Now the weather is getting colder and the good ol’ seasonal depression is kicking in, any excuse to leave the hustle and bustle of Sydney and Melbourne is a perfect one. Thankfully I was able to spend a week up in the Northern Territory’s red centre, soaking up some Vitamin D and kicking all my troubles right in the keister. Folks, I truly cannot recommend it more.
Things are opening back up and travel is back on the cards, and one of the brilliant options available to us now are holidays (remember them?). So when Tourism NT knocked on my email-shaped door and asked if I wanted to head to the red centre I absolutely jumped at the chance.
Little did I know that I would return with my brain fully cleansed. It was like visiting a carwash for the noggin.
So, I’ve compiled a little list of some of the amazing things you can do once your plane touches down in the Northern Territory. Hold on to your Akubra.
Snooze in a swag under the stars
There’s nothing more humbling than waking up in the middle of the night and seeing distant planets winking at you, so I have to recommend Earth Sanctuary: a 100% carbon neutral property smack-bang in the middle of the country.
It was built from the ground up by two brothers and sits on the land of the Arrernte people, traditional owners of Mparntwe (Alice Springs).
It’s one of the few places in the world where you can just look up to the sky and see the milky way in all its glory with your raw eyeballs.
When there, you can opt to stay the night in a comfy-ass swag and sleep directly under the stars. Looking up at the whole fkn galaxy at night really makes you feel like you’re a small part of something so much greater.
Rise into the sky at the same time as the sun
You may not be a morning person but the NT has something in its red dust that makes you excited to open up those eyeballs at around 5am every day. Seeing the sunrise beaming from the horizon amongst a clear sky is just something else, why stay around sleeping when you can witness it?
Better yet, you can have a gander at the orange orb in the sky from the comfort of a hot air balloon. The Tourism NT gang and I hopped in the basket when it was dark and rose into the sky at the same time as the sun.
Friends let me tell you, nothing is going to wash away your worldly worries like getting a mega-blast of sunshine while you’re high off the ground. It’s like super therapy.
Immerse yourself in an Aboriginal cultural experience
On the small patch of land in the Aboriginal community of Wanmarra, you can receive a beautiful cultural showcase at Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience and Tours. Throughout the tour, you’ll hear cultural knowledge about bush medicines, bush tucker, Aboriginal dot painting, art and symbols used by the Luritja and Pertame people of Central Australia.
Absolutely pay this place a visit if you’re going to explore the Northern Territory.
Get your walk on at Kings Canyon
Fancy a three-four hour walk first thing in the morning? Well, you do now.
Catching the sunrise from the top of Kings Canyon is one of the most memorable experiences I had in the NT. Once you get past the treacherous first steps up, the rest of the walk is smooth sailing.
Most of the time you feel like you’re walking on Mars. The colours are incredibly vibrant and the rock formations are something else. Get your hiking boots on friends we (literally) ride at dawn.
Kiss the camels good morning
Again, if you’re not getting up to see the sunrise every morning you are simply missing out. But don’t just walk out of your hotel in the morning with a cup of tea, get on a fkn camel.
The Sunrise Camel Tour is the perfect way to see Uluru, basking in rays of golden light. And for all those selfie-obsessed binches, fear not, for you too will be simply radiant and photo-ready on your camel friend.
My camel’s name was Big Jedd and I think of him every day. A lazy king who didn’t want to stand up. Relatable.
Dine under the stars or see the light
In the immaculate presence of Ulurua you have the option to go on two very different nighttime experiences.
If looking at 50,000 little lights forming a garden sounds like your cup of tea, Bruce Munro‘s art installation Field of Light is for you. Get absolutely lost in the maze of little luminous “seeds” as you walk around before the magnificence that is Uluru at night.
Your other option is the Sound of Silence dining experience, which sees you and all your mates (or a table full of new ones waiting to be met) blissfully eating under the stars. With Uluru behind you and an endless buffet before you, truly nothing can go wrong.
Plus, if you get to these events before sunset, the pic opportunities are simply stunning.
Walk right up to Uluru and Kata Tjuta
I mean, this is what you came to the Northern Territory for, right? Uluru and Kata Tjuta are truly glorious to behold in person, and you’d be a fool not to walk up to them and say hello.
Keep in mind when exploring the beauty of Uluru that the traditional owners, the Aṉangu, ask that you respect the cultural significance of the area you are in. This includes when you are taking photos. Aṉangu asks that photos of Uluru are taken from a distance with wide shots so that the closer details on the north-eastern side of the rock are not exposed.
It is also respectful when photographing Kata Tjuta that you do not photograph sacred markings around the area.
And there you have it folks, just a couple of things that you can do if you head on up to the Northern Territory.
If your brain is in desperate need to escape the hustle and bustle of your current life, I cannot suggest this anymore. Now stop staring at your screen and go touch some red dust!