Northern Territory travel restrictions | Where you can go in July 2021

As restrictions ease, we look at where you can go and what you can do in the NT right now.

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Restrictions in the Northern Territory have eased after a snap lockdown though some restrictions do remain in place such as mask-wearing which is mandatory where 1.5 metres distance can't be maintained.

Regional travel is allowed for residents and the Territory is open to the rest of Australia – with the exception of hotspots.

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.

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Accommodation in the Northern Territory

All accommodation, including hotels, motels, campgrounds, holiday homes and staying at a mate's place, are allowed in the NT.

Staying with family or friends

If you're not in lockdown you can stay overnight at a friend or family member's house although you are limited to 10 people.

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

Across the territory, all hotels, hostels and private accommodation are permitted to have guests.

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

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Staying at holiday homes

People may travel and stay at a 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 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. However, some still remain closed either due to the season.

Here are some attractions that will be opening up now that lockdown has ended:

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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

All beaches and local parks are permitted to open, but physical distancing is encouraged.

Getting to and from your holiday

Driving within the Northern Territory

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?

Due to its low case rate, 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 Travellers who have been to an area of concern in the Northern Territory within the past 14 days must fill out an online declaration form at least 24 hours before arriving in the ACT. More info
NSW Open Those who enter from the Northern Territory must complete the NSW entry declaration form and comply with the rules for interstate travellers if they have been in an area of concern. More info
Queensland Open Those who have been to an interstate exposure venue are required to self-quarantine, get tested as soon as possible and complete the online contact tracing form. They must remain in quarantine even after receiving a negative result. More info
South Australia Partially open Those entering from the Northern Territory are subject to level 3 restrictions. They are required to get tested on days 1, 5 and 13, and to self-quarantine until they get their first negative test results. More info
Tasmania Partially open Those who have been to high-risk premises will not be allowed to enter Tasmania. Those from low-risk areas are not required to quarantine upon arrival but must register through the Tas e-Travel system within 24 hours before their arrival. More info
Victoria Open All travellers must have a travel permit to enter Victoria. More info
Western Australia Open All visitors must present a G2G PASS. 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.

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 except Greater Sydney.

If you are travelling from a hotspot, you must undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days, unless exempt.

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

Yes. As there is a private gathering limit of 10 you should keep your travel party to that number, physical distancing should be maintained when in the company of those outside your household or travel group.

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 when I return from my trip?

No. When travelling within the territory, you don't need to self-isolate when you come home. This only applies if you have been travelling interstate.

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