Australia’s Northern Territory is home to an array of natural splendours and adventures.
OUTBACK in Australia, you can ride a camel into the sunset, trade stories with indigenous people and forget about time while floating in peaceful waterholes and plunge pools.
The Northern Territory is truly an adventure seeker’s heaven.
Astoundingly beautiful, rugged and remote – yet surprisingly easy to drive, motorbike or fly around – this land marries milky blue seas and islands rich in traditional art with thunderous waterfalls fringed by flower- lined deserts. Its geographical diversity might seem overwhelming at first – but fret not, we’ll guide you through soul- nourishing experiences.
Start off at Kakadu National Park. This is northern Australia at its best, a place where soaring cliffs host dazzling waterfalls and wetlands are populated by varied birdlife. Equal to the size of Switzerland, the nature reserve is home to 10,500 species of fauna and 2,000 types of plants.
Kakadu’s vast landscape holds six ecosystems: savannah woodlands, tidal flats and hills, basins, stone country, wetlands and floodplains. To take in the majesty of each zone, begin your weekend in the park’s drier northern region – a threehour drive from state capital Darwin – with its plethora of Aboriginal rock art before heading south for a duck dive through one of Kakadu’s teal- toned waterholes.
Towel off in time to watch the sunset paint Arnhem Land in golden light.
For a truly unforgettable journey, you must make a stop at Arnhem Land. This Aboriginal reserve is one of Australia’s best untouched wilderness areas. Rocky escarp- ments tower like Mayan ruins, white- sand beaches abound, and rainforests heave with humid greenery.
Ubirr Rock in the park’s north is a raised platform that offers the only views north over sacred, permit- access- only lands. Or catch sunset further south at Nourlangie Rock.
The next morning, go wild on a wetlands cruise. You won’t have trouble spotting a live crocodile in the Yellow Water Billabong and surrounding wetlands. Even more amazing are the contemplative moments on board. The guide turns off the boat’s engine towards the end of the cruise, letting guests bathe in “silence” of the noisy kind – a cacophony of Kakadu bird calls.
Mind you, an adventure doesn’t mean you have to rough it if you don’t want to. Glamping ( glamorous camping) allows you to voyage into the wilderness by day and bed down in an indulgent lodge by night. Bamurru Plains and Wildman Wilderness Lodge – in the satellite region of the Mary River – are both set in vibrant wetlands and offer transfers from the city and comfortable trimmings, such as decked pools and chic rooms.
Next, explore the wondrous Nitmiluk National Park. This is gorgeous piece of wilderness in which you can drift downstream on a three- day canoe trip. Be sure to also hike and swim at beautiful Butterfly Gorge. Then float beneath towering cliffs before walking past a magical section of rock clouded by lacewing butterflies on the way back.
And if it’s a short weekend trip you’re after, check out Litchfield National Park. This park hums with spring- fed streams, exquisite waterfalls and historic ruins. And in many ways, it is an apt reflection of the Northern Territory: all rugged and beautiful.
Sourced from Tourism Australia. Malaysia Airlines has three flights a week between Kuala Lumpur and Darwin. For bookings, go to malaysiaairlines. com.
Enjoy views of the milky blue sea along darwin’s many spectacular waterfronts. — Photos: tourism Australia