Top 11 places to explore with your family in the Northern Territory

Places to explore with your family in Northern Territory

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We have wrapped up our Top 11 places to explore with your family in the Northern Territory! The Northern Territory has some amazing places to explore in our own backyard. Sometimes we just need to know where to visit! It is great to explore these with your family either for a day trip or a camping trip. We asked our member families their favourite spots to explore and here is our top 11 (because we couldn’t just choose 10!)

Visitors to the Northern Territory (NT) need a park pass to visit most national parks and reserves. However if you are an NT resident you do not need a park pass. For more infomation about park passes head here.

We also recommend checking if you need to book camping or if the park is open before you head off on your trip. These are handy website to know. Also checking the road reports and conditions websites as some roads can be flooded or closed. Click here

Places to explore with your family in Northern Territory

we hope you enjoy our top 11 places in no particular order…….



Mataranka is a tiny town in the Northern Territory about 420 km southeast of Darwin, and 107 km south of Katherine. Mataranka is famous for its thermal pools.

Mataranka Thermal Pool is one of two natural thermal pools in Elsey National Park in the Katherine region. It is very blissful to float and swim in these Thermal pools.

Mataranka is 2wd accessible and best times to visit are from May to September.  Camping is available at Maranka Homestead as well as cabins and motel accomodation. There is also a bar and restaurant at the Homestead, with a short walk to the Thermal pools.

There are a few walks near Mataranka Thermal pools but check they are open before departing.

Location: Approx 4hrs drive from Darwin, end of Homestead Road, turn east off the Stuart Highway, 1.5 km south of Mataranka.

Bitter Springs

Bitter Springs

Another great spot to swim in the Elsey National Park in the Katherine region is Bitter Springs. You can visit both Bitter Springs and Mataranka if you plan for a day or two trip. The water is warm all year round. There is a 500m loop walk around Bitter Springs for those that want to explore the surrounds a bit more.

One way to experience Bitter springs is to drift with the flow down along the stream that connects the two swimming areas and then exit via the ladder at the bridge on the walkway that circles the Spring area. Great to bring along a pool noodle to experience the drift and enjoy! Swimming back up against the current is not recommended. See if you can spot a turtle or other nature while you are there.

There are toliets and picnic areas at Bitter springs. Camping and cabins are available at Bitter Springs Cabins & Camping which is a short walk to the springs.

Location: Approx 4hr 17mins from Darwin, off Stuart Highway, Martin Road, Mataranka

Robin Falls NT

Robin Falls

Robin Falls is one of the NT’s less known, hidden gems. Most people head to Litchfield or Kakadu but Robin Falls is another great spot to explore close to Darwin!

It is about a 1.5 hour drive south of Darwin. To get to Robin Falls travel down the Stuart Highway from Darwin to Adelaide River (112.3km). The turnoff for Robin Falls is just past Adelaide River, the petrol station and pub at Adelaide River onto Dorat Road. Follow this for 15km and the dirt road to Robin Falls will be on your right.

The trail starts at the end of the dirt road by the car park. Robin Falls is accessible to all vechiles. No 4wd drive is required. The falls can be quite spectacular with a good wet season and the fast flow over the waterfalls. However the dirt road can need a 4wd if there is still water around and it is flooded. You can park near the dirt road entrance and walk the extra distance if you only have a 2wd.

The walk from the rest/campsite areas along the stream to Robin Falls is quite easy, you will have to climb over boulders/rocks/logs as it is not a simple flat hike track but it is not too extreme. I have done this walk with my four kids (youngest being 5 at the time) The climb from the base of the waterfall to the top pools should be for more experienced.

There are FREE campsites and no bookings are required, it is a first in best dressed scenario. As Robin Falls lies outside of any national park boundaries, the rest area and track are not as regularly managed, take all your rubbish with you so everyone can enjoy this beautiful place.

Location: Approx 1hr 30mins from Darwin, near Adelaide River off Dorat Road.

