The Northern Territory allows you to de-tech, de-stress and tap into this vast continent’s heart and soul.

You can hike the West MacDonnell Ranges

Lace up the boots and explore Tjoritja/West MacDonnell Ranges, just outside Alice Springs. This crumpled spine is a stunning 161km ribbon of bushwalks. Take the easy amble to Ellery Creek Big Hole or challenge the knees on the climb to Ghost Gum Lookout above Ormiston Gorge. You’ll be rewarded with unforgettable scenery around the waterhole. And Standley Chasm’s 80m-high quartzite cliffs narrow to almost arms’ reach. Tip: go at midday for the sunlight effect.

Because Uluru is not ‘just a rock’

Uluru is the most recognisable natural attraction in Australia, yet its appearance constantly changes. Famous for its many burnt-red cliff-faces during sunrise and sunset, it’s equally spectacular in storms, when its ramparts rage with waterfalls. Walk around Uluru’s base to discover the amazing diversity of this imposing monolith. Despite its desert habitat, it’s rich with woodlands of mulgas and desert oaks, and waterholes alive with fish.

You can view the artwork of the oldest living culture on earth

Gaze in amazement at the vibrant patterns of some of the country’s best Aboriginal artworks at Alice Springs’ Araluen Arts Centre. Its most colourful exhibition hangs at the Albert Namatjira Gallery – a must for all lovers of outback landscapes. Namatjira even inspired an art school. Visit the nearby Iltja Ntjarra arts centre, which features emerging artists continuing to be influenced by Namatjira’s style.

Bird-watchers can raise their lenses to the wetlands

A photographer’s dream, the wondrous wetlands of the tropical north are a steamy world of wildflowers, eclectic birdlife and, yes, salties! Cruise through the Mary River National Park to feel like you’re in a David Attenborough documentary, with crocodile eyelids blinking above the waterline, just feet away. Jabirus spearfish with stealthy precision, and tiny jacana birds spread their toes to actually walk on water, hence their nickname—the Jesus Bird.

Because Outback in the NT means drive time

Our sunburnt country between Darwin and Alice Springs screams for a road trip. Imprint your hands into the rusty pindan sands, which leave stains you won’t want to wash off. Keep an eye out for roaming camels, galloping brumbies and pec-flexing red kangaroos. Spot willy-willies sucking up dust in the distance. And stop the engine and let your ears hear the ripeness of the landscape’s silence. Bit by bit, you’ll get in touch with Australia’s soul.

By Marie Barbieri

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