Despite its enormous size, the Northern Territory is the most sparsely populated of all Australian states and territories. Only a couple of hundred thousand people live in an area that covers one and a half million square miles. It’s twice the size of France and six times the size of the UK.
Most of the territory’s population live in Darwin, where our journey begins. The most northern city of Australia is an important hub of trade, commerce, defence and culture. It also acts as the country’s launching pad to Asia and is closer to Bali than to Sydney.
The World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park is the largest in Australia, covering twelve and a half thousand square miles nearly half the size of Switzerland. This magnificent land is co-managed between Parks Australia and Aboriginal people, descendants of those who have lived here for more than fifty thousand years. Aborigines here have a deep spiritual connection with the land that dates back to the world’s Creation in their culture.
Kakadu is home to a sublime collection of flora and fauna. Around two thousand types of plant, from coastal mangroves to open woodland and billabongs, hold a fascinating selection of birds and mammals.
Crocodiles are apex predators that have existed since dinosaurs walked the earth, and are greatly respected by the people who live and work here today. Crocodiles stalk their prey from just below the surface of the water, waiting for the perfect time to strike. But despite dominating the rivers and the coast, they attract tourists from all over the world who come to see these magnificent beasts in the wild.
Arnhem Land is the last great Aboriginal reserve, home to around seventeen thousand Aboriginal people living in outstations scattered throughout this overwhelmingly large, remote corner of the Territory. These people live in a blend of European-style Australian life and traditional Aboriginal culture.
Arnhem Land provides a wealth of opportunities to explore the oldest continuing civilisation on Earth. Rock art that dates back to sixty thousand years, traditionally made baskets and indigenous paintings are all part of this rich tapestry of indigenous life in the Northern Territory.
It’s a similar story in the city of Alice Springs. A vibrant oasis of culture, Alice Springs is the gateway to the outback, Australia’s Red Centre. Standing proudly in stark contrast with the bright, sunburned desert, Alice Springs is a green, tranquil home for over twenty thousand people. It seems a strange place to find a city. Pleasant cafes, busy museums and fashionable bars aren’t the usual images conjured by thinking of outback Central Australia, but the Alice is the bustling centre of a huge range of events, festivals, shows, museums and galleries.
But Alice Springs is known as the gateway to the outback for a reason. For tourists and locals alike, Alice Springs is the beginning of the road to some of the most incredible natural wonders in the whole of Australia.
Uluru (Ayers Rock) is a magnificent geological formation is, for many, the symbol of Australia itself. Situated in the heart of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is an area of enormous cultural significance for the local indigenous people.
Uluru is the largest single monolith in the world. This huge sandstone formation is held in high regard by Aboriginal people not just locally but all across Australia. The shapes in the rock have been the subject of Creation stories in Aboriginal culture known as the Dreamtime for thousands of years. Thrilling stories about animals, bad spirits and early Aboriginal people are still told by elders today.
Uluru is a sacred place, the Mecca of Australian Aboriginals. The nearby cultural information centre receives letters from previous visitors people who have taken a stone or a rock from Uluru and then suffered bad fortune in their work or personal lives. These people have then returned the rock to Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park along with a letter of apology, believing that taking the rock in the first place has been the cause of their misfortune.
Kata Tjuta, or ‘The Olgas’, is a group of thirty-six domed sandstone rocks thought to be around five hundred million years old. The mesmerising shapes and ochre colour have captivated locals and travellers for generations. In the local language, Kata Tjuta means “many heads”. The area is still managed by indigenous people today, with Aboriginal guides and rangers working alongside white Australians to preserve the geological and cultural importance of this remarkable place.
We hope you enjoyed this video titled Australia’s Northern Territory: From Oceans to Outback. Though our video guides are designed to provide further insight into what it might be like to live in the state of Western Australia, we’re hopeful that this video will also help you to choose places to visit (or even call home) when living in Australia.
Have you visited Australia’s Northern Territory before?
Have you visited any of the locations featured in our video before? What did you think? Would you go back? Could you live there?
We’d love to hear your views so please share these in our comments below.