Berry Springs

Berry Springs

This has got to be one of our family favourites for a quick escape (only 40mins or so out of town!) and beautiful place to swim in nature.  There are lush green grassed areas for picnics or to kick a ball around with the kids, bbq facilities and public toliet block.

The first stairs lead you down to a small beautiful pool area with a small waterfall (seen in picture). If you walk down to the right track there are two larger deeper pool areas to swim. These are deep with no spots to touch the ground so its highly recommended to take noodles or floatation devices for children.

Berry Springs is only open during the Dry season and closed during the wet. Always adviseable to check this website if parks/waterfalls etc are open or closed. Click here

Location: Approx 40 min drive from Darwin, off Cox Peninsula Road, Berry Springs

Umbrawarra Gorge

Umbrawarra Gorge

My family first visited amazing Umbrawarra Gorge in 2022. We passed through for a swim and explore on our way past. Definitely planning a camping trip here in the future.

Umbrawarra is a striking gorge with sharp red cliffs and sandstone overhangs. The best time to visit Umbrawarra Gorge is in the Dry season so that there is some flowing water still in the creeks and rock pools to swim in. It is only approximately 1km walk into Gorge but it is not easy access and some areas require rock hoping and navigating. There is some Aboriginal Rock art that can be viewed in the Gorge areas.

Camping is available at the Umbrawarra Gorge Nature park but does need to be booked online here.There are toliets, BBQs and picnic areas at Umbrawarra.

To get to the gorge it does require High clearancce 4wD vechile access only and during the wet the road in can become impassible. To get to the Gorge, travel 211km south along the Stuart Highway from Darwin or 89km north from Katherine and take Umbrawarra Road into the park, approximately 3km south of Pine Creek. The last 22km is on unsealed road and includes creek crossings and steep dips. Check road conditions before you go.

Location: Approx 2hr 43min from Darwin, near Pine Creek, off Umbrawarra Road.

Cutta Cutta Caves

Cutta Cutta Caves

I finally ticked this one off my bucket list last year, and so glad we got there. I was in awe of the Cutta Cutta Caves. Formed millions of years ago, the Cutta Cutta Caves system is home to a variety of native wildlife and has a rich Indigenous culture and modern European history, located just outside of Katherine.

Inside the caves you may see sparkling limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites and five different species of bats including the rare ghost and leaf-nosed bats. It is definitly an amazing experience to view the Caves.

Note you do need to book a spot on the Nitmulk Tours to visit Cutta Cutta Caves on a guided tour.  For more information and to book online click here. Closed-in shoes are mandatory – no thongs/jandles/flip flops, crocs, sandals or hiking sandals permitted. Disabled access available, contact operator for details.

Cutta Cutta Cave tours are only open from April to end of October (weather dependant). There are toliets and picnic areas available.

Location: Approx 3hr 24mins from Darwin, 30km from Katherine, turn off the Stuart Highway

Fogg Dam

Fogg Dam

My family recently visited Fogg Dam in the wet season and the giant lilies and wildlife were amazing to view! If you’re an avid bird watcher this is the place to be in the wet season with a variety of bird species on show, almost 200 species have been counted to visit the area. Fogg Dam is one of the most accessible places in the NT, 2wd accessible to experience spectacular wetlands and wildlife throughout the year.

There are several walks through monsoon and floodplain habitats, plus various scenic viewing platforms to take in the spectacular views.  There are picnic areas and public toliets available.

Fogg Dam is diability access friendly and accesible all year round.

Location: Approx 45 min drive from Darwin, off Arnhem Highway, then turn left on to Anzac Parade.

Places to explore with your family in Northern Territory - Ubirr


Ubirr is one of the most famous spots in Kakadu National Park. Most notably for its Aboriginal rock art galleries.

The walk to Ubirr takes about an hour and is 1km via a circular walking track from the car park. The climb to the lookout takes a further 30 minutes. Sunset is an awe inspiring time to visit. View the majestic floodplains as far as the eye can see, the woodlands and rainforests. Let the peaceful Kakadu scenery calm you.

