Best Places to Elope in the Northern Territory
Best places to elope in the Northern Territory! This is your planning guide to having an elopement in the Australian Territory, the Northern Territory (NT). We did all the research for you and found the best places for you across this amazing place. We want you to get inspired for your elopement because there are a lot of choices. And this is an area of Australia that has had very little elopements and weddings compared to the rest of Australia.
The Northern Territory (NT) is a huge and vast Australian federal territory located in the central north of Australia. It is best known for its red outback desert landscapes and its hot temperatures.
Its most famous landmark is the iconic sandstone monolith Uluru also known as Ayers Rock. Alice Springs is the gateway to the Red Centre. A beautiful little town surrounded by the MacDonnell Ranges. It has great locations for an elopement and is also a great town to start your Red Centre adventure.
Darwin in the Capital of the Northern Territory, 1500 km north of Alice Springs, and is located on the far northern coast, right on the edge of the Timor Sea. It is a tropical climate on the ocean so outdoor activities are aplenty. Darwin is close to some of Australia’s best national park, which would be amazing for an elopement or at least some wedding photos. Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and the Katherine Gorge.
There are two distinct and very different climates in the Northern Territory. The north is very humid and wet, with a real tropical feel. And there are really only two seasons… the wet season and the dry season. Due to the lower humidity and less rainfall, the dry season is the most popular season for a wedding or elopement.
While the south (towards the centre of Australia) is dry and hot with very little rain. It does have four seasons, but it is basically a desert climate and there can be a large day to night temperature fluctuation. Days will be hot and nights can be very cold. Summers can be incredibly hot and it is best to avoid elopements in the Red Centre around this time. Having spoken with the locals here, they tell me that temperatures can reach into the high 40’s regularly in Summer!!
Due to the temperatures and the climate, you really need to choose your elopement date and month carefully.
The Northern Territory offers some of the most unique locations around for an epic elopement. There are locations and places that no one has taken wedding photos at. So if you are looking for an adventure and to say your vows in a really unique and Australian location, then the Northern Territory might be for you.
As with everything to do with weddings and elopements… always seek permission, respect Aboriginal lands and sites and get a permit from the proper authorities. And get everything in writing. Be kind to the environment and leave no trace of your elopement behind.
Northern Territory Elopement Locations
The Northern Territory is absolutely huge! It is 1.421 million km² and is more than six times the size of the United Kingdom. But we can break it down into the two most popular locations for weddings and elopements. And they are Darwin and The Red Centre which includes Uluru & Alice Springs. But there are many other beautiful locations where you could potentially have the most beautiful elopement.
Here are some of the best places to elope in the Northern Territory that are sure to give you a totally unique experience and something extremely memorable.
The Red Centre, Uluru & Alice Springs Elopements
The Red Centre is a 690km loop starting from Alice Springs, to the West MacDonnell Ranges, Kings Canyon and to Uluru and back. And each of these unique locations can be spectacular and totally unique locations to have an amazing elopement.
Coveted as Australia’s spiritual heartland, the dual World Heritage-listed outback wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is an ancient desert landscape widely known as the‘ Red Centre’. Covering a huge expanse of the Northern Territory, the rugged scenery of the outback is intensified by the living presence of one of the world’s largest monoliths, Uluru (or Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta’s sacred red domes are located about 45 minutes apart, by car.
You can not actually say your vows and have a wedding ceremony inside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. It is a sacred Aboriginal site and is of huge importance to their culture. But you can get married just outside the park at the venues below. You can also get a photography permit in advance from the National Park to take professional wedding photos around Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The permit will also tell you where you can and cannot take photos around Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
1. Longitude 131 – Uluru
Address: Yulara Dr, Yulara NT 0872, Australia (Secret unsignposted location, although you can easily find it on google maps 😉
Longitude 131 is the ultimate luxury resort located just outside the World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park It is located in the ancient dunes of Australia’s spiritual heart, and the luxury Longitude 131 ° takes on a whole new level and meaning to the concept of glamping. This is glamping at it’s finest.
