Gunlom Falls, Kakadu National Park, NT © Tourism Australia

Guide to Northern Territory's tropical summer

Florence Falls, Litchfield National Park, NT © Tourism NT, Jackson Groves

Visit Florence Falls at Litchfield National Park

The waterfalls of Litchfield National Park make for a dramatic sight during summer. See the twin cascades of Florence Falls and follow 160 steps down to the deep, cool plunge pool. Take the short walk to Buley Rockhole, a series of waterfalls and waterholes that teem with life in the wet season. Swim and picnic alongside thundering Wangi Falls, where marsupial mice, frogs and frill-neck lizards dart around the water's edge. Stop to see the fields of Magnetic Termite Mounds, two-metre (6.6-feet) tall mounds built by termites during the wet season.

Nitmiluk Tours, Katherine Gorge, NT © Tourism Australia

Take a helicopter over Katherine Gorge

You won't forget the aerial view of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park, which sits just northeast of Katherine. On a helicopter tour you’ll get an idea of its true scale and see it is actually part of a series of 13 interconnected gorges. They’re particularly spectacular during the tropical summer, when the Katherine River is brimming with water. Base yourself at Cicada Lodge, a luxurious eco lodge inside the National Park. The lodge is a joint venture between the local Jawoyn people and Indigenous Business Australia and offers the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the ancient Nitmiluk landscape. Go deeper into the story on a Rock Art tour via helicopter or Nabilil Dinner Cruise and watch the sun set over the beautiful Gorge. 

Motor Car Falls, Kakadu National Park, NT © Tourism NT

Walk, fly and cruise through Kakadu

In Kakadu National Park, the local Bininj people have charted nature's cycle over six different seasons, rather than four. Late December to late March is the Gudjewg monsoon season, when heavy rains coax the landscape back to life. Native birds flock across the wetlands, tropical flowers fringe the rivers and spear grass sprouts across the floodplains. Follow the Yurmikmik Walks to waterfalls surging over rugged escarpments. The Boulder Creek Walk, Yurmikmik Lookout Walk, Motor Car Falls and Kurrundie Creek Walk are open all year round. Cruise down the East Alligator River with an Aboriginal guide, or take in the scope and scale of this lush landscape on a scenic helicopter flight.

Kayaking, Nitmiluk National Park, NT © Tourism NT

Explore Nitmiluk National Park

Katherine is just over a three-hour drive south from Darwin and the gateway to Nitmiluk National Park. Visit galleries showcasing Aboriginal art and see the Katherine Outback Experience show with host Tom Curtain, who will enthral with his horse-breaking and musical skills. Depending on the weather, you can swim in pandanus-fringed plunge pools beneath Leliyn (Edith Falls) or take a bushwalk along the 2.6-kilometre (1.6-mile) Leliyn Trail. In the park, walk sections of the Jatbula Trail past monsoon rainforest to Crystal Falls or the single drop waterfall of 17 Mile Falls. Follow the 3.5-hour Windolf Walk to Pat's lookout for sweeping views over Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and the summer waterfall of Southern Rockhole.

Sail Darwin, Darwin, NT © Tourism Australia

Watch the sunset over Darwin Harbour

By the end of a tropical day of touring, Darwin Harbour is a fantastic position from which to watch the sunset. You can take a seat on the shore or join a cruise and get out on the water. Take a picnic to the Dripstone Cliffs or East Point Reserve, both are great vantage points to see the sun go down. Sail Darwin will take you out on a three-hour Champagne Sunset Sail aboard their spacious 15-metre (50-foot) luxury catamaran, complete with dinner and Champagne. Or jump aboard the Spirit of Darwin for a 2.5-hour cruise with antipasto platters and a glass of bubbles. 

Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours, NT © Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours

Immerse yourself in Northern Territory Aboriginal culture

Explore the fascinating culture of the local Pudakul people with Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours. On this nature-based experience, delivered by people of the Adelaide and Mary River region, you’ll learn about bush tucker and traditional medicine, try blowing a didgeridoo, throw a spear and see basket and dilly bag making demonstrations. Discover the significance of Dreamtime and Djukbinj, the Rainbow Serpent, and enjoy damper and tea.

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