Our Travels: Darwin and NT, Australia

What does the World Words team do when we get some precious time off from writing about travel? Well, we go travelling. No matter the season, it’s safe to say at least one of us will be off on an adventure somewhere exciting. Through the Our Travels blog series, we share our travel stories with the wider world (recently, we have covered Andorra, Laos and Western Crete, and you’ll find many more destinations in the Our Travels section of our blog).

This month, it’s the turn of our writer and editor Eilidh to share a story from her recent trip ‘down under’. Scroll on down to read all about her wildlife-packed experiences in the Northern Territory (or ‘NT’, as the cool kids call it)…

Eilidh (far right) with her partner's family in Kakadu National Park.
Eilidh (far right) with her partner and his family in Kakadu National Park.

Why I went to the Northern Territory
Destinations with plentiful nature and wildlife within easy reach are always the ones that call to me the loudest. Australia’s Northern Territory is home to incredible biodiversity, with its tropical climate offering ideal conditions for all kinds of plant and animal life to flourish. As if that wasn’t enough, my partner’s family had recently moved to the territory’s capital, Darwin, and wanted to join us on a road trip through the vast reaches of Kakadu National Park.

My highlight of the trip
Memorable sights weren’t exactly in short supply on this trip; the landscape of the Northern Territory was unlike any I’d ever experienced before. Perhaps the most striking spot I visited was Ubirr, a dramatic rock formation in Kakadu National Park. Its craggy overhangs shelter beautiful Aboriginal rock paintings, some of which date back thousands of years. After climbing to the flat top of the rocks, we were rewarded with one of loveliest sunsets I’ve ever seen. On one side, dramatic rock formations rose from a scrubby, arid landscape; on another, noisy flocks of cockatoos flew over lush grasslands. All was bathed in soft, orange light as the sun dropped below the horizon.

What else I love about the Northern Territory
I’ve been to few other destinations where wildlife feels so close at hand at all times. Even in suburban Darwin, sightings of cockatoos, lorikeets and fruit bats were commonplace. In Kakadu National Park, we went on a boat trip where the enormous crocodiles basking along the river banks were so numerous that they quickly become just part of the furniture. In Katherine, a town just south of the park, we stumbled across a bowerbird hard at work on his astonishingly intricate bower (a large structure made of grass, sticks, and various bright objects), built at the edge of a car park. It’s rare that the boundaries between the human world and the natural one seem so porous.

Of course, nature wasn’t the only attraction. Darwin is a major city, and offered us the chance to take in plenty of culture, including the superb Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory with its focus on Aboriginal artists.

A view from Ubirr, in Kakadu National Park.
A view from Ubirr, a dramatic rock formation in Kakadu National Park.

Why you should go
The Northern Territory is a dream destination for anyone who places nature high on their list of priorities when planning a trip. With its large international airport, Darwin makes an easy starting point for road trips out into the surrounding wildernesses – as well as having many attractions of its own. The territory is also an excellent place to enjoy Aboriginal culture, with Aboriginal people tracing their roots here back for millennia.

How you can visit
Flying to Australia from anywhere in the northern hemisphere is always a bit of an undertaking. For this trip, we made the decision to break up the long journey and enjoy a few days in Singapore. From here, Jetstar has fast and affordable direct flights to Darwin. Other airlines that operate at Darwin include Qantas and Virgin Australia.

In Darwin itself, it’s possible to get around the central areas by public transport (bus). But when it’s time to get out of the city and into nature, a car is a must. That way, you can enjoy those open roads and huge skies to the full.

If you’d like to read a selection of our client work on Australia (and Oceania as a whole), head to our projects page. Looking for more top notch travel content? Follow us on Twitter for all the latest news and travel titbits.

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