There’s far more to the Northern Territory than meets the eye of most travellers. Experience the not-so-known this spring, with our top picks for the Northern Territory. From Darwin to Pellew Islands, we’ve got you covered with what to do and where to stay.
Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs, Darwin
The Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs are thermal pools are a drawcard all year round. It’s thermal hot springs, and cooler flowing waters will keep you blissed out for your entire stay. The hot springs are located on the lands of the Wagiman people, and Wagiman women care have joined with Parks and Wildlife to manage and maintain the park. There are several sacred areas on site, and Traditional Owners continue to perform ceremonies on the land. Visitors should be respectful of the cultural and natural significance of the hot springs, and pay special attention to signage, as only women are permitted to enter some sacred areas.
Along with swimming (in designated areas), visitors can also camp and bushwalk at the springs, with fire pits, public toilets, barbecues and picnic areas available
While many people visiting the Northern Territory do their best to avoid crocodiles, seeking them out can provide some of the most memorable and unique experiences of your trip. See freshwater and saltwater crocodiles in wildlife parks, national parks, rivers and museums, and marvel at these ancient-looking predators. Visitors to Darwin can spot crocodiles in the river systems around the city, but if you want a really close-up view, take a crocodile eco cruise, join a feeding tour, or cradle a baby croc in your arms!
Kakadu National Park is home to well over 10,000 crocodiles, and the safest way to see them is on a crocodile spotting guided cruise at the Mary River wetlands and floodplain, which is home to the world’s highest concentration of saltwater crocodiles.
If the thought of real, live crocodiles sets your heart aflutter, perhaps opt for a visit to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory instead, where you can get an understanding of the history of crocodiles in Darwin, and their relationship with the locals. You’ll also find the mummified body of Sweetheart, a famous Darwin crocodile that measured an impressive 5.1 metres long, and weighed 780 kilograms!
Barranyi (North Island) National Park, Pellew Islands
Barranyi National Park might not be on the top of everyone’s bucket list, but this makes it the perfect escape from more bustling natural tourist attractions. Part of the Sir Edward Pellew group of islands, north of Borroloola, Barranyi National Park’s waters are full of bluefin tuna, queenfish and trevally, as well as Spanish mackerel, making the area a haven for anglers. Those with an appetite for seafood might be lucky enough to snag red emperor, coral trout, and sea perch.
The landscape more than satisfies those not keen on fishing, with pristine sandy beaches, coves and cliffs galore, but swimming is not advised due to, you guessed it, crocodiles (and jellyfish)! The crocs don’t deter the beautiful sea turtles, though, which nest on Barranyi’s beaches. Sea and land birds flock to the shores at sunrise and sunset, so birdwatchers should make their way to the water’s edge for spectacular sights.
Barranyi is the home of the Yanyuwa Aboriginal people, many of whom reside in the residential area at Webe Point, which is off-limits to visitors and tourists.