Al Fresco Dining in the Northern Territory

Balmy nights and some of the clearest skies in the country make for dreamy dinners under the stars. Add in ocean views and desert dunes, and al fresco dining in the Northern Territory is pure magic. Here’s the best of the batch.

Kings Creek Station, Red Centre Way, Watarrka National Park NT 0872, Australia
My idea of a good time is getting lost in the woods all so I can spend a few days finding my way home, but I can’t deny the allure of glamping – especially when it comes packaged up in the form of the Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge, the Northern Territory’s answer to rustic chic. The luxury eco-cabins – fully heated and air conditioned – are wonderful, but there’s little reason to tuck yourself away inside when you can sip Aussie wine by the fire, or enjoy a gourmet meal under starry skies (or in the lodge restaurant on chilly winter nights). The last thing I expected to tuck into in the Outback was a spicy prawn curry, but I shouldn’t have been surprised – the Northern Territory has plenty of tricks up her sleeve.
Benjamin Matthews, formerly known as “The Pizza Man” at various Darwin markets now runs an outdoor pop-up Italian restaurant called Cucina Sotto Le Stelle at the Nightcliff Foreshore. Follow the smell of wood-fired pizza mingling with tropical sea air to find in-the-know locals and travelers gathered at checkered communal tables eating squid-ink pasta and chewy pizzas topped with prawns and local veggies as well as salty muscles and other Northern Territory specialties. It’s the best thing that’s happened in this part of Darwin since the Mindil Beach Markets began. Cucina Sotto Le Stelle pops up every Wednesday and Friday at 5pm, but check the Facebook page for updates.
Petermann NT 0872, Australia
A quieter version of Uluru’s Sounds of Silence or Tali Waru desert dinner, this Kings Canyon spinoff offers a four-course meal in a rugged wilderness setting blanketed by the same southern night sky. The moon and flickering fire provide the only light, while soft music and rustling oak trees create a romantic background for intimate conversation. Sparkling wine and canapés are followed by a menu focusing on the fresh local produce of the Australian outback.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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