Australia’s Top End contains some of the few remaining expanses of genuinely untouched wilderness in the world, a remote haven that abounds with national parks and rugged beauty. Its general isolation from the rest of the country gives it a unique quality, with deep Aboriginal spiritual significance, a fascinating recent history and ancient landscapes to explore.
The small tropical city of Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, which Australians often call the Top End. Originally a gold rush town, it became an important base for Allied action against the Japanese in the Pacific during the Second World War, and is now the gateway to many of the natural wonders of the country, including many national parks and the Outback.
The landscape of the Top End is characterised by great canyons cutting through fertile valleys, and verdant savannahs come alive with the sounds of birds and endemic animals. Kakadu National Park is just one of the many reserves in the state, itself home to one third of all bird species found in Australia. Its great waterfalls and flowing rivers crash into hidden pools, forever under the protection of local guides. It is the guides’ close connection to the earth and knowledge of the Dreamtime, an Aboriginal understanding of the world that gives Australia such distinct spiritual and cultural energy, which make these trips unforgettable. There’s also the surreal rock formations of the vast Bungle Bungle National Park and remote ranches to explore.
When to Go
The Top End is a great spot for winter sunshine, with Kimberley enjoying long days of sunshine in the dry season from April to September, with maximum daytime temperatures around 29°C (84°F). In contrast, October to March is the green season, with tropical rainstorms, high humidity and heat.
Itineraries including Top End
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Accommodation in Top End
Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options
Bamurru PlainsA luxury bush camp on the vast floodplains of the Northern Territory, Bamurra Plains is a wonderful way to experience this unique and beautiful landscape. Set within 300km2 of private land to the west of Kakudu National Park, guests will enjoy access to miles of undisturbed coastal floodplains, savannah woodland and paperbark swamps. Reconnecting with nature needn’t mean going back to basics, and ten safari-style bungalows ensure a comfortable and relaxing stay. Each bungalow overlooks the floodplains and features mesh walls so you can hear, see and almost touch the wildlife and wilderness that surrounds you. Décor reflects the region’s indigenous, hunting and pastoral history with buffalo horns, explorer maps, Aboriginal art and old photographs adorning the walls. Each bungalow comes with a species list so you can identify the animals that wander past. The largest Kingfisher suite features a generous living space and enough room for extra beds, making it a great option for adventurous families. With no internet access, TV or mobile signal, switching off has never been easier and you’ll soon find yourself tuning in to the sounds of the bush as you drift off to sleep. Dining at Bamurru Plains is a real treat, with locally sourced produce used to create a menu that is authentic yet contemporary. Meals are served in the wildlife observation deck and there is a self-service bar which guests are welcome to use. In this sanctuary of flora and fauna lives a vast, thriving eco system which includes many species of bird hiding in the swamps and savannah woodlands. Enjoy the heights amongst the tree tops when you settle down to an evening in The Hide while those who love to fish are encouraged to embark on a river fishing or airboat fishing excursion.