Discover the cultural and spiritual richness of the Nothern Territory! Starting this adventure in the ever-changing capital city, Darwin, and travel out to Katherine, a tropical town that feels a world away from modern every day. Like most great trips, it's not just about the destination, but the journey there too! This five-day trip will take you deep into the outback's beauty. With a wealth of ancient culture and a good dose of Australiana along the way, this round trip will treat you to the icons of the region, along with the gems off-the-beaten-path.
Day 1: Darwin to Adelaide River, via the Jumping Crocs
Start your Australian Outback adventure in the city Darwin. This city has had many new additions over the years, but the most colourful being the Street Art Festival. These beautiful pieces of art grow each year all across the CBD. Take a walk through the streets and admire the work of some of Australia's most talented artists.
If a bit of history is more up your street, visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. Set in a scenic location overlooking Fannie Bay, MAGNT exhibit's showcase internationally renowned cultural, scientific and artistic collections and research programs. Delve deep into Darwin's rich history; be taken back to the pre-settlement world of Darwin's traditional owners, the Larrakia people, the harrowing history of World War II and more.
After you've taken in the sights and sounds of Darwin, now's time to hit the road for a 50-minute drive to experience the true nature of Northern Territory. Take a river cruise down the Adelaide River to spot the whopping crocs leap from the water! Continue on down to the Adelaide River, stopping in at the Adelaide Inn and Resort for the perfect pub grub and Australiana experience.
Day 2: Adelaide River to Litchfield National Park, and Katherine
Today is the time to head to Litchfield National Park to spend the day exploring its many wonders. With its abundance of walking tracks complimented by stunning waterfalls and idyllic swimming spots, there's never been a better reason to spend the day relaxing in nature.
Once you've soaked up all Litchfield National Park has to offer, set off for the 2.5-hour journey to Katherine. With a range of dining options, you'll be spoiled for choice. Treat yourself to good food at Fig Tree Bistro, or get adventurous with an outback dinner under the stars at Marksie's Stockman's Camp Tucker, just outside of town.
Day 3: Explore Katherine
Located on the banks of the Katherine River, Katherine is Northern Territory's third-largest town and home of great significance to its Aboriginal owners; the Jawoyn, Dagoman and Wardaman people. Enjoy a delicious breakfast and coffee in town before perusing the local art. A visit to Mimi Arts and Crafts is a must; it's the heart of local artists and styles and showcases the wide range of art Katherine inspires.
When you've finished exploring the town, drive an hour south-east to the region's best-kept secret - Bitter Springs in Elsey National Park. Unwind in the spring-fed thermal pool (with a temperature of around 34 degrees Celsius) set amongst the palms and tropical woodlands. After your soak, stop to refresh afterwards at Stockyard Gallery cafe in the small town of Mataranka before heading back to Katherine for dinner.
Day 4: Katherine to Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge
For many, Nitmiluk National Park and its gorge is the key reason for visiting Katherine. Deep sandstone gorges carry the Katherine River from Kakadu through the town of Katherine itself, This river is a haven for saltwater crocodiles during the tropical summer months, but during the dry season, it's a paddler's paradise. While the gorge can be explored on foot, the best way has got to be on the water! Cruise along the Gorge for a half day, full day or even overnight, however, if you want to be really wowed, the sunset cruise never disappoints. If you're looking for a different perspective, take a light plane or a helicopter through the gorge.
Head back to Katherine for your final night before exploring the raw outback on your return to Darwin.
Day 5: Katherine to Darwin via Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park
Start your return from Katherine to Darwin along the Stuart Highway for approximately 3 hours. Worth a stop along the way is Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park, however, this is not for the faint-hearted! Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park will offer a stark contrast from Nitmiluk; with its raw and wild roads, this region is 4WD only access during the wet season (from October to April). Traces of ancient rock art by the land's traditional Wagiman owners can still be seen on the walls of the gorge too! While the trekking paths are worth it, the journey continues across the water, so check for crocodiles first!
Continue your drive back to Darwin, with memories of the rugged Northern Territory to cherish. As they say in the Northern Territory, you’ll never never know if you never never go!
Inspiration from Tourism Australia