Ancient and enigmatic, Australia is a land of unimaginable proportions and impossible beauty. It’s backed by more than 3.8 billion years of geological history, and 40,000 years of Indigenous culture. And in the Northern Territory, they collide like nowhere else on the continent.
Wild, rugged and inherently spiritual, this state remains brazenly untamed. And we’re not just talking about the land itself. Aboriginal culture runs deep in the Top End, where locals believe that the land owns the people, and not the other way around.
That’s why AAT Kings believe in so much more than just ticking off the big-ticket sights. Their tours are less about whirlwind trips, and more about taking the time to soak it all in and get to know the Northern Territory, in all her glory. Are you ready?
Hit the road
Harboured as Australia’s last frontier, the Northern Territory doesn’t exactly offer a smooth ride. That’s why AAT Kings takes things to the next level with a fleet of 4WD vehicles ready to tame the terrain. Spanning for five days, Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets holiday takes you to the heart of Litchfield National Park. Experience the thrill of cooling off at tumbling Florence Falls, and learn how the park earned its place in Aboriginal history. Then spend an evening relaxing on a special dinner cruise along the Katherine River, where you can marvel at the gorges and wildlife before enjoying a candle-lit three course dinner on board.
A taste of the Top End
Melbourne has world renowned restaurants, Sydney has chic cocktail bars and Tasmania has fresh produce. But in the Top End, ‘bush tucker’ is the order of the day. If you’re a self-confessed foodie, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried a juicy witchetty grub, freshly caught wild barramundi and smoking hot damper. Of course, the Northern Territory does also know how to dress things up – on AAT’s Outback Australia – The Colour of Red tour you’ll be treated to bubble, canapes and four fabulous courses, as part of Kings Canyon Resort’s iconic ‘Under a Desert Moon’ dining experience.
An Aussie odyssey
It’s impossible to capture the spirit of the outback in a day, which is why AAT Kings has curated trips like their unforgettable 15-day Outback Adventure. Kicking off in Adelaide, you’ll make your way up to the Top End via the stunning Flinders Ranges. Then its straight to the immense Kata Tjuta National Park, home of the whimsical Uluru (more commonly known as the famous Ayers Rock). Enjoy nibbles and sparkling wine at the sunset viewing area, and watch as the evening sky puts on a scorching display. You’ll also be given the opportunity to see the Red Centre set alight by the morning’s first rays of sunlight. After sunrise, you can then tour the base of Uluru and might even like to take a self-guided stroll around the 11km base of ‘The Rock’, or enjoy a guided walk to the Mutitjulu Waterhole.
Protectors of the land
Aboriginal people share a deep connection with the land, which is intertwined with their laws, culture and spirituality. On every AAT Kings tour you’ll be versed in the beliefs of Traditional Owners like the Anangu people. This is a pivotal part of the AAT Kings experience, and its pretty much a guarantee that the stories will stay with you long after you’ve left the Top End.
Wild at heart
Thought great whites were intimidating? Try staring a massive estuarine crocodile in the eyes. Don’t worry, you’ll be eyeballing them from the safety of a safari-style boat! There will also be a local guide on hand to point out native birds and other animals that flock to the Mary River floodplains system. Or, how about travelling deep into the Kakadu on the Outback Adventure for a cruise on the famous Yellow Water Billabong where you can see sea eagles, brolgas and if you’re lucky, cheeky little kingfishers. Also, of course throughout the Northern Territory you should keep an eye out for mobs of emus and kangaroos on the plains as dusk draws near.
Luxury meets lore
The Top End is wild, but there’s no reason why you have to rough it. On Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets tour AAT experts have cherry picked the magical Cicada Lodge, a 100% Indigenous owned luxury eco-resort that embodies the spirit of the land. You’ll be greeted by the legendary Manual Pamkal who’ll welcome you with a traditional song on the didgeridoo. Then it’s onwards to your private balcony, where you can watch the sunset over the glowing sandstone landscapes of Nitmiluk National Park.
From Kakadu to Uluru and everywhere in-between, the Northern Territory is Australia untamed. It’s vast. So vast, that Indigenous Australians have been living there for tens of thousands of years, and still haven’t unravelled all its secrets. AAT Kings respects this, and will never claim to take you to every corner of the NT…but they will definitely do their best.
With carefully curated itineraries, unique experiences and expert guides, AAT Kings tours are designed to help you scratch the fiery red surface, and answer the mysterious call of the outback.
Watch GrownUps member, Val’s, story below: