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Three Northern Territory road tripping adventures to enjoy in the dry

Along with the cooler weather comes the urge to get outside and explore the Northern Territory. There’s no shortage of excitement as the dry season rolls around; a year’s worth of events are packed into a few short months. 

There’s a lot to love about the NT – not least the amazing weather, relaxed lifestyle and sense of community. As the local name in LPG, Kleenheat has over thirty years of local tips and favourite getaways. We’ve pulled together three of our favourite dry season adventures.

Highlights of the Northern Territory dry season

1. Enjoy a day out on Kungarakan country

You don’t need to head far to witness the change of seasons in the bush. Spend the day out at Berry Springs, less than an hour (50km) south of Darwin. Berry Springs Northern Territory

Start by getting an up-close look at all your favourite local critters at Territory Wildlife Park. Don’t miss the daily ‘Flight Deck’ bird show, and make sure you visit the nocturnal house and walk-through aquarium before you leave.

Next, head to Berry Springs Nature Park (pictured in feature image and to the right), for a relaxing dip to freshen up before a meal at Berry Springs Tavern.

If you have more time on your hands, stay overnight at nearby Tumbling Waters Holiday Park before heading on to Litchfield National Park or exploring the Cox Peninsula.

Local’s tip: If you’re there on the last Sunday of the month, make sure you check out the Berry Springs Community Markets for tasty treats, local produce and gifts.

2. Make the most of your long weekend on Limilngan and Uwynmil country

With six long weekends falling between April and August, there are plenty of excuses to head out of town during the dry.

Only 1.5 hours (100km) east of Darwin lies Mary River National Park. Whilst not as famous as Kakadu up the road, the park offers plenty to do for birdwatchers, anglers and four-wheel drive enthusiasts alike.

Be sure to bring your binoculars as you explore the park’s floodplains on the Hardies and Wildman four wheel drive tracks, or spend a morning taking a hike through the monsoon forest or birdwatching at one of the billabongs.
Waterfowl on a floodplain, Mary River, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Early in the season, as the wet season waters recede, head up to Shady Camp and see if you can land a barramundi. ‘The run-off’, from late February to early May, brings large numbers of trophy barra to the river.

If you don’t have your own boat or you aren’t game to fish alone in croc-infested waters, there are plenty of tour operators willing to take you out.

Set up at one of the two campgrounds in the national park, or spend the night at Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge or Mary River Wilderness Retreat (perhaps grabbing a bite to eat at The Bark Hut Inn on your way).

On your way back to Darwin, take a cruise on nearby Corrobboree Billabong, they even have self-drive houseboats for hire if you are after a leisurely break. Closer to town, Pudakul Cultural Tours offer an introduction to Limilngan-Wulna art and culture, in addition to guided wetlands tours.

Local’s tip: Don’t miss the local goodies and refreshments at Purple Mango Café and Brewery near Corrobboree Billabong.

3. Head off for a week (or two) of adventure on Jawoyn country

With the long school holidays and back-to-back long weekends, this time of year presents many opportunities for adventure. This may be peak tourist season, but there’s plenty of space to escape the crowds. Kayaking in Nitmiluk Gorge Northern Territory

Head south from Darwin to explore the area surrounding Katherine. You could easily spend a couple of days camping, swimming and hiking at Leliyn (Edith Falls), 60km north of Katherine (225km south of Darwin) on the western side of Nitmiluk National Park.

Continue on through Katherine to Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine Gorge) for a boat tour, canoe trip or day hike.

There are plenty of spots to cool off, but remember to Be Crocwise and check the current advice at the visitor centre and other signage before you dive in.

If hiking is your passion and you have five days to spare, book well ahead for a permit for the 62km Jatbula Trail along the escarpment back to Leliyn. 30km south of Katherine along the highway, stop off at Cutta Cutta Caves and learn about the rich history and unique fauna of this hidden tropical cave system.

Finish up your trip with a relaxing soak in the hot springs at Elsey River National Park, on the traditional lands of the Mangarrayi and Yangman people near Mataranka (100km south of Katherine). Mataranka, Northern Territory People swimming at Mataranka hot pools in Elsey National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Set up your tent alongside the creek at Bitter Springs Cabins and Camping or amongst the trees of Mataranka Homestead.

Gather around the campfire as you wait for your dinner to cook and start planning your next adventure.

Check out the Kleenheat Kitchen if you need some camp cooking ideas, a camp oven beef stew would go down well in cattle country. If you’re travelling in June, you might like to arrange your trip to take in the Barunga Festival.

This annual gathering sees Aboriginal groups from across the Territory come together in a celebration of dance, music, sports and culture at Burunga, 1 hour (80km) south of Katherine.

Dry season is the time for adventures. There are so many local picks for things to see and do that it’s never too early to start thinking about next year.

Local’s tip: Pack some warm clothes along with your sunscreen and hat.

A road trip reminder – don’t forget the Kwik-Gas

Packed and ready to hit the road for that barbecue lunch? Great! Don’t forget to check if you need to pick up some Kleenheat Kwik-Gas on the way. 

If you’ve already got your gas sorted, make sure you know how much gas is left in that cylinder. Need some recipes for the road? Browse our Kleenheat Kitchen for inspiration.

Gas safety at home and on the road

Planning on hitting the road to see and experience more of Australia’s backyard? Don’t forget to make sure your gas is ready to go!