Northern Territory places to stay: Best weekends away

Northern Territory places to stay: Best weekends away


Mary River Floodplain, Kakadu; 1300 790 561;

THE LOCATION This lodge is wedged between the edge of Kakadu National Park and Mary River floodplains Sampan River a Three hour drive or 30 minute flight from Darwin. An absence of signposts and mobile coverage makes arrival an adventure.

THE PLACE You will be channeling your inner Irwin at this eco-friendly lodge on a working buffalo station where wallabies hop and crocodiles lurk. Most guests opt for daily safari style inclusions like 4WD excursions quad biking barramundi fishing river cruises and walks through paperbark forest.

THE EXPERIENCE The main lodge houses a lounge and dining room. There is an infinity pool beyond while accommodation is in individual canvas covered bungalows. There is a nod to bush living in the hardwood and corrugated iron decor and old lanterns used as lampshades but you won't have to endure a backyard dunny or swag at this luxury property. The dining room offers convivial story-swapping and excellent food such as butterflied prawns, pan-fried barramundi and soufflé with caramel ice cream.

DON'T MISS Taking an airboat ride on the floodplains for an exhilarating sense of space. You will see extraordinary bird life: cormorants sea eagles and enormous flocks of egrets and whistling ducks all against a backdrop of vast floating mats of purple water lilies and stunning sunsets.

IDEAL FOR Those seeking outback experiences with luxury. 

FROM $488 a person a night for a Safari Bungalow minimum 2 or 3 night stay at some times of the year. Brian Johnston


1 Yulara Dr, Yulara; (02) 8296 8010;

Desert Gardens, Uluru. Photo: Supplied

THE LOCATION Desert Gardens is part of the Ayers Rock Resort complex at Yulara just outside Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park.

THE PLACE Ayers Rock Resort is a substantial site with shuttle buses running between the different accommodations. Town square offers a variety of shops and a spa too free presentations on topics like local plant and animal life and bush tucker. But the star attraction is Uluru.

THE EXPERIENCE Desert gardens hotel completed its 1st major refurbishment in Fifteen years in 2017. The 218 refreshed rooms are bright and light the pick of which are the Twenty-Four with views of Uluru. There are Tow restaurants on site and a swimming pool for welcome respite after a walk around the base of Uluru or exploration of Kata Tjuta the Olgas the underrated sister site of red rock formations nearby.

DON'T MISS Bruce Munro's Field of Light a collection of 50,000 glowing solar powered light stems was installed near Uluru in 2016. Originally planned to be open for Twelve months its success has seen its run extended twice. You have now got until December 2020 to see it.

IDEAL FOR Experiencing Australia's famed rock in style.

FROM $380 a night; minimum two night stay. Craig Platt


Gilruth Ave, Darwin; (08) 8943 8888; 

SkyCity Resort, Darwin. Photo: Shane Eecen

THE LOCATION An outpost of poolside beers on the edge of the Arafura Sea Skycity Darwin is bordered by the famous Mindil Beach on one side and the  Darwin Botanic Gardens and George Brown public golf links on the other. It's an easy 15 minute drive from the airport Ten from the CBD.

THE PLACE Unremarkable main building is Skycity's secret: Superior Lagoon Rooms that afford access to a pool and secluded artificial beach. Modern neutral decor floor to ceiling windows, wooden finishes, plus careful landscaping have created a surprisingly serene mini-resort which that entirely separate from the rest of the complex.

THE EXPERIENCE The rooms are cool and tiled, and those at ground level are the pick of the bunch. Best known as Superior Lagoon Rooms the adjective matters they have wooden decks that give direct swim out access to the expansive chest deep pool. The beach complete with palm trees, is dotted with sun lounges occupied by honeymooners and grey nomads on respite from their caravans. There's also a small swim-up bar that covers all bases: cocktails, ice-creams, hot chips.

DON'T MISS Sunset walks along Mindil Beach watch out for occasional crocodiles a treatment at the Lagoon Day Spa a swim after dinner even if it's just a brief plunge into the water. What else is a private pool deck for?

IDEAL FOR Couples or families with kids that can swim seeking a resort style mini break.

From $699 a night Amanda Hooton

​Looking for escapes further afield? We have you covered: VIC, NSW/ACT, QLD, TAS, WA, SA

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