The Northern Territory consists of majority of the mainland continent’s central and central northern regions. Its capital city is Darwin. Mining is its major industry, with specific focus on the quarrying of energy producing minerals.
The main tourist draws in the Northern Territory are its natural attractions. One of these is Kakadu National Park with its scenic wetlands, native wildlife, and two stunning natural rock formations—Uluru and Kata Tjuta—sacred to the local Aboriginal people.
The Northern Territory is the most sparsely populated state in the country. Most of its population resides along Stuart Highway, which starts from the Darwin Central Business District, passes through towns such as Katherine and Tennant Creek, and reaches the city of Alice Springs.
Darwin lies on a low bluff overlooking the harbour and the Timor Sea beyond. Because of its proximity to Asia, the city has become Australia’s gateway to other countries in the region, such as Indonesia and East Timor.
Mining and tourism are Darwin’s major industries. Its popular attractions include the nightlife scene along Mitchell Street, the open-air Deckchair Cinema, the crystal beaches of Casuarina and Mindil, the George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens and Charles Darwin National Park.
Darwin and its suburbs form a somewhat triangular shape. One corner consists of the city proper and the older southwestern suburbs, another corner the newer northern suburbs, and the third consists of the eastern suburbs up to Palmerston. The Darwin International Airport and Royal Australian Force Base separate Darwin’s older suburbs from the newer neighbourhoods.
While it may be the capital and the most populated city of the Northern Territory, Darwin is the smallest and the least populated among the capital cities of Australia. Residents are of multi-ethnic backgrounds and include British, New Zealanders, Filipinos and Timorese.
Darwin is one of the most lightning-prone areas in the world. A thunderstorm in 2002 produced a record 1,634 lightning strikes in the city in just a few hours.