Top End
Best months:
December to February
LAST UPDATED 11/05/2010
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Roke: Top End in the Northern Territory, 17 January 2007

The Top End is the second northernmost point on the continent of Australia, behind the Cape York Peninsula.

It covers an area of perhaps 400,000 square kilometres bounded by sea on three sides; the Indian Ocean to the west, the Arafura Sea to the north, and the Gulf of Carpentaria to the east), and by the almost waterless semi-arid interior of Australia to the south. 

The Top End is less well-known to the overseas in comparison to the southern part of the Northern Territory, which is referred to by many Australians.


Saltwater Crocodile; J. Patrick Fischer; 19.06.2002

The inconsistency of good swell, the stingers and the snappy crocs don't really encourage people to plan a surf trip to these parts. But if you are insistant on surfing here then you are in need of a tropical cyclone before you are gonna get wet and muddy and some good luck to find a clean peeling wave. 

You should also go equiped with a stinger suit and a big knife or a gun and take a friend to test the water!!!

Consistent surf breaks around the Nightcliffe area duringthe passage of any tropical cyclone. It is very tricky to actually catch it when its clean, but when it does - its on!

Wave starved southerners from QLD and NSW will appear from the mango trees wearing all sorts of clothing designed to deter stingers and crocs whilst riding all form of craft widely classifed under the nomenclature of 'surfboard'. A 12 foot sailboard with the centre keel removed and the hole jammed with wax was probably one of the more creative craft you could expect to go over the falls with  in these waters.

where to stay

Darwin airport; Tourism, NT; 04.01.2007

The main stay area of 'The Top End' is the City of Darwin. Here you'll find everything you need from peaceful camping grounds to make the most of the regions tropical atmosphere. There is also the hustle and bustle of the party obsessed hostels on on Mitchell street or the quiter backpackers of Cullen Bay. If you require a little more refinement you can opt for one of the many self contained apartment choices to the north of the city or one of the more rural bed and breakfasts on the outskirts.

The Esplanade is home to the more top end hotels with excellent views across the bay, which include all the usual luxury facilities.

Most accommodation options will offer free airport transfers, but do check before booking.

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