Glamping on the Jatbula Trail, additional short and multi-day walks, new MTB trails, plus a new eco-resort could all become part of the Northern Territory’s tourism offering within the next decade, according to a newly released plan.


Northern Territory Parks 10 Year Activation Plan was released last week and outlines huge plans to upgrade facilities and increase tourism opportunities and accessibility across the Territory’s national parks before 2033. 

The Activation Plan was released alongside the NT Parks Masterplan 2023-53, which sets out to ensure the ‘diversity and integrity of the Territory’s natural and cultural heritage remain intact’ over the next 30 years – starting with the 10 Year Activation Plan.

With an emphasis on negotiation and agreement with Traditional Owners, many of whom jointly manage the national parks, and with the Territory community’s preference for ‘low impact recreation and tourism products with a sustainable tourism offering’, NT Parks has created a plan that will affect at least 19 of the Territory’s most-visited parks and reserves. 

Here’s what to expect.

Big Plans for Nitmiluk National Park

The most notable development plans are within Nitmiluk National Park, located a three-hour drive south of Darwin near the town of Katherine. Home to Nitmiluk Gorge, Leliyn / Edith Falls, and the Jatbula Trail, Nitmiluk National Park is one of the most highly visited parks in the Territory.


The Northern Territory Will Introduce Entry Fees for 50 Nature Parks Next Year, Amy Fairall, Edith Falls, Leliyn, Nitmiluk National Park, NT, sunset, swimming holes, waterfall

Leliyn / Edith Falls


The plan outlines possible new tourism developments planned for completion within the next 6-10 years, including; 

  • Glamping associated with the Jatbula Trail in partnership with private investors and/or Traditional Owners
  • Private investment for a possible new eco-resort on the escarpment, either at Leliyn or Nitmiluk Gorge
  • A completely new multi-day hike in the park
  • Extra places to swim at new and existing areas across the park
  • More MTB trail networks
  • More short walks

What about the other parks and reserves?

The ten year plan hopes to bring fresh life to facilities and parks both near cities, such as Casuarina Coastal Reserve in Darwin, as well as remote parks, such as Central Australia’s Finke Gorge National Park.

These planned upgrades include (but aren’t limited to);

  • Finalising a new Watarrka multiday hike in partnership with private investors and Traditional Owners 
  • New and upgraded paths, picnic and day use facilities, toilets and change room facilities, car parks, viewing decks, and signage at Elsey National Park 
  • Finalising the Red Centre Adventure Ride (200km of MTB trail near Alice Springs)
  • Enhancing road access to and in Keep River National Park
  • Upgrading the Tabletop Track in Litchfield National Park
  • Four new accessible areas for people with a disability at Simpsons Gap, Berry Springs, and Charles Darwin National Park
  • Building of a lookout at Djarrung Falls in Flora River Nature Park


Keep River National Park is an Overlooked Gem in the NT, Rachael Shirlow, sandstone escarpment, palm trees, landscape

Keep River National Park | @rachoconnor_

Where is the money coming from?

Some of the developments outlined in the 10 Year Activation Plan are already fully funded, while others are dependent on multiple streams of funding over the next decade. This includes funding from government, private investors, and the increased revenue gained by the new walking fees, park passes and increased cost of camping fees, set to be introduced on April 3rd this year.

Read more: Are We Privatising Our National Parks?

The Activation Plan will be reviewed every three years, and a number of possible additional projects in jointly managed parks will be added to the plan after consultation with the Traditional Owners and their support is granted.