The sunbaked desert plains, vast gorges, and crocodile-filled billabongs of the Northern Territory offer a spectacular backdrop for an outdoor adventure, and there are an impressive 16 national parks to explore throughout the state. Here are five of the best that you can visit on a day tour from Darwin.
Kakadu National Park
Australia’s largest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kakadu National Park is noted for its biodiversity as it’s home to an array of indigenous plants and Australian birds and mammals. Visitors on a full-day tour can spot freshwater and saltwater crocodiles on a cruise along Yellow Water and admire ancient Aboriginal rock art. Longer 2- or 3-day tours might also include a stop at Twin Falls or Barramundi Gorge, with some including hotel accommodations and others offering guided camping in the wilderness.
Litchfield National Park
Sitting just to the south of Darwin, Litchfield National Park is the home of some of the region’s most unique scenery. You won’t miss a thing on a guided day tour of the area, during which you can marvel at the gigantic termite mounds, admire the park’s beautiful waterfalls, and even dive in to take a swim at spots such as Buley Rockhole or Wangi Falls.
Charles Darwin National Park
Just outside Darwin city center, the Charles Darwin National Park is a stretch of scenic wetlands, famous for its lush mangroves and World War II history. Escape the city for a hike through the forests, browse the WWII exhibitions, and enjoy a magnificent view over Darwin from the lookout point.
Nitmiluk National Park and Katherine Gorge
Just under four hours’ drive from the capital, Katherine Gorge is best explored on a multi-day tour from Darwin. There are various hiking trails suitable for all levels, as well as some fascinating Aboriginal rock art sites to visit, but the real highlight is the dramatic view from the top of the gorge.
Mary River National Park
Another popular day trip from Darwin is to the Mary River Wetlands, where it’s possible to see crocodiles and alligators in their natural habitat, cruise along the Corroboree Billabong, and spot exotic birds including jabiru, ibis, sea eagles, and jacana. Full-day tours of the Corroboree Billabong include bus and cruise transport, plus lunch for an enjoyable look at the area.