When you fly across Australia from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide or Cairns – what strikes you most is the vastness of the continent below you, a seemingly never ending landscape, with maybe a few isolated farmhouses and occasional long straight roads. There are no big cities in the centre of Australia, and what towns you do see are quite isolated and long distances from each other. This is the ‘Outback’ – and in many ways it defines Australia as very different to all other countries.
The Northern Territory is Australia’s ‘Top End’ with Darwin, its biggest city having a population of just 130,000 people, with about 10% of the population being of Aboriginal descent. While it is called a Territory, in most ways it is a State of Australia with its own Parliament and identity and its people called “Territorians”.
It is a Territory of big contrasts – with tropical wetlands, birdlife and crocodiles in its north near Darwin and along the coastline and vast deserts in the south. It is also hot and dry in the south, and hot and wet in the north – when the wet season (October to April) sees massive thunder and lightning shows and possible cyclones hit the coast.
Everything is BIG in the Territory – with big cattle properties covering not just acres of land, but square kilometres; big CROCS; road trains, big distances and long straight roads that run to the horizon. It takes 22 hours to drive from Darwin to Uluru in the south and so you need to plan your trip well to make the most of your stay – but it is worth it.
In many ways, the Northern Territory is one of the world’s last frontiers – a place where you feel the vastness of distance.
For many city people, who are used to being surrounded by people, this can be quite daunting, but in other ways quite exhilarating too – in the day, but also at night when the total darkness on a clear night brings the night sky to life with a million stars overhead.
In setting out to provide you with information about the Northern Territory we hope that by adding to your knowledge of the Territory and it makes your journey more interesting.