Northern Australia, Australia

Visit the Northern Territory for a taste of the Real Australia

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When it comes to bucket list destinations, Australia is a consistent feature, appearing in the majority of top-threes. That’s no surprise; Australia is full of incredible experiences. The potential issue is that saying you want to see Australia is a little like saying you want to visit the USA. If you’ve a week or even two, you can experience some amazing places, but you certainly won’t see everything.

That’s why it is very important to be clear in your expectations. Sydney and Melbourne are the two most popular destinations in Australia. Rightly so, they are both incredible cities. Melbourne has amazing arts scenes, while there is the riotous night life of Sydney and both have Australia’s legendary nature right on the doorstep in national parks.

However, if you arrive Down Under wanting to experience the rough and ready atmosphere of small-town Australia that you might have seen on TV, this is not it. No kangaroos hopping between the high rises here! Australia is big, it has many faces. But if you want to see them at their most natural, we’d suggest setting your sites on Darwin and the Northern Territory.

Aboriginal culture around every corner

Northern Australia is probably the best place to be if you are fascinated by First Nation arts and culture. Numerous shops and galleries throughout Darwin are Aboriginie owned and operated. It’s easy to set out in the morning, aiming to browse them for an hour or two and lose the entire day.

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If you’re going to do that, though, it makes more sense to head out in your rental car onto the Arnhem Highway. A 45 minute drive will get you to Pudakul, a 100 percent Aboriginal owned and operated tour business that will provide hands-on experience of Aboriginal culture you will never forget.

Share in Australia’s love of casino pokies

Australia is famous for its casinos and Australians are famous for enjoying a wager. Darwin does not have the high rise super casinos with wannabe James Bonds that you will find in Sydney and Melbourne. But Mindil Beach Resort is one of the nation’s best loved gambling venues.

Shorts and t-shirts are just fine, nobody stands on ceremony here, and with 600 pokies plus 30 tables offering games like blackjack, roulette and baccarat, you won’t be stuck for something to do. The pokies are always the most popular games with the locals, so give them a try if you want to blend in. These days you can play online pokies in Australia too, so try a few Aussie casino games on your phone first if you’re feeling a bit rusty.

Say g’day to the crocs in the bay

You know you’ve come to the right place in your search for the “real Australia” when it proudly boasts the highest concentration of crocodiles anywhere on earth. Heading out of town and swimming on remote beaches is definitely discouraged. But if you want an adrenaline rush, how does the Cage of Death experience at Crocosaurus Cove sound?

If you consider yourself higher on the sanity scale, Crocodylus Park is a family-friendly alternative where you can still get a good look at them without getting quite so up close and personal.

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Enjoy some chill out time at the waterfront

In between all the drama, the Darwin Waterfront Complex is always there, night and day. With family-friendly water activities during the day, live music at night and a great choice of food and drink available anytime, it’s the ideal place to spend some chilled out time.

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