Journey through the wilderness on the adventure of a lifetime from Darwin to Alice Springs down the spine of the Northern Territory. A place like no other, explore the natural beauty of these sunburnt lands from the lush green rainforests to sparkling water holes, cascading waterfalls, towering red gorges, underground caves, ancient Aboriginal rock art and a whole host of spectacular attractions. Be ready to get well acquainted with your best mate Stu (Stuart Highway), on an eye-opening adventure through the centre of the Northern Territory.
The first stop on our awe-inspiring journey through the heart of the Northern Territory is to the enchanting Berry Springs, 40 minutes southeast of Darwin. Three sparkling natural pools set amongst the verdant tropical forest are the highlight of this breath-taking nature reserve, the ideal place to escape the searing heat of the territory Top End. Shade from fringing trees eases the sun’s burden with a beautifully manicured picnic area a great place for a tasty lunch. After lunch, journey out along the park’s wonderful loop walking trail weaving through monsoon rainforest and the surrounding woodlands. Before wrapping up, pop in for a visit to the ever-charming Territory Wildlife Park for an intimate encounter with some of the Top End’s local celebrities.
Next cab off the rank and undoubtedly one of the highlights of any Northern Territory adventure is a visit to the jewel of the Top End – Litchfield National Park. Less than an hour’s drive south of Berry Springs, the park features extraordinary cascading waterfalls, crystal clear swimming holes, lush monsoon rainforests, soaring red sandstone cliffs and a vast array of local wildlife. One of the best day trips in the Top End, explore the park on foot via its many various hiking trails linking up with some of the park’s premier attractions. Enjoy a picnic lunch set within the beautiful monsoon rainforest, the melodic sounds of the Wangi Falls surging in the background. Uncover the mystery surrounding the park’s ‘graveyard’ of magnetic termite mounds before heading off the beaten track to the ancient sandstone pillars of the Lost City.
Jump back on Stuart Highway and head further south to where ‘the outback meets the tropics’ in the beautiful old town of Katherine. A treasure trove of opportunity awaits with outdoor adventures waiting to be explored at every turn. From the picturesque Katherine Hot Springs to the shady banks of the Low-Level Nature Park, the otherworldly limestone caves at Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park to the jewel of the region - Nitmiluk National Park. Explore the stunning 13-gorge system that makes up Katherine Gorge, carved out over millions of years by the Katherine River. Spy the incredible Edith Falls (Leliyn) in the park’s west, a 70-metre tall waterfall cascading over the striking red sandstone cliffs. A bush walker’s paradise, the park features over 100 kilometres of hiking trails including the ever-popular Jatbula Trail, which navigates the length of the Katherine Gorge and all its prized possessions. Ancient Aboriginal rock art sites are dotted throughout the park with stories of the dreaming breathing life into this truly fascinating marvel.
As you venture further south along the Stuart, keep your eyes peeled for stray livestock as you start to enter ‘cow country’ in the small township of Mataranka. Situated on the upper reaches of the perennial Roper River, the town primarily services nearby cattle stations and passing travellers with the town made famous by the hit titled book “We of the Never Never” by Jeanie Gunn, etched into the heart of Australian folklore. For those of us seeking out greener pastures, Elsey National Park is only a stone’s throw away from Mataranka’s town centre. The perfect place to unwind and rest your weary legs, bathe in the tranquil waters of Bitter Springs – spring-fed thermal pools set within a gorgeous tropical forest. With a plethora of native flora & fauna, hiking trails, swimming holes, fishing spots and historical sites to keep you busy, you could easily spend a few days in this beautiful park.
A unique and golden history envelops the serene town of Tennant Creek, a diamond in the rough nestled within the barren wastelands of Central Australia. Relive the ‘glory days’ of a town once shrouded in fame and fortune as the site of Australia’s last major gold rush back in the 1930s. Pay a visit to the Battery Hill Gold Mining & Heritage Centre for an insight into the golden era and stories surrounding the town’s eerie past. Afterwards, drop by the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre to learn about the land and its connections with its traditional owners, the Warumungu people before heading over to Lake Mary Ann for a refreshing swim and picnic lunch in the shade on the lush green grass.
The final stop on an epic road adventure is to the mind-blowing Devil’s Marbles (Karlu Karlu), 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek. A unique exponent of mother nature’s power, the sacred site features a vast assembly of large granite boulders formed and shaped over millions of years due to endless exposure to unforgiving conditions. Seamlessly defying gravity as they balance precariously on top of one another, this striking natural art display is a highly sacred site and of grave importance to the Warumungu people. Follow the signs for the self-guided tour with an interpretive display on hand delving into the history of this extraordinary place.