Famed for its outback desert landscapes, there is so much more to Australia’s Northern Territory than what meets the eye. Not only is it home to a vast desert, known as the Red Centre, and the world-famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), but also a contrast of wetlands, waterfalls, gorges and coastline. The varied landscapes of the Northern Territory also attract a diversity of wildlife.
The Northern Territory therefore has all of the ingredients for a perfect destination for nature lovers, with all kinds of activities and attractions to explore. Here are some of our favourite Northern Territory activities for those seeking out the best of the region’s wildlife and nature.
You can also check out this blog post for even more places to visit in Australia for nature enthusiasts.
Crocodylus Park is one of the biggest attractions in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, found on Australia’s northern coast. It offers the full outback wildlife experience, and features not only crocodiles but also big cats, meerkats, reptiles, monkeys and dingoes. Once a crocodile research and conservation centre, Crocodylus Park is now home to over a thousand crocodiles, and offers daily crocodile feeding tours. Their guided cruise is also a must-do, where you can see the crocs living as they do in the wild as you cruise down the river.
Image: Geoff Whalan
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
Two kilometres north of Darwin City, the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens span over 42 hectares and showcase a variety of north Australian and tropical plant species. Follow the Tree Walk to discover 18 significant tree species found in the gardens, or take the Matboerrma Walk to learn about the many uses the indigenous Larrakia people found for the local plants. Other highlights of the gardens include a waterfall deep in the rainforest, Darwin’s largest ornamental fountain and a collection of baobab trees.
Down in Alice Springs, at the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, you can meet and learn about one of the most popular native Australian animals, the kangaroo, at the Kangaroo Sanctuary. This sprawling 188-acre sanctuary cares for rescued orphan baby kangaroos and adult kangaroos too. As kangaroos mostly sleep during the day, tours here are conducted at sunset, where you can see the red kangaroos as they wake from their slumber and get to know the many interesting characters that live here.
Uluru Camel Tours
See the famous orange and red landscapes of Uluru and the Kata Tjuta National Park in a different light and try this unique camel tour experience. Starting from the largest camel farm in all of Australia near Yulara, where you can meet more than 60 friendly camels, there’s no better way to discover the area than with Uluru Camel Tours. Trek across the desert by camel and take in the views from the sand dune lookout, with several photo opportunities along the way. Sunrise and sunset camel tours are also offered so you can marvel at the changing colours of the desert and sky as the sun rises or sets.
Alice Springs Reptile Centre
If you’re interested in wildlife of the scaly and cold-blooded kind, visit the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, which houses the largest reptile display in Central Australia. Over a hundred reptile species can be found here, with the vast majority immensely difficult to spot in the wild. Among the collection of animals to see are geckos, thorny devils, frill-neck lizards, enormous goannas and some of the world’s most venomous snakes. Watch the lizards being fed, see Terry the saltwater crocodile, or even try handling a python!
Sea Darwin’s Turtle Tracks tour
Sail out from Darwin to the nearby Bare Sand Island for an incredible Turtle Tour with Sea Darwin. These tours are timed especially so you get the very best experience of seeing the resident Flatback and Olive Ridley turtles, who visit the island to nest. As the sun sets, you’ll see turtles emerge from the sea, making their way back up the sandy beach to their nests. You may also be lucky enough to see already nesting turtles and tiny hatchlings, in a stunning environment left entirely as nature intended.
Alice Springs Desert Park
If you’re only in Alice Springs for a short time, be sure to visit the Alice Springs Desert Park to immerse yourself in the desert landscapes and witness the local wildlife in their habitats. Explore dry river beds, dense woodlands and everything in between before venturing into the Nocturnal House to see desert-wandering animals that only come out at night. Local Aboriginal guides will also share their ancient cultures with daily talks and presentations, and regular wildlife shows include red kangaroo feeding and birds in free flight.
Another of the premium attractions in Darwin is Crocosaurus Cove, a must-do experience with a whole host of ways to get up close to Australia’s iconic saltwater crocodiles. See the crocs in action during the Big Croc Feed Show, have a photo taken holding a baby crocodile, have a go at feeding young crocodiles yourself or, for the truly brave, even go swimming with the crocs in the famous Cage of Death. Crocosaurus Cove is also one of Australia’s largest reptile collections; be sure to check out the barramundi, whiprays and archer fish in the freshwater aquarium and watch the turtles drifting around at the Turtle Billabong.
Go wild in Australia’s Northern Territory
Explore these top wildlife and nature attractions for yourself, as well as stunning natural landscapes, National Parks, ancient landmarks and interesting towns with our Essential Australia tour. Visiting Uluru and Alice Springs, you’ll have the day to yourself in Alice Springs to discover the deserts and diversity of wildlife around you. We also have a choice of other Australian tours exploring Darwin alongside other areas of the Northern Territory.
Featured image: Sea Darwin