Ranger guided walks are available and can be booked if you prefer.

Ubirr is accessible almost all year round. However the road to Ubirr can flood at times. It is always adviseable to check the roads before your trip here.  The road is sealed and is accessible by 2wd.

Note – The main art site areas is flat and accessible for wheelchairs.  For cultural reasons, alcohol is not permitted at Ubirr.

Location: Approx 3.5hrs drive from Darwin, 40mins from Jabiru, off Oenpelli Road, Kakadu National Park

Places to explore with your family in Northern Territory - walker creek

Walker Creek

This hidden gem is definitly one of the places to explore with your family in Northern Territory!  Walker Creek has several swimming spots along the creek. Some of the spots are plunge pools or shallow areas with others having small waterfalls like pictured. There are 8 secluded camp spots you can camp at along the creek and swim at. But be warned there is a hike into the creek and camp spots so pack lightly. The beauty of having 8 spots to swim and camp is that you can generally find an area less crowded or you might even have the spot to yourself!

With shallow and plunge pools, this makes a great place for families to explore and kids to swim. Or for the more adventurous you can do the whole hike to the 8 spots. The furthest camp site is 1.8km from the carpark.

Walker creek is accessible by 2wd all year round, however it does close due to wet season conditions. So check if the park is open before heading there.

There are toliets (long drops not flushing) available in the carpark and along the track/near some campsites.

There are BBQ’s available and great spots for picnics along with way. If you wish to camp you do need to book and pay in advance. Head here

Location: Litchfield National Park, Litchfield Park Road, Batchelor

Buley Rockhole

Places to explore with your family in Northern Territory - Bluey rockhole

Probaly one of the more famous and popular spots to swim, is Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park. This also has got to be one of my family favourite to escape too. The several rockholes and plunge pools makes it an easy spot for kids to swim (as opposed to some of the deeper waterfalls in the Park at other locations.)  Buley Rockhole is set among several small, rapid flowing streams and vary from deep plunge pools to shallow rocky areas.

Buley Rockhole shares the same access road as Florence Falls. Buley is the first turn off. Florence Falls is another great spot to visit with a large waterfall that you could visit in the same day. There is camping available at Florence Falls. Buley Rockhole and Florence falls are accessible all year round by 2wd and on sealed roads. However they are both closed during wet season at times.

There are toliets available at both sites.

Location: Litchfield National Park, Litchfield Park Road, Batchelor



One of the places to explore with your family in Northern Territory, has to be Dundee! It has a very relaxed vibe, as you drive in you may see families in buggies with their rods & pots, or families heading out in their boats. As you arrive at Dundee the massive caravan and camping park on the right gives a real community feel, plus the Saturday arts and crafts markets on the cliff edge where the locals show off their creativity.

There are also ample Airbnb’s with private pools so you can get a few families together or head past the lodge and find an amazing campsite on the cliffs & sand dunes and sit back and relax while the kids play!

If you’re not into fishing there are plenty of waterholes to check out, both freshwater (Barramundi Drive) and the famous Dundee Olympic pool – a large rock formation with numerous rock pools on the ocean (-12.677224371025561, 130.34972526758702)

In the evenings you have the choice of the Lodge or the Social Club where you can get a wonderful meal, both venues have space for the kids to play while you sit back and listen to some live music.
And most importantly- don’t forget the amazing sunsets, they never disappoint. In all Dundee Beach is a family friendly relaxing gem of the Top End.

Location: Approx 1hr 30mins drive from Darwin (133km), Off off Cox Peninsula Road, then via Fog Bay Road

We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and the places to explore with your family in Northern Territory. Don’t forget to check out our top 5 tips for camping with kids blog here. We also have wrapped up the best walks and bike rides with kids in Darwin on the blog here

And let us know what you think of the spots if you visit!

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