Spiritual Awakenings in Australia’s Northern Territory
Tropical and lush in the north, red and rocky in the south, the Northern Territory is like nowhere else in Australia. Teeming with wildlife, this vast region covers 520,902 square miles and is one of the most ecologically and biologically diverse places in the country. Today Australia’s Aboriginal people, its traditional owners and occupants who are descendants of the Earth’s longest surviving culture, maintain a strong connection to the land that they share with visitors.
From the tropical shores of vibrant Darwin, to the dramatic deserts of the Red Centre, in the Outback you will feel the freedom, exhilaration and awe of the physical and spiritual heart of Australia. Find your own spiritual awakening on your next vacation as you visit these six breathtaking settings found in Australia’s Outback Northern Territory.
Darwin, the Northern Territory’s vibrant capital city boasts a relaxed, tropical lifestyle and is a fascinating blend of cultures with an amazing mix of festivals, museums and nightlife. Fish for a barramundi in Darwin’s harbor, which is twice the size of Sydney’s, or soak up the local culture at one of the markets such as Mindil Beach Sunset Markets held every Thursday and Sunday night from April until October.
Surrounded by the ocean on three sides and located near world-class wilderness areas, Darwin is an excellent base for visits to the spectacular landscapes of the Top End. Just a short drive away find rushing waterfalls and cooling plunge pools in Litchfield National Park; or closely observe saltwater crocodiles in their natural environment as you board a jumping croc cruise on the Adelaide River.
Kakadu National Park
Located 3 hours east of Darwin is Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu. Kakadu National Park is an ageless living natural and cultural landscape that stretches across a vast swath of the Top End. Explore high stone plateaus, forest woodlands, monsoon rainforests and open savannah floodplains dotted with billabongs as you hike or enjoy an off-road adventure through the park.
An adventurer’s paradise, visitors can also enjoy bird watching, billabong cruises, barramundi fishing, and more. Cruise along the Yellow Water Billabong in search of saltwater crocodiles and water buffalo, or hike Ubirr and come face to face with ancient rock art and stunning vistas.
Nitmiluk National Park
Waterfalls tumble and deep gorges enchant in Nitmiluk National Park, home to the spectacular Katherine Gorge, just 3 hours south of Darwin. Rent a canoe and paddle in solitude as you make your way through a series of ancient gorges, each unveiling secrets of its own such as Aboriginal rock art galleries and hidden waterfalls.
Spend the evening relaxing on a special dinner cruise along Katherine Gorge. Marvel at the gorges while spotting wildlife and learning about the history and culture of the local Jawoyn people. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance during the candle-lit three-course dinner prepared on board your boat.
Immerse yourself in the privately-held Aboriginal land known as Arnhem Land. In this pristine wilderness environment, Aboriginal presence dates back more than 50,000 years. Ancient rock paintings in spectacular galleries depict indigenous history and aspects of Dreamtime, the spiritual foundation of the Aboriginal culture.
Access to this area is restricted to a select group of tour operators, and visitors to Arnhem Land experience a fascinating mixture of traditional and living culture. Today, Arnhem Land has managed to remain Australia’s last frontier and bastion of Aboriginal culture, home to around 20,000 people. Guests are privileged to have access to the valley, with its stunning scenery of billabongs, birds and escarpments – truly a place where you can escape and experience this unique untouched haven of the Northern Territory.
Framed by the MacDonnell Ranges and colorful desert sands, Alice Springs is a charming town located just south of Australia’s geographic center. Rich in history and heritage, the township captures the spirit of the Outback with its connection to Aboriginal traditions, awe-inspiring landscapes and pioneering history.
Learn the traditions of the area’s first inhabitants – the Western Arrernte Aboriginal people with art exhibits and interactions at the Araluen Cultural Precinct and discover how early explorers shaped the modern town at sights like the Telegraph Station, Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air, adventurers at heart can take in natural beauty from the air as you float over sweeping sands in a hot air balloon, or closer to the ground as you trek through them on a camel.
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
The World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park lies in the heart of Australia, a region known as the Red Centre. Here red sand stretches for miles and the earth stands so still you can hear your own heartbeat.
Discover the natural beauty of this icon as you take in the sight of Uluru’s vast shape rising from the sand dunes in the early dawn light, highlighting its immense presence in this country. Tour with a local guide to uncover the dreamtime stories the Mala people and hike through the second recognizable icon of the park – Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), a series of 36 sandstone domes.
Evening in the Outback is just as magical. As darkness falls, watch as a sea of stars swim through the sky. For a limited time only, enjoy the colored lights of Field of Light, an art installation with 50,000 glass spheres that gently come to life after sunset.