Northern Territory travel restrictions | Where you can go in January 2022

We look at where you can go and what you can do in the NT right now.

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Due to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, parts of the Northern Territory have entered lockdowns and lockouts.

A mask mandate is in place across the territory. Whether you're travelling locally or regionally though, physical distancing and good hygiene should be top of mind. This means you can expect a few changes to how travel works.

Which parts of the Northern Territory have additional restrictions?

During a lockout, anyone who is not fully vaccinated is only permitted to leave home for 4 reasons: to seek medical treatment (including COVID-19 testing and vaccination), to buy essentials, do 1 hour of exercise with a mask, and to provide care or support to a family member unable to support themselves. Lockdown rules are the same except they apply to everyone and you can also do work that is essential.

LocationRestriction typeEnd
Alice SpringsLockout3pm Sunday 23 January 2022
AmoongunaLockout3pm Sunday 23 January 2022
YuendumuLockout3pm Sunday 23 January 2022
YuelamuLockout3pm Sunday 23 January 2022
Galiwin'ku and Elcho IslandLockdown2pm Monday 24 January 2022
YirrkalaLockdown2pm Thursday 20 January 2022

Accommodation in the Northern Territory

All accommodation, including hotels, motels, campgrounds, holiday homes and staying at a mate's place, are allowed in the Northern Territory for fully vaccinated residents.

Staying with family or friends

If you're fully vaccinated, you can stay overnight at a friend or family member's house.

If your family or friend is over 70 or in a high-risk category, you may want to reconsider the need to stay with them, unless you are a carer.

Staying at hotels

All hotels, hostels and private accommodation are permitted to have guests that are fully vaccinated.

When you arrive, there may be extra hygiene precautions. This might include an a la carte breakfast in lieu of a buffet-style meal, limited numbers at the pool and gym, or the closure of communal spaces.

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Staying at holiday homes

Fully vaccinated people may travel and stay at your holiday home without limitation.

If you're booking a holiday home for travel purposes, say through Airbnb or Stayz, consider booking entire homes or self-contained apartments where there are no communal facilities.

Airbnb has placed a worldwide limit of 16 people for rentals, excluding boutique hotels and event venues.

Staying at hostels

Hostels throughout the Northern Territory are open and operational. Similar to hotels, they will have enhanced hygiene measures in place.

For example, shared dorms may limit the number of guests to maintain physical distancing and family rooms may only be booked by 1 party.

Communal areas and facilities may also be closed or be limited to a certain number of guests at a time.

Camping and caravanning

Camping is allowed for fully vaccinated people across the territory in parks that have reopened. Check with your specific park prior to make sure it's open and book a campsite if required.

Organised tours

Organised tours are permitted to resume with an approved COVID Safety Plan. As part of their plans, the tours must encourage a 1.5-metre physical distancing rule between guests who aren't previously acquainted, frequent handwashing or sanitisation, and the downloading of the COVIDSafe app.

This may mean that tours operate at a lower capacity or for private groups only.

Tour operators should also have a booking system that allows them to take your details for contact tracing.

Tourist attractions in the Northern Territory

Many popular tourist attractions such as zoos, museums and galleries are open for fully vaccinated guests. Some may still be closed for the current season.

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National parks

A good chunk of the territory's national parks are up and running. The following are some popular parks you can spend the day (or days) in:

  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
  • Kakadu National Park
  • Charles Darwin National Park
  • Litchfield National Park
  • Mary River National Park
  • Djukbinj National Park
  • Garig Gunak Barlu National Park
  • Barranyi (North Island) National Park
  • Elsey National Park
  • Judbarra/Gregory National Park
  • Keep River National Park
  • Limmen National Park
  • Nitmiluk National Park (some sections and trails are closed)
  • Iytwelepenty/Davenport Ranges National Park
  • Simpsons Gap: Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park
  • Finke Gorge National Park
  • Watarrka National Park

Beaches and local parks

Fully vaccinated residents can go to the beach or park, but physical distancing is encouraged.

Getting to and from your holiday

Driving within the Northern Territory

If you're not locked out, you are free to drive your own vehicle for recreational purposes throughout the territory, excluding any biosecurity areas or remote communities that are not accepting non-essential visitors.

When hiring a car, you may notice some additional protocols in place to keep you safe. This could include a no-contact policy when picking up and returning your ride.

Flights within the Northern Territory

Flights to and throughout the territory are operational.

You can check routes and prices through Skyscanner for your options.

When flying, you'll likely notice added health and safety measures such as enhanced cleaning and masks, and sanitising wipes for all customers.

