To really experience the natural surroundings of the Northern Territory you might want to get off-road and get on-track. There is no better way to immerse yourself in the environment than to hit the Territory's many cycling and mountain bike trails. Absorb spectacular scenery with a peace and quiet that can only enhance the remote and breathtaking landscapes.
Alice Springs is the hub of mountain biking in Central Australia. With a wide range of trails for all skill levels in and around the city centre, you can also access the MacDonnell Ranges and venture further afield to Uluru from here. The Alice Springs Telegraph Station, just a short ride from the city centre, has a number of trails throughout the national park area, and also marks the start point of the Larapinta Trail.
The Simpsons Gap bicycle path is one of the premier outback cycling experiences, running 17km through open woodland in the West MacDonnell Ranges National Park. Wallabies, lizards, and birdlife abound as you ride through Mulga and Witchetty Bush.
Outback Cycling has bikes for hire from the Cultural Centre. The flat landscape is punctuated with the enormous monolith of Uluru, with wide paths leading around the base of the rock. Stop along the way for amazing views, interpretive signs that explain the cultural significance of the region, and marvel at the sheer size and breathtaking beauty of this natural icon.
Kicking into gear
For those wanting more thrills, mountain biking is the way to go. Araluen Mountain Bike Trails includes more than 15 kilometres of dedicated single mountain bike track and an extensive network of fire trails set amongst the ranges. The region's challenging arid terrain makes it perfect for high energy pedalling.
Darwin is home to a variety of sealed and unsealed cycle paths designed to give you access to the town's stunning nature parks and reserves. The path from Rapid Creek Bridge to Dripstone Park takes you through the sandy beaches, sandstone cliffs and shady casuarina trees on the estuaries of the Casuarina Coastal Reserve.
If you are really adventurous, and prepared, the remote 4WD tracks of the Jutpurra (Gregory) National Park make for the ultimate Territory mountain biking experience, taking in a variety of landscapes from spectacular ranges and escarpment country to gorges and eucalypt woodlands.