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7 Reasons to visit the Northern Territory

1. You can shop til you drop and eat til you pop at The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets

The Mindil Markets will always be at the top of our Northern Territory must-do list; not just because it’s Darwin’s biggest, boldest and most energetic day out but because it’s the home and birthplace of Slappa’s Thongs.

Running between May and October (the Top End’s “dry” season) The Mindil Beach Sunset Market takes place on Thursday and Sunday evenings on parkland next to the ocean.

There are more than 300 stalls at the Mindil Markets and along with the most delicious food and drink you could ever hope to eat, there is art, craft, trinkets, jewellery, clothing, shoes, soaps, candles, too many to list really… but all unique or quirky in their own way. If you’re looking for a shark or crocodile jawbone, for example, you’re in the right place!

See a full list of Mindil Beach Markets’ Food and Beverage Stallholders here.

But let’s talk more about the eats. The 60+ food stalls at Mindil feature cuisine from Turkey, Greece, Sri Lanka, South America, North Africa, India and all over South East Asia. You’ll find foods here that you’ve never seen anywhere else in the world – every Instagram food blogger’s dream!

Check out this Buzzfeed video with over 1.8 million views featuring one of the Markets’ delicacies; Wow Sushi Burger

omg get in my belly // WOW Sushi Burger

Posted by BuzzFeed Mates on Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Click here to read our Complete Guide To The Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

Pro Tip: The sunsets at the markets are simply stunning and not to be missed! Be sure to get your food and drinks (you’re also allowed to BYO alcohol) and get into place well before sunset as you’ll find all the best viewing spots on the beach are snapped up quickly.

2. You can dive with crocodiles, feed crocodiles, and… be eaten by crocodiles?

If you thought travelling to the “Top End” of Australia was pushing your comfort zone you ain’t seen nothing yet!

In Crocosaurus Cove’s “Cage of Death” you can experience the thrill of sharing the very environment of a 5m + Saltwater crocodile.

“Every Cage of Death dive includes 15 minutes in the enclosure with one of these massive reptiles. Regular feeding by our crocodile handlers, while you are in the cage, encourages more movement from the crocodiles and ensures an up-close encounter that must be seen to be believed!”

If actually getting in the water with a “Salty” (as we call them up here) is a little too extreme for you but you’re still keen to see these prehistoric giants up close then why not opt for a guided croc feeding tour at Crocodylus Park & Zoo.

The croc feeding tours are included in the park’s admission fee and gives you the opportunity to witness the famous jumping crocs in the attack lagoon and feed one of the big guys yourself. After every croc feeding tour you are given the chance to hold a baby crocodile and take photos for free.

BEING CROCWISE: You must always remember that these experiences are run by trained professionals in controlled environments and should not take away from the fact that there are very real dangers of crocodiles in the NT.

The Northern Territory Government urges all locals and visitors to the region to “BE CROCWISE”. Crocodiles are no laughing matter and unfortunately, many people have been seriously injured or killed from not heeding warning signs or not realising that they were near dangerous waters. To ensure you’re aware of how to stay safe please read the NT Government’s Crocodile Safety notice.

Pro Tip: If you want to turn the (dining) tables on the above scenario there’s always Outback Jack’s for a crocodile steak!

3. It’s the perfect place to get engaged or married!

Picture enchanting sunsets, draping red dunes and sacred landmarks that are centuries old. There’s no better way to share your life-changing bond than the palatial Northern Territory, where you’re spoilt for backdrops when it comes to popping the question.

Check out these Top 10 Instagrammable Proposal Locations in the NT.

If you’ve already said “I Will” but not yet “I Do” then here are just a few of the stunning venues available in Darwin to get married:

Hilton Hotels

Experience the exquisite style and personalised service of a Hilton wedding. Choose from one of the three Hilton properties located in the heart of Darwin offering spectacular harbour views and a variety of indoor and outdoor event spaces. Or say ‘I do’ to your dream wedding destination in the Red Centre at DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs.

Hilton Darwin

DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin

DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin

DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs

Last year Denise and Roger attended a beautiful wedding of a friend at the Darwin Ski Club here are some photos from the night…

Whether you use a wedding planner or choose to plan the event yourself you’ll be embraced by the locals and the Territory’s charm will have you feeling at ease before your big day.