As of 8 January 2021, face masks are mandatory on all domestic and international flights.

Bus and coach services

A wide network of coach and tour companies offer services around the Northern Territory and into its neighbouring states.

These have been impacted by lockdown and travel restrictions.

  • Greyhound: Services from Darwin to Alice Springs, Darwin to Katherine, Katherine to Palmerston and Tennant Creek to Alice Springs are still running. Services to Broome and Kununurra are operating. To travel to Western Australia, you'll need a G2G pass. To return to the NT, you must have a border entry form completed up to 72 hours prior to arrival. From 14 December, buses are running from Darwin through South Australia into Adelaide, but you must have a current border crossing registration.

Chartered services with companies like Coach Charters Australia and Bodhi Bus are available to get you between cities.

Train services

The Ghan is one of the most famous train journeys in Australia and runs straight through the NT from Darwin to Alice Springs and then down into South Australia.

Journeys recommenced on 1 February 2021.

You can take the entire journey or just sections of it. If you'd like to stay in the Northern Territory when you go, the Alice Springs-Darwin leg is available as a one-way or return trip.

Which states and territories can I travel to?

Northern Territorians can travel across most of Australia. Depending on where you travel though, you may be required to self-isolate when you return home.

State Border status What should I know? More info
ACT Open with conditions Travellers from the Northern Territory do not need a permit to enter ACT so long as they are not a close contact. If you're travelling from Northern Territory and are deemed a close contact you must isolate for 7 days (if vaccinated) or 14 days (if not fully vaccinated). Get an initial test immediately and further tests on days 6 and 12 (or 13). More info
NSW Open No travel declaration is required for travellers arriving from the Northern Territory. More info
Queensland Open without restrictions From 15 January 2022, travellers can enter Queensland as border restrictions has been lifted. Must provide proof of vaccination and use Check in Qld app for venues upon arrival. Travellers with COVID-19 symptoms must get tested immediately. More info
South Australia Open Vaccinated travellers may travel to South Australia. They must complete an EntryCheckSA application within 14 days prior to arrival. Unvaccinated travellers are denied entry, but they may apply for exemptions for select reasons. Quarantine may be required depending on individual circumstances. All suburbs in the NT are classified as very low risk areas, except for Katherine, which has been declared as a high risk area. For low risk areas, there are no entry conditions other than vaccination. Those coming from high risk areas are subject to testing and quarantine requirements. More info
Tasmania Open Unvaccinated travellers need to register travel via the Tas-E-Travel app and have a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel (24 hours prior RAT or 72 hours prior PCR) and quarantine for 4 days on arrival. They need a negative COVID-19 test on day 5 to leave quarantine. More info
Victoria Open The Northern Territory is classified as a green zone under the Victorian travel permit system. However, travellers are still required to obtain a permit at Service Victoria before arrival. More info
Western Australia Open with restrictions Northern Territory is classified as a extreme-risk jurisdiction. Travellers need an approval through G2G Pass to be allowed entry. Those who are approved need to present proof of being double vaccinated against COVID-19 and required to self-quarantine for 14 days at a suitable location or a government-approved facility at own expense. Travellers will undergo COVID-19 tests on days one, five and 13. More info

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Frequently asked questions about travelling in the Northern Territory during COVID-19

How far can I travel from home?

There are no limits as to how far you can travel within the territory if you're fully vaccinated. If you're in lockout you can travel up to 30km for permitted reasons or beyond 30km to go to a hospital.

Are there any regional Northern Territory travel restrictions?

Some biosecurity areas and remote communities are closed for non-essential travel. Otherwise, you're free to travel where you wish in the territory.

Can I travel to the Northern Territory if I live in another state or territory?

Yes. Borders are open to all states and territories for fully vaccinated travellers.

You must get a rapid antigen test within 2 hours of arrival in the NT and on days 3 and 6.

For the first 14 days of your visit, you'll need to stay within the "high vaccination zones" of Greater Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs.

Do I need to limit the number of people I travel with?

No, but you should keep your travel party to a safe number to physically distance from other groups.

Do I need to pre-book to visit dining venues and attractions?

No. Most venues don't require you to pre-book unless this is standard practice for them.

Will I need to self-isolate or go into quarantine in my home state when I return from my trip?

Yes. Depending on which state you're returning to you may need to quarantine on arrival.

Should I get travel insurance when travelling to the Northern Territory?

Getting travel insurance is always a good idea for peace of mind. Some policies have also started including COVID-19 related benefits but they usually won't cover you for border closures. Make sure to read the product disclosure statement so you know what's covered, and what's not.

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