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10 Things To Know Before You Go to the Northern Territory

Australia’s Outback, aka the Northern Territory, beckons to adventurers with its wild open spaces, ranging from red-rock formations to lush coastlines. It’s also rich in centuries-old aboriginal culture—and a prime place to try bush tucker.

If you’re wondering what exactly that means and what else to expect in the Northern Territory, we’ve got you covered with these 10 know-before-you-go tips.

  1. How to Rock Your Pronunciation. The massive sandstone monolith of Uluru (Ayers Rock) was named by the Pitjantjatjara people, the traditional owners of the landmark. It was dubbed Ayers Rock in 1873 by surveyor William Gosse, and since 1993 has been under a dual naming system. It's considered respectful to refer to the rock as Uluru (Ayers Rock), which is pronounced approximately like this: Ooo-Luh-Roo

  1. The Art of the Sundowner. As any safari aficionado will tell you, a sundowner is one of the most anticipated parts of the day—when dusk falls and the cocktail kit comes out. (Yes, a sundowner is an adult beverage enjoyed al fresco after a day spent outdoors.) Enjoy one at Bamurru Plains or Wildman Wilderness Lodge, two of the country's finest rustic-meets-luxury lodges.

  1. A Hat Trick. Along with kangaroos and boomerangs, one of the most cherished Australian icons is the Akubra, a distinctive broad-brimmed fur felt hat that’s been synonymous with the outback for 130 years. Choose from cowboy-friendly western styles to on-trend straw fedora or bowler inspired toppers, or go all out with a heritage collection hat inspired by legendary explorers Burke and Wills.

  1. A Touch of Croc Lore. While The Northern Territory Government Parks and Wildlife Commission actively manages saltwater crocodiles to reduce the risk of encounters, it doesn't hurt to be "croc wise," that is to read and obey posted warning signs. By all means, feel free to take a dip in croc-free waters, like Gunlom Plunge Pool in Kakadu National Park, Florence Falls in Litchfield National Park and Ormiston Gorge, Australia's inland beach, near Alice Springs.

  1. Why Shouting Is a Good Thing. In the Northern Territory, shouting is actively encouraged—that is, when you're shouting a round of drinks, which is Australian slang for buying a round. It's also, not surprisingly, a pretty good way to make new friends!

  1. What’s for Dinner? “Tucker” is a term used for food in Australia, and "Bush Tucker" refers to any food native to Australia, usually found in the bush (a.k.a., the countryside) that has culinary or medical uses. Traditionally hunted and gathered by Aboriginal people—and growing in popularity among high-profile Australian chefs—ingredients like kangaroo, crocodile, quandong, and lemon myrtle are finding their way onto plates around the country.

  1. An Unexpected Way to Ride. Believe it or not, there are camels in Australia—a holdover from the camel caravans that were an integral part of pioneering the Outback. Along with their fabled ability to go long periods without water, the animals' padded feet were ideal for crossing salt lakes without breaking through the surface as those of horses do. Rides are available in both Uluru (Uluru Camel Tours) & Alice Springs (Pyndan Camel Tracks).

  1. How to Get Some Swag. In the Northern Territory, swag takes on a whole new meaning: the term is old slang referring to a bedroll, used for sleeping under the stars (the ultimate camp-out experience!). A swagman was the name for an itinerant person who traveled rural areas on foot, and the term features in Australia's unofficial national anthem "Waltzing Matilda."

  1. Where to Spot a Celebrity. Yes, the Territory has its very own stars, although you won't want to get too close. Burt, the infamous crocodile from the 1986 movie Crocodile Dundee, lives at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin—where you can not only pay homage to the infamous predator but also swim in the "Cage of Death," a chance to come (safely) face-to-face with some of the largest Saltwater Crocodiles in captivity.

  1. How to Win at Instagram. Sunsets are incredibly vivid in the Northern Territory, and we’ll let you in on the most picture-perfect spots: Sounds of Silence, the four-hour dining experience in the shadow of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) at Ayers Rock Resort (RC), and the Ubirr Lookout in Kakadu National Park, a rocky outlook with magnificent views across the floodplains.