The Sidney Williams

Time and again, visitors to the Territory who have an interest in history and architecture come across corrugated-iron buildings known as Sidney Williams huts. These prefabricated buildings were supplied by a Sydney-based company that was established in the 1920s by Sidney Williams, an architect and engineer. Initially Sidney Williams & Co specialised in windmills, but from experience gained on his travels throughout remote parts of the country, Williams realised that there was the need for...

Lifestyle

As you can imagine, there's not a great deal of urban living here (except for Darwin) if you're coming from Melbourne don't expect your coffee to be a macchiato and, if arriving from Sydney, get ready for more of a tan than even the hottest Double Bay solarium could ever provide. In the outback, some station properties are about 500km from the nearest doctor, supermarket and school children might have to sit down in front of a high-frequency (HF) radio transceiver to receive an education. But...

Top Aboriginal Cultural Experiences

Combining a wildlife safari, Aboriginal cultural tour and bush-tucker tasting in Kakadu National Park, led by an Indigenous guide (pi 18) Getting a true insight into the land and cultural significance of Uluru through the eyes of the traditional owners (p251) Sampling bush tucker, walking a bush-medicine trail and trying your hand at traditional painting at Manyallaluk, near Katherine (pi38) Travelling by 4WD from Uluru to the Cave Hill Aboriginal community, to learn about their creation...

Mereenie Loop Road

The rugged Mereenie Loop Rd begins at Kata-pata Pass (Areyonga turn-off), about 26km west of where Larapinta Dr links with the dirt road to Glen Helen, and passes through Aboriginal land to Watarrka National Park. This is an excellent alternative route from Alice to Kings Canyon. In dry conditions the road is suitable for conventional vehicles with good ground clearance, though there are some sandy patches and hire vehicles will not be covered by insurance. However, the Northern Territory...

Info

The Territory's European population is outnumbered four to one by Darwin is bombed by the Japanese during WWII. Chinese im migrants, who dorn inate the goldfields. Within a month of returning, the foolhardy Scotsman was heading north again and this time he reached the mangrove-lined shores of the north coast at Point Stuart on 24 July 1862. Partly as a result of Stuart's reports, South Australian governors annexed the Northern Territory in 1863 with an eye to development, but by the time of...

Finke Gorge National Park

Famous for its rare palms, Finke Gorge National Park is one of central Australia's premier wilderness areas. The biggest attraction is the sublime Palm Valley with its lush ribbon of tall palms and cycads, but the main gorge features high red cliffs, stately river red gums, cool waterholes and lovely walks. For thousands of years, the Finke River formed part of an Aboriginal trade route that crossed Australia, bringing goods such as sacred red ochre from the south and pearl shell from the north...

Pine Creek

Pine Creek was once the scene of a gold rush, from which some of the old timber and cor-rugated-iron buildings still survive. Bird watchers flock to this area, as it is said to have the largest variety of species in the Territory. As Pine Creek lies 1km or so off the highway it also manages to retain a peaceful atmosphere, undisturbed by the road trains thundering up and down the highway. Here the Kakadu Hwy branches off the Stuart Hwy to Cooinda and Jabiru, in Kakadu National Park. In the...

Tolmer Falls

The Tolmer Falls turn-off is 6km past the swamp. Here the escarpment offers sweeping views over the tropical woodland stretching away to the horizon. The falls, which cascade spectacularly into a deep, narrow gorge, screen a series of caves that form the largest known breeding site for the endangered orange horseshoe bat and ghost bat. Access to the falls themselves has been restricted to protect the habitat, and there is no swimming at this site. A 400m walking track (with wheelchair access)...

