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The ‘Top End’ of Australia’s Outback Northern Territory collectively refers to its three northern tropical and sub-tropical regions: Darwin, the capital city, World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and remote Arnhem Land, and the Katherine region, further south.
In the Top End, travellers will experience a tropical climate, landscapes dotted with rainforest, gorges, waterfalls and waterholes, water-based adventure, Aboriginal culture and an outdoor lifestyle. The Nature’s Way tourism drive links all these experiences together.
Darwin International Airport is a major gateway to Australia for international flights, offering easy access to and from Europe, North America and Asia. Within Australia, Darwin is four hours’ flying time from most capital cities and is serviced by major domestic airlines. Darwin is also a popular stopover for luxury cruise liners, and the embarkation point for the growing number of expedition cruises exploring the Top End. From Darwin, visitors can access other Top End destinations by hiring a car or campervan, joining a tour, or boarding a bus or light aircraft.
The Top End, which includes Darwin, Kakadu and Arnhem Land, and Katherine, has a tropical climate and two seasons: the 'wet' and the 'dry'. The wet season (November–April) brings high humidity and monsoonal rain and storms, with temperatures from 25C (77F) to 33C (91F). During the dry season (May–October) days are dry and sunny, humidity is low, and nights are cool, with temperatures from 21C (70F) to 32C (90F).
Darwin, the Northern Territory’s tropical capital city, is modern, youthful and multicultural. Thanks to the warm climate, an outdoor lifestyle is enjoyed all year round at open-air cinemas, beachside markets and outdoor festivals.
Nature, culture and adventure are all on Darwin’s doorstep. The waterfalls and waterholes of Litchfield National Park, the colourful Tiwi Islands and the wildlife-rich Mary River floodplains are all close by.
Darwin & Surrounds ‘must dos’:
Three hours’ drive from Darwin in Kakadu National Park you will see important Aboriginal rock art sites and exotic landscapes teeming with wildlife. Explore on foot, join a cruise or guided tour, spot crocodiles and birdlife, swim under waterfalls, and discover an ancient and fascinating Aboriginal culture.
Bounding Kakadu to the north and east, Arnhem Land is one of the Top End's most spectacular natural destinations. Its scenery is beautiful and diverse, with rugged coastlines, remote islands, rivers teeming with fish, monsoon rainforest, towering escarpments and savannah woodland.
Kakadu & Arnhem Land ‘must dos’:
The outback meets the tropics in Katherine, the Northern Territory's third-largest town three hours’ drive south of Darwin. The town is on the banks of the Katherine River, which flows from the nearby Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk National Park).
The Katherine region extends from the Gulf of Carpentaria near the Queensland border towards the Kimberley in the west. Visitors base themselves in Katherine to explore the five distinctive areas within this vast region. Swimming, fishing, canoeing, bushwalking, camping and four-wheel driving are popular activities.
Katherine & Surrounds ‘must dos’: