Northern Territory
Best months:
December to February

Northern Territory

LAST UPDATED 07/01/2008
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Snowdog: Map of Australia highlighting Nothern Territory; 30 December 2005

Nothern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, that occupies much of the center of the mainland continent. It borders Western Australia to the west and South Australia to the south. Darwin is the capital city.

The islands of Bathurst and Melville to the north come under the Tiwi Land Council so obtain permission from the local peoples of this area before landing there. The west coasts of these islands see good beachbreaks during the cyclone months, the difficulty is catching it all when it's clean. The Tiwi's are a unique part of Australia, rarely will you not be allowed to visit but if you are, try and do some good around the island, don't amake an arse of yourself and spoil it for the rest of us.


NASA: Tiwi Islands, Northern Territiry, Australia; 2005

Surfing in the Northern Territory is a very fickle thing indeed. No regular swell trains ply these waters. A few of the scattered reefs to the north west pick up heavily refracted Indian Ocean swell curving up from the WA coast but that's about the strength of it. Instead you are at the mercy of infrequent and very unpredictable Tropical Cyclone activity. The capital Darwin sees it's share of muddy 3 footers during this period in the Summer. Surfing is all done in full lycra suits due to the presence of stingers in the water. Unfortunately a lycra suit isn't going to do much against 3 metre crocodiles that regularly ply these waters but hey, circle of life..all that stuff.



Dhum Dhum: Driving hazards - a semi trailer and a road victim; 16 August 2003

There are two common ways of travelling in Australia: by car or by plane. Train can be an option, but not all states have a public rail network. Greyhound Australia provides a nation-wide (except Tasmania) interstate bus service. And there is a car ferry that departs from Melbourne and goes to Devonport in Tasmania.

The country is huge, so if don’t have enough time, take a plane. Fares are generally low, due to the amount of competition, and flights depart regularly. Main business travel corridor is Melbourne-Sydney-Brisbane with flights leaving every 15 minutes. You’ll be able to get to every state with Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue or Regional Express. There also are some small state-based airlines that serve regional areas: Airnorth, Skywest, O’Connor Airlines and MacAir Airlines.   

Travelling by car is a great option as well, especially to those who want to see and feel the country from he inside. Australia has a well-maintained system of roads and highways and drives 'on the left'. Keep in mind that great distances separate its cities and after leaving one of them, you can sometimes expect to travel for hours before finding the next trace of civilisation. So it’s a good idea to hire a satellite phone in case of emergency. The shortest distance would be from Sydney to Canberra – just 3-3.5 hours (~300 km). But it is a truly magnificent experience to hire a car and travel around the coast of Australia (check the Great Ocean Road), which you won’t forget.

where to stay

SchuminWeb: Rockingham Hall Exterior; 7 March 2006

Your final decision really depends on your preferences and budget. If you like camping, there are a lot of those in every state of Australia. And there is a great option for those, who still prefers some comfort, but the budget is limited, – Hotel Formule1. These hotels have absolutely the same basic and very clean rooms (for 3 people) in all the cities (so you know what to expect) and can be found in Sydney (NSW), Coffs Harbour (NSW), Melbourne (VIC), Canberra (ACT) and Brisbane (QLD).  Rates can start from AU$59.00 per room/per night and conditions are usually better than in the numerous motels along the highways (where you will probably spend about AU$100 per room/per night).
There are nice caravan parks (van/trailer parks) with on site cabins in WA, as well as in most states (usually you will see the signs if you drive on the highway). Prices range from AUS$25.00 to AUS$50.00. They are very comfortable and have cooking facilities and a refrigerator. The extra price will provide you with some more comfort.
Cable Beach Backpackers is another nice place in WA with clean and spacious rooms, bathrooms and kitchens, just a few minutes walk from Cable Beach in Broome. Also try Augusta YHA – a very affordable and clean hostel in a brand new building.
And of course, there are all the luxurious hotels, where you can enjoy the best service. But basically for all the states the rule would be the same – there are numerous motels, hostels, caravan parks and camping sites near the surf spots, so you’ll definitely find something.

what to pack

Flashdance: A pair of very simple Moroccan flip flops; 25 May 2007

As the rest of Australia, summer can be very hot and winter can be extremely cold. Be prepared for all weather changes as global warming has made the weather very unpredictable.

Bring along sneakers, thongs, loose clothing for the hot days and jackets for the cooler days/nights. 

As it is very hot and dry in NT, you probably take just one warm thing. But take a good protection for your camera from the sand. Good protection from the sun is very important.

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