25 Reasons Why You Must Visit Northern Territory

Visiting or exploring Northern Territory in Australia is one of the best thing to do if you are in this continent country down under. The said territory offers variety of national parks with distinct characters on its own. Though I haven’t seen all of national parks such as Kakadu which I initially planned to explore but failed because of some unforeseen reason but the other parks that I got a chance to see did not fail me to amaze me and I truly admired them. There are so many reasons why people visiting Australia should try to explore this part of the country.

Below are the list of reasons which all of them I got a chance to see, visit, explore and experience while touring around Northern Territory.

1. Camel Farm (Camel Australia)

This camel farm was not too far from Alice Spring, anyone who haven’t experience camel ride adventure, on this farm everyone will get the chance the camel ride challenge of a lifetime.

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2. Erldunda

This place in Northern Territory is a homestead which is a great stopover station from a long drive either in Stuart Highway or Lasseter Highway. It offers accommodations, fuel refill and even shops in the middle of the remote desert.

3. Yulara

This is an isolated town where our group had spent overnight sleeping in a swag in an open camp site. A great outback experience for the night where you can enjoy stars before sleeping tight. This is also the town where most of the expensive accommodations located in Red Centre.

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4. Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Uluru is an island mountain rock with sacred significance to Aboriginal People lives in the area. Also called Ayers Rocks is commonly uses as Australia’s Outback landmark. Try to do the base walk instead of climbing the rock as respect to aboriginals request.

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5. Uluru Sunset Viewing Area

If you are not into walking at the base of Ayers Rock, then the Uluru Sunset Viewing area is for you which offers scenic view of Uluru from a distance. It gives the visitor a chance to take photos of the whole island mountain rock stands in the middle of remote wilderness.

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6. Mount Conner Lookout (Mount Conner View With Sand Dunes and Lake Across)

Along Lasseter Highway there is Mount Conner Lookout to appreciate the scenic view of the Mount Conner itself. Then, across the lookout, there is sand dunes where anyone can play and the lake view to enjoy beside it.

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7. Kata Tjuta Dune Viewing Area

This lookout area is positioned in a good location to see both Uluru and Kata Tjuta in different times of the day to appreciate these two natural wonders exist in Red Centre.

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8. Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

Trekking “The Olgas” was one of a kind of journey that I had while at the Red Centre. Experiencing these amazing rock formations that grown like hills and mountains made me think how such things happened in this part of the world that made these rocks became wonderful on its own.

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9. George Gill Range

Coming from Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and using Lasseter Highway, the George Gill is a long mountain range which said to be purely sandstone but while we were on the road this mountain range offers scenic views to anyone who passed the road. The mountain range also used by tourism for scenic flight adventure.

10. Kings Creek Station

This is the station where we stayed for an overnight before we trek Kings Canyon. Anybody who plan to adventure in the outback, this station offers accommodations, camping, even basic supplies to survive in remote wilderness, food and tours.

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11. Kings Canyon at Wattarka National Park

We had a trek within the Canyon Walk where we reached Cotterrils Lookout, crossed “Garden of Eden”, saw Rock Domes, Kings Creek and Lost City. We also experienced the Canyon Rim Walk with a breath-taking scenery to enjoy.

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12. Alice Springs

It is a town in Northern Territory located almost at the center of Australia and said to have equidistant between Darwin and Adelaide. When I got a chance be  in the city, I had few hours spent here which mostly because of my accommodation before the Red Centre adventure and before flying back to Melbourne. For me this town is an interesting one since the common job within the town are related to tourism, I am wondering how such small community able to survive in the middle of the desert

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13. Darwin and The Cav

I haven’t had a picture of tourist spot in Darwin because I only slept few hours in the city, as I was not really able to explore this city at the top end. But I will not forget the food that I tasted in “The Cav” (Cavenagh Hotel) where I stayed for an overnight before the overland adventure took place. The restaurant is famous for its steak menu and popular in Darwin which proven to be true.

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14. Strauss Airfield

Along Stuart Highway in Noonamah, Northern Territory, Strauss Airfield is situated just beside the highway. The historical airfield was built in 1942 during World War II. Only remnants can be found in the site as reminders of the airfield and its story since it was decommissioned after the war in 1945.

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15. Batchelor Town

Batcher Town is a small town to see in Batchelor Road. The town keeps and maintain the Replica of Karlstejn Castle at Havlik Park which named after Bernie Havlik whom made the huge rock into castle. Batchelor town is considered as the gateway to Litchfield National Park.

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16. Banyan Tree Caravan Park

Banyan Tree Caravan Park offers accommodations and has shop or store for a quick break or snack before doing the adventures in Litchfield National Park.

