We invite you to spend some time learning all the fun facts about the Northern Territory, or the Top End, as it is affectionately known. This vast and fascinating region in Australia’s north is famous for landmarks like Uluru and national parks such as Kakadu, but that is just scratching the surface!
Here are a few fun facts about the Northern Territory to get you started:
- It is Australia’s least populated state.
- It is commonly known as the ‘Top End’, however parts can also be known as the ‘Red Centre’.
- You can race camels! Every year the Camel Cup is held in Alice Springs.
Where is the Northern Territory?
The Northern Territory is located in the central north of Australia. To the east is Queensland, to the west is Western Australia and to the south is South Australia. To the north is the Timor Sea and the countries of Timor-Leste and Indonesia.
How big is the Northern Territory?
The Northern Territory is the third largest state in Australia with a land size of 1.3 million km2. Interestingly, it is the state with the most land mass on islands.
Fun fact – The Northern Territory is around 6 times the size of Britain!
How many people live in the Northern Territory?
Although it is the third largest state by size, the Northern Territory is the least populated state with a population of only 250,000. 150,000 people live in the capital city of Darwin and approximately 25,000 live in the next biggest town, Alice Springs.
Northern Territory politics
Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders were the first inhabitants of the Northern Territory prior to colonisation. Originally the Northern Territory was originally a part of New South Wales before becoming a part of South Australia, and it was only in 1911 it split and became its own entity.
The Northern Territory is a federated state of Australia, meaning it is part of a group of other states that united to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The difference between a state and a territory is that the federal government can override the laws of territory.
The leader of a territory government is called a Chief Minister, which is similar to a premier who leads states.
The Northern Territory does not have a Governor and instead the role of the Crown is filled by an Administrator of the Northern Territory.
The Northern Territory has a rich military history due to its location in the country. During World War II, the Northern Territory was a major military base for Allied forces, and the remnants of this activity can still be seen today. The Allies used Darwin as a strategic military base to launch air raids against Japanese forces in the Pacific.
The airbase in Darwin was crucial for the Allies as it provided a base to launch and recover aircraft, as well as supply and logistics support. The base also played a key role in evacuating wounded soldiers and civilians from combat zones.
There are still many active military bases in the territory today.
What language is spoken in the Northern Territory?
English is the official language of the Northern Territory, however there are more than 100 Aboriginal languages and dialects that are also spoken.
What are the emblems of the Northern Territory?
The Northern Territory’s flag is a unique and distinctive design. One third of the flag to the left is black with 5 stars of the southern cross. The remaining two thirds are ochre with a stylised version of the Territory’s floral emblem, the Sturt’s desert rose. The colours black, white, and ochre, are significant to the territory’s Aboriginal culture.
The state’s floral emblem is the Sturt’s desert rose, while the animal emblem is the red kangaroo and the bird emblem is the wedge-tailed eagle.
Geography of the Northern Territory
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is one of the most iconic natural landmarks in Australia and it is believed to be more than 500 million years old. It is located in the south west of the state, however this is almost the centre of Australia! The enormous rock formation rises up and stands 348 m tall making it taller than the Eiffel Tower.
The rock has a circumference of 9.4 km and if you were to climb it (which you can’t do anymore), you would have to climb 1.6 km.
Fun fact – Like an iceberg, much of Uluru is actually below the surface! In fact, it actually goes down around 6 km underground!
There are more than 80 national parks and reserves across the Northern Territory including Kings Canyon and Watarrka National Park, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), Finke Gorge and Kakadu.
Looking to do some hiking? Grab a good pair of hiking shoes here before you go.
If you love star gazing, the Northern Territory offers uninterrupted views of the stars due to limited light and air pollution. Don’t forget your telescope!
Don’t have a telescope? Take a look at these.
What animals are found in the Northern Territory?
The Northern Territory is home to an incredible array of animals, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. One of the most iconic animals of the Northern Territory is the saltwater crocodile, which can grow up to 6 m in length and can be found in rivers and waterways throughout the region.
The territory is also home to a range of other reptiles, including frilled-neck lizards, goannas, and various species of snakes.
Further south in the territory where the land is more arid, you can find dingos, kangaroos and wallabies, not to mention a variety of birdlife.
The Northern Territory is a haven for birdlife, because of the diverse landscapes including abundant wetlands. You can find more than 400 bird species including 14 rare species and many that are native and unique to the territory.
Which sports are played in the Northern Territory?
The Northern Territory is home to some of the world’s best fishing locations, with anglers coming from all over the world to try their hand at catching barramundi, one of the region’s most prized fish.
The territory is also a popular destination for adventure sports, such as hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking.
Last minute fun facts:
- Darwin’s harbour is named after Charles Darwin, a naturalist, geologist, and biologist.
- Melbourne is actually closer to fly to from Darwin than Sydney! Even though Melbourne is further south, Sydney is further east, making it just slightly further away.
- It has snowed on Uluru! On July 11, 1997 snow fell on the red rock, shocking everyone!
That’s it! A heap of fun facts about this unique state to get you excited and keen to learn even more!