WooHoo! I’ve Won a Holiday to the Northern Territory, Australia

It was nearly midnight.

I went to flick the switch on my computer for the night, and yawning took one last look at my twitter stream.

Dream Drive NT

I love the Territory -

The Territory is where I first landed in Australia, and was all I saw of the Antipodes on that initial trip Down Under. Working (and saving) for nearly two years in the Top End  I never ventured beyond its borders – And then my travels took me overland back to Europe.

But for a ‘Dream Drive’ adventure holiday in the Northern Territory now…
Where would I go?

Dream Drive NT

The NT occupies one sixth of the Australian continent, being Australia’s third largest State/Territory covering over 1.35 million sq km (520,902 sq mi) equivalent to the combined totals of France, Spain and Italy.
Or, if you’re more familiar with the UK – John O’Groats to Lands End would drop neatly in between Darwin and Tennant Creek (about half way down the NT!), with plenty of space around the edges to spare.

So there’s a fair bit of country to see!

Kata Tjuta

And there’s plenty of space!
The Northern Territory is the least populated with less than a quarter of a million residents (233,300), which is less than half the population of Tasmania!

Where would you go?

Fishing for barramundi (a Top End fishing favourite)?
Cruising up the Gorge at Katherine?
Or clambering up Gunloom Falls to admire the view over the Top End plains from a natural infinity pool that featured in Crocodile Dundee?

The Northern Territory is not only a huge area to explore, it hosts a stunning array of contrasting landscapes from the tropical north wetlands…

Crocodile Top End

 …to the dry red Centre -

Kata Tjuta

Because of its size and scope, a trip to the Territory isn’t a ‘been there, done that’ kind of a holiday destination, where you quickly tick off this and mark off that -

Its more about the experience.

I wanted to experience the power of the NT ~

Its spiritual power at places like Nourlangie and Ubirr…

Nourlangie

The power of its timeless landscapes in the Centre…

Kata Tjuta

and the escarpment country at Twin Falls in the north…

Twin Falls

And feel the magic of pulsating sounds emanating from around a billabong at night – to experience that timeless sensation of being at one with nature – biophilia.

Nourlangie

And so (in less than 140 characters, as is Twitter’s mode) and including the hashtag: #DreamDriveNT I said…

Holiday in the Northern Territory

I hit the send button.
And went to bed.

Ten days later, as another long hard working day came to a close, I checked into Twitter to see what had been happening, and my jaw dropped -

Holiday in the Northern Territory

Me!!
I’d WON!

I couldn’t really believe it -
Who would?!
But a few days later on a very wet and miserable Queensland morning, the hard-core proof arrived.

Holiday in the Northern Territory

$5,000 to spend on an adventure of my choosing, wherever I wanted to go on holiday in the Northern Territory.

So, with the essentials packed…

  • Purple walking/hiking boots - Check
  • Heeled horse-riding bootsCheck
  • Marine kayaking/canoeing water bootsCheck
  • Sandals for kicking back and relaxing - Check…

 Holiday to the Northern Territory

I was set for my Dream Drive holiday to the Northern Territory.

And if you want to come along for the ride?
To follow my adventure as I hike stunning National Parks, go horse-riding overnight on an outback station sleeping in a swag under the stars, go kayaking for 3 days down the Katherine River, and sip icy cold drinks in the infinity pool at Wildman Wilderness Retreat…

Simply enter your email address in the box below and I’ll give you a whistle (about once a week) of my latest escapade -

Where to first off?
Learning about bush tucker from a local Warumungu Aboriginal, traditional owner and experienced stockman, Jerry Kelly who took me horse riding across the spinifex plains of the Barkly Tablelands near Tennant Creek. :)

 

Photo credits: All photos in this post were taken by me on my fantabulous holiday in the Northern Territory – Sign up for the emails if you want to see more! 

Journey Jottings... highlights your holiday adventures

Australia Road Trip Stamps by Australia Post

Australia Road Trip Stamps

Have you seen these fun Australia Post Road Trip stamps?

Australia Post Road Trip Stamps

Released on the 18th September 2012, the collector’s first day of issue is postmarked ‘Wandering, WA 6308′.

Australia Post says on their website that Australians and road trips go hand-in-hand – partly as a rite of passage, but partly out of necessity, due to the extensive distances between towns.

While travel as a rite of passage initiated in the late 1600′s when men of means in aristocratic Europe toured to broaden their knowledge and understanding of culture, the first official road trip was in Germany in 1888.
Bertha Benz took a day to drive 104km (65miles) with her teenage children from Mannheim to Pforzheim in her husband’s first patented automobile.

Since then road trips have become part of our global psych as we focus more on the journey not the destination.

The Australia Road Trip stamps feature five regions around Australia.

