Facts about Northern Territory Australia | about Northern Territory Australia | tourist travel information guide.


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    Facts about Northern Territory Australia

    Area:1,349,130 sq kms (520,902 sq miles)
    State Population:197,700
    Capital: Darwin
    Population: 144,00

    The Northern Territory makes up nearly one-sixth of Australia and geographically most closely resembles the popular image of the Great Australian Outback.

    The north or Top End, centred on the capital, Darwin, is tropical with rich vegetation and a varied coastline. 251km east of Darwin is World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park (the third largest National Park in the world and about half the size of Switzerland), an area of vast flood plains and rocky escarpments steeped in natural and cultural heritage and home to Aborigines for at least 40,000 years. Katherine is 314km south of Darwin and just beyond that is Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park, a striking system of 13 gorges towering up to 60 metres high.

    The southern part of the Territory is centred on Alice Springs, which is virtually the centre of Australia and the starting point to explore many of the Red Centre's highlights including Uluru (Ayers Rock), which is located about 465kms to the south-west.

    Other of the Red Centre's natural and geological wonders include Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), King's Canyon, the Western MacDonnell Ranges and the Devil's Marbles.


    Some areas that we visit have great significance to the local Aborigines and as such are culturally sensitive. Access to these areas (which includes the Uluru (Ayers Rock) climb) may be restricted for cultural reasons for unspecified times and with little prior notice. We reserve the right to amend our itineraries or visit alternative areas in these circumstances and no refunds will be given.

    Red Centre:
    Uluru-Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Cultural Centre: in keeping with the park's importance to indigenous people, major emphasis is placed on helping visitors understand Aboriginal traditions and lifestyle. The Cultural Centre houses the park's information services with displays presenting the sights and sounds of Tjukurpa (creation stories and laws) and the local culture.

    Top End:
    Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre: the centre's circular design represents a warradjan (pig-nosed turtle). As well as providing detailed information about Aboriginal culture in Kakadu, there is also a video room and a gallery that sells Aboriginal arts and crafts plus books and cards.

    Aboriginal Rock Art:amazing examples of rock art dating back an estimated 40,000 years can be seen throughout Kakadu but most notably at Ubirr and Nourlangie.


    Red Centre:
    You may see kangaroos, emus, wild camels, goannas, thorny devils and more.

    Top End:
    You may see wallabies, salt and fresh water crocodiles, buffalo, frill-neck lizards, wild pigs and a huge variety of bird life including wedge-tailed and sea eagles, jabiru and herons.


    Seasonality of the Top End

    Located in the Arid Tropical region of Northern Australia means that you enjoy beautiful weather for the majority of the year. The Top End experiences 2 distinct seasons as outlined below.



    Average Minimum

    Average Maximum Description
    Tropical Winter 21.5C 31.5C Unlike most southern capitals which usually experience cool temperatures at this time of the year, the Top End enjoys blue skies, warm dry days and cool nights...perfect for outdoor adventures and touring.
    Tropical Summer 24.6C 32.2C Spectacular electrical storms, sun showers and warm, humid weather are the characteristics. The waterfalls are in full flow, flocks of birds spread across the wetlands, and a rich lush green becomes the dominant colour scheme






    Due to rainfall and distinct seasonality, access into parts of Kakadu National Park will be restricted from Dec-Apr. At this time of year, some travellers may feel that Kakadu is a harder adventure than the soft nature of our other tours.


    Adelaide River township: approximately 110kms south of Darwin along the Stuart Highway you will find the World War II Cemetery.

    Alice Springs: Alice Springs is the famous geographical centre of Australia. This town is situated on the Stuart Highway and is a place where the traditional Arrernte Aboriginal owners have lived for about 20000 years. About 29000 people live in the town nowadays. Alice Springs is unique insofar as the town is situated 'in the middle of nowhere' but the atmosphere there is really warm, the nightlife is just amazing, and the attractions nearby are numerous.

    Annaburroo: a saltwater, crocodile free swimming billabong.

    Barramundi Gorge (Maguk): one of the few permanent waterfalls in Kakadu, it has cut its path through the ancient sandstone creating an oasis where we can swim.

    Barrow creek pub: this pub is a typical stopover point on the Stuart Highway and is located about 280 kilometres north of Alice Springs.

    Buley Rockhole: with Wangi Falls this series of small waterfalls is certainly the most popular and beautiful swimming spot in the Litchfield National Park.

    Carr Boyd ranges: located south of Kununurra Carr Boyd Range offers beautiful sceneries with deep gorges, nice waterfalls and pretty fern pools. The wildlife is also abundant there.

