From a luxe eco getway to canoeing through gorges, we've found the top escapes in the Top End. Plan your amazing weekend away in the Northern Territory now – all you need to do is drive from Darwin.
For adventure... Nitmiluk National Park
There are so many ways to approach a holiday in Nitmiluk National Park, a three-hour drive south-east of Darwin. You could cruise the peaceful waters, spotting eagles, black cockatoos and cormorants while admiring the way the sun paints the huge sandstone canvases that surround you. Hike one of the many trails in the area or immerse yourself in the pools of Leliyn (Edith) Falls. Hire a canoe or kayak – safest between May and November, out of wet season – and employ your own shoulder power to explore the park’s 13 separate gorges. (Butterfly Gorge is a must; surely there’s no need to explain why?) Or you could book a scenic flight and appreciate the whole of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge from above, including the waterfall that thunders into it. And then there’s the Indigenous rock art – some of the works you can see have been here for 30,000 years . When you’re spent, check in to one of the 18 rooms with king-sized beds and private balconies at the restful Cicada Lodge. Owned by the Jawoyn people, for whom Nitmiluk means “cicada place”, the lodge offers contemporary dining featuring local produce that includes traditional ingredients.
For incredible fishing... East Arnhem Land
Image credit: Tourism NT/James Fisher
Bremer Island in East Arnhem Land is a magnet for those keen to snare Spanish mackerel, tuna and reef fish off its stunning coastline. A 15-minute flight from Gove Airport, this paradisiacal spot is home to Banubanu Beach Retreat, a 12-guest eco getaway with canvas tents on elevated decks over the white sand, plus a bar, restaurant and a chef who’ll happily prepare whatever you’ve caught that day (pictured top). Book into the new penthouse bungalow, relax and soak up the property’s enchanting remoteness. If you’re lucky, you might also spot nesting turtles or their hatchlings.
For culture... Kakadu National Park
Just over three hours by car from Darwin, Cooinda Lodge is an outback oasis-style resort with easy access to Kakadu National Park. Delve deep into the traditional custodians’ connection to this richly varied land on an Animal Tracks Safari. Learn from the experts how to gather and forage before enjoying a meal of native foods, such as magpie geese, cooked on the camp fire at sunset.
Top image credit: Kyle Hunter