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17. Cathedral Termite (Nasutitermes Triodiae) Mounds

Everyone driving near or within Litchfield National Park will witness lots of termite mounds around the area. But two of gigantic termite mounts can be found here and called as Cathedral Termite Mounds

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18. Magnetic Termite or Compass Termite (Amitermes Meridionalis) Mounds

Another termite mound that will amaze visitors is a cemetery look-alike termite mounds called Magnetic Termite Mounds where the termites able to create a perfectly flat mound upward.

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19. Florence Falls (Karrimura)

Florence Falls is said to be a spiritual place in a sense that it is exclusive  to individual no matter you are near or far from people.

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20. Tolmer Falls

Tomer Falls is a spectacular falls within Litchfield National Park with high distant and deep plunge pool.

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21. Litchfield Cafe

Litchfield Cafe was the place where a cold buffet lunch is being offered but need to check if advance booking is a must. This restaurant is famous of their mango cheesecake desert.

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22. Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls is the most popular pool to visitors and the most accessible falls within Litchfield National Park.

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23. Edith Falls (Leliyn Falls)

Edith Falls or Leliyn Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls and pools on the Edith River in Nitmiluk National Park. With limited time in the waterfall, everyone can enjoy either in the base pool or main pool and the upper pool. For more adventurous one, a day trek to Sweetwater pool is a great one.

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24. Katherine Gorge

A quick hike to Baruwei Lookout offers stunning scenery of Nitmiluk National Park with Katherine River.

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25. Judbarra (Gregory) National Park

A site rich of aboriginal cultures which depicts in the arts found along the escarpment walls in Judbarra National Park.

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The above 25 reasons are my list and there are more reasons aside from above, to think that I haven’t visited the World Heritage Site Kakadu National Park. If I were you, I will plan to explore this part of Australia and you will not disappoint because you will enjoy the top end.

 

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Top 5 National Parks of Northern Territory Visited

For the two times that I had a chance to visit Northern Territory in Australia, I got a chance to visit and experience some of its best national parks. I knew for myself that I haven’t seen all the national parks that Northern Territory has to offer but if I will have another chance to come back, I definitely plan to visit the other parks. But for now, I had visited five national parks and I described in the post my experiences as my reasons how I rate them. I truly recommend all of them to visit and other parks to be found at top end of Australia.

Top 1 – Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon)

My most favorite national park that I visited in Northen Territory is Watarrka National Park where Kings Canyon in Australia is located. The main reason why I like it the most is because it is a canyon. I really like canyon. And the best about this one was the chance to trek within the canyon where we took Canyon Rim Walk track. Following the track gave us the chance to reached Cotterrils Lookout, to cross Garden of Eden, to see Rock Domes, Kings Creek and Lost City where all of it can be found within Kings Canyon. I consider it wonders of our world.

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Top 2 – Uluru (Ayers Rock)Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) National Park

Uluru or Ayers Rock was the main reason I planned to join my first adventure in the outback of Australia. Uluru itself is the most popular symbol used for the outback of the country down under. And I had a chance to experience the walk for Lungkata Trail that goes around at the base of the sacred mountain rock for Anangu Aboriginal People. And we experienced rain which very seldom to happen at the Red Centre.

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Then, the next day was another fulfilling experience where the group trekked the “Valley of the Winds” trail within “The Olgas” or Kata-Tjuta where we reached two lookouts called Karu Lookout and Karingana Lookout that gives different views of “The Olgas”.

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Top 3 – Judbarra (Gregory) National Park

I love this national park because of the trekking we did following the Nawilbinbin Trail that goes up to the base escarpment walls where we found lots of aboriginal arts drawn in the rock shelters and cliff. We had a great scenery of the valley as well while ascending and descending the trail.

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Top 4 – Nitmiluk National Park

Nitmiluk National Park consist of stunning gorges. And some of the great waterfalls can be found here because of the rivers connected to other rivers that made wonderful falls within the park. We had a chance to swim in Edith Falls (Leliyn for Aboriginals) and witness the amazing Katherine Gorge through trekking to Baruwei Lookout.

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Top 5 – Litchfield National Park

This park offers a lot of things during my day tour and I knew for a fact that what I had seen are not the only things to see and there are still more but a day was not enough to see it all. But even it was just one day, I discovered two nature wonders that involve termites. First was about Cathedral Termite Mounds and second was Magnetic Termite Mounds. Then, the park also offers wonderful waterfalls that so great to swim even sometimes park rangers caught some crocs.

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Meandering At Kings Canyon’s Wilderness

My second day was mixed of Kata Tjuta, a bit of Uluru and Mount Conner. So far I was floating in satisfaction and fantastic scenery and experiences. At first, I thought that the group’s next destination was just nearby until we spent more than two hours in the road. It was like the same feeling during my Day 1 trip, I felt the time passed was too long but in reality it was not. Before arriving to Kings Creek Station we passed a beautiful scenery of George Gill Ranges located at our right side while we were on our way to Wattarka National Park from Lasseter Highway. I really enjoyed the scenic views for some time since it is a long mountain range. At that very moment while enjoying the scenery, I felt that part of the world like heaven in a sense that it was a peaceful moment of my life.

