Day 1: Fly into Darwin and ditch your luggage: you need free hands to rummage around Mindil Beach Sunset Market, whose temptations include street food, arts and crafts, live music, masseuses and more (late April until late October).
Day 2–3: Litchfield National Park, 100km from Darwin (a 90-minute drive), is worth exploring for its waterfalls, walking tracks, termite mounds, pandanus-fringed pools and more.
Day 4-5: Be dazzled by the Tiwi Islands, 80km north of Darwin – join a cultural tour to learn about the island’s rich indigenous history. You’ll need to catch a short flight from Darwin or the ferry to Bathurst Island, which leaves three times a week.
Day 6–8: You can’t miss world-famous Kakadu, a three-hour drive (or short flight) from Darwin. Swim in the national park’s billabongs, admire ancient rock art and camp out under the stars. If you prefer glamping to camping, bed down at Bamurru Plains in the Top End, where you can spy on local crocs (from a safe distance), plus more than 230 local species of bird.
Day 9–10: When the Great Barrier Reef beckons, fly back to Darwin and hop on a flight to Cairns (the journey will take two-and-a-half hours). Relax in sunny Cairns, before driving to QT Port Douglas (an hour away), and making the most of this tropical hideaway’s fun-loving pool, bar and restaurant.
Day 11: Drive to the Daintree (a 90-minute trip from Port Douglas), home to the oldest surviving rainforest in the world, plus golden beaches and a dizzying diversity of flora and fauna.
Day 12–13: Grab your snorkel mask and set off on a guided cruise of the Great Barrier Reef, where you can expect to find a lot more than Nemo. Stop off at Green Island, a spectacular coral cay that’s 27km offshore from Cairns. Back on dry land, enjoy Asian-fusion fine dining at award-winning Tamarind, housed in the Reef Hotel Casino.
Day 14: Drive back to Cairns and catch your flight back to London.