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Contrasts of Northern Territory Tour

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The Northern Territory offers contrasting landscapes of red deserts, clear waterholes, and tropical wetlands. This 5 day escape is exactly that, taking you into some of the most remote landscapes on earth. From the cultural melting pot of Darwin, journey into Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks and connect with the oldest living culture on Earth. Witness crocodiles in their natural habitat, be dwarfed by Magnetic Termite Mounds and see how the local Aboriginal communities have lived and thrived for thousands of years.

Aboriginal cultureAdventureFamily touringNational parksWildlife & nature
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Self Drive Tour

This suggested tour costs from AUD$1,937 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Darwin, finishes in Darwin

5 days/4 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Rental car included

 Viewed 44 times in the last 7 days

Tour full itinerary
ITINERARY
Contrasts of Northern Territory Tour - Day 1
Choose your style of rental vehicle

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. From economy hatchbacks to SUVs, we can help you decide on a car suitable for this leg of your trip. Insurance can often be included with a small excess or deductible.

Arrive into Darwin

Welcome to the Northern Territory's unhurried capital, Darwin. The city is a melting pot of cultures, with rich Aboriginal connections to country as well as strong Asian influences in its cuisine, thanks to its close proximity to Asia. Spend a balmy night at the buzzing night markets, see crocodiles up close, or slow things down with a cruise on the harbour.

Darwin Waterfront Precinct - suggestion

The Waterfront Precinct is Darwin's entertainment and dining hub, located within close proximity from Smith Street Mall and the Esplanade. Swim in the man-made (and protected) recreational beach, or take a plunge in the popular Wave Lagoon. This attraction rolls out 10 different wave patterns every 20 minutes, startling with gentle swells before increasing to waves up to 1.2 metres high. There are plenty of sun loungers and shady areas to hang out, or continue to explore the many eateries and bars surrounding the waterfront. Stokes Hill Wharf is a short walk away, and offers plenty of alfresco eateries and entertainment.

Your accommodation: Ramada Suites By Wyndham Zen Quarter Darwin

The Ramada Suites by Wyndham Zen Quarter is located in the heart of the city, with restaurants and activities all within walking distance. Experience spectacular 360 degree views of Darwin from the top of the rooftop lounge of the hotel while enjoying complimentary canapes every evening. Enjoy the incredible amenities of Zen Quarter, including a 28m outdoor pool.

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Contrasts of Northern Territory Tour - Day 2
Kakadu National Parks Pass

The Kakadu National Parks Pass allows entry to explore ancient sites such as Ubirr, Jim Jim Falls, Burrunkguy and Maguk. You will be required to keep your Kakadu National Parks accessible when within the National Park and produce to Park Rangers upon request.

Darwin to Cooinda Lodge via Burrungkuy

Set off from Darwin eastbound towards Humpty Doo and keep an eye out for the Big Boxing Crocodile as you travel along the highway. After about 32km, you will reach the town of Wak Wak, where you can join a Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise. Seize the opportunity to get up close and personal with these giant, prehistoric creatures from the safety of your boat. This one hour cruise will take you out on the Adelaide River and entice crocodiles up to 6 metres long to jump. If you're interested in learning more about the local culture, head down the road to the family-run Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours where you will learn about local bush food and medicine, weaving, spear throwing, and playing the didgeridoo.
When you are ready, continue travelling east on Arnhem Highway. Mary River National Park is a beautiful wetland reserve located down the road from Wak Wak. Bird lovers will be spoiled with the diversity of species living here and will have plenty of opportunities to spot them while cruising the billabongs. For the anglers out there you can also enjoy world-class fishing, with the opportunity to catch barramundi, getting up to 1.4m in length!
From here it is a very straightforward drive to Jabiru, the main township of Kakadu National Park. Before leaving town, stop at Bowali Visitor Centre and get some great local tips on what you can do and see in the region. There is also beautiful art on display at the Marrawuddi Gallery before journeying south to explore the Yellow Water and Mary River regions of Kakadu.
Your first stop is to Burrungkuy (Nourlangie), where you will find a painting of the culturally important creation ancestor Namarrgon (Lightning Man). From the carpark, take the walking track to see the painting. If time allows, explore some of the other scenic walks that showcase the biodiversity and beautiful landscapes that make up this part of the Arnhem Land escarpment.
Continue on the Kakadu Highway towards Cooinda Lodge. If you have extra time in the region and you are looking for some hikes to do, the Mirray Lookout Trail is a shop and steep track not far from Burrungkuy. Those who complete it will be rewarded with some expansive 360 degree views of the park. The 2km track takes a moderately fit person 1.5 hours to complete. Be sure to have adequate sun protection, sturdy footwear, and lots of water as it can get very hot here, particularly in October and November leading up to monsoon season.
While you are in Cooinda, doing a Yellow Water Cruise is a must-do. Cruising along the beautiful billabong to find sea eagles, jacanas, brolgas, crocodiles, and buffalo.
In the afternoon, you may choose to travel to East Alligator River and jump on the Guluyambi Cultural Cruise with a local Aboriginal Guide. After, head to Ubirr and walk the short route past incredible rock art dating up to 40,000 years before reaching the top of Ubirr Rock and enjoying the stunning display of colours in the sky as the sun sets over Kakadu National Park. 

Cooinda

The small township of Cooinda sits 300km from Darwin, within Kakadu National Park. Home to the South Alligator River and close to Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Rock, Cooinda is bustling with culture and landscapes incomparable to anywhere else in the world. Native residents include water buffalo, crocodiles and Brolgas, making the Yellow Water Cruise an exciting activity for all visitors. Stop at Warradjan Cultural Centre and learn of the local Bininj people and browse one of the most incredible displays of Aboriginal art available for purchase.

