8 Ultimate Northern Territory Family Experiences.
For a self drive holiday through the NT
Originally produced by Tourism NT
Family holidays are a great opportunity to explore a little more of our own backyard and are more important than ever to reconnect as a family. Kids can swap virtual reality for actual experiences, creating lasting memories together, as they learn more about our Australian heritage and Indigenous culture along the way. So read below for more information on Northern Territory Self Drive holidays with your family.
Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu National Park / Credit: Tourism NT
The Top End is a family holiday destination that should be at the very top of your wish list. The Northern Territory has so many incredible, unique and affordable places to explore and with incredible specials on offer there has never been a better time to hire an Apollo camper and embark on a family adventure in the Northern Territory that the kids will be talking about for a long time to come.
Better yet we have Apollo branches in Darwin and Alice Springs so, if you only have a short amount of time, you can fly into either location and explore the surrounding region or make the most of your NT Self drive holiday by starting at one point and dropping off your RV at the next without having to retrace your steps.
There are so many unique and awe-inspiring places to explore in the Northern Territory and we have put together 8 Ultimate NT Family Experiences which will give you a taste of what the region has to offer!
1. KAKADU NATIONAL PARK – KAKADU, NT
Kakadu National Park / Credit: Andy Green
Located 3 hours’ drive from Darwin the Kakadu National Park has so much to offer for the entire family that won’t break the budget and you can choose from several campgrounds depending on what you would like to see and experience.
Aboriginal people have lived in Kakadu for over 65,000 years and with over 20,000 kilometres of national park, you can easily spend a few days together experiencing Kakadu history and culture through ranger guided activities, including rock art site talks, walks, painting and weaving demonstrations, learning about bush food and so much more. You can also experience evening stories and presentations at Bowali Visitor Centre in Jabiru, and Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre in the Yellow Water region. There are also amazing fishing spots, birdwatching, wetlands, billabongs, majestic waterfalls and of course croc sighting!
Find out about park passes HERE.
When: The Kakadu National Park is open year-round.
Distance: 300km along the Arnhem and then the Stuart Highway (3-hour drive from Darwin).
2. DARWIN MILITARY MUSEUM & WWII TUNNELS – DARWIN, NT
A visit to the Darwin Military Museum is an educational way to visit Darwin with the family. The Museum has interactive displays where the kids can learn about the fascinating history of Darwin’s war time involvement during World War 2. Here the family will learn more about the Japanese raids that took place in Darwin and view restored tanks and artifacts. The video presentation on the air-raids effectively combines old photographs and digital editing to make the photos come alive telling the story of the day. If you are up for an adventure, the kids will find walking through the bunker where the Northern Territory’s defence strategy was planned and tunnel that run under the CBD and the Military Museum fascinating.
When: Open 7 days. October to March, 10am-3:30pm. April to September, 9:30am-5pm.
Cost: Museum: $20 Adult, $10 Child, Infant (0-5 years) Free.
Distance: Located at East Point it is only 10 minutes from the Darwin CBD.
3. ARNHEM LAND, NT
Arnhem Land is an unspoiled paradise located far off the tourist trail which is one of the great reasons to explore this incredible part of the Northern Territory before the rest of the world catches on. Declared an Aboriginal Reserve in 1931, it is where the family can experience the aboriginal culture in the Northern Territory in an authentic way. Here they will discover wild and remote white sand beaches, rugged coastlines and sparkling waters and an abundance of wildlife, including saltwater crocodiles, dugong, nesting turtles and hundreds of bird species.
Explore beautiful untouched rivers and beaches like Macassan Beach, where the family can take the interpretive walk to see stone constructions from over a century ago. Visit the indigenous arts centres including the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre at Yirrkala, one of Australia’s premier art centres where you can see an extraordinary collection of art, including painted barks, wood carvings, weaving and didgeridoo.
Cost: Permits must be purchased in advance when visiting, more information can be found here.
Distance: 305 km south along the Arnhem Highway (3-hour drive from Darwin).
Getting muddy / Credit: Andy Green
4. CUTTA CUTTA CAVES NATURE PARK – KATHERINE, NT
A visit to the Cutta Cutta Caves Nature Park is certain to be a highlight of your family holiday. Formed millions of years ago, the Cutta Cutta cave system is located 15 metres below the surface and is rich in Indigenous culture and modern European History. Take the guided tour where the family can discover sparkling limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites along with five different species of bats. After your tour the family can take a short 15-20-minute walk along the Tropical Woodland walk where the will experience native flora, fauna and wild life including 170 species of birds.
