Much of the Northern Territory is Aboriginal land and as such, must be respected. Most places are easily accessible via main roads and highways which are well-signed however if you are travelling through pastoral properties or Aboriginal land you must obtain a permit for the land or permission for the properties. Most of the roads in the Northern Territory are in good condition and are well-signed however some require 4WD vehicles or become inaccessible during the wet season. Rental cars are available in Darwin, Alice Springs and Ayers Rock (Uluru) and are usually less than 8 months old with air conditioning and automatic transmission. To rent a car you must be at least 21 years of age with a valid driver's license.
The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years with younger people advised to carry proof of age identification at all times, particularly when visiting bars, clubs and liquor stores. It is also illegal to purchase alcohol for a minor. The Northern Territory enjoys a laid back lifestyle so casual clothing is appropriate year round. The weather is generally warm to mild however at night it can get cooler and during winter the temperature drops so it is wise to carry a cardigan. While travelling in the bush dress for comfort with strong rubber-soled shoes however be aware that should you wish to visit some clubs, restaurants and casinos, dress standards are enforced and you will need to be neat, smart casual.
Australia operates on a decimal currency with the basic unit a dollar (AUD) made up of 100 cents. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations and notes in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Some prices are listed in odd increments (e.g $2.98) however the law provides that the TOTAL bill is rounded to the nearest 5c whether it be up for down. Banks are open from 9.30 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30 am to 5.00 pm on Fridays. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are accessible 24 hours a day. The Northern Territory belongs to the central time zone and is 9.5 hours ahead of GMT. The Northern Territory doesn't observe daylight savings and is 30 minutes behind Brisbane, Queensland. The Northern Territory drops to 1 hour and 30 minutes behind Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania from October to March due to daylight savings and is 30 minutes behind all other times.
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Kakadu National Park are some of the most famous attractions in the Northern Territory and no visit to the outback is complete without entering these amazing natural attractions. Entry costs $25.00 per adult and $12.50 per child for Uluru-Kata Tjuta and $40 per adult, $25 per child (Apr-Oct) & $25 per adult, $12.50 per child (Nov-Mar) for Kakadu and is generally not included in the fee for tours visiting the parks. The entry is a government charge which is subject to change without notice.
Please note the Ayers Rock climb is often closed because of strong winds or high temperatures. It is a very strenuous climb and the Aboriginal owners of Uluru prefer visitors do not climb Ayers Rock.
Surrounded by the Timor and Arafura Seas, the waters along the Northern Territory coastline is home to a number of potential dangers including stone fish, marine stingers and blue-ringed octopus. Swimming is generally safe on Darwin's beaches however swimmers are advised to be on the lookout for unwanted visitors, especially the deadly Box Jellyfish. The Box Jellyfish has long, poisonous tentacles which can brush against swimmers and cause excruciating pain and even death, particularly in children. Occasionally the Northern Territory's renowned saltwater crocodiles have been seen close to beaches or the mangroves near Darwin Harbour and are not recommended as swimming spots however they are unlikely to attract tourists unless on a fishing trip.
When visiting Central Australia's Red Centre it is recommended that you allow around 5 days to adequately explore this unique landscape including its famous natural attractions such as Alice Springs, the MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon and of course Ayers Rock (Uluru) and The Olgas (Kata Tjuta). However stays in the Top End can be a little shorter at just 3 to 4 days allowing you time in Darwin, Kakadu, Litchfield National Park, Katherine and Arnhem Land.
The Northern Territory is known for its hot, sunny and sometimes dry, sometimes humid conditions so it is important to be aware of the effect the climate has on you. Protect yourself from the sun with an SPF 30+ sunscreen, hats and sunglasses and remember to drink plenty of water, especially if you are being active on tours, walks and activities. As some travel throughout the territory is remote, it is advised to carry a minimum of two litres of water with you at any one time.