AREA: 1,335,742 sq. km.,
POPULATION: 182,000 (1996)
CAPITAL: Darwin (100,000)
Darwin was first settled in 1839 after 2 previous attempts.
On Christmas Eve, 1974 it was obliterated by Cyclone “Tracy”. (A monster category 5 cyclone - aka hurricane) It was completely rebuilt over the ensuing years with cyclone proof houses and is now Australia's most modern city.
In the south, Alice Springs began as a repeater station for the overland telegraph line between Adelaide and Darwin and grew slowly as people congregated around the tiny settlement. It was not until the railway line reached Alice in 1929 that the town began to prosper. A long overdue rail extension connecting Alice Springs to Darwin (The “Ghan”) was completed in 2004 and is now one of the most booked train journeys in the world.
The main industry in the Northern Territory is cattle and massive cattle stations (‘ranches’ if your in the USA) that are measured in thousands of square miles comprise around half of it. The other half is held by aboriginal groups and a permit is needed to access much of this land. Uranium is mined in the mid-north and Tennant Creek has copper mines.
The Northern Territory contains two of Australia's best known attractions. Kakadu National Park in the north, and Ayers Rock (Uluru) in the south. Recent legislation has now severely limited the number of tourists that are allowed to climb Ayers Rock - a good thing we think.
The NT is equivalent in size to France, Italy and Spain combined, and is blessed with an abundance of natural environments. Awesome iconic natural landscapes, imposing gorges four-wheel drive adventures, Aboriginal culture and a 40,000-year-old story.