Australia National Parks

Northern Territory

Top End

124 mi/200 km north east of Darwin.

Aboriginal land and wilderness resort. Activities: birdwatching, boating, bushwalking, camping, flights. No swimming. Best time to visit: July - October

Kakadu National Park
155 mi/250 km east of Darwin.

A World Heritage-listed region noted for its magnificent escarpments, vast wetlands teaming with wildlife, and ancient Aboriginal rock art (more than 1000 sites have been recorded). Major sites are at Ubirr (Obiri Rock) and Nourlangie Rock, both accessible by road. Accommodation in Kakadu ranges from camping and caravan sites to bungalows, motels and a four-star hotel. Cruises operate along the South Alligator River and Yellow Waters Lagoon. Day and extended tours by coach, 4WD and light aircraft operate from Darwin. Best time to visit: April - October.

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Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge)
19 mi/3 1 km north east of Katherine.
River canyons, cruises through Katherine Gorge. Activities: bushwalking, canoeing and flights. Best time to visit: May - September.

Red Centre

Emily & Jessie Gaps
7 mi/1 1 km east of Alice Springs.
Features river vegetation, wildflowers and Aboriginal paintings. Activities: birdwatching, picnicking and swimming. Best time to visit: April - October

Finke Gorge
96 mi/1 54 km west of Alice Springs.
Features rare prehistoric plants in desert oasis. Activities: bushwalking and picnicking. Best time to visit: April - October

Ormiston Gorge and Pound
82 mi/ 132 km west of Alice Springs.
Features deep gorge and waterhole and multi-coloured ridges. Activities: bushwalking, camping and picnicking. Best time to visit: April -October

Simpsons Gap
11 mi/ 18 km west of Alice Springs.
Features spectacular rocky gaps. Activities: bush-walking. Best time to visit: April- October.

Uluru (Ayers Rock/Mt Olga) National Park
280 mi/450 km south-west of Alice Springs.
Within this vast park are many Aboriginal sacred sites and famous rock formations. The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) are a dramatic series of 36 head-like rock formations which stand up to 546 meters (1791 feet) high. Also in the park is Uluru (Ayers Rock), the world's biggest monolith and an Aboriginal sacred site. Short and extended tours leave Alice Springs by coach and air. Ayers Rock Resort, on the edge of the park, has accommodation ranging from camping grounds to international standard hotels. Activities: base walking tours, photography, rock climbing. Note: On windy days, or when the temperature is expected to reach 100 degrees F, the rock is closed to climbers 10am-4pm. Best time to visit: April - October.

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Watarrka (kings Canyon)
200 mi/322 km south-west of Alice Springs.

Features deep waterholes, caves, gorges from ancient rivers, and ferns. Activities: birdwatching, bushwalking and climbing. Besttime to visit: April - September.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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