The Northern Territory has developed a reputation as a place where you can embrace the great outdoors. The state covers a vast area and has two distinct weather systems.

What’s become known as the Top End enjoys a tropical climate, which is in sharp contrast to the semi-arid climate of the Red Centre. Litchfield National Park, renowned as one of the best camping spots in the NT, is a must-see in the Top End.

Camping in the Northern Territory does, however, come with unique challenges. Forewarned is forearmed, so read on for the checklist you need when camping in NT.

Understanding the Northern Territory’s Climate and Seasons

Because of the Northern Territory’s sheer size, it may not always be practical to swing by the grocery store if you run out of water or milk. If you’re used to the conveniences of urban life, you should take a moment to become mindful of what life’s like in more remote parts when planning a Northern Territory camping trip.

The Top End of the NT enjoys balmy weather and has a lush landscape. There are two main seasons: a wet, tropical summer and a dry winter from May to October when there’s little to no rain. Some campers prefer the winters because they’re more comfortable and more sights are open.

Others favour the wet summers when the landscape becomes lush green, and wildlife is abundant. Flooding can make some attractions inaccessible during this time, but attractions such as the waterfalls in Litchfield National Park can be at their most spectacular.

Even if you plan to enjoy Northern Territory camping in the Top End, you may wish to head to the much drier Red Centre at some point. Temperatures can be very hot during the day and near freezing at night.

What to Pack When Camping in the Northern Territory

Much is going to depend on which parts of the Northern Territory you plan to visit and where you intend to stay for your Northern Territory camping break.

For example, the glamping safari tents and cabins at Litchfield Safari Camp come fully equipped with everything you could need. Those who prefer powered or unpowered sites will require a much more comprehensive packing list, however. Here’s what you should bring:

For Your Vehicle

If you plan to tour off the beaten track, bring a basic car toolkit. You can also prepare in advance by getting your car serviced before your trip. If you’re heading to remote areas, always carry spare jerry cans of fuel. Carry a little extra brake fluid and engine oil, too.

Wellbeing Essentials

You’re likely to experience extreme heat, and encounter mosquitos, and if you’re out hiking, you’ll increase the chances of dehydration, blisters or other minor injuries when camping in the Northern Territory. So bring:

  • Plenty of sunscreen protection and soothing aftersun lotion
  • Lipbalm
  • A wide-brimmed hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent and a mosquito net
  • A first aid kit, including special band-aids for blisters
  • Water bottles, one with a filter
  • Jerry cans for water storage in case of vehicle breakdowns
  • Energy snacks

Ensure your first aid kit includes anti-septic cream, water purification tablets and stomach remedies when camping in NT.

Clothing and Accessories

Hiking and swimming are two of the most popular activities when camping in the Northern Territory. Pack the following:

  • Sturdy, well-worn-in walking boots
  • Several pairs of good-quality hiking socks
  • Shorts and jeans
  • Warm tops for cold nights
  • Hiking poles
  • Breathable, quick-dry, lightweight tops
  • A quick-dry microfibre towel or two
  • Swimwear
  • Swimming goggles and/or a mask & snorkel
  • Binoculars and camera
  • A small rucksack

If you’re in an area with a signal, your smartphone may become your new best friend. You can use it as an atlas, a research tool, a torch and even to monitor your hydration levels. However, remote areas may mean you need to bring old-fashioned alternatives such as a compass and maps.

Sleeping and Food Preparation

In addition to your tent, you’ll need sleeping bags, camping mats and pillows. Eye masks and earplugs can also be useful as well as a good book. Garbage bags are another must-have so that you can do your bit for the environment and take your litter away. And you’ll need:

  • An esky and portable stove for cooking on
  • A sharp paring knife
  • Cutlery, plates, bowls, cups and glasses
  • A frying pan and saucepan
  • Skewers and BBQ tongs
  • A washing-up bowl
  • Washing up detergent, tea towels, dishcloths and kitchen paper
  • Toilet paper and wet wipes
  • A bottle opener and corkscrew
  • Beer stubby holders
  • Tin foil and food wrap
  • Food storage bags

Food and Drinks

It’s always wise to have a few staples to hand, so pack enough to last at least a few days, depending on how far you will be from a supermarket or food store when camping in the Northern Territory. Your essentials for camping in NT should include:

  • Dry pasta, potatoes and rice
  • Bread
  • Cans of tomatoes and vegetables
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Long-life milk
  • Tea and coffee
  • Sugar, salt, pepper, spices and dried herbs
  • Chocolate and sweet & savoury biscuits
  • Cooking oil, bottled sauces and vinegar
  • Wine, beer and carbonated drinks

You should also pack detergent to wash and freshen clothing when on the road or camping in the Northern Territory. To enjoy the alfresco life to the full, you’ll also need camping chairs and a camping table. And don’t forget all the cables, chargers and adapters for your smart devices.

Your Stay at Litchfield Safari Camp

Depending on the type of accommodation you choose at Litchfield Safari camp, your packing list may diminish rapidly. We offer a wide variety of safe and comfortable options, making us one of the best camping spots in the NT.

For example, our glamping safari tents and cabins come with all the creature comforts you’ll need, from fine linens to microwave ovens. We even provide toasters, kettles and towels for a more luxurious Northern Territory camping experience.

Check out our range of accommodation options and remember, spaces are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.