Northern Territory and I can’t recommend traveling here enough!
Start planning a trip at https://northernterritory.com/
For more inspiration, be sure to follow @ntaustralia on IG and check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AustraliasNorthernTerritoryUK
This guide was written as part of a 6 part series in collaboration with Tourism Northern Territory.
If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
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THANKS FOR READING
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