Yellow Water Cruise

Cruise Kakadu's most famous wetland and see the billabong come alive. Located at the end of the Jim Jim Creek, Yellow Water is part of the South Alligator River system. This river system is unique as it is included in its entirety within a UNESCO World Heritage listed National Park.
Kakadu is home to over 280 different species of birds being around a third of the bird species found in Australia. Kakadu National Park has such a large footprint that multiple ecosystems and habitats exist within its border providing a home for the many species that live in the Park.

Your accommodation: Cooinda Lodge

The village-style property is located beneath a canopy of trees beside Yellow Water Billabong, home to world-renowned Yellow Water Cruises, where crocodiles and birds are seen on the flood plain amongst Paperbark, Pandanus, and Fresh Water Mangroves. With its oasis style atmosphere, Cooinda Lodge offers an inviting shaded swimming pool, bistro-style dining, bars, petrol station, and a store that offers locally-made crafts as well a wide range of essentials for touring.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 315 kms / 195 miles : 3.4 hours

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Contrasts of Northern Territory Tour - Day 3
Cooinda to Darwin

Head north back to Jabiru, before turning off to go west on the Arnhem Highway past the Mamukala Wetlands and Mary River National Park as you head towards Darwin. If you're interested in learning more about the local culture, head down the road to the family-run Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours where you will learn about local bush food and medicine, weaving, spear throwing, and playing the didgeridoo.
Your journey ends in Darwin, a city full of contrasts with Asian-influenced food and its unique tropical lifestyle. While you're here, take time to learn about the history of Darwin's recovery after it was bombed in 1942 during World War II, and when Cyclone Tracy ripped through the city in 1974.

Crocosaurus Cove - General Admission

Be introduced to the World’s largest display of Australian reptiles and some of the largest Saltwater Crocodiles in the world, right in the heart of Darwin City. Crocosaurus Cove is passionate about showcasing the huge array of reptiles found primarily in the Top End of Australia. Meet a variety of critters that you are likely to encounter at various times of the year across the Kimberley, Kakadu & Litchfield National Parks and Arnhem Land regions and further afield to the Central Australian desert. It is these unique landscapes that are home to the many varieties of species that you will encounter at Crocosaurus Cove. From the freshwater aquarium’s Barramundi, Whipray & Turtles to 70 reptile species on display in the Reptile House and the active juvenile crocodiles in the Fishing for Crocs area, Crocosaurus Cove provides the perfect introduction to your Northern Territory adventure.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Charles Darwin Dinner Cruise with Darwin Harbour Cruises

With beautiful views of the Top End city, there is no better way to experience Darwin’s renowned sunsets than on board the Charles Darwin. Enjoy a Territory-style dinner with fresh seafood and local produce. This two and a half hour cruise is the perfect way to experience Darwin’s world-famous sunsets.

Your accommodation: Ramada Suites By Wyndham Zen Quarter Darwin

The Ramada Suites by Wyndham Zen Quarter is located in the heart of the city, with restaurants and activities all within walking distance. Experience spectacular 360 degree views of Darwin from the top of the rooftop lounge of the hotel while enjoying complimentary canapes every evening. Enjoy the incredible amenities of Zen Quarter, including a 28m outdoor pool.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 292 kms / 182 miles : 3.1 hours

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Contrasts of Northern Territory Tour - Day 4
Darwin to Litchfield National Park

Just a 1.5-hour drive from Darwin lies Litchfield National Park. Get up early and pack a picnic and your swimwear to make the most of your day by exploring the highlights of this incredible national park.
Heading towards Batchelor, your first stop will be one of Litchfield’s most impressive sights, the Magnetic Termite Mounds. These stand up to two metres (6.5 feet) high and can be more than 100 years old. Stop by the nearby information centre to learn about the fascinating creates that build these natural structures.
Just ten minutes further down the road will bring you to Florence Falls, your first chance to pop in for a swim or to dip your feet in the refreshing water today. From the Florence Falls car park, walk just three minutes to a viewing platform that offers breathtaking views over the gorge and pools below. Continue down the staircase to be met with a crystal-clear plunge pool, along with two cascading waterfalls – they’re especially impressive after the wet season ends in April.
From Florence Falls, choose between driving a few minutes down the road, or taking the 3.2-kilometre (two-mile) walking track that connects to Buley Rockhole. Buley Rockhole is a series of natural pools that flow from one to the next.
The next stop is the one waterfall not to be missed in Litchfield, Wangi Falls. Located 25 minutes drive from Buley Rockhole, the falls are home to a picnic area and a café, but what makes this place a must-do is its incredible natural beauty. Two breathtaking waterfalls plunge over the rock escarpments and splash into the waterhole below. From Wangi it is a one and a half hour drive back to Darwin.

Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, Darwin - suggestion

Head to the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets on a Thursday or Sunday evening, to browse a wide selection of local and handmade goods or taste some of the best food in the city. With over 200 stallholders, the Mindil Markets is a cultural melting pot which is bound to satisfying your appetite. Try grilled crocodile or a buffalo burger, then sit on the foreshore of Mindil Beach and witness one of the most stunning sunsets you have ever seen.

Your accommodation: Ramada Suites By Wyndham Zen Quarter Darwin

The Ramada Suites by Wyndham Zen Quarter is located in the heart of the city, with restaurants and activities all within walking distance. Experience spectacular 360 degree views of Darwin from the top of the rooftop lounge of the hotel while enjoying complimentary canapes every evening. Enjoy the incredible amenities of Zen Quarter, including a 28m outdoor pool.
Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 279 kms / 173 miles : 3.5 hours

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Contrasts of Northern Territory Tour - Day 5
Return your vehicle to Darwin airport

Explore more of Darwin before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

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