09
Aug-2018

What’s hot in the dry: News from the Northern Territory

With the dry season in full swing, there’s no time like the present to head to the Northern Territory.

Warm days in the Top End and nights filled with spectacular starry skies in the Red Centre provide the perfect setting to see, taste, do and explore everything the Territory has to offer.

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new and in store in the Territory over the coming months. From arts and ancient stories, to festivals and new adventures, there’s never been a better time to chase an endless summer in the NT.

The Red Centre

Wheels up for Brisbane to Uluru with Jetstar

Brisbanites can now start planning a trip to the world’s most famous monolith. Opening up the Red Centre to East Coasters like never before, Jetstar has launched a new direct route from Brisbane to Uluru with flights commencing on 3 August 2018.

Megafauna Central opens in Alice Springs

Megafauna Central has opened in Alice Springs, bringing locals and visitors the opportunity to see, explore and interact with the unique megafauna of Central Australia from the Alcoota Scientific Reserve. Home to the fossilised remains of the Dromornis stirtoni, which stood over three metres tall and thought to be the largest bird ever to walk the planet, the museum brings together eight-million-year-old fossils from Central Australia in the one location. While you’re in town, don’t forget to check out the Museum of Central Australia which reopened in May this year.

Explore Finke Gorge with Finke River Adventures

The newly launched Finke River Adventures offers a unique way to explore the world’s oldest river system and surrounding countryside. Experience the unforgettable landscapes and sacred culture of the Red Centre – and all just an hour and a half’s drive from Alice Springs. Hop into an ATV vehicle, and meander down private trails and along the river beds, all while taking in places of extraordinary beauty and cultural importance. Full and half day tours are available, starting at $195 per person.

Brumby Week at Kings Creek Station

Home to Australia’s biggest wild brumby population, go out bush in the NT and catch wild brumbies with a real-life horse whisperer at Kings Creek Station. Based in Kings Canyon, learn to gently and ethically break in the brumbies which will be fully trained and ready to ride. Over five days in August you’ll also delve into the outback with safari tours, catch guest speakers from North America and Europe, explore Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park and cap off each day with bush poetry around the fire. Brumby Week is priced at $855 for the five days, with additional costs for accommodation and transfers.

Ooraminna Murder Mystery Night – August 11

Have a killer time in the NT at the inaugural Ooraminna Murder Mystery Night.  Just a short drive from Alice Springs, the Ooraminna Pub is set to transform into the Deadwood Saloon, so hitch up your petticoats, put on your cowboy boots and get ready for a whodunnit night full of deadly deeds. The Ooraminna Murder Mystery Night is priced at $150 per person and includes champagne on arrival, dinner and return transport.

Red Centre Bird Festival

Image: Alice Springs Desert Park

The Red Centre Bird Festival will once again come alive in the heart of Australia from 19-23 September 2018. Home to 180 bird species and a range of stunning, diverse habitats, Central Australia is a bird-watcher’s oasis with a rich array of native species, including the Spinifex Pigeon, Bourke’s Parrot and Mulga Parrot. The five-day festival boasts a range of experiences to suit everyone from amateur twitchers to experienced birdwatchers and nature lovers.

Explore Australia’s heart in the midst of Sydney

Inspired by Namatjira’s beloved West MacDonnell Ranges, emerging artist Richard Rosebery is bringing a snapshot of the Northern Territory to Sydney with an exhibition at The Gallery in Paddington. Showcasing a wonderful collection of drawings and paintings of Australia’s Red Centre, the exhibition is sure to get you planning your next trip to the heart of Australia to explore the greatest concentration of Aboriginal art galleries of anywhere in the world.

Junior Rangers in the Alice

The NT Parks and Wildlife Junior Ranger program offers kids visiting Alice Springs an opportunity to learn more about their natural and cultural environments through fun and hands-on activities. Junior Rangers learn a variety of outdoor skills, how to identify animal tracks, bird-watching and how to spotlight for animals, as well as lessons on Aboriginal culture and how they can help conserve the environment.

The Top End

Provenance Arts is Darwin’s newest social enterprise

Darwin’s first retail, exhibition, cultural and tourism and events hub, Provenance Arts opened in late July. An initiative owned and governed by Injalak Arts, an Aboriginal art centre in Arnhem Land, Provenance Arts will operate as a social enterprise, offering visitors an insight into local artists and promoting ethical art, crafts and souvenirs from a range of Aboriginal-owned art centres as well as non-Indigenous artists from the Top End of Australia.

Jetset around Darwin Harbour with The Outback Wrangler

Strap on your ear muffs!  The NT’s own Outback Wrangler Matt Wright has launched an all new, adrenaline-pumping airboat tour of one of Australia’s widest deep water harbours. The custom-built V8 Airboat takes guests on a 45-minute adventure exploring Darwin’s scenic mangroves and a harbour that’s 10 times bigger than Sydney Harbour. Tours include a fast lap around the harbour, before immersing you in the local landscape – keep an eager eye out for birdlife, fish and maybe even a saltie or two. Tickets are $165 for adults and $115 for children.

