The Northern Territory is a wondrous and vast place. The size of France, Spain & Italy combined, it’s full of contrasts that will draw you in with its magnetic beauty, abundant flora and fauna and rich cultural heritage.
I was fortunate enough to experience Cosmos’ Top End & Central Australia tour which delivered highlight after highlight as we travelled from Darwin to Uluru over 11 days. Here are my favourites:
The capital city and home to some of the most incredible sunsets, Darwin made for a nice starting point for our trip. After a balmy stroll along the esplanade, it was time to venture to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets where over 200 exotic food stalls and shops await. I settled on the Indonesian charcoal smoked meat skewers covered in this amazing satay sauce on a bed of rice cakes and it made the perfect accompaniment to watch the hues of the sky change from pinks to purples.
Yellow Water Billabong Cruise
In Kakadu National Park, you’ll find the epitome of the Top End in the wetlands of South Alligator River. Following the wet season, these floodplains are beautifully lush and filled with an abundance of wildlife. We experienced moments that would make David Attenborough proud, sighting a pair of white bellied sea eagles swooping down and catching a fish with its talons, a male comb crested jacana carrying his chicks in his wings while dancing along lotus leaves and a 3-metre crocodile missing a leg (I wonder what the other guy looks like). Jokes aside, this was a truly serene and special experience cruising along the waterways.
Just over an hour from Katherine is the spectacular Mataranka Thermal Pools, a tropical oasis hidden amongst the forests. The crystal-clear water here is 34 degrees year-round and tempts you to stay all day, floating along admiring the overhanging palm trees. This was the perfect pit stop before we started to make our way to the outback.
As we approach the heart of Australia, we call into the magnificent Kings Canyon. We acquaint ourselves with the easy Creek Walk and admire the gorgeous sandstone that surrounds us. Then it’s off for sunset drinks overlooking the Canyon at a dedicated platform at the resort. It’s an early night for some of us as we beat the sunrise and start the more challenging 6-kilometre Rim Walk the next morning. Reaching the summit at sunrise was incredible and with daylight now lighting every ridge, we could appreciate the pancaked layers of the red earth and the many millions of years that have shaped it. This walk is unforgettable, and I highly recommend it to anyone with a moderate level of fitness!
Often overlooked by the iconic Uluru, Kata Tjuta and its unique 36 domes are absolutely breathtaking and rise over 200 metres above Uluru. The best way to appreciate the scale of Kata Tjuta is from a 30-minute heli-flight. From above you can see the full grandeur of the 20 square kilometre rock formation and can see just how much of it is completely inaccessible to visitors. A sacred site for men’s ceremonies, this is a special place for the local Anangu people and a memory that I’ll treasure for many years to come.
For the ultimate Outback experience, look no further than Cosmos’ Top End & Central Australia tour. Click here to start planning your trip!