Australia Road Trip Stamp

 

 

 

The International $2.35 Road Trip Australia stamp features Camel Racing in Alice Springs, NT

 

 

 

 

Australia Road Trip Stamp

 

 

 

 

 

Australia Post International stamp $1.65 features Little Penguins on Phillip Island, Victoria.

 

 

 

Road Trip Australia Stamp

 

 

 

 

There are 3 x 60c stamps for use in Australia ~

Port Arthur, Tasmania (and a now extinct thylacine or Tasmanian tiger)

 

 

Road Trip Australia stamp

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, with flower power combi bus – a classic Australia road trip icon.

 

 

Australia Road Trip Stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret River, wine region in WA

 

 

 

There are some great Australia road trips to be had here:

Australian Road Trips

Say the words ‘road trip’and my desire to explore fresh regions and investigate new horizons is ignited!

Do these Australia Road Trip stamps inspire you to hit the road? ;)

or…

Where has your Australia road trip taken *you*?

Journey Jottings... highlights your holiday adventures

A Dozen Views from the Car Window… Uluru to Atherton

or…

The Dry Red Centre to the Tropical Green of Cairns

At the end of last year I drove 3,000km (2,000 miles) from Yulara at Uluru in the centre of Australia across the Barkly and Atherton Tablelands to Cairns.  

A journey from the heart of Australia’s dry Red Centre in the rugged Northern Territory

to the tropical green of northern Queensland.

Uluru Australia

The changes in landscape across this island continent are stunning and startling!

Starting at Australia’s iconic monolith Uluru, where the sandy soil is red and the vegetation dry and spiky we traversed the Lasseter Highway where across the open plain Mt Conner (also known as Atilla) can be seen -

Mt Connor

When coming from the Alice Springs direction it is often mistaken for Uluru as anticipation rises for that first thrilling glimpse! In fact there is another 110km to go before that apparition will appear on the horizon to feast the eyes.

Spinifex Australia

The red centre lives up to it’s name with the most wonderful deep red rusty coloured sandy soil from which the spinifex grass and desert oaks manage to survive on just 220mm (8 inches) of rain per annum.

Mt Sonder, West McDonnell Range, central Australia

There is a mountainous interlude at Alice Springs where the MacDonnell Ranges form an east – west barricade ~ There is a natural ‘gap’ at Alice Springs that allows penetration to the north. Heading 150km to the west of Alice the highest peak, Mt Zeil, rises to 1531m but we only went as far as Mt Sonder, pictured above, which is 30 km short of Mt Zeil as that is where the bitumen runs out and a more robust vehicle (than our hired motorhome) is required for the corrugated dirt roads that lie further to the west. Mt Sonder is the NT’s fourth highest peak at 1,380 meters (4,528 feet) above sea level.

Outback Australia

Heading north from Alice Springs over the next 400km (250miles) to the Devils Marbles the country opens up to classic Ozzie outback scrub, with occasional signs of bush fires.

Devils Marbles

Turning right off the north/south Stuart Highway the Barkly Tablelands is 650km of huge endless grassy plains.

Barkly Tablelands

Around Mt Isa there is an interlude as the road winds, rises and falls across rocky outcrops...

as seen below, through the back window of the camperbus!

Mt Isa

Petrol refiling stops must be made at every available opportunity! Distances are deceptive and some stretches between fuel stops are extensive – It’s not like running around town on empty for half the week knowing when the moment comes there’ll be a petrol station around the corner ;)

Petrol Station

But after nearly 1,500km (1,000 miles) traversing east across the expansive wide plains – sometimes grassy, sometimes dry and dusty, finally we turned north again at Charters Towers, coming in across cattle country to arrive 700 metres above sea level up on the Atherton Tablelands.

Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton region covers an area larger than Tasmania and forms a verdant and lush landscape.

Having experienced volcanic activity between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago the red soils here are rich and fertile.

Milla Milla Waterfall

And being 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level the climate is cooler than down on the coast and also the rainfall is higher – Compared to the 220mm (8 inches) of rain that falls per annum in the red centre, up here on the tablelands 1,425mm (56 inches) falls each year!

Cairns view

So, after nearly 3,000 km (2,000 miles) passing from an ancient red dry outback country of the centre to the fresh green and lush volcanic country of the tablelands we finally reached the edge where we looked down to the Cairns coast and saw the ocean.

Here is our route from Alice to Atherton plotted on our Journey Jottings pictorial map.

Plotting our route Uluru Atherton

Time for reflection at the end of the road!

Uluru to Atherton

Have you experienced some of Australia’s expansive landscapes?

Do share where you’ve been and what landscapes you’ve seen in the comments below :)

Journey Jottings... highlights your holiday adventures