Explore Arnhem Land with new day tours

Lirrwi Tourism has introduced two new day tours offering travellers the opportunity to explore the pristine ancient landscapes of East Arnhem Land – one of the last wilderness areas on earth. Developed by Yolngu traditional owners, the immersive tours of Bawaka and Gove Gululu provide income for the Yolngu people helping them to remain on country and maintain their culture, while offering visitors an off-the-beaten-track adventure in the heart of Indigenous land. The Bawaka and Gove Gululu day tours run in the dry season and start at $330 per person.

Culture and photography combine with new East Arnhem tour

In May next year, Cultural Connections will immerse visitors in one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures, with a once-in-a-lifetime intimate cultural and photography tour of East Arnhem Land. Beginning with a stay on Bremer Island at the beautiful Banubanu Beach Retreat, visitors will explore the island and its unspoiled sandy beaches before heading into Yolngu homelands to stay within the communities, learning the stories of their ancestors as well as foraging and fishing techniques. Hosted by two professional photographers, the tour is an extraordinary opportunity to capture the pristine landscape of the Top End while learning the ancient stories of its people.

KAKADU SEASONAL RANGER PROGRAM IN FULL SWING

With the turkey bush blooming, Kakadu National Park’s Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Program is up and running for the dry season. Join a park ranger and traditional owners as they explain Kakadu’s diverse habitats with art site talks, guided walks, twilight presentations and traditional painting or weaving. The tours run until September.

August means arts and culture in the top end

Members of the Tjukuritja Dance Company. Image: APY Art Centre Collective.

Arts and culture lovers rejoice as August sees Darwin play host to a bumper array of arts events, including the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Darwin Festival and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Kicking off from 9 August with events across art, fashion, music and food and continuing throughout the month, there’s something on offer for circus, music lovers and art aficionados  alike.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair  (10-12 August)

Darwin Festival (9-26 August)

NATSIAA (11 August – 25 November)

‘Darwin: A Tale of Four Cities’ self-guided audio tour

Strap on your walking shoes and start exploring the Territory’s capital with the recently launched audio tour of Darwin. The first of its kind in Australia, Darwin: A Tale of Four Cities is a narrative-driven, immersive sound experience that takes users through a set of historic locations around Darwin’s CBD.  The one-hour tour is woven around the personal story and narration of legendary broadcaster and campaigner Charlie King and can be downloaded at darwinaudiotour.com.

The Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel celebrates its 30th anniversary

Situated in the heart of Australia’s largest national park sits one of the world’s most identifiable hotels, the Mercure Crocodile Hotel which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary! The Indigenous-owned, four-star hotel is shaped like a saltwater crocodile and is one of the region’s most famous inhabitants. Conveniently located in the township of Jabiru, it’s the perfect base to explore the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. The opening of the ‘Croc’, as it is known, in 1988 followed the worldwide success of the cult movie classic, Crocodile Dundee, which was filmed in Kakadu.

Win a million bucks on your next NT holiday

Take the bait and head north as Million Dollar Fish returns to the NT for a bumper season four! Running from October 2018 until March next year, fishing enthusiasts and amateur anglers alike from across the country will go head to head in a search for the million-dollar prize. Home to the largest number of barramundi in Australia, the odds are in your favour in the NT! Cast a line in the Top End, from Darwin and Kakadu, through to Katherine, Borroloola, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land for the chance to reel in the prized barramundi and take home the million-dollar prize.

Full steam ahead for five-star hotel on Darwin’s waterfront

The Westin is one step closer to landing in Darwin. Scheduled to open in 2021, the eight-storey Westin Darwin has been granted planning approval to start construction later this year. The new luxury hotel will boast sweeping city and water views, with vibrant restaurants and stylish residences. The 240 guest rooms and 14 spacious suites will be complemented by the world-renowned Heavenly Bed and invigorating Heavenly Bath experience, three dining venues, a resort-style swimming pool and The Heavenly Spa by Westin.

The Whole of the Territory

Tour the top end with Google Street View

Nothing quite beats boots on the ground, but Tourism NT has released never-before-seen panoramic Google Street View footage of seven stunning Northern Territory national parks. In collaboration with Traditional Owners, Tourism NT and NT Parks and Wildlife used Google Street View Trekker technology to showcase the beauty of the NT’s natural landscapes and inspire Australians to visit.

Hit the road with Adventure Rentals NT

Adventure Rentals NT is open for business! Offering the ultimate self-drive safari experience across the Northern Territory, visitors can experience the incredible scenery of Australia’s Red Centre or Top End in a five-star quality four-wheel drive vehicle fitted with all the extras for off-road touring. Each vehicle is self-contained with quality camping equipment and a rooftop tent, giving you the freedom to set up camp wherever you choose.

To plan your Northern Territory adventure visit: northernterritory.com

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