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Following are a few brief excerpts from this guide, written by a lifelong resident of Australia. She covers everything you might want to know about this part of Australia - guaranteed! The places to stay, from budget to luxury, rentals to B&Bs; the restaurants, from fast food to the highest quality; the beachwalks and bushwalks; the wildlife and how to see it; exploring the country by air, on water, by bike, and every other way. Australia's Northern Territory is a vast land of contrasts, stretching from the beautiful reefs and tropical rainforests at the very top of the country down through the amber deserts and dusty golden plains of the Red Centre. In the north the land is edged by a melding of languid mangrove swamps and smooth white beaches. Brilliant corals spread out beneath the waters, lining coves split by wide brown estuaries. Rivers snake from the coast down through thick woodlands and deep canyons, dwindling in width as they reach the drier plains. Here, the north Australian Outback is the true, endless Land of the Never Never, so famously coined by author Jeannie Gunn in her We of the Never Never novel of Outback station life. Quite simply, those who live here or who have stumbled across the fascination of its true beauty can never, never leave it. Halfway down through the territory are the great, ochre-colored deserts, where the fine, red earth is splashed with random thatches of spiny grass and clusters of rough-chiseled boulders. All you can see to the horizon at noon is blood-red earth and pale blue sky, the vast expanse only interrupted by the low, green-gold peaks of the MacDonnell Ranges at the far southern edge of the region. Their rumpled slopes hide pockets of waterholes and huge, shallow lakes, all of which erupt with animal activity after the rains. Near the base of the territory, near the border of South Australia, is the great red monolith of Uluru, the country's most famous sight, which pushed up through the surface millions of years ago.

©2012 Hunter Publishing, Inc. (P)2015 Hunter Publishing, Inc.

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