The Northern Territory is often not considered for bushwalking because of the heat. The south has deserts which are very different from the lush, tropical forests near the northern coast. Winter is the best time to walk in any area of the territory. Permits are needed for areas where aboriginal ownership has been recognised.
West MacDonnell Ranges: A rugged desert range that starts at Alice Springs. The Larapinta Trail provides a 14-day walk along the range. Shorter walks based on the track are possible. The nearby Watarrka (Kings Canyon) also provides some good walking.
Photo opposite: Warrumbungle National Park, NSW
Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta) provide good one-day walks but overnight bush camping is not allowed.
Katherine Gorge: Also known by its aboriginal name, Nitmiluk. The main gorge provides some good one- and two-day walks, and there is a five-day walk on a marked trail to Edith Falls. Off-track walking is officially discouraged. Permits are needed and cannot be booked in advance.
Kakadu: A large national park with some recognised one-day walks to the major features. Longer walks are all off track and a wide variety of routes is possible. The route from Koolpin Creek to Jim Jim Falls is one well known seven-day walk. Permits for overnight walks have to be applied for months in advance. Winter is the best period here as summer is the wet season and the access roads are flooded.