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Lifestyle : Experience the Northern Territory
1HERSA1 U003 NORTHERN TERR TOR HORT RE RED CENTRE CLASSIC SIGHTS Includes: $25 National t TAKE A FRIEND FOR 30% OFF* 5 DAYS: 1ST PASSENGER FROM $1410* 2ND PASSENGER FROM $9 * *Conditions apply. Take a friend for 30% off valid when you travel with a friend on any Red Centre or Top End Short Break of 2 days or more. New bookings only. Price shown is per person, twin share, land only, based on budget accommodation, low season and includes savings. No other offers or discounts apply. 30% off the land price only. Single travellers save 15% off the land price. alid for sale until 30 pr. 2011 and for travel prior to 30 une 2011. Deposit $200 per person due within days of booking. imited offer, sub ect to availability or until sold out. ffer not available on rail e tensions. Cannot be combined with any other offer. ll prices are guaranteed once deposit has been paid. ustralian Pacific Touring Pt y td BN 00 68 619 ic. No. 30112 MKT8869 CAMEL FARM, ULURU & KATA TJUTA Includes: $25 National t t l TAKE A FRIEND FOR 30% OFF* 2 DAYS: 1ST PASSENGER FROM $655* 2ND PASSENGER FROM $45 * STAY AT AY S S T CALL 1300 202 192 w ww.aptouring.com.au/ntshortbreaks or see your local travel agent RED CENTRE HIGHLIGHTS Includes: $25 National t ta National Pa k TAKE A FRIEND FOR 30% OFF* 3 DAYS: 1ST PASSENGER FROM $ 10* 2ND PASSENGER FROM $56 * S UNDS F SIL N DINN INGS ANY N WILD N SS L DG PTI N Stay at APT's award-winning Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge exclusively located on Kings Creek Station. With full eco-certification, our luxurious tented cabins represent the ultimate in outback accommodation. 2011/12 BROCHURE OUT NOW ULURU U L R Find your story in the Northern Territory with APT northern territory special report The Sydney Morning Herald Sunday, March 13, 2011 3 A gorge all yours Explore, swim, camp and tour without the crowds, writes Lee Atkinson. WA NORTHERN TERRITORY 50km Darwin Alice Springs Gregory National Park Litchfield National Park Elsey National Park Garig Gunak Barlu National Park West MacDonnell National Park Crowd-free . . . (from left) Elsey Falls; the West MacDonnell Ranges. Cover image: Litchfield National Park at sunrise. Cover photo: Getty Images ULURU-Kata Tjuta, Kakadu and Katherine Gorge (Nitmiluk) are the Territory's blockbuster national parks and as jaw-droppingly beautiful as they are, their popularity can mean they are often packed with like-minded tourists jostling for space to set up camp or catch the perfect view. Here are five other parks where the natural wonders are just as grand but the crowds are thin on the ground. Gregory National Park Covering a whopping 13,000 square kilometres on the edge of the Kimberley, and rich in both Aboriginal and European pastoral history, Gregory features spectacular range and gorge scenery, extensive stands of boab trees and beautiful camping areas near good swimming holes. Highlights include boabs carved with the names of early explorers and stockmen; Bullita Homestead, built in 1901 and with its traditional timber stockyards still standing; and Limestone Gorge. GETTING THERE About 160 kilometres west of Katherine via the Victoria Highway, or via the unsealed Buntine and Buchanan highways if in a four-wheel-drive. Litchfield National Park This is the Top End in miniature -- in just one relatively small area you can find wetlands and lily-covered billabongs, thundering waterfalls, prolific birdlife, gigantic termite mounds, weird and fantastic sandstone formations, rough-and- ready four-wheel-driving and an abundance of that NT rarity, crocodile-free swimming holes. Even better, it's only an hour or so by car from Darwin.Favourite spots include Buley Rockhole and Wangi Falls. If you've got a 4WD, head to Tjaynera Falls (Sandy Creek Falls) and Surprise Creek Falls. GETTING THERE Litchfield is 120 kilometres south-west of Darwin via Batchelor, just off the Stuart Highway. You can loop back to Darwin from Wangi Falls. West MacDonnell National Park It stretches for more than 160 kilometres west of Alice Springs and at its heart is the ancient West Macdonnell Ranges, a rugged landscape of red rocks, yellow spinifex and purple hills. Just 18 kilometres from Alice Springs is Simpsons Gap, a spectacular cleft in the ranges; a few kilometres further on is Standley Chasm, less than nine metres wide and towering to 80 metres. Other highlights include Ellery Creek Big Hole, an intoxicatingly beautiful swimming hole, Serpentine Gorge and Ormiston Gorge.You can also swim at Redback Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge, though the swimming holes are icy cold. GETTING THERE From Alice, take Larapinta Drive to get to the turn- offs for Simpsons Gap (17 kilometres west) and Standley Chasm (41 kilometres west). Follow Namatjira Drive to access the rest of the park. Elsey National Park If the West Macs' swimming holes are too cool for comfort, dip your toes into the bath-warm waters of the Mataranka Thermal Pools, where springwater rises from underground at 34 degrees. The ''swimming pool'' is surrounded by a paperbark and palm forest. Though the park is just off the all-sealed Stuart Highway, it's best visited in the dry season because the pools are sometimes closed during the breeding season of the little red flying fox (traditionally in the wet season, November to April). GETTING THERE The park is just south of Mataranka on the Stuart Highway, about 106 kilometres south of Katherine. Garig Gunak Barlu National Park On the Cobourg Peninsula in Arnhem Land this is a place of pristine beaches carpeted in seashells, where turtles come to lay their eggs, crocodiles bask in the sun and the world's largest remaining wild herd of banteng roam. One of the park's highlights is the ruins of Victoria Settlement, an ill-fated outpost abandoned before Palmerston (Darwin) was established in the mid-19th century. GETTING THERE The park is about 570 kilometres by 4WD north-east of Darwin and impassable from November to April. A permit is needed for Arnhem Land and to camp. (08) 8999 4814, nt.gov.au/nreta/parks.
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