|Cheapest price||$974||From New York to Darwin|
Nature lovers flock to Australia’s Northern Territory for a tour of what some call an environmental paradise. The Northern Territory peaks and falls with the seasons and its six regions offer a very different glimpse of Australia at its finest.
Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, boasts year-round wonderful weather is the most urban of all the Northern Territory regions. Alice Springs is Australia’s famous outback town, and Kakadu and Arnhem Land give nature lovers a glimpse of the wetlands, gorges, and stunning waterfalls. Katherine is known for its bushwalking, fishing, camping, 4WD tours and Tennant Creek is the site of Australia’s last gold rush. Finally, Uluru and Kata Tjuta are a hikers dream, and home to Australia’s most recognizable natural icon, the Uluru (Ayers Rock).
For many travelers, your journey to NT will start from Sydney or Melbourne, and tourists can book Northern Territory flights through local carriers or head to the region by bus or car. Once there, however, it’s worth visiting one of the legendary Australian pubs for a tinnie (can of beer) and a banger (sausage) before heading into the outback.
The Northern Territory’s two climate zones make an attractive variety in weather conditions when considering flights to the Northern Territory. Sandwiched between Western Australia and Queensland, the region experiences a rainy season in the north from April to November. If you’re visiting the northern city of Darwin, you’re likely to feel the high, tropical humidity, and both spectrums of the wet and dry seasons. In the Central climate zone, the desert makes up the core, bringing a semi-arid base with little rainfall and high heat in the months between October and March.
Because of its high variety in climate, any time of the year is convenient to book Northern Territory flights.
Peak Season: While there’s no bad time to book flights to the Northern Territory, most travelers head there during the dry season from December to March.
Off-peak Season: Less travelers visit during the rainy season, but if you intend to travel between November and April, you’re likely to find great deals on accommodations and cheap flights to the Northern Territory.
The Tour Tub Bus in Darwin connects travelers to high-profile hotels and the most popular tourist destinations, while the Darwin bus concentrates mostly on places of local interest, and stops more frequently. Buy a one-day pass, or pay per ride if you don’t expect you’ll be using it much. Other bus companies offer sightseeing tours to enhance your Northern Territory travel, but there are plenty of independent options as well.
If you’re set on renting a car or a 4WD, you can easily do so at the airport when your Northern Territory flight arrives. If not, taxis will take you from the airport to your hotel, and to other destinations within the city. Cabs are easily hailed on the street, and are reliable when called ahead of time. Most hotels have visitor centers where you will be able to make taxi reservations if necessary.
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens: If the kids were restless during the flight to the Northern Territory, the George Brown Botanic Gardens will give them plenty to do once your flight has landed. Since tours of the gardens are self-guided, you won’t need to worry about your children having yet another structured experience. They’re free to run and learn about the boabs, mangroves, and coastal habitats on their own. Most of the Aboriginal establishments are on display in the children’s education garden, where they can absorb the history of how these people planted rice, tobacco, coffee, peanuts, and other economically viable resources.
Indo-Pacific Marine Aquarium: The living coral ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific Marine Aquarium are filled with exotic creatures like sea horses, clown fish, butterfly fish, stonefish, and box jellyfish. A research facility for the region’s marine environment, the establishment promotes education and environmental awareness to all its visitors, and truly practices what it preaches: Each ecosystem you see here is self-sufficient (meaning it needs no extra food to maintain existence) and lives within its own individual hierarchy of the wild kingdom. Spend your first hour there watching the introductory film so you’re up to speed with exactly how impressive the work done here is. Once you’re done visiting, head to the Coral Reef by Night show, which includes dinner beforehand.
Mindil Beach Sunset Market: For a fun culinary experience, complete your Northern Territory travel with a trip to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market, which offers a variety of fare, including Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Greek, and Portuguese. Bustling and overloaded with sensory opportunities, the market is best at dusk on Thursday and Sunday nights, when street theaters and bands strike up their vocals and instruments and perform for all to see. Among the marketplace food stops are also chances for souvenirs like handicrafts, and lighter fare like cake and fruit salad. Settle in watch the sun set under coconut palms.
Alice Springs Art Galleries: For artists booking Northern Territory flights, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the amount of opportunity there is to see unique and interesting pieces. At Papunya Tula, experience the Western Desert art movement that began in 1971. Aboriginal-owned, the gallery has highly sought-after pieces from more than 150 local artists. At the Araluen Center, you’ll find decades of permanent exhibitions, and at the Albert Namatjira Gallery, lay the largest collection of watercolors in the Northern Territory.
Travel Australia Outback: The official visitor’s site for the Northern Territory, featuring information on planning a trip, sample itineraries, guides for the state’s six travel regions and major cities. The entire NT experience is covered: aboriginal culture, nature, accommodations and events, and adventure planning. There’s also plenty of information on exploring the exotic landscape and outdoor activities, as well as a practical travel section.