This exclusive resort features 16 tented pavilions and a shared Dune House both offering spectacular Uluru views. Uluru’s constantly-changing colours can be viewed from your king bed–or from a cosy swag from your private balcony. Yes, you can sleep outside under the stars on your private balcony if you want. This property is truly a magical retreat and probably one of the best places to have an Uluru elopement.
This resort is not cheap. Just to stay here in one of the luxury tents, it is around $3,000 AUD per night. But that include all your food, drinks and private tours. But it does not include your elopement.
Because this is an exclusive resort with only sixteen rooms, they will only do very small weddings and elopements. They are really not set up to do anything large. But who wants that anyway?
The elopement ceremony normally takes place up on top of the Dune-top bar, which has lovely views over Uluru. You can wander around the property for photos afterwards till sunset. There are also options for a camel ride at sunset and some photos at Field of Lights after the sun has set. For your wedding dinner, you are taken to a secret location in the sand dunes to have dinner under the stars.
An elopement in Australia doesn’t get as unique, as epic or as Australian as an Uluru elopement or small wedding at Longitude 131.
2. Ayers Rock Resort
Address: Yulara Dr, Yulara NT 0872, Australia
At the entrance to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, in Northern Territory of Australia, is Ayers Rock Resort. It is the main and only resort in the area. The Resort lies hidden from view to those visiting this UNESCO world heritage National Park. Everything about the Resort is a reflection of environmental sensitivity and reverence for traditional Aboriginal owners in the area.
Ayers Rock Resort offers a wide range of accommodation choices for every taste and budget. Sails in the Desert is the 5-star resort, Desert Gardens Hotel is a modern 4-star. Emu Walk Apartments are self-contained apartments., The Lost Camel Hotel is a quirky 3-star hotel while the Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge offers both 3 1/2 and 2-star rooms. There are also Ayers Rock Campground that offer powered campsites as well as air-conditioned cabins.
The ceremony takes place at Uluru Lookout, which is a lookout situated on the top on a sand dune located around Ayers Rock Resort. It is just a quick two-minute drive from any of the accommodation options. Then it is about a five-minute walk to get to the top of the sand dune. From the top of the dune, you get beautiful views over Uluru and also Kata Tjuta. There is also very little or no shade and no facilities at all up the top here, so it is best to aim to do ceremonies towards sunset so you can avoid the heat of the day.
For your elopement dinner, there are few options. You can join the ‘Sound of Silence’ dinner where you dine outside under the stars and is a must-do experience. To have exclusive use of Sound of Silence you would need to pay for a minimum of 45 guests. Or the ‘Tali Wuri’ & ‘Black Tie and Sandshoe’ outdoor dining options, which again require a minimum spend.
The other options are to have a poolside dinner at the resort to have a dinner on the outdoor amphitheatre. All options require a minimum spend of 20 people. But if you are not having speeches and don’t require a private space then all the resorts restaurants are also an option for you.
3. Kings Canyon Resort
Address: Luritja Rd, Petermann NT 0872, Australia
Kings Canyon, also known as ‘Australias Grand Canyon’, is in the Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory located towards the western end of the George Gill Range. It is a three-hour drive from Uluru and about halfway between Alice Springs and Uluru. This is an elopement location that is relatively untouched and from our online research, it is hard to find anyone who has eloped or had a wedding at Kings Canyon.
Kings Canyon Resort does offer weddings!!
There is plenty of accommodation, with The Resort itself, luxury glamping as well as a Backpackers Lodge and a Camp Ground.
The highlight of Kings Canyon is the walks around the canyon itself. And I think to make the most of this location you should try to say your vows or just do some photos around the canyon so that you can capture the amazing scenery and have an awesome experience at the same time.
