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7. Katherine Gorge
Spectacular Katherine Gorge forms the backbone of this 2920-sq-km park, about 30km from Katherine. A series of 13 deep sandstone gorges have been carved out by the Katherine River on its journey from Arnhem Land to the Timor Sea. It is a hauntingly beautiful place - though it can get crowded in peak season - but prioritise this as a visit from Katherine town. In the Dry, the tranquil river is perfect for a paddle, but in the Wet the deep still waters and dividing rapids are engulfed by an awesome torrent that churns through the gorge. Plan to spend at least a full day canoeing or cruising on the river and bushwalking.

8. The jumping croc circus
Few people seem to be able to resist the sight of a 5m-long saltwater crocodile launching itself out of the water towards a hunk of meat. Like a well-trained circus act, jumping out of the water to grab prey is actually natural behaviour for crocs, usually to take surprised birds or animals from overhanging branches. It is still a thoroughly amazing sight - have your camera at the ready.

9. Litchfield National Park
Litchfield National Park is renowned for bushwalking, camping and especially swimming, with waterfalls plunging into gorgeous, safe swimming holes. The 1,500-sq-km national park encloses much of the spectacular Tabletop Range, a wide sandstone plateau mostly surrounded by cliffs. The waterfalls that pour off the edge of this plateau are a highlight of the park, feeding crystal-clear cascades and croc-free plunge pools.

10. Territory Wildlife Park
Aussie wildlife is showcased here in a state-of- the-art open-air zoo. You can spend years looking around in the wild and still not see half of what is on display here. Highlights include the Flight Deck, where birds of prey display their intelligence and dexterity; and the nocturnal house, where you can observe nocturnal fauna such as bilbies and bats. Pride of place must go to the aquarium, where a walk-through clear tunnel puts you among giant barramundi, stingray, sawfish, saratoga and a score of others, while a separate tank holds a 3.8m saltwater crocodile.

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© Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Lonely Planet's top 10 outdoor attractions in Australia’s Northern Territory’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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