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 are the green season, with tropical rainstorms, high humidity and heat.