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At Kings Creek Station

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Our Tour Bus

 

Camels found at Kings Creek Station

We reached our destination, the Kings Creek Station and Kings Canyon was just around the corner. I remembered, our tour guide mentioned that our second and last night accommodation was an upgrade from the first one. He told us that from swag, we were upgraded to tent, a tent with bed. With that thought in mind, I expected that the tent is not the same tent I used in my hiking adventure, because a bed will not fit on it. We got off the bus and noticed that we stopped in a gas station, we walked around the area and familiarize ourselves in the place.

The good thing about the place, it has store that you can buy basic things needed in the outback and even gifts or souvenirs. Then we passed the shower rooms and bathrooms. We walked to the area and found the version of the tent that I was thinking. Then, I realized that the tent that our tour guide was referring to, was called safari cabin. Two single bed are fit in a cabin. Therefore we have to find our partners for each cabin and I found mine but apologies as I can’t recall her name right now.

After we took our stuff from the bus, we arranged ourselves at the cabin and made ourselves comfortable. I arranged my bed and my stuff, then, I went out to help the group for our dinner. That night, all of us in the group were helping out. Another thing that I noticed was that our tour guide knows a lot about food. Even we have members in the group that are vegetarians, breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner were not been an issue to him. I learned something about food wrapping. Learned that having stuff to fill in the wrap, you are ready to fill in yourself without really cooking. Another thing that I discovered was cooking using charred wood. There was a bonfire area just near from our cabin which also used for cooking. I was familiar with cookware, pans or pots used for cooking but the new stuff for me was pots where it’s lid has a portion on its top area where you can  place burned wood wherein the heat was not only coming from the bottom of the pot but also on its top to make cooking easier and faster. It was an amazing stuff that I discovered and a very important cooking pots or basins when you wanted try to live in the outback.

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Bonfire

 

Cooking Basins

That night, we prepared a lot of food. Maybe because it was our second and last night together in the outback. I snapped the idea because it made my feelings gloomy. We still have the next day for the last adventure. We cleaned-up the kitchen and the dishes we used in preparing and cooking our food.

Maybe because it was our last night together, most of our group did not sleep immediately after the dinner. We sat around the bonfire we used in cooking for our dinner and we started talking together. At that moment in my life in front of bonfire at the outback together with the people I had been with for the past two days feel like a familiar feeling, though we’re all still strangers personally but I felt it was like home. I knew that it may not or may take longer that moment to happen again, and every bit of it, I treasured the moment in my heart and my mind. We spent hours in front of bonfire and then, one by one were saying good nights. I was one of the last person to stand away from bonfire and went to the cabin.

I felt relaxed when I returned to the cabin and in a matter of minutes I was dreaming. I walked up early in the morning, had our breakfast, cleanup the dishes and ready for the last day adventure. For our third and last adventure, I was still excited because we were scheduled to walk and trek around Kings Canyon. One of the canyon I saw was a long time ago and that time I was inside the rocky mountaineer train which was Cheakamus Canyon in Canada. I felt excited and inspired to see and experience Kings Canyon.

All of us jumped into the bus and drove towards the canyon. From Kings Creek Station we reached the parking area. Our main activity was to walk within the canyon. We followed the Canyon Rim Walk track with estimated of 3 to 4 hours of walk and trek. Our tour guide gave us a warning that the initial part of the trail is called a “heart attack” hill because we have to climb a steep and rugged steps (stairs) which he mentioned as 45 degrees. This means the climbed in that stairs will be a bit of exhausting.

 

Scenery enjoyed while resting after the heart attack trail

We walked a bit until we reached the uneven stairs. I saw the trail and I saw that it was a bit of steep climb. I knew it was a quite challenging climb because even though there’s a rugged steps, for me it’s more challenging to climb a stair than climbing with your own steps. When I did the climbed, I remembered that I was catching my breath. I looked-up and checked if the last step of the stair was almost near. I rejoiced when I saw that I was almost at the top of the stairs. The warning given by our guide was right, it was a heart attack climbed. It was not that really difficult like my other climbs that I had, it’s just that everyone were pushed to follow the steps of the stairs. So there’s a bit of time than I rested to recover my breathing. When we reached the top, we stopped a bit so everyone in the group will be gathered again. What I saw at the top excites me because I knew that we were exploring a canyon in the red center of Australia.

 

Our tour guide explaining something about sand dunes and rocks

When everyone were at the top area after the heart attack trail, our tour guide started to tell something about the canyon and its sand dunes. He mentioned that there were other trails available in the canyon and we were taking the trail that will finished just after lunch time. Next, we enjoyed the walk within the canyon wherein I just realized we were actually walking in the weathered sandstone domes that looks like the Lost City when we were at the other side of the canyon.