    Coober Pedy: is the opal capital of the world, producing 95% of the world's opals and attracts a special breed of people. There are 41 different nationalities living in a population of just over 4000 people. 80% of them live underground to avoid the heat. There are underground shops, churches, hostels and hotels. We accommodate our guests in an underground bunkhouse, but also offer the opportunity to upgrade accommodation to a 4 star hotel for those who want to break the journey. Passengers will be taken on a mine tour and given the opportunity to ‘noodle’ for their own opals.

    Curtin Springs Station: a working cattle station of some 4000 square kms, on which is located Mt Connor.

    Cycad Gorge at Palm Valley: clumps of tall, slender palms lending a tropical atmosphere to their barren setting. These pre-historic palms are leftovers from much wetter times in Central Australia.

    Daly Waters: the famous pub at Daly Waters, the oldest in the Northern Territory, is situated 588kms south of Darwin and also acts as a bank, post office and police station. It dates back more than a hundred years and was originally built for the pioneer drovers on the long cattle drives through this part of the Outback.

    Darwin: This is the most popular town and also the territorial capital of the Northern Territory. It is a city of about 110000 inhabitants with a large proportion of Aboriginal people, which justify the fact that the town is sometimes called 'the multicultural capital of Australia'.

    Devils Marbles: massive red granite boulders balancing precariously on top of each other located some 100kms south of Tennant Creek.

    Edith Falls: located about 60 kilometres north of Katherine, Edith Falls is a series of superb waterfalls and beautiful pools cascading into a lake. An ideal place for swimmers…

    Finke River: this River is the main river in Central Australia and also one of the oldest rivers in the world.

    Florence Falls: situated in the Litchfield national park near the rainforest, it is an impressive and beautiful double waterfall dropping down into a clear rock pool where people can enjoy a swim.

    Fogg Dam: a conservation reserve about 60kms from Darwin, where permanent wetlands are alive with bird and wildlife and water lilies. Anbangbang Billabong - a small and picturesque seasonal billabong that's home to a variety of bird-life.

    Glen Helen Gorge: situated about 130 kilometres from Alice Springs Glen Helen gorge is one of the six waterholes along the Finke River and is a beautiful spot for swimming and enjoying what nature has to offer.

    Gosse Bluff: a spectacular remnant of a huge meteor crater believed to be about 130 million years old.

    Gunlom Falls: a large waterfall situated in the southern end of Kakadu National Park, it offers scenic swimming holes etched into the Escarpment by the relentless action of erosion. The climb to the top is rewarded with fantastic views over the park.

    Gregory National Park: situated about 350 kilometres from Darwin, this National Park is the second-largest in the Northern Territory. It is a mixture of beautiful sandstones, escarpments and gorges.

    Jim Jim & Twin Falls: spectacular waterfalls accessible only during the Dry Season (May to November) by 4WD vehicles. Swimming ability is a must (1km return paddle to the base of Twin Falls)

    Kakadu National Park: this National Park situated about 250 kilometres from Darwin is an Australian icon and one of the most visited National Parks in Australia. It is renowned for its diverse environment from amazing waterfalls and to beautiful Aboriginal rock art. Between Alligators, birds and kangaroos, the wildlife is rich and numerous.

    Kata Tjuta (the Olgas): this 'place of many heads' has 36 domes that make up a site of even greater cultural significance to the Aborigines than Uluru. There are two permitted walks in Kata Tjuta (no climbing is allowed as requested by the traditional owners), the Mt Olga pass, which is around 3km return and the Valley of the Winds which is approx 8km return.

    Katherine Gorge: actually consisting of 13 gorges which are best viewed from the air, you can canoe or cruise around the first few gorges appreciating the striking landscape.

    Kings Canyon (Watarrka): is a canyon almost 275 metres deep. A 6-8km walk around the canyon gives spectacular views of the surrounding desert and special features such as the 'Lost City', the 'Amphitheatre' and the 'Garden of Eden'.

    Litchfield national park: situated about 130 kilometres from Darwin, this National Park is a mixture of dense tropical rainforest, eucalyptus, and magnetic termite mounds.

    Mamukala Wetlands: Mamukala Wetlands is one of the most visited places in Kakadu National Park, and an ideal place to see thousands of magpie geese and lots of other birds.

