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Top End Outback Not the Desert You Might Expect

The capital of Australia’s Top End (Northern Territory) takes its name from the English naturalist, geologist, and biologist Charles Robert Darwin. He suggested life on earth evolved through a successful struggle for existence. Perhaps that’s why they named the port city Darwin. Because some folk on the southern seaboard think living there is something to avoid. Nothing could be further from the truth. As we discover after we collect our rental motorhome and set out to explore the Top End outback and the great beyond.

Darwin Waterfront Development
Darwin Waterfront Development

Top End Outback Attractions

Water in the Katherine River 200 miles from Darwin

The 320-kilometre drive through the Top End outback is pleasant and relaxing. We discover Katherine is a modern town. With more than enough to see and do to justify camping under the stars for two nights. The generous river is the main attraction. We spend happy hours cruising along it, and admiring the sandstone cliffs glowing in the sunset.

top end outback,Buley Rockhole, Litchfield National Park,northern territory,australia
Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park: Bidgee BY CC 3.0

Two days later we decide to head for Litchfield National Park approximately half the way back to Darwin but somewhat southwest. By now we are well-settled into our comfortable motorhome with everything we need for our camping holiday. Half a million people visit the park every year and there are magnificent waterfalls to see. We found a lovely swimming hole, and enjoyed chilling an afternoon away under shady trees.

Do You Fancy Being Close Up to Jumping Crocodiles?

We were feeling brave so we headed for Adelaide River just under an hour to the south west. This is a small, but historic settlement where the railroad crosses the river. Many memorials remain from the days when it was a large, Second World War military base. It housed up to 30,000 American and Australian soldiers. Some were in training, others recovering their wounds.

top end outback,Saltwater Crocodile, Adelaide River,northern territory,australia
Saltwater Crocodile in Adelaide River: Thin Boy Fatter BY CC 2.0

Nowadays the main attractions are Charlie, the water buffalo that co-starred in the Crocodile Dundee movie, and the jumping crocodile cruises. We kept our hands and arms firmly inside the boat. While braver people held out meat on ropes meters above the crocs. We gained even more respect for their long, powerful tails.

A Slow Meander Back to Darwin and Then Home

After overnighting at all these lovely places our flight back home beckoned. We were 110 kilometres (68 miles) due south of Darwin along National Highway One. So we made good time and could enjoy a pleasant beachfront lunch.

Casuarina Beach, Darwin,northern territory,australia
Casuarina Beach, Darwin: Tourism NT BY Free Use

As we returned the motorhome rental to the Darwin depot, we realised this was the first time we ate out except for the odd breakfast on our journey through the Top End outback. We saved loads of money and we had great fun. We shall be doing something similar in our home country soon. Care to join in the fun?

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