 

Snapshots while walking in between of weathered sandstone domes  which called Lost City of the canyon and while resting a bit not that far from the heart attack trail

We walked, ascended, then we repeated the process until we reached the famous lookout within the Canyon – Cotterrils Lookout. The said lookout gave us a chance to see 365 degrees of the canyon. We had a wide view of the Kings Creek and the overall scenery of weathered sandstone domes. In the said lookout we spent time here for photos and funny posts that our guide suggested us to do as our memories of the canyon.

 

Around or near Cotterrils Lookout

 

Cotterrils Lookout

 

While at Cotterrils Lookout

 

Lost City like scenery from Cotterrils Lookout

 

Kings Creek

Our walk in the canyon allowed us to discover the area of the canyon where there was a spot that was similar to Bungle Bungle (included in my list to see in Western Australia – I hope I will got a chance to tour around that state).

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The Little Bungle Bungle within the Kings Canyon

After enjoying the scenery of the sandstone domes, our trek within the canyon continued. We reached the wooden stairs and we descended and followed the track. Next we crossed the bridge. Then, we reached a gorge between cliff. While following the track after the stairs we saw what they called Garden of Eden because it serves as oasis where there are natural spring waterholes and has different plants around the area.

 

The Wooden Stairs and Bridges

 

Garden of Eden

 

Before we climbed up at the other side cliff we rested at the Garden of Eden near the oasis. Aside from us, other visitors stopped there too and there were few young male teenagers who jumped off in the oasis and enjoyed their swimming. While we’re resting our tour guide gave us some snacks that the whole group shared.

After resting we returned in our track and we climbed up the wooden stairs. When we reached the other side of the canyon, it gave us a chance to see the canyon in a different outlook or perspective. The part of the canyon that we just walked by and passed by, we were able to see it from the other end what it looks like. The rock domes are more notable compared to when we were walking along with it.

 

While climbing at the other side of the cliff

 

Rock Domes

 

In between Rock Domes

 

Waterhole

At the top we saw the oasis in a different angle even and the same with Kings Creek. Our walk continued. After sometime, we saw the part of the canyon that showcase another view of weathered sandstone. That weathered sandstone from a far looks similar to Old Aztec City that is why it is being called as Lost City.

 

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Kings Creek

 

The other side of the wall of the Kings Creek in Kings Canyon

 

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Lost City in Kings Canyon

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At the top, we spent more time for photos, selfies, groupies with the wonderful scenery that surrounds us. And then, our tour guide announced that we will start descending the canyon. We started our walk and followed our guide. With that moment, I know that once we reached the ground, that’s the last moment that I will have with the canyon. Probably with other people it’s just another canyon to see and visit, but for me the outback as a whole was another world for me that I may not be seeing again, but the place gave me a lot of memories because I was given a chance to discover and explore them in a short period of time. I somehow thinking that if I am not an IT (Information Technology) by profession I maybe a geologist. It may be an interesting profession.

When we touched the ground, we had our pack lunch and we headed straight back to Alice Springs where we started our 3 days adventure in the outback. I spent another night in Alice Springs and returned to Melbourne the next day.

Below are some photos that I still have after reaching Alice Springs and on my way back to Melbourne.

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Back to Alice Srings

 

With Wallabies

 

Alice Springs Airport

Note:
This is the 3rd or last part of my travel post and the continuation of my adventure of the Red Center in Australia. It takes a while for me to finish the post as I am overwhelmed with so many places that I traveled to and half of the post was done last year and now I got a chance to finish it up as I also tried to remember everything not only from photos and but also from all the experiences that are still in my memory.

Here are the other 2 posts from Australia’s Red Center which already published.
Uluru / Ayers Rock
Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)

Juncture With Folk(s) : At Kings Canyon

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Juncture With Folk(s) (Post#2) : At Kings Canyon

Moments with people I had been with my travel which captured by camera were considered the luckiest moment to remember. I may not know them personally but having a chance to be with them even in just few days made the tour or trip even better. The camping tour I joined in Red Centre was one of the great experienced I had in Australia. And the moment we finished the adventure made me somehow sad because I was going to missed the experienced and the people who had been part of it for a while. The snapshot above captured last April 2013 after we reached the top of Kings Canyon Rim Walk.

Natural Wonders : Kings Canyon – Lost City

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Natural Wonders (Post#2) : Kings Canyon – Lost City

Outback experience was one of the unforgettable experiences that I had while in Australia, because while lost in the desert, it’s totally new world out there to discover and learned something. The photo above is the one they used to call “Lost City” within Kings Canyon (Northern Territory). This canyon is still part of Wattarka National Park in Red Centre area of Australia. Photo snapshot last April 2013 after climbing the canyon and the view was really wonderful.