Australia is home to the most diverse national parks in the world. With over 500 national parks spread across 28 million hectares of land, it covers nearly 4% of the country! The Northern Territory has arguably the most cultural and diverse landscapes comprising over 50 national parks, conservation areas, marine parks and nature reserves.
The mesmerising Uluru is undoubtedly the main drawcard for schools when visiting the NT. Its natural beauty and cultural significance leaves students with lasting memories and learnings that can’t be experienced in the classroom. The journey continues across the outback and through the many national parks with an abundance of surprises and adventures waiting at every turn. Take a look below to find out which national parks are the most popular among school groups and the things they love doing on a tour to the NT.
Kakadu National Park
Kakadu is the largest National Park in Australia, covering 20,000 square kilometres, and due to its natural and cultural significance is one of only four World Heritage sites in Australia. Its ancient escarpment and rock formations span more than two million years of geological history – and waterfalls, gorges, rainforests and swimming pools showcase the unique biodiversity of this contrasting landscape.
The archaeological sites and rock artwork throughout Kakadu records the lives and skills of Aboriginal people up to 20,000 years ago – the longest historical records of any group of people in the world. The art sites at Ubirr Rock reveal some of the world’s finest examples of traditional x-ray art. Make your way to the top of the rock, the perfect vantage point to view the sunset over the Nadab floodplain.
Must do’s – explore Ubirr rock art site, watch the sunset at Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) or Ubirr Rock, explore Anbangbang Gallery, cruise Yellow Water, explore Jabiru – the main township of Kakadu.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Known as the spiritual heart of the Red Centre, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park holds a special cultural significance to the traditional owners of the land, the Anangu people. Students learn the many meanings and practices encompassed within the religion, law and moral systems of the Anangu culture.
Standing 348 metres high, Uluru is one of the world’s largest monoliths and is some 550 million years old. It’s no surprise this world heritage listed site was named the third best experience in the world in 2020 by Lonely Planet. Students marvel at the geological wonders, cultural significance and natural beauty of the area as they explore the base of the rock and absorb its magnificence.
Must do’s – watch the famous sunset from Sunset Strip and see Uluru change colour from red to orange to purple, explore the base of Uluru and learn about the significance of Aboriginal rock art and caves, visit Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) located approximately 40km west of Uluru.
Nitmiluk National Park
Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge), where the outback meets the tropics, is made up of 13 spectacular gorges carved from the ancient sandstone country. Take a boat cruise through the gorges and see ancient rock art as you learn about the dreamtime stories of the Jawoyn people or go off the beaten track by foot and discover world-class hikes. There’s plenty of wildlife to be seen and hidden waterfalls and swimming pools to be found!
Must do’s: Dawn cultural cruise through the gorges, hire a canoe and explore at your own pace, go bushwalking to spot Aboriginal art and wildlife.
The West MacDonnell National Park
The West MacDonnell National Park spreads over 160km of vast and breathtaking scenery located west of Alice Springs within the MacDonnell Ranges. The diversity of this park makes it a popular choice for school groups.
One of the top walks in the area is at Ormiston Gorge, with an abundance of native plants and wildlife, the swimming waterhole surrounded by the gorge is a satisfying reward.
Simpsons Gap is another popular choice for its cultural sites that tell of dreamtime stories. At dawn or dusk, black-footed rock wallabies come out to say hello.
Standley Chasm is a must see for its cultural and geological significance. Take in the breathtaking views of the 3 metre wide and 80 metre high gorge known traditionally as Angkerle Atwatye, meaning ‘Gap of Water’. This stunning scenery provides a backdrop for authentic cross-cultural presentations, bush tucker tours, art workshops & language classes.
Must do’s: Standley Chasm, John Flynn’s Grave, Simpsons Gap, Glen Helen Gorge, Ormiston Gorge.
Litchfield National Park
Discover waterfalls, rock pools and magnetic termite mounds on an adventure through Litchfield National Park. The spring-fed waterfalls of Wangi and Florence Falls provide the perfect vantage point for photos and an opportunity to really soak in the true beauty of the rainforest. Both destinations make for beautiful bushwalks and you can choose from a number of hikes based on length and difficulty.
Must do’s: Magnetic termite mounds, Wangi Falls, Florence Falls
Discover more exciting adventures that can be included in your educational tour to the Northern Territory or chat to one of our program specialists by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1800 331 050.