When: The Park is open year-round 8:30am to 4:30pm.
The Caves are open May to October, 9am to 3pm. November 9am & 10am.
Cost: 1-hour guided tour – $24 Adult, $12 Child, Infant (0-5 years) Free.
Distance: 26km south of Katherine along the Stuart Highway (18-minute drive from Katherine)
5. KATHERINE HOT SPRINGS – KATHERINE, NT
A visit to the Katherine Hot Springs will soothe away any aches and pains the family may have from your walks and travels around the Top End. A short 5 minutes’ drive from the Katherine CBD, these natural thermal springs pump from deep within the earth at a mild temperature and comprise of a series of clear pools. Take the family for a stroll along one of the scenic walks, enjoy lunch in the shady picnic grounds before sitting back to relax in the healing warm water of this bubbling natural spring.
When: The Park is open year-round, 7am to 7pm (Access may be restricted at times during wet season September – April)
Distance: 3km from Katherine along the Victoria Highway (6-minute drive).
Looking out onto a classic Northern Territory road / Credit: Andy Green
6. KATA TJUTA (THE OLGAS) – YULARA, NT
Kata Tjuta is the lesser known sibling of Ayres Rock and walking is the best way to experience each of these famous rock formations. You can either decide to experience each on separate days, or if you are short on time they are located close enough to enjoy both experiences in the one day. If you do, we suggest camping in Yularu the night before (there is only one camp ground at Ayres Rock Resort) to make the most of the daylight hours and ensure everyone gets an early night.
Many people visit Kata Tjuta after Ayres Rock, we recommend that you head there first walking the 30-minute Kata Tjuta Dune trail and taking in the awe-inspiring panoramic views of the domes at sunrise. After watching the sunrise The Valley of the Winds walk has a couple of magnificent lookout points, you can either take the full circuit (7.4 kms) taking approximately 3-4 hours, or simply had to the Karu lookout which is an hour return trip (2.2kms), you can find out more about the walks here.
When: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is open year-round. 5am to 9pm subject to seasonal change.
Cost: Tickets (valid 3 days) can be purchased on online. $25 Adult, $12.50 Child (5-15 years).
Distance: 53 km along the Lasseter Highway Yulara (45-minute drive from Yulara).
7. ULURU – YULARA, NT
Uluru is one of the top experiences to add to your Northern Territory family itinerary. You have several Uluru walking trails to explore when visiting Uluru. The family can either decide on the taking the full Uluru base walk 10.6km loop (approximately 3.5 hours) which is a fantastic way to fully appreciate the natural beauty of Ulura or you can take part in the free 1.5 hour ranger guided Mala Walk along Uluru’s base (2km return), where rangers tell the story of the mala (rufous hare-wallaby) people and where you can learn about traditional Anangu culture and rock art.
When: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is open year-round. 5am to 9pm subject to seasonal change. The Mala guided walk departs the Mala walk car park at 8am (Oct to Apr) 10am (May-Sep).
Cost: Tickets (valid 3 days) can be purchased on online. $25 Adult, $12.50 Child (5-15 years).
Distance: 26 km along the Lasseter Highway Yulara (30-minute drive from Yulara).
8. ELLERY CREEK BIG HOLE – ALICE SPRINGS, NT
Ellery Creek Big Hole is one of the most popular and picturesque places to visit in the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park and a perfect place to visit for your Alice Springs family holiday. Thousands of years of immense floods have carved out an incredible outback oasis surrounded by high red cliffs making it a recognised internationally significant geological site.
The unpowered campsites offer good facilities and are a perfect location to park your RV overnight as it is only a short walk to the waterhole and picnic area. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you walk along the peaceful 3 kilometre Dolomite loop (approximately 1.5 hours) before spending the rest of the day swimming in the biggest and deepest water hole in Central Australia and enjoy a picnic lunch under a shady tree.
When: The Park is open year-round however swimming is best in the warmer months.
Cost: Free entry to the Park. Campsite fees apply.
Distance: 90 km west, via Larapinta and Namatjira Drives (70-minute drive from Alice Springs).
Ready to start planning your NT adventure? Click here to check availability!