Australia’s Northern Territory is known for its spectacular landscapes, making for excellent hiking and nature exploration. The region is home to hundreds of animals, plants, and rock formations, along with beautiful scenery and historical significance.
Grab some snacks, a water bottle (or 2 or 3), and check out some of the finest hiking trails in the Northern Territory.
Uluru Base Walk
One of the most iconic walks in Australia, the Uluru Base Walk is a 10.9 kilometre loop trail in Uluru, Northern Territory. The walk takes around 2 hours and 41 minutes to complete, and is a very popular hiking and walking trail. The trail encircles the base of Ayers Rock, a 348-metre red monolith of sandstone that rises in the Australian desert near Alice Springs. Enjoy an easy walk through the desert with beautiful views of the landscape and diverse animal and plant life. This area is also rich in history, so make sure you take in all of the cave paintings and rock formations as you complete your hike.
Nanguluwurr Rock Art and Walk
Located in Kakadu National Park, embark on a journey that will lead you directly to the Nanguluwurr Rock Art site. An easy 3.4 kilometre hike, it takes around 2 hours to fully experience everything the park has to offer. Enjoy hand stencils, figures in large headdresses carrying boomerangs and representations of Namandi spirits, all intricately carved into towering rock formations.
Kings Canyon Rim and Creek Walk
One of the more moderate hikes in the Northern Territory, the Kings Canyon Rim and Creek Walk is a stunning 7.5 kilometre loop hike, and takes a little over two hours to complete. The beginning of the hike is known to be quite difficult, with steep hills winding up to the rim of the canyon. Once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be greeted with picturesque views of Watarrka National Park. For even more spectacular views, take the hike early in the morning so the sun rises right as you reach the top.
Valley of the Winds
If you’re looking for really spectacular views, try hiking through the Valley of the Winds. Follow the Kata Tjuta Trail to Karingana Lookout of the Kata Tjuta landform and you’ll find one of the two major geological landmarks within the Uluru-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. The Valley of the Winds is a very culturally sensitive area, so visitors must show respect when visiting this special place. It’s encouraged to tread lightly and not take many pictures of the surrounding landscape to show respect for the Anangu culture.
One of the longer, more challenging hikes, the Larapintal is a 222.2 kilometre trail near Alice Springs, Northern Territory. It’s popular among intense hikers and backpackers, as it typically takes around two weeks to complete. With the correct preparation and a positive attitude, this hike is a must-do for those that enjoy challenging themselves. Take in rocky mountains, gorges, birds, plants, and so much more unique wildlife during this trek.
Another significant and historical site is the Ochre Pits in the West MacDonnell Ranges of Alice Springs. Ochre occurs in a range of earthy colours ranging from white, yellow, orange, red and browns. It’s a significant part of Aboriginal culture and is used in everyday life. It’s the raw material for paintings and ceremonial body decoration. An information shelter at the site provides information about how, why and when the Ochre Pits were used. After browsing this historic site, sit down in the scenic surroundings and enjoy a barbecue lunch.
Ormiston Pound Walk
The Ormiston Pound Walk is a 9.5 kilometre loop located in the West MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory. It’s a generally easier hike, and takes around two and a half hours to complete. The trail begins at the Ormiston Gorge car park, and hikers gradually begin climbing up the scenic hills near the gorge. The trail eventually leads down to the flat expanse of the Pound, with cold rivers that travellers must brace across. The picturesque trail features dry creek beds, rocky ledges of the mountain slopes, and views from the pound above; every hiker’s dream!
Baark Sandstone Walk
Located in Kakadu National Park, the Baark Sandstone Walk is another popular, more challenging hike for those looking to explore the Northern Territory. The hike is a loop of 10.1 kilometres, so plan on spending around 6 hours on it. It’s imperative to stay hydrated during this hike and avoid walking during the peak heat of the day. There is a steep climb to the trail’s start, and midway along the trail, the Nanguluwurr art site will entice you with paintings depicting spirits, animals, ships, and people from past eras. Discover the cultural significance and stories of Kakadu National Park while enjoying its unique fauna and flora.
Looking for more fun experiences in the Northen Territory? Check out more articles here!