Top End, Australia

Darwin’s the modern and multicultural capital of this wonderfully vast region where much is remote, yet easy to access. World Heritage-listed Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks provide an exciting antidote to hectic urban lives – zebra crossings are well and truly gazumped by waterside signs warning of crocodiles. Even if you can’t spy any of the snap-happy reptiles, be assured they might be eyeballing you. So, as infectious as the laid-back lifestyle is up there, let that little frisson keep you on your toes.

Do Go/Don’t go

There are two seasons in the Top End: the wet and the dry. If you want to see spectacular waterfalls, lightning storms and monsoon rains then head to the Top End between November and April. However, many roads are closed at that time so most touring is done by boat or plane. The dry season – between May and October – is far less humid. It’s the best time to visit if you want to see wildlife, as the area’s animals gravitate towards a few billabongs in search of scarce water supplies.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    International and domestic airlines fly into Darwin International Airport (08 8920 1811; www.darwinairport.com.au).
  • Trains

    For a grand adventure before you get to your destination, travel on the famous Ghan (132147; www.gsr.com.au). Transit from Adelaide to Darwin in a private cabin with ensuite is pretty special, but budget classes are also available. The route runs through Alice Springs and Katherine.
  • Automobiles

    Having a car enables you to really explore the area. Avis (www.avis.com.au) have branches in Darwin and at the airport.
  • Taxis

    Ring Darwin Radio Taxis (131008) for a cab.