    Mary River Wetlands: is the largest system of its kind in the Northern Territory. It boasts the highest concentration of salt-water crocodiles in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as an amazing profusion of other wildlife. ATA offer a private boat cruise on the wetlands for our passengers. Our boats seat only 24 passengers in contrast to the 50 seat boats operating on other cruises such as Yellow Waters and the Adelaide River.

    Mataranka: this is a small town located along the Stuart Highway about 100 kilometres south of Katherine.

    Mataranka thermal springs: these thermal springs are situated underground in the Elsey National Park and are incredibly clear and hot.

    Mereenie 4WD Track/Loop Road: completed in 1994, this 4WD road loops around the western edge of the MacDonnell Ranges linking Kings Canyon with Alice Springs.

    Motorcar falls: with its amazing 25 metres waterfall dropping down into a pretty rock pool, Motorcar Falls is one of the best wet season areas in Kakadu National Park.

    Mt Connor: higher than Uluru and often mistaken for it, we pass this flat topped monolith on the way to Yulara.

    Nourlangie Rock: located approximately 330km east of Darwin in the heart of Kakadu National Park, another ancient rock art site famous for its dynamic display of art and panoramic views of the Escarpment country.

    Nungulawar art site: a site which allows people to see aboriginal art, paintings, dreaming stories etc.

    Ormiston gorge: this gorge has a beautiful waterhole surrounded by nice tropical plants and flowers.

    Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge: this Lodge, just 30kms outside Kakadu National Park, offers travellers the opportunity to explore the pristine Mary River Wetlands renowned for its abundance of wildlife, beautiful billabongs, cool rainforests and excellent barramundi fishing. The Lodge has a range of accommodation from air-conditioned units with en-suite facilities to backpacker dorms and camping. It also has a swimming pool and fully licensed bar and bistro.

    Robin falls: located about 17 kilometres south of Adelaide River, Robin Falls is a beautiful little waterfall.

    Small gorge: this gorge is, as its name says, a pretty small gorge, however this is a really beautiful double fall with a nice clear pool.

    Tennant Creek: about 986 kms south of Darwin was the centre of Australia's last gold rush in 1930. Passengers enjoy a gold mine tour here on our trips between Alice and Darwin.

    Ti Tree: Ti tree is a small service town and supply point on the Stuart Highway, and is located about 190 kilometres from Alice Springs. Lots of Aboriginal people (about 1300) still live there.

    Timber creek: this small town of about 600 inhabitants is situated about 290 kilometres from Katherine. It lies on Victoria Highway which connects Australia’s top end and the Kimberley region in Western Australia.

    Tolmer falls: this long and narrow waterfall is one of the highest and most spectacular in the Litchfield National Park.

    Tropic of Capricorn: This is one of the five main circles of latitude on Earth maps. It passes about 30 kilometres north of Alice Springs.

    Ubirr Rock: approximately 280km east of Darwin, Ubirr has been home to Aborigines for an estimated 25,000 years. They have recorded and documented the changing landscapes and social occurrences in the rocks at this site. The art is endemic to this region.

    Uluru (Ayers Rock): the second largest Monolith in the world and centre of the sacred heart of Australia, it is of deep cultural significance to local Aborigines. Though the traditional owners would prefer if they didn’t, visitors can still climb it. Our guides give clients the information to make an informed decision and then the choice is up to the individual (the climb is 1.6km from base to top and people with heart conditions or breathing difficulties should not attempt it). Climbing is not permitted if the Rangers consider it unsafe due to extreme temperatures, wind or rain. Photography is limited in some sites because of their significance.

    Uluru-Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Cultural Centre: In keeping with the park's importance to indigenous people, major emphasis is placed on helping visitors understand Aboriginal traditions and lifestyle. The Cultural Centre houses the park’s information services with displays presenting the sights and sounds of Tjukurpa (creation stories and laws) and the local culture.

    Valley of the Winds (Kata Tjuta): this spectacular hike, varying in length from (approx) 6-8km depending on the trip chosen, winds through some of the 36 weathered domes. NB: The trail is closed when temperatures rise above 36°C.

    Wangi falls: situated in the Litchfield National Park, Wangi Falls is a renowned area for swimming and picnicking.

    Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre: The centre's circular design represents a warradjan (pig-nosed turtle). As well as providing detailed information about Aboriginal culture in Kakadu, there is also a video room and a gallery that sells Aboriginal arts and crafts plus books and cards.

    Western MacDonnell Ranges: form an imposing red barrier from east to west for 400kms across the vast central Australian plain with Alice Springs situated in the centre. The Ranges stretch 160kms west of Alice Springs offering spectacular landscapes and gorges.