Outback Australia: Exploring the Northern Territory

Back in June, Gadling brought you a series on Queensland that sought to expand people’s perceptions of Australia beyond Sydney and Outback Steakhouse commercials. That trip was my second Down Under and it reminded me of why I love Australia so much. Australia is home to a tremendous amount of ingenuity and pride. As you can imagine, its location has led its people, as well as its flora and fauna, to adapt to isolation and harsh climates. They’ve learned to help each other and fend for themselves. Intrigued by my visits to Australia’s east coast and Tasmania, I was eager to go deeper into that vast country. I wanted to see the Outback for myself, since it’s something that people always mention when discussing Australia but can never seem to explain. In short, I wanted to go to the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory stretches from the Timor Sea in the Top End (where you will find the capital, Darwin) down to the country’s Red Center (home to Alice Springs). It boasts climate extremes that turn deserts into wetlands and produce some of the most dramatic electrical storms in the world. Its population has a higher percentage of indigenous peoples than any other state or territory in Australia. And, perhaps most famously, its landscapes display some of the oldest and most well-preserved rock art known to man.

To give you a sense of how large and yet desolate the Territory is, keep in mind that it is almost twice the size of Texas with a population 100 times smaller. It’s home to Kakadu National Park, which covers nearly five million acres and registers as just a small spot on a map of the NT. That scale of size and desolation requires creativity and dedication to survive, and that’s what I’ll be describing in this series.

I’ll take you from Darwin to Kakadu National Park and down to Alice Springs to see just how unique Australia’s Northern Territory truly is. I hope that you’ll follow along as I explore Outback Australia.

Mike Barish traversed the Outback on a trip sponsored by Tourism Northern Territory. He traveled alone and had no restrictions on what he could cover during his travels. That would explain how he ended up eating water buffalo. You can read future entries in his Outback Australia series HERE.