Information

American Express (see 20) Angus & Robertson 1 B8 ANZ Bank 2 A7 Back packers World Travel (see 49) B7 Bureau de Change (see 115) 72) Commonwealth Bank 4 A7 Darwin Regional Tourism Association Information B8 Flight Centre 6 B7 Global Gossip 7 A8 Guardian Pharmacy 8 B8 Indonesian Consulate 9 F7 Internet Outpost (see 115) Main Post Office 10 B7 Maps NT 11 F7 National Bank 12 D6 Northern Territory Library (see 34) NT General Store 13 B7 B7 Police Station 15 A8 Read Back Book Exchange 16 B8 Tiwi...

Litchfield National Park

This 1500-sq-km national park, 115km south of Darwin, encloses much of the spectacular Tabletop Range, a wide sandstone plateau mostly surrounded by cliffs. The park's main attractions are four waterfalls that drop off the edge of this plateau, unusual termite mounds and curious sandstone formations. Beautiful country, excellent camping grounds, and the 4WD, bushwalk-ing and photography opportunities are also highlights. It's well worth a few days, but note that weekends can get crowded. There...

Travel Literature

Reading the tales of travellers who have gone before is a great way to gain a sense of place and fuel the wanderlust. Tracks (1980) by Robyn Davidson tells the amazing story of a young woman who set out alone to walk 1700km from Alice Springs to the Cup of coffee 2 Newspaper 1 Pie & sauce 4 Stubby holder 6-8 Didgeridoo 150-400 See also Lonely Planet Index, inside front cover. Western Australian coast with her camels. It almost single-handedly inspired the current Australian interest in camel...

Cape Crawford To Barkly Homestead

This desolate route follows the Tablelands Hwy due south from Cape Crawford to Barkly Homestead, passing just one station along the way. Note that no fuel is available along this 375km stretch. Brunette Downs Station ( 8964 4522 Tablelands Hwy), 245km south of Cape Crawford, covers just over 12,000 sq km. It is accessible by conventional vehicles with care. This station would be no different from any other in the region if it wasn't for the Brunette Downs Bush Races, held in June each year. A...

Tanami On Two Wheels

If you think tackling the Tana mi on four wheels is daunting - with your low-range gearbox, 100L of water, spare tyres and esky in the back - imagine doing it on a bicycle. Alice resident Ronn Slusser and his partner Dorinda Blok did just that in 1999 as part of a 6y2-week, 3100km epic ride from Alice to Darwin via Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing, the Gibb River Rd, Kununurra and Katherine. All for fun, of course. Ronn says they averaged a whopping 100km a day (about 10 days' riding from Alice to...

James Ranges

The low-lying James Ranges form an east-west band south of the West MacDonnell Ranges. While not as well known as the MacDonnells, the ranges border some of the Centre's top attractions Hermannsburg, Palm Valley and Kings Canyon. Most people visit Hermannsburg and Palm Valley on a day or overnight trip from Alice Springs, and save Kings Canyon for a separate trip that includes Uluru. However, you can save a lot of backtracking if you continue from Hermannsburg around the western end of the...

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Mac Clark Conservation Reserve 242 magnetic termite mounds 99,185 Maguk Barramundi Gorge 126-7 Malabanbadju 124 mandatory sentencing 28 Mandorah 89 Manyallaluk 145 maps 267-8 markets 56 Alice Springs 200 Darwin 80,6 Mary Ann Recreational Dam 165 Mary River Crossing 95 Mary River National Park 94-5 Maryvale Rd 240-2 Ma ryvale Station 241 Mataranka 145-7,146 McKlnlay, John 109 medical services 286-7 Melville Island 91-2 meningococcal disease 287 Merrepen Arts Festival 104 metric conversions, see...

Yurmikmik Bushwalks

Five walks of varying difficulty penetrate the southern stone country of the park from Yur-mikmik, 5km south of the South Alligator River on the road to Gunlom. Some are day or half-day walks, and others are overnight and involve bush camping and navigational skills these require permits and should only be attempted by experienced bushwalkers. Boulder Creek Walk 2km loop, 45 minutes, medium This is the easiest of the Yurmikmlk walks and crosses Plum Tree Creek through woodlands and monsoon...