Darwin weddings have an unmistakable relaxed, warm vibe and tend to be more casual. Quite often smart casual dress with thongs is the minimum standard.

If you’re looking for a wedding day more unique and beautiful than your wildest dreams, with photos that will be the envy of all your friends for decades to come, you’ll fall in love with the Northern Territory.

Pro Tip: While peak wedding season for most of Australia is between November – March, here in Darwin the majority of couples choose to tie the knot during dry season which is May – October.

4. It’s a great place to make a movie (and see one too)

There is nowhere in the world like Australia, and nowhere in Australia like the Northern Territory. For this reason, it has been chosen by many filmmakers as the perfect setting of their feature film whether it be a World War II drama or tongue-in-cheek rom-com.

One of Australia’s most loved films, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (1994) touched all our hearts with the story of two drag queens and a transsexual travelling across the desert in an old tour bus to perform their unique style of cabaret in Alice Springs. Through classic Australian humour and standout performances by Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce, the film received international acclaim for introducing LGBT themes to mainstream audiences.

One of Luhrmann’s great character pieces, Australia (2008) is led by our very own Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman and explores life in northern Australia just before World War II. Jackman and Kidman form an initially reluctant alliance as they protect her property and experience the single largest attack on Australian soil at the bombing of Darwin, which you can witness for yourself at the Bombing Darwin virtual reality experience.

Top End Wedding (2019) is a feature film co-written by, produced and starring Darwin’s-own Miranda Tapsell as well as our iconic Top End destinations Darwin, Tiwi Islands, Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Nitmiluk/Katherine Gorge, Katherine.

The film tells the story of successful lawyer Lauren, played by Miranda Tapsell, and her fiancé Ned, played by Bohemian Rhapsody star Gwilym Lee. The couple has just ten days to find Lauren’s mother in the NT, reunite her parents and pull off their dream wedding.

We don’t just provide the location to shoot great movies… we also provide a great location to view them!

Deckchair Cinema, operated by the Darwin Film Society, is a unique outdoor cinema experience. They are fully independent and screen films that are often unavailable to local audiences.

Their outdoor setting, on the edge of Darwin Harbour, is stunning: watch the sunset over the sea and enjoy the tropical garden setting with a meal and a drink before your movie starts.

Deckchair Cinema runs seven nights a week during the dry season screening a range of movies that include family favourites, Australian and foreign films. Their licensed kiosk sells wine, beer, soft drinkand snacks as well as a range of Deckchair merchandise. Hot food is available on site every night.

5. One word. Litchfield.

Just 90 minutes from Darwin, Litchfield National Park is a true wonder of the Top End, replete with idyllic waterfalls, pristine swimming spots, beautiful walking trails and hidden natural wonders.

It is truly an awe-inspiring place and your camera is a must as you won’t want to forget these epic visuals in a hurry.

You can do Litchfield in a day but to get the most from the experience we recommend staying overnight in the area. It’s just beautiful.

According to this article on Tourism NT there are six absolute “must sees” at Litchfield so lets get into them:

Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls adorns many a Territory postcard. With picturesque walking tracks and stunning waterfalls coming from sandstone cliff faces, you’ll be sure to remember your time here fondly. Camping is the only option to stay overnight. You’ll find all the facilities you need, including a kiosk, hot showers and barbecues. There are a number of walking tracks of varying difficulty, or you can simply lie back in the relaxing fresh water.

“Wangi Falls at Dusk” by amazing local photographer Louise Denton

Florence Falls

Florence Falls is Litchfield National Park’s best kept secret. The secluded plunge pool is located right in the middle of monsoon rainforest, providing plenty of shade from the sun. From the lookout you can survey the surrounding location, while there are a number of walks that provide a different perspective of the area. Florence Falls is open for swimming for most of the year.

Buley Rockhole

Another beautiful swimming hole fed by waterfalls in the middle of atropical rainforestt. There are picnic and barbecue facilities, while you can also lie back and relax in your own private rock pool.

Sandy Creek Falls (Tjaynera)

Wherever you sit at Sandy Creek, there are stunning views of the surrounding nature – including cascading waterfalls and rocky outcrops. Once you make it here, you might not want to leave – but don’t fear! The Sandy Creek camping ground welcomes you to stay the night. If you’re going for a dip, only do so in areas that are marked safe for swimming.

