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Northern exposure

Don’t know where to start in the Northern Territory?

We’ve got you covered with our ticklist of ten things not to miss:

  1. A picnic of local seafood at Mindil Beach Sunset Market
  2. Watching films under the stars at Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema
  3. A swim at the base of a waterfall in Litchfield National Park
  4. Buying indigenous artworks in the Tiwi Islands
  5. Seeing crocodiles in the wild in Kakadu National Park
  6. A cruise through Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge
  7. A sunrise hot-air balloon flight in Alice Springs
  8. Hearing a live lesson at the School of the Air
  9. Seeing Bruce Munro’s Field of Light at Uluru
  10. The Rim Walk at Kings Canyon

To find out more, go to austravel.com/oceantooutback or call 0808 278 3953 to speak to one of Austravel’s highly experienced travel designers.

Singapore Airlines offers four daily flights from London Heathrow and five direct weekly flights from Manchester, connecting via Singapore to Darwin and Adelaide.

The totally tropical city of Darwin stakes a claim to the far Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory, with its sparkling harbour facing north towards Asia yet its identity firmly Antipodean.

Wonderfully, this best-of-both-worlds approach means Asian flavours are sure to find their way on to your dinner table. Darwin is packed with vibrant restaurants, serving up everything from Malaysian laksa to Vietnamese pho. Take a seat at Skycity’s Dragon Court for Asian fusion dishes or grab a table at Loong Fong Seafood Restaurant for local seafood, Chinese-style.

In Darwin, the ocean is on the doorstep and the catch of the day includes everything from wild barramundi and snapper to mud crabs and tiger prawns. Seek it out at Mindil Beach Sunset Market, picking up whatever takes your fancy and settling in for a picnic on the beach, teamed with a spectacular tropical sunset. Darwin’s lively Waterfront Precinct is also home to the Deckchair Cinema, screening films under the stars.

Darwin is packed with vibrant restaurants, serving up Asian cuisine

Watch films under the stars at the Deckchair Cinema

An hour’s drive south of the city is the much-loved Litchfield National Park. Few places are more idyllic for a swim than this waterfall-soaked wilderness – one of the best is Buley Rockhole, for wallowing in shallow pools surrounded by dripping tropical rainforest.

Another great day-trip is to the Tiwi Islands. Take a tour to see the indigenous art the islands are famous for, and stroll along white-sand beaches. Back on the mainland, if you’re feeling brave, book a crocodile tour and get up close to these impressive and terrifying reptiles.

Watch films under the stars at the Deckchair Cinema

Go croc spotting in Kakadu National Park

Just 150 miles east of Darwin is Kakadu National Park, a Unesco world heritage site. Vast Kakadu is unbeatable for wildlife spotting, its habitats ranging from tidal mangroves to rocky escarpments. You’re also sure to see crocs here, as well as water buffalo, wallabies and hundreds of birds. A day isn’t long enough so take a multi-day 4x4 tour and explore trails that lead to rock-art galleries, billabongs and lookouts.

Add a few more days to your adventure and head into the Outback on the Explorers Way, a trail blazed from Darwin to Adelaide, in South Australia, for the Overland Telegraph in the 1860s.

Make your first stop Katherine, for Nitmiluk National Park. More than 100km of hiking trails criss-cross the bush here, and there are boat trips along the 12km-long gorge, allowing you to gaze up from the Katherine River at the towering ochre cliffs.

Further south is Alice Springs, the ultimate Outback town. Drop into the funky cafés and bars that call it home, and check out the indigenous art galleries. Out and about, don’t miss the Kangaroo Sanctuary, where you can take a guided sunset tour, or the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges, fondly known by locals as the West Macs. You can visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service, too, and the School of the Air to find out how remote communities stay connected.

Alice is the jumping off point for the Red Centre, where Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park is home to arguably the Territory’s best hike. Head out on the four-mile Rim Walk to take in this plunging rust-red ravine. Finally, you can’t miss Uluru (Ayers Rock) – literally.

This 348m-high monolith glows every shade of orange-red as the sun passes overhead, and has to be seen to be believed. A great way to explore is the base walk, a six-mile track that brings you up close to the rock’s incredible beauty. If you don’t fancy walking, jump on a mountain bike or follow the trail by Segway instead.

Go croc spotting in Kakadu National Park

Be amazed by the breathtaking glow as the sun rises over Uluru

After sunset, there is one more awe-inspiring sight at Uluru that’s not to be missed – the artist Bruce Munro’s Field of Light. As darkness falls over Australia’s spiritual heartland, 50,000 glass spheres light up, spreading gentle waves of colour across the desert as far as the eye can see. It’s a magical, ethereal vision, and just one more way that a visit to the Northern Territory will leave you breathless.

Be amazed by the breathtaking glow as the sun rises over Uluru