Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory. Situated on Australia's northern coast, and the doorstep of Asia, Darwin is a laid back city with a tropical climate and an average temperature of 32°C all year. It is the capital and biggest city in the Northern Territory, but is also the least populated of Australia's state capitals. The close proximity to Asia means that Asian products are sold here and consequently there are some great markets and cuisine. Darwin also has an interesting history as it is the only Australian city to be attacked in war (WWII) and it was subsequently destroyed and rebuilt again. In 1974, the city was destroyed for a second time by by one of the most powerful cyclones in the world, (Cyclone Tracy). Today, Darwin is a modern city situated in a remote territory of Australia meaning that it has all the comforts you could want, in an area that is wild and sometimes inhospitable. The city experiences a Wet and Dry season, so travelling in summer can be very hot, humid, and wet. Winter is still hot, but drier and easier to get around.
If it is your first time to Darwin, you should include a trip to Kakadu National Park. It is the largest national park in Australia. Both Kakadu National Park and neigbouring Arnhem Land is a huge 110,000 square kilometres, That is bigger than New Zealand or the United Kingdom. The landscapes here are diverse and eptomise outback travel and adventure. Kakadu contains wetlands, coastal monsoon rainforests, gorges, and spectacular waterfalls. In neigbouring Arnhem Land, there is outstanding escarpments, aboriginal culture, isolated coastlines, lush wetlands, and savannah woodlands. The park has one of the highest concentrations of aboriginal rock art in the world. Organised tours are available or you can take your own vehicle. The main tourist route can be travelled in a few days to a few weeks.
If you have the time, you could also visit Katherine Gorge as part of the above Kakadu trip or as a separate trip by heading 300km south of Darwin. Katherine Gorge is located about 30 minutes from Katherine (town) in Nitmiluk National Park. There are many ways to experience Katherine Gorge including walks ranging from one hour to five days that offer views of the gorge through monsoon rainforest, savanna woodlands, and wetlands. One popular way to explore the gorges is to hire a canoe. During the Wet season, canoeing is restricted, but walking is something you can to do all year round.
Alice Springs is the second biggest city in the Northern Territory. Known as "the Alice" or "Alice", the city is located in the geographic centre of Australia near the southern border of the Northern Territory and lies almost dead centre between Adelaide and Darwin. The region around Alice is known as as Central Australia, or the Red Centre, which is an arid environment consisting of several deserts. Things to do in this city includes a visit to "Desert Park" which has great examples of local fauna and flora. The nearby Reptile Centre offers you the chance to see local reptiles. The weather in Alice is perfect for Outback Ballooning where you can view of the sunrise over the Outback and enjoy a champagne breakfast in the middle of the desert. Alice Springs is in the middle of the largest land area without lights on Earth, so heading out of town offers unmatched views of the Milky Way.
No trip to Alice Springs is complete until you visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayers Rock & The Olgas), a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage area. It is best known for Uluru, a huge rock dome, and also for Kata Tjuta, a range of rock domes. Uluru is a major symbol of the Australian continent. The rock is a monolith, meaning that it is a single giant boulder and not part of any strata layer below the ground. Uluru is spectacular because it rises abruptly out of the surrounding plain and looks like it was placed there. The rock is 5 km beneath the ground and rises 348 metres above the surrounding desert. 36km to the west lies Kata Tjuta a spectacular site of 36 rock domes believed to have once been a monolith similar to Uluru, except much bigger. Apart from these two main features in the park there are also hundreds of plant species, 24 native mammal species, and 72 species of reptile. Onroute to this park from Alice Springs takes you past Mt Conner a third huge rock, and some salt pans (dried out salt water lakes) - these are sometimes employed for land speed record attempts due to their expanse and flat surface.
If you have the time, you could also visit Kings Canyon which is about 323 km southwest of Alice Springs. The walls of Kings Canyon are over 300 metres high, with Kings Creek at the bottom. Two walks exists at Kings Canyon. The 2 km (return) and approximately 1 hour Kings Creek Walk traces the bottom of the gorge. At the end of the walk is a platform, with views of the canyon walls above. The 6 km (loop) and 3-4 hour Kings Canyon Rim Walk traces the top of the canyon. A steep climb at the beginning of the walk, which locals call "Heartbreak Hill" (or "Heart Attack Hill", due to its steepness), takes visitors up to the top, with spectacular views of the gorge below and of the surrounding landscape. About half way during the walk, a detour descends to Garden of Eden, a permanent waterhole surrounded by lush plant life. The last half of the walk passes through a large maze of weathered sandstone domes, reminiscent of the Bungle Bungles. A slow descent brings the visitor back to the starting point.