About Northern Territory

General Information About Northern Territory

The Northern Territory occupies most of the centre of Australia. The Northern Territory is the ‘real outback’ and within it’s borders you will find some of the most recognised natural Australian icons.

The capital city of the Northern Territory is Darwin. Darwin is the main gateway into the region and has a unique history and culture. Other towns of interest are Alice Springs, a famous outback town surrounded by desert; Katherine, the gateway to the Katherine Gorge and Yulara, which is located next to the Uluru-Kata National Park.

The Northern territory has the smallest population of all the states in Australia, with just over 200,000 people living in the region.

The Northern Territory is the home of Australia’s largest population of Aboriginal people and offers a rich cultural experience; including story telling, spear fishing, basket weaving and eating bush tucker on guided tours. The world’s biggest collection of Aboriginal art can also be found in the Northern Territory.

Other popular destinations include:

  • Arnhem Land
  • Barkly Tableland
  • Daly River
  • Davenport Range National Park
  • Elsey National Park
  • Gulf Region
  • Judbarra/Gregory National Park
  • Kakadu National Park
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River
  • Mataranka
  • Palmerston
  • Tennant Creek
  • The Red Centre
  • Tiwi Islands

Travelling in Northern Territory

If you’re travelling around the Northern Territory, you can get around by air, train or private car.

Qantas offers regular flights between Darwin, Alice Springs and Yulara. Charter flights can also be organised to more remote destinations.

There are five themed drives in the Northern Territory and each explores different parts of the region. If you prefer someone else to do the driving, travelling by train is a great option. The train travels from the south to the north of the Northern Territory and back again and stops at the larger towns.

Time Differences

The Northern Territory does not observe Daylight Savings and is 9.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +9:30).

Northern Terrirtory Weather

The large size of the Northern Territory means that it covers two very distinct climate zones – the Tropical North and the Red Centre.

The northern part of the Northern Territory, which includes Darwin, Katherine, Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land has a tropical climate. The average temperature in Darwin throughout the year is 32°C.

During the rainy, summer season the landscape comes to life and visitors will experience stunning sunsets and storms that the area is famous for. During the dry season, from May to October, the days are warm and sunny with nights becoming cooler.

The rest of the Northern Territory, including Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Barkly Tablelands and Uluru/Kata-Tjuta regions, has a semi-arid climate.

The Red Centre experiences all four seasons, with hot summer days from December to February, cold nights from June to August and warm days and cool nights during spring and autumn.

Darwin Average Monthly Weather Statistics

High °C 32 31 32 33 32 31 30 31 32 33 33 33
Low °C 25 25 24 24 22 20 19 20 23 25 25 25
High °F 89 88 89 91 90 87 87 88 90 92 92 91
Low °F 77 76 76 75 72 68 67 69 73 77 78 77
Rainfall mm 426 376 318 102 21 2 1 5 16 71 140 252
Rainy Days 21 20 20 9 2 1 1 1 2 7 12 17
Hours Sunshine 161 161 192 246 271 280 285 291 278 268 237 195

Alice Springs Average Monthly Weather Statistics

High °C 36 35 33 28 23 20 20 23 27 31 34 35
Low °C 21 21 17 13 8 5 4 6 10 15 18 20
High °F 97 95 91 83 73 68 68 73 81 88 92 96
Low °F 70 69 63 55 47 41 39 43 50 59 64 68
Rainfall mm 39 43 31 16 19 14 14 9 8 21 28 37
Rainy Days 5 5 3 2 3 3 2 2 2 5 6 6
Hours Sunshine 319 297 301 285 283 272 282 304 300 313 303 310

Things to do in Northern Territory

Whether you’re looking for adventure, or want to enjoy a peaceful break from the everyday hustle and bustle, the Northern Territory is for you.

During your stay in the outback, you can:

  • Take a hot air balloon ride, see the sunrise and have breakfast in the middle of the desert
  • Go on a scenic helicopter flight
  • Swim in the crystal clear pools at Berry Springs
  • Enjoy a bush walk through tropical forests or in a red desert setting
  • Visit the Jim Jim Falls
  • Tour Tiwi Island and view distinctive artwork and wood carvings

If you would like to experience the flora and fauna of the Northern Territory, a visit to the Territory Wildlife Park or Aquascene is in order. You can enjoy bird shows and animal encounters at the wildlife park or get up close and personal with fish at Aquascene.

The Northern Territory also offers world class fishing in a variety of habitats.

For more information and ideas on what you can see and do in the Northern Territory, please visit our Northern Territory Activities directory.

Things to see in Northern Territory​

There are 52 national parks and nature reserves in the Northern Territory and each one protects a variety of unique environments and native animals.

While in the Northern Territory you can see rare flora, native animals and bird watch while exploring the many walking trails, swimming spots and camping grounds. You are sure to enjoy the huge variety of flora and fauna in the Northern Territory on your Australia nature holiday.

Spending some time in Darwin will see you learning about the history of Fannie Bay Gaol, Darwin’s major prison for almost 100 years from 1883; exploring the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; viewing saltwater crocodiles in the Top End or taking a trip to Crocodylus Park where you will see some of the largest reptiles on earth!

If you are heading into the outback, take a trip to Ulura-Kata National Park where you can see Uluru/Ayers Rock, Australia’s most recognised natural icon. Alice Springs is also worth a visit and has amazing views of the Milky Way, due to the lack of artificial lights.

The largest national park, Kakadu National Park, is home to amazing wildlife and Aboriginal rock art galleries – Ubirr and Nourlangie. During the dry season park rangers give free talks about the rock art, very informative and well worth listening to.

Also, in the Australian outback are the Devils Marbles. The marbles are clusters of mysterious rock spheres, formed by millions of years of erosion and the Warumungu (the local Aboriginal people) believe that they are the eggs of the Rainbow Serpent. For those who would like to know more about this legend, there is a short self-guided walking trail to go on.

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