Lost City

After all that swimming and relaxation, you’re probably in the mood for adventure. The Lost City of Litchfield National Park lets you channel your inner Lara Croft and discover what looks to be the ruins of an ancient civilisation. These ‘ruins’ are in fact a unique rock formation. Before you head off, be sure to check with local authorities if the road is open – a four-wheel drive is essential.

“Magnetic Termite Mounds” by amazing local photographer Louise Denton.

Magnetic Termite Mounds

The lost city theme continues with the magnetic termite mounds, which resemble giant, 2-metre-high tombstones. Up to 100 years old, these structures are unique to the northern parts of Australia and Litchfield National Park.

6. You can catch the biggest Barra ever

No-body loves a good fishing trip as much as a Territorian! And when you see our fishing locations you’ll realise why.

Corroboree Billabong: According to Fish The Top End;
“Corroboree Billiabong is truly a wonderful place, a fishing trip to this billabong is much more than that. Whilst Corroboree Billabong consistently delivers good Barramundi fishing, it is also one of the Top Ends most scenic billabongs. Mixed in with your days Barramundi Fishing, you could expect to see a wide variety of Water Birds, Sea Eagles, Crocodiles, Water Buffalo, and Wild Pigs.”

If you like your fishing with a little more style however you can’t go past Wildman Wilderness Lodge. Situated on the beautiful Mary River Wetlands (around halfway between Darwin and Kakadu) it offers luxury stylish eco-lodge and safari tent accommodation. They have dozens of different Tours and Activities available for their guests including Barra fishing, Airboat Safaris and Culture Walks.

If you’d prefer to shoot (well, catch) fish in a barrel on the otherhand then Barramundi Adventures is for you! Barramundi Adventures is a land-based, catch and release barramundi fishing farm, designed and operated by two born and raised Territorians. Their fishing ponds are designed to mimic the surrounding wild estuarine environment where amongst an abundance of Barramundi you can also find Mangrove Jack, Golden Snapper, crabs, prawns and many other aquatic species. They are family friendly, and offer the perfect environment to introduce children and beginners to the thrills of catching their first fish.

7. Our locations will never stop surprising you (Kakadu & Arnhem Land)

If you’ve got the time and the inclination, there are a few places in the NT that you just simply must do properly. At least 3 – 4 days at a minimum but 10 – 12 are ideal.

Kakadu is a living cultural landscape. It has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 65,000 years. It is the largest national park in Australia, covering almost 20,000 square kilometres. That’s nearly half the size of Switzerland!

If you’re departing Darwin, allow 2 hours to get to Kakadu Park’s northern entry via Arnhem Highway (a 4WD is highly recommended, as some roads are unsealed). To ensure you get the most out of your trip be sure to download the Kakadu Visitor Guide which offers an in-depth introduction to Kakadu’s culture, environment, regions and activities.

Kakadu has a seasonal pricing structure, with lower prices during the tropical summer from November to May. Family passes are available for two adults and two or more children.

“Twin Falls, Kakadu” by amazing local photographer Louise Denton

The other place you’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t see while you’re here is … Arnhem Land.

Arnhem Land is one of Australia’s last true wilderness areas. It is one of the Top End’s most spectacular natural destinations boasting beautiful scenery, rugged coastlines, remote islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforest, towering escarpments and savannah woodland.

Whether you’re just there to fish (and boy do they deliver if you are), to check out the amazing art exhibits, go on Safari or to enjoy an eco-retreat at the Bremer Island Banubanu Beach Retreat you are guaranteed to find something you love here.

You may also fancy a visit to Groote Eylandt which is the largest island in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

For best travel results and action-packed fun (or relaxation, whatever floats your boat) be sure to check out the Arnhem Land Region Guide.

Pro Tip: (well more of a fun fact actually) Did you know Arnhem Land is the home of Australia’s most famous musical instrument – the didgeridoo!

And that’s a wrap! Of our “7 Reasons You MUST Visit the Northern Territory”. We hope you enjoyed reading them and we hope it inspires a trip to this beautiful State that we call home.

And if none of these are reason enough… our unofficial Reason Number 8 is getting to visit The Slappa’s Team in Fannie Bay and buy a pair of Slappa’s Thongs with arch support!

Thongs on!

The Slappa’s Team