Sunday, September 15, 2013

Australia 2013 | 10 Things to See and Do in Northern Territory #NTAustraliaSG

My outback adventure to Northern Territory helped to awaken my soul and heart. There is something amazing about being in the quietness of the outback or swimming in sparkling waterfalls that help to clear your mind of all the burdens of city-living and feel liberated.

Yiwei said I took a lot of emo photos during this trip.. and I guess it's true, because it's hard not to feel emotional when you've seen one of the most beautiful places in the world! You become alive and realise that life should not be lived in monotony. Every up, and every down, should be embraced and every challenge fully accepted.

I've been doing some soul-searching since we returned and although I may not have the same devil-may-care attitude as when I was younger, I'm seeing the world in a new light now and I'm terribly, terribly excited about things to come. If you are looking for a way to awaken your soul and heart too, take a look at the 10 Things to See and Do in Northern Territory below {not in any particular order}. Darwin is just 4.5 hours flight away from Singapore, so it's not that far away, really!

When you make this journey of self-discovery, I'd love to hear about it too. xox

1. Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
It features collection of the region's art, natural science, history and culture. Encompassing Aboriginal art and culture, arts and craft from the SEA and Pacific regions, maritime archaeology and local history. Early on Christmas morning 1974, Darwin was hit by a tropical weather depression that was given the name Cyclone Tracy. The museum also includes a touching Cyclone Tracy exhibit showing its devastating impact, and how the people of Darwin picked up their lives to continue on.

Free admission. Open daily.

2. Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise
An hour from Darwin on the Arnhem Highway on the way to Kakadu, you can cruise down the Adelaide River and see territorial crocodiles jump for their food at close range, as well as the abundance of birds and wildlife in this area.

Adults A$35, Child {aged 4-14} A$20. Cruises depart daily at 9am, 11am, 1pm & 3pm.

3. Kakadu National Park
About 3.5 hours drive away from Darwin. Rock shelters, stone tools, grindstones and ochre quarries in Kakaku are reminders that Aboriginal people have lived in this area for over 50,000 years. Kakadu's cultural significance is a major attraction for visitors. Aboriginal dreamtime legends and images of daily life are presented through rock art at Ubirr and Nourlangie Rock. The trekking may be too strenuous for young kids though. 

Adults A$25, free for kids aged 16 and below. Open daily.

4. Yellow River Cruise
Located within Kakadu, the cruise takes you on a discovery tour through its most famous wetland, Yellow Water Billabong, and the South Alligator Tributary. During the 1.5 - 2 hours cruise, experienced guides offer insights into this ancient wetland, including the birdlife, flora, crocodiles and historic human habitation. Don't forget your binoculars or cameras!

Adults A$72 - A$99, Child {aged 5-15} A$50 - A$70. Cruises depart 6.45am, 9am, 11.30am, 1.15pm, 2.45pm, 4.30pm.

5. Litchfield National Park
About 2 hours drive from Darwin, the park is home to the Aboriginal Wagait people. Crystal clear swimming holes and pleasant bushwalking trails make the park a favourite among Darwin locals and visitors alike. The majority of major attractions are accessible by two-wheel drive, while some remote attractions are accessible only by four-wheel drive. Must-see attractions are Magnetic Termite Mounds, Wangi Falls, Buley Rockhole, Florence Falls and Bamboo Creek Tin Mine.

Free admission but camping fees apply. Open daily.

6. Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park
Experience Australia's famous icon, Uluru {Ayers Rock}, discover the mysterious domes of Kata Tjuta {the Olgas} and hear ancient stories of the Aboriginal people here. You must not miss out the sunrise or sunset at Uluru. It will probably be one of the most breathtaking things you will ever do. Uluru is a sacred place for the Aboriginal Anangu people and out of respect, please don't climb it {even though it is possible}. 

Adult A$25 {valid for 3 days}, free for kids aged 15 and below.

7. Sounds of Silence
An unforgettable 4-hours dining experience and introduction to Aboriginal culture under the outback sky with Uluru in the background. Dinner is a bush tucker inspired buffet that incorporates native bush ingredients such as crocodile, kangaroo, barramandi and quandong. After dinner, listen to the silence of the night and decode the southern starry night sky.

