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Australia's Northern Territory (NT) has a lot to bloody offer, mate. You want to see natural attractions like Kings Canyon or Uluru (Ayers Rock) or the McDonnell Ranges? Or see magical towns like Darwin and Alice Springs? Get your ass over here, y'hear?

Northern Territory (NT)
The Top End/The Territory/The Backpacker Pickup Territory

"Culture in the Northern Territory amounts to changing your underwear on a daily basis.  If you want high culture, visit Sydney or Melbourne.   If you want natural attractions, including the sleazy backpacker type, come to the Northern Territory."  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic

The Northern Territory is not a state of Australia.  There was a referendum held in 1998, and the Territorians rejected the idea.  As a territory and not a state, the Northern Territory gets no senators in the parliament in Canberra.  Big deal.  Hardly anyone lives in the Northern Territory anyway -- only 220,000, with over half of that total in the capital, Darwin. 

Hardly anyone might live there, but that didn't stop two Australian states from wanting a piece of it.  From 1825 to 1863, the Northern Territory was part of New South Wales.   After 1863, New South Wales ditched it, and South Australia took control until 1911. 

Northern Territory flag

For once, no reminder the place was once British

No one knew what the hell to do with this area.  In 1846, for ten months, the area plus much of present day Queensland had a go as North Australia.  It tanked.   In 1927, a second run at North Australia was launched, a much smaller version that consisted of just the northern half of the present-day Northern Territory.  The southern half was called, brilliantly, Central Australia.   That experiment also bit the dust.  Then, they floated the idea of leasing out parts of the Northern Territory as a Jewish homeland.  The Jews balked: where was a beach?    Plenty of people love the sound of the words "North Australia" and don't want to let the name die, vowing to call the place North Australia if the Territory ever gets statehood.

Australia in 1846 Australia in 1927
Back then, the territory looked a little different, didn't it?

What sets the Northern Territory apart from the other states of Australia, besides it not being a state, is the Aboriginals.  The Northern Territory does not contain the largest number of Aboriginals.  That distinction belongs to New South Wales, with Queensland having an almost equal number.  But the Aboriginals are more noticeable in the Northern Territory, because 1 in 3 people here are Aboriginal, and the Aboriginals own 49% of the Northern Territory's land. 

The Northern Territory's towns are nothing to write home about.  Darwin, the capital, could probably fit into the parking lot at Disneyworld.  You don't visit the Northern Territory to check out its towns.  You go for its natural attractions, which are among the most famous attractions to be found in Australia or, indeed, the world.  Attractions like Ayers Rock (Uluru), Kings Canyon, and the national parks of Kakadu and Litchfield, bring in the tourists and tourist dollars.  These attractions are like nothing you'd see in other parts of the world.

Backpackers adore the Northern Territory.  With little cash for their own vehicle, they book a multitude of tours to take them to all the key attractions on the cheap.  At the same time, they undertake, with their fellow travel companions and at no extra charge, some of the sleaziest pickups to be had on the entire continent.  The bars of Melanka Backpackers "Resort" and Bojangles are filled with an endless supply of drunken and near-broke backpackers either starting or ending a tour and 9 out of 10 eager and willing to pair up with a drunken partner for a night of fun.  If over 30, consider bringing an iPod and watching your favorite movies on it instead.

The Northern Territory should not be missed.   You don't come all the way to Australia only to lie on a beach or do face time at a chic Sydney bar.   You could do those activities in your own country or a country closer to home.   If time is on your side, allot at least 2 weeks to bask in the wonder of the Northern Territory.   Doug spent 5 weeks here, one week of that time spent trapped in Alice Springs while his totaled second car was assessed and he planned his next move.  You'd do well to heed his advice apart from wrecking your vehicle.   



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Voltaire Brown's Don't Travel Europe

 Australia's Northern Territory (NT) boasts it all, baby. You'll love places like Kings Canyon, Uluru (Ayers Rock), and the East McDonnell Ranges and the West McDonnell Ranges. Want to rock it hard, you'll go to Darwin or Alice Springs.