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.