Adult A$185, Child {aged 10-12} A$92.50. Open daily. 

8. Crocosaurus Cove
Located in the heart of Darwin City and walking distance from most major accommodation, there's a daily program of feeding shows and activities. Highlights include swimming with the crocodiles in the Cage of Death,  world's largest display of Australian reptiles, petting snakes and reptiles and taking photos with baby crocodiles.

Adults A$32, Child {aged 4-15} A$26. Open daily, except Christmas Day.

9. Alice Springs School of the Air
Visit a uniquely Australian school and take a virtual journey in "The World's Largest Classroom", which is more than 1.3 million km² big {more than 10 times the size of England!} to learn about this distance education organisation involving teachers, support staff, parents and home tutors for isolated students in the area. You might even observe a live class session taking place if you visit during school hours.

Adults A$7.50, Child A$5. Open daily, except Christmas Day through to New Years Day {inclusive} and on Good Friday.

10. Flea Markets
You'll be amazed by the fine selection of creative art & services, as well as intoxicated by the flavours and aroma of delicious international cuisine in the local markets. Take a walk here to talk to the friendly stall owners and learn more about their culture and handicrafts. At Mindil Beach Market, you can also relax and watch the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of colour as the sun sets over the horizon.

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets - Free admission. Every Thursday and Sunday {May - Oct}.
Nightcliff Village Market - Free admission. Every Sunday {All year round}.
Parap Village Market - Free admission. Every Saturday {All year round}.
Rapid Creek Big Flea Market - Free admission. Every Sunday {All year round}.
Berry Springs Markets - Free admission. Last Sunday every month {All year round}.

More details on some of these places will be in my upcoming NT travel posts :) Look out for a chance to win a trip to NT yourself too!

* Disclosure: My Ultimate Australia Outback Adventure trip was sponsored by Tourism NT, thanks to No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

 photo pen-pal-whizz--bundle-multimodal-kids-education-play-learn-singapore-review-giveaway_zps3fd59538.jpg



EssentiallyJess said...

So glad you got to experience the best of the territory.
I haven't been to Uluru since I was a kid but would love to visit again. Maybe next time we drive south :)

maureen said...

lovely guide! aussie is so beautiful!

mail4rosey said...

Everything sounds great. I'm wondering how close the crocs get to you on the river cruise. We used to canoe in Florida and alligators were right beside us. It didn't bother me then, not sure I'd do it now. :) I think I'm getting more cautious in my old age.

Ai Sakura said...

Jess: felt so blessed during the whole trip :) you live in a beautiful part of the world xo

Maureen: it is it is!

mail4rosey: they came right up to our boat!! but it was quite a big boat so I wasn't too scared ;p

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing your top ten list. I agree that being back to nature really makes one more contemplative of life. Glad you had some soul time for yourself on this trip.

Theresa Mahoney said...

What an amazing adventure you had Ai! That croc jumping pic is so cool, though I would probably freak out having one jump out of the water like that!

Harry Flashman said...

That trip to Australia looked like fun. I would not have gone in the crocodile waters though. I'm sorry I never went to Australia when I was stationed in Okinawa, but I did see Korea and Japan and the Philippines.

Many years ago I went to a year long officers school at Quantico, Va. My "team mate" , the foreign officer I was paired up with, was from Singapore. His name was Chew Wing Li, and he was a good guy. I've never been to Singapore though. Maybe some day my wife and I will make the trip.

Stacy said...

Wow what a trip. The rates in AUD converted to my weak currency would kill!

An Apel a Day said...

WOW! I bet your trip was amazing! I've never been there before. It looks so fun though!

Unknown said...

I have LOVED following along with your posts and facebooks online. So happy for you that you got to experience the down under ;) hehe. I used to always want to go there when I was younger...until I heard about all the big spiders and weird animals LOL. It sure looks beautiful!!

Unknown said...

Looks like an amazing trip ! the NT is on my list of places to visit!