There are two walks that you can do. A 2km hike through the canyon valley and then the 6km more strenuous, rim walk that takes 3 to 4 hours to complete. The rim walk is where you will get more spectacular landscapes and really see the sheer cliff walls of the canyon. The only strenuous part of the climb is the initial first climb and it is actually relatively easy.
Your elopement dinner will naturally be out under the stars called ‘Under a Desert Moon’.
4. Curtin Springs Station
Address: Curtin Springs, Lasseter Highway
Curtin Springs Station looks like an amazing place to have an adventure, and exploration and an elopement. And it is a place most people will never have been to, let alone have an elopement. But I want to share amazing places to elope, not just the standard resort wedding.
This is a family-run 1 million-acre cattle station! It is located 100kms east of Uluru and 360km from Alice Springs. They offer accommodation, homestyle meals and tours of the property. This property doesn’t offer to do weddings or elopements, but if you were to have a few guests staying there for a few days, organised a celebrant and photographer, paid them a fee to have a ceremony and then pay them to have someone drive you around the property for photos and to explore… you would have one epic elopement.
Here are three reasons why I think you should consider eloping here:
- It is a 1 million-acre property. The landscape, the cattle, the red earth would be incredible.
- It is the home of Mount Conner. Mount Conner is what people always mistake for Uluru. It is a 859-metre monolith with a flat top, and if you stay at Curtain Spring Station you can arrange to explore it.
- There are four different Salt Lakes and they offer tours. Photos at sunset on a salt lake would be incredible.
5. Simpsons Gap
Location: The turnoff to Simpsons Gap is along Larapinta Drive, 18km west of Alice Springs. It is well signposted.
Simpsons Gap is one of the most iconic and well-known locations in Alice Springs. It is located in the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park only 20 mins from Alice Springs. The huge red rock walls of this prominent gap, make it a really unique and beautiful place for an elopement.
There is a water hole located between the gaps which means it is in important location for many native animals, including the Black-footed Rock-wallaby and a variety of native plants. It is also an important location for the Aboriginal people as several dreaming trails cross here. The National Park is owned by the Aboriginal people but is leased by the Northern Territory Government, so bookings for elopements need to go through them.
My main advice for Simpsons Gap, is to do the ceremony at either sunrise or sunset. That way you will get more beautiful light all over the red rocks around you. Plus it will be cooler.
6. Standley Chasm
Address: Hugh NT 0872, Australia
Just 40mins from Alice Springs. Drive West down Larapinta Drive until you see turn off to Standley Chasm.
Standley Chasm is traditionally known as Angkerle Atwatye by the Aboriginal people, which means ‘the gap of water’. It is a beautiful, natural wonder which cuts through the West MacDonnell Ranges quartzite rock. It is a narrow gap, built over thousands of years by flowing floodwaters which created an alleyway through rock walls reaching a height of up to 80 metres. And they allow people to have weddings and elopements!!
Standley Chasm is located within a private flora and fauna reserve managed by the Iwupataka Land Trust and run by the traditional owners, the Angkerle Aboriginal Corporation, who are direct descendants of the Western Arrernte Aborigines. So you must book the wedding through them.
The best times for a ceremony is sunrise or sunset. Because the light will be richer and more even over the rocks and on your faces. During the middle of the day you will find many tourists around who try to see the Chasm with light coming right down the middle.
There is a cafe and a gift shop and there is also the option to camp onsite. There are toilets, showers and kitchen facilities available.
It is worth noting that because it is Aboriginal own land, alcohol is not permitted there as per Federal Law. And no amplified music is allowed.
7. Devils Marbles – Karlu Karlu
Address: Warumungu NT 0852 (About 100km south of Tennant Creek off the Stuart Highway).
Imagine eloping at this amazing Australian location! We enquired, and it is possible to have an elopement here!
The Devils Marbles is one of the Northern Territories most recognised outback locations. Located in the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve, it is jointly managed by the NT Parks & Wildlife and the traditional Aboriginal landowners.