Fossicking

Northern Australia experienced a couple of mini-gold rushes in the early days, and panning or fossicking for gems and minerals is still a popular pastime. To get to the best spots you really need a 4WD, and don't kid yourself - it's hard, backbreaking work under hot sun if you really want to find that hidden jewel or nugget With a bit of effort and a good eye, fossickers will find rewards such as agate, amethyst, garnet, jasper, zircon and, of course, gold. Good places to try are the Harts...

Roper Bar To Borroloola

The Nathan River Rd from Roper Bar to Borroloola is part of the famous Gulf Track. Here it varies from pretty good to bloody rough - the grassy strip down the middle in parts certainly spells 'track' rather than 'road' to many drivers. A 4WD is not obligatory, but good clearance certainly is. It's advisable to carry two spares, and to slow right down on the loose and sharp shale sections. Limmen National Park, through which much of the road passes, has been established to cover an area of...

Alice Springs To Finke

The Old South Rd, also known as Maryvale Rd, turns off the Stuart Hwy 12km south of Alice Springs. At Rodinga siding the road splits, continuing south to Maryvale Station, the Titjikala Aboriginal community and the turnoff to Chambers Pillar, or southeast to Finke. The road to Maryvale is rough in patches, but is fine for conventional vehicles in dry conditions. After that it's all 4WD. It's beautiful country, the road cutting through red sand dunes in places, with low mulga scrub and the...

Wangi Falls

The main road through the park continues north from the Tjaynera turn-off another 6.5km to the turn-off to the most popular attraction in Litchfield - Wangi Falls pronounced wong-guy , 1.5km along a side road. This area can really become overrun on weekends. The falls here flow year-round and fill a beautiful plunge pool that is great for swimming. Although the pool looks safe enough, the currents can be strong. Beside the pool a sign points out the dangers, and markers indicate when the water...

Entertainment

Darwin is a city of warm nights and numerous options. The nightclubs and live music venues in the CBD are close enough together that you can take a wander to find one you like. Other tastes in entertainment are also catered for, with theatre, film and concerts. You'll find up-to-date entertainment listings for live music and other attractions in the Friday edition of the Northern Territory News. For a more alternative scene, check out the walls at Relish or the Roma Bar opposite or pick up the...

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Tabletop Swamp 100 Tanaml Mine 210 Tanaml Track 207-10,207 Tasman, Abel 24 taxes 268 Telegraph Station Historical Reserve 182 telephone codes 271 telephone services 270-1 Tennant Creek 162-7,163 accommodation 165-6 activities 165 attractions 164-5 festivals 165 food 166 special events 165 travel to from 166-7 travel within 167 termites 97 Territory Wildlife Park 96 Three Ways 162 Ti Tree 205-6 Tilmouth Well 209 Timber Creek 150-1 time 271-2 tipping 268 Titjlkala Art Centre 241 Tiwi Islands...

Mandorah

This low-key, relaxed beach resort on the tip of Cox Peninsula is 128km by road from Darwin, or only 6km across the harbour by regular ferry. Darwinites converge for a lunch, a quiet afternoon drink or dinner at the pub, before catching the ferry home. Fishing from the pier here is reputedly good, with catches of barramundi, queenfish and mackerel. The Mandorah Beach Hotel 89785044 man dorahbeachhotel bigpond.com unpowered powered sites for2 12 15, dm 15, d from 85 gl D has sublime views over...

Sickness Country

During the 1950s and '60s the southern part of what is now Kakadu National Park was the site of about a dozen small mines through the South Alligator River valley. The mines pulled high-grade uranium, gold, zinc, lead, silver, palladium, tin and copper from the ground. All mining ceased in 1964. The Jawoyn people call this area Buladjang - Sickness Country - and believe it was created by Bula, a powerful spirit who still lives underground, and that Bolung, the Rainbow Serpent, inhabits the...