Recently, a tourism promotion group who operate under the handle NT Unofficial began a marketing campaign designed to promote travel to the Northern Territory. The campaign’s slogan, “I’ll CU in the NT.” The inferred term there isn’t for everybody (though it’s worth noting that the word in question is much less of a problem in Australia than it is in, say, Minnesota). Though the campaign itself might be a gamble, the point of the promotion — to get people to travel to Australia’s Northern Territory — is totally worthwhile. If you’ve never considered a trip to this gorgeous part of Oz, here’s why you should.
1. It’s Massive, So It’s Incredibly Diverse
The Northern Territory covers about one-sixth of Australia, or roughly the same amount of area as France, Spain, and Italy combined. The wide-ranging territory includes an incredible diversity of wildlife and landscapes.
2. You Can See Uluru in Person
Colloquially known as Ayers’ Rock, Uluru is one of the country’s most iconic landmarks. In person, the inspiring natural wonder is truly remarkable, especially at sunset.
3. The Olgas Are Way Weirder Than Stone Henge
The series of 36 domed mountains is so vast and so unique as to make visitors wonder how in the heck they actually got there.
4. Kakadu National Park Is a Living Museum
For those who are interested in Australia’s millennia of cultural heritage, there’s Kakadu National Park, which is filled with both ancient aboriginal rock art sites as well as sites of densely packed wildlife that you can visit.
5. The Capital City of the NT Is Called Darwin
Which is just super duper cool. The quaint city only has a population of about 140,000, but its popular waterfront area has several beautiful beaches and green spaces like Bicentennial Park. There’s also the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, displaying Southeast Asian and Pacific art, plus a pearling lugger and other seafaring vessels.
6. The Mindil Beach Sunset Market Is a Shopper’s Dream
If you’re one of those people who can’t resist hitting the local markets when you travel, then Mindil Beach Sunset Market is the mecca you didn’t know existed. Half the city of Darwin visits the bazaar, browsing, selling, and hawking a variety of arts, crafts, food, jewelry, and so much more.
7. You Can Visit On Any Budget and Be Happy
In the past, the NT was mostly a backpacker’s delight, but thanks to some huge overhauls at the region’s resorts, the NT is now home to some truly gorgeous hotels like Sails in the Desert.
8. Gambling Is Legal
Need a break from beaches and kangaroos? Then roll the dice at one of the growing number of casinos in the NT’s capital city of Darwin.
9. Experience the Ghan Train
It’s a 1,500 kilometer stretch between the NT’s two major cities. Sure, you can get there on a crowded bus tour, or you can try to rent a camper. The stress-free option, however, is to shell out the dough for a ride on the Ghan, a luxurious transcontinental train that soaks up the NT’s ample visual splendor while allowing you to recline in comfort.
10. Watch a Crocodile at the Mary River Wetlands
If you’re in Australia to check out some wildlife, then there are few places more beautiful in the entire country than the Mary River Wetlands. It’s worth it to wake up before sunrise, trek out to a secluded spot and simply watch the region wake up. Natural poetry in motion.
11. The Kings Creek Walk
For those people who didn’t travel to Australia to hike, the Kings Creek Walk is a relaxing stroll along a creek bed before a raised platform provides magnificent views of Kings Canyon.
12. The Star-Gazing Is Unparalleled
Visitors to the region will be stunned by the celestial viewing opportunities on hand in the NT. There are several spots throughout the region where curious visitors can enlist expert astronomers (and their telescopes) to check out the majesty of the NT night sky.
13. Alice Springs’ Cultural History Alone
There’s truly nothing like the culture and history of the aboriginal people and it’s on full display in Alice Springs, one of the NT’s most popular destinations. The entire city is filled with galleries and parks and it’s extremely friendly to walking visitors.
14. South Alligator River
Under the watchful eye of a local guide, guests can cruise the waters of South Alligator River — and no, there are no alligators — while checking out the wildlife and learning the history of the region.
15. Litchfield National Park is the Perfect Spot for a Swim
About an hour and a half away from Darwin is Litchfield National Park, a spot that’s beloved by locals for it’s beautiful waterfalls and blessedly croc-free waters. If that wasn’t enough, the forest surrounding the park is gorgeous enough that you’ll want to get lost and stay that way.
16. Wallabies Live There
And they’re just hanging out all over the place, too. The real temptation is in not scooping one up as a souvenir.
17. Katherine Gorge Is Gorgeous
If you’re interested in seeing the sites from a kayak, then Katherine Gorge is the place to check out with its enjoyable kayaking and cruise expeditions and immense sandstone cliffs.
18. Check Out the Billabong
The NT’s famous wetlands are host to some truly incredible wildlife in action. You’ll need an experienced guide to get to the best parts of the billabong, but it’s absolutely worth the trip.