In Short Breaks on Sunday 19th May, 2019

3 reasons to tick the NT off your bucket list this winter

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Nightcliff Beach in Darwin is just as scenic in winter as it is in summer. Source: Getty.

If you’re planning to winter in Australia instead of flying off for a European summer, look no further than up north. Home to some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks, such as Uluru and Kakadu National Park, the Northern Territory is amazing all year round, but winter is definitely the best time for travel.

Forget curling up and staying inside – the cooler season is actually the perfect time to get out and about and discover the many wonders of the Top End, the Red Centre and everything in between. Here’s three reasons why:

1. The weather is perfect for sightseeing in comfort

Summer in the northern parts of the NT is perfect for those who love a tropical getaway, but if you are not used to humidity then travelling in winter may be more comfortable for you.

Winter days in the NT are still warm and sunny, while the nights are crisp and clear. (It’s also a lot more enjoyable for visitors coming from cooler countries, so if you are planning a trip with overseas relatives, winter is definitely a great time to bring them to the NT.) Darwin, Kakadu and Litchfield typically see comfortable temperatures of 21°C – 32°C, but if you plan to visit Alice Springs, Uluru and Kings Canyon, bring a jacket – the mercury drops to 3°C – 20°C.

While the days are sunny, the crisp winter nights at Uluru can drop below zero. Be sure to dress warmly for sunrise and sunset activities. Source: Getty.
While the days are sunny, the crisp winter nights at Uluru can drop below zero. Be sure to dress warmly for sunrise and sunset activities. Source: Getty.

2. The wildlife is at its most spectacular

A trip to the NT wouldn’t be complete without getting up close and personal with some of Australia’s wonderful wildlife. The NT is well-known for its crocs in the Top End – Darwin has an entire tourist attraction devoted to these animals – and kangaroos in the Red Centre, but did you also know that it is home to almost half of all the bird species found in Australia?

Kakadu National Park’s wetlands are best for bird-watching, especially in late winter (August through to October). The low water levels mean that vast numbers of water birds congregate on the few remaining water bodies. Yellow Water, one of the park’s best-known landmarks, is a must for keen bird enthusiasts – you might be lucky enough to spot the banded fruit dove, chestnut-quilled rock pigeon, sandstone shrike-thrush and white-lined honeyeater.

If you want to see some wildlife without straying far from town, you can get up close and personal with Red Centre animals at the Alice Springs Desert Park. Only 10 minutes from the Alice Springs CBD, the park is home to iconic Aussie animals like the red kangaroo, emu, wedge-tailed eagle and bilby, among many others. You can also learn about the park’s conservation efforts and extensive work with endangered species.

Rock wallabies are just some of the amazing animals you can spot in the NT’s outback. Source: Getty.
Rock wallabies are just some of the amazing animals you can spot in the NT’s outback. Source: Getty.

Read more: Tempted to explore the NT? You have so many options!

3. The NT’s best events take place in winter

While the NT has an amazing array of events all year round that cater to all types of travellers, some of its most special events take place in the cooler months.

The June long weekend is the perfect time to learn more about the NT’s rich and proud Aboriginal culture. The annual Barunga Festival celebrates Aboriginal community life through music, sport and culture and kicks off on June 7 this year. It is a much-loved event that brings more than 4,000 festival-goers together in one spot.

You’re not imagining the lack of water in this photo – the Henley-on-Todd Regatta is the world’s only boat race on dry land. Source: Getty.
You’re not imagining the lack of water in this photo – the Henley-on-Todd Regatta is the world’s only boat race on dry land. Source: Getty.

For something that is huge fun, totally bonkers and uniquely Australian, you must attend the Rotary Henley-on-Todd Regatta. This event is Australia’s oldest regatta and also the world’s only land-based regatta. Since 1962, the NT’s residents have been conducting this boat race on the bone-dry bed of the Todd River and people now travel from all over the world to take part. Events include bottomless yacht and rowing races, surf rescue, boogie board and budgie-smuggler races. The Battle of the Boats event at the end of the day is a must-see! The highly-anticipated regatta will take place this year on August 17.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Darwin Festival, an 18-day celebration of the Top End’s culture and talent. Source: supplied.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Darwin Festival, an 18-day celebration of the Top End’s culture and talent. Source: supplied.

If you enjoy the energy and bustle of festivals, there’s no better time to visit the Northern Territory than during the Darwin Festival, where a festival wonderland awaits you. Think warm outdoor festivities under twinkling lights with iconic bamboo food stalls and pop-up bars. This year is the festival’s 40th anniversary and the program is more exciting than ever, with cabaret, theatre, comedy, visual arts, music and more! The Darwin Festival will take place from August 8 – 25.

Have you done the Northern Territory? What’s your top destination in the Top End?

Events in the Northern Territory

From the Top End down to the Red Centre, the Territory is home to a rich program of events and festivals. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie, an off-beat art fanatic, or an Aussie sports buff, we're sure there's an event happening in the NT that you'll love.

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