The Northern Territory has five major regions, each larger than many European countries.
Central Australia, is a vast area about the size of France. It borders three states: Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. The area is made up of desert, spectacular natural formations and quality cattle country. It is home to more than 26 000 people. This is where the most famous of Australian landmark, Uluru (or Ayers Rock), is located.
The bulk of the region’s population lives in ‘The Alice’. Alice Springs has all the conveniences a modern society demands and is leading the way in the use of solar power for much of its electricity needs.
The Top End is roughly 400 000 sq kms - slightly bigger than Germany - and home to around 150 000 people, most of whom live in Darwin and the immediate surrounds.
The region extends from the Timor Sea coast, south to the Adelaide River, and 200 kms east to Jabiru, a town created to service Kakadu National Park and the nearby uranium mine.
The Katherine region, also known as the Rivers region, stretches 336 000 sq kms from the Western Australia border across to the southern edge of Kakadu National Park, and to the Gulf of Carpentaria at Borroloola.
Fewer than 20 000 people live in this region, which includes some of the Northern Territory’s premier tourist destinations: Nitmiluk National Park, Mataranka Hot Springs, Elsey Station (made famous in the novel and film We of the Never Never) and the majestic Victoria River.
The Barkly (or Barkly Tableland) takes up 21% of the Northern Territory’s land mass, but has a population of just 6330. Half live in the region’s service town, Tennant Creek. The main industries in the region are pastoral and mining.
Tennant Creek has a thriving arts community blending Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures. Mary Ann Dam just outside the town is a popular and welcome attraction in the otherwise arid country.
East Arnhem Region
East Arnhem is a significant region that is considered among the last wilderness areas on Earth. It is also home to some of Australia’s biggest mines. The local Aboriginal culture remains strong here, and the Yolngu people have successfully adapted the latest in Western technology with their traditions.
The region includes the Arnhem Land coast from Gove Peninsula south to Groote Eylandt, west across traditional Aboriginal country to Millingimbi.
Nhulunbuy is a regional mining centre, home to approximately 4000 of the region’s 16 000 people.