Local's Guide to the Territory

When it comes to immersing yourself in the real culture, lifestyle and landscape of a place, locals know best. Whether it’s food, nightlife, nature, wildlife, adventure or Aboriginal art and culture you’re looking for, discover the real Northern Territory with our tips, tricks and insider knowledge, from the Red Centre to the Top End.

Photo by: Tourism NT/Sam Earp

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Nature's Pool Party

Join an organised day trip or drive yourself 120km south-east of Darwin along sealed roads for a plunge in the stunning waterholes at Litchfield National Park – nature’s own water park.

Cool off in one of the clear and shady pools after exploring the Berry Springs Nature Park on foot. Make sure you bring your goggles along to spot the native fish and other aquatic life.

Take a refreshing dip in Katherine Hot Springs, a series of clear, natural thermal springs on the banks of the Katherine River. Relax with a picnic after a walk along one of the scenic tracks.

Set among palms and tropical woodlands in Elsey National Park, the spring-fed thermal pools of Bitter Springs are an ideal place to relax and unwind. Nearby, soothe your soul in the crystal clear waters of Mataranka Thermal Pool under the shade of pandanus, paperbarks and palm forest.

Enjoy a swim and a picnic or even a canoe at Lake Mary Ann (Tingkkarli), a cool oasis set in stunning bushland and loved by locals that’s only 5km north of Tennant Creek.

Ormiston Gorge has a near-permanent waterhole ideal for swimming. Flanked by a sandy beach to rival the coast, with towering red walls, there’s also an impressive loop walk.

The spectacular Ellery Creek Big Hole is where Alice locals go swimming on hot summer days. It’s also a great place for a picnic, and you can camp here.

Photo by: Tourism NT/Jesse Lindemann

Must-Try Markets

Soak up the Darwin buzz at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets. With more than 300 stalls, there’s food, entertainment, local crafts, unique Aboriginal art and, yes, this is where you watch one of those legendary Territory sunsets slip into the sea.

Make sure you stop off at Parap Markets for a Darwin institution – a breakfast laksa. A Saturday morning must, stroll through the vibrant lanes of Territory-inspired stalls and pick up the perfect gift or souvenir.

Start your Sunday with an amble around Nightcliff Markets, a popular brunch spot where locals kick back to live music and have their tarot read over a freshly brewed coffee or three.

If you're travelling along the Stuart Highway, the Adelaide River Markets is a great place to stop, cool off and pick up some handmade goodies, including jams, woodwork, cakes and more.

Check out some of Katherine’s best arts and crafts, stock up on fresh produce and fill up on yummy food and drinks at the vibrant Katherine Community Market, held every Saturday during the dry season.

Yarn with a local, grab a cuppa and pick up a bargain or two at the Tennant Creek Community Markets, held every second Saturday of the month.

A favourite with locals and tourists alike, you’ll find a treasure trove of Aboriginal art, clothing, jewellery, local honey, and food glorious food at the Todd Mall Markets in Alice Springs.

Photo by: Tourism NT/Helen Orr

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Brush up on Aboriginal Art

Start your art quest at Aboriginal Bush Traders, housed in Darwin’s historic 1925 Lyons cottage. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of the NT’s best regional art all under one roof.

Catch a flight or ferry to the Tiwi Islands where you’ll see why local artists command such attention, nationally and internationally, with a number of art centres packed full of stunning artwork.

The canvas of Kakadu and throughout Arnhem Land is as vibrant as it is vast. Get up close and personal with ancient rock art and view stunning examples of traditional painting, sculptures, prints and crafts in local art centres.

Looking to experience Aboriginal art and culture on country? Book a visit with Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours and explore the local wetlands near Adelaide River with the traditional owners.

Discover the distinctive art of Djilpin Arts in Beswick on the Central Arnhem Road. It’s overflowing with fibre art, hand-cut didgeridoos, painting, carvings, jewellery and textiles.

After exploring the local galleries in Katherine, head to Railway Terrace to check out the street art featuring portraits of local Aboriginal identities.

Book a unique cultural guided tour at Tennant Creek’s award-winning museum and gallery, the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre. Explore the work of local artists or enjoy a cuppa in the bushfood garden café.

Photo by: Tourism NT/KWP!