The marbles were created from an upsurge of molten rock that cooled and became solid under a sandstone layer. Vertical and horizontal fractures were caused by solidifying granite, creating rectangular blocks. Water penetrated the cracks and broke the sandstone down over time, and then the granite. As a result, rounded boulders of granite perched on top of each other were uncovered.
8. Kakadu Elopements
Address: Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT 0886
Kakadu National Park (Kakadu) is Aboriginal Land, but it is managed jointly between the Australian Federal Government (Parks Australia) and the Bininj / Mungguy people. They have been living in Kakadu for thousands of years. Kakadu is their home and I think it is very important to remember this when thinking of eloping in Kakadu.
Kakadu is a huge National Park which covers 20,000 km and showcases some of the most beautiful landscape in Australia and the Northern Territory. Waterfalls, wetlands, rivers and sandstone escarpments are some of the highlands. As well as the saltwater crocs!
Weddings, elopements and events are technically allowed and it definitely possible BUT approval is only given on a case by case basis. They don’t just let anyone have a wedding there. Be aware that you are dealing with a Government department, so there will be lots of forms to fill out and it may take weeks to get an answer.
Approval for a permit depends on a number of factors including:
- The location in the park you want to have the elopement.
- The number of people attending.
- If you are having a professional photographer. Some sites will be sacred and can’t be photographed so another permit will be required.
- Basically the impact it will have on the area. It shouldn’t damage the park or the environment in any way. Interfere with the park’s facilities or impact other people in the park. It should also be culturally sensitive and not interfere with the privacy of the traditional landowners.
The beauty of elopements is that they are low-impact. It is not like a full traditional wedding. There is only a small number of guests. So you are much more likely to get approval than you would for a larger event. Your elopement should match the parks values and the environment and melt perfectly in the location.
Gunlom Falls, Jim Jim Falls, Twin Falls & Nourlangie are some of the amazing locations you could potentially have an elopement.
Update Feb 2021: However, we can’t recommend Kakadu for elopements at the current time due to the current state of the National Park. Many major attractions are closed, the park isn’t being maintained properly and there are big disputed on how the park is being run between the Kakadu traditional owners and the federal government agency Parks Australia. Please watch the Four Corners special below for more information.
Kakadu has so much potential for amazing elopement and the wedding industry as a whole. I can see Australian and overseas guests flocking to this destination to get married and to explore the region. It could be amazing. But things are not right at the moment. But hopefully in the future, with the help of the traditional Aboriginal landowners and the help of the Federal Government, things will turn around.
9. Wildman Wilderness Lodge
Address: Point Stuart Rd, Arnhem NT 0801
Wildman Wilderness Lodge is located two hours east of Darwin, near Kakadu National Park. You can have an outback elopement wedding with premium comfort and facilities and have an amazing experience.
The accommodation consists of the central lodge, ten cabins and fifteen safari tents. So plenty of accommodation for a small wedding.
There are a few choices for your ceremony location. You can say your vows amongst the termite mounds with the floodplain of the Mary River as your backdrop. On a point where you have magnificent views of the wetlands. Or near a secluded billabong with nature and the amazing wildlife all around you. These amazing locations also require permission from the National Park and the Traditional Owners, which really goes to show how unique and special this place is. These locations are also a great option for your wedding photos.
Again, there are many options for your reception dinner. You can have it in the main lodge, in a conference room or at your accommodation room. For an elopement, the Shaded Pagoda would be a lovely option where you and your guests could all hang out together and celebrate.
You can book out the whole resort and have exclusive use, or you can share it with the other guests. The Wildman Wilderness Lodge can accommodate up to 90 guests, but I think this place would be amazing for a beautiful elopement.
The Northern Territory is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful locations in Australia. It is huge and relatively untouched in regards to weddings and elopements. There is so much potential for couples to combine an elopement with an amazing experience and adventure.
The National Parks in the Northern Territory are some of the most obvious choices for a stunning elopement. And I would really love to see more adventurous couples and photographers explore this region and highlight it’s beauty.
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