This special journey through Australia’s tropical Outback – the Top End – is for curious adventurers with a taste for wilderness and wildlife.
Combining the greatest highlights of the Top End, floodplains and wetlands, and viewing its natural beauty by air, road and boat, gives you a fantastic insight of the great diversity of habitat and wildlife in the area. Bamurru Plains, on the edge of Australia's answer to the Okavango Delta, in the lush Mary River floodplain, is like a microcosm of the Top End wildlife and home to prolific birdlife.
In Arnhem Land you stay at Borradaile, a registered aboriginal sacred site, consisting of 200,000 acres of lush wetlands that teem with wildlife, together with magnificent cave paintings and artefacts.
Early this morning you land into Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, where you are met at the airport and check-in for a 30-minute charter flight to Bamurru. On arrival you transfer to your luxury bush retreat.
(Alternatively and depending on your arrival time you can opt for a private road transfer which takes approximately three hours.)
Bamurru Plains offers an extraordinary safari-style bush experience on the edge of Kakadu National Park. With a focus on environmental sustainability, this wilderness camp and its passionate hosts showcase Australia’s unique style of sophisticated, barefoot, experiential luxury.
An exhilarating morning trip in a fan-propelled airboat on the wetlands of the Mary River is the best way to experience this beautiful natural environment and its fauna. In the dry season, when the water recedes, the floodplains become accessible to four-wheel-drive vehicles, and a safari with one of the guides provides a unique insight to this fragile yet important environment. The catchment area of the Mary River is home to 236 bird species, several of which are found at Bamurru Plains, which is a breeding ground for many – including the iconic magpie geese. Even in the dry season the floodplains still retain large areas of water where birdlife congregates in numbers rarely seen elsewhere in Australia.
Day6: Fly to Mount Borradaile, Arnhem Land
In the morning, you board a private charter flight to Mount Borradaile, transfer to your accommodation and consult the lodge staff to map out your stay.
Three full days are dedicated to exploring Arnhem Land, and all activities at the lodge are included. Here there are no rigid itineraries or fixed schedules; everything happens spontaneously – exactly as it is meant to.
You can cruise on the billabong to watch the sun set over the floodplain with a glass of wine in your hand, and see Mount Borradaile light up with magnificent colours, or explore the wetlands to see the many estuarine and freshwater crocodiles that inhabit the watercourses. Early morning – as always – is a great time to watch the area’s rich birdlife.
You can take a trip into the sandstone escarpments that were formed many millions of years ago, and see galleries of aboriginal rock art that demonstrate the techniques used, and how styles changed over millennia of occupation and storytelling, with stories from more recent times telling of contact with other cultures.
The rainforest houses a completely different ecosystem with a distinctive array of plants and animals, and a walk across the savannah with a local guide reveals an unexpected variety of bush tucker and medicinal plants.
Alternatively, you can take a four-wheel-drive excursion into the savannah landscapes, woodlands and rainforests, discover some of the region’s rare and unique species – such as the fabulous Leichhardt's grasshopper, or try your hand at fishing for barramundi in the pristine Cooper Creek. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do here!
Day10: Fly to Darwin
Afternoon charter flight back to Darwin, then taxi (not included) to your overnight accommodation in the capital.
Lying 240 kilometres east of Darwin, Kakadu is Australia’s largest national park. Covering almost 20,000 square kilometres it is a place of huge biodiversity whose rare endemic animals include more than a third of the country’s bird species and a quarter of its freshwater and estuarine fish species.
Located in the north-eastern corner of Australia’s Northern Territory, around 500 kilometres from the capital Darwin, Arnhem Land’s prolific wildlife includes the region’s largest predator – the saltwater crocodile – along with dugong and nesting turtles. It is home to hundreds of bird species.
The capital and largest city of Australia’s sparsely populated Northern Territory, Darwin lies on the Timor Sea. Originally a pioneer outpost, the area is the ancestral home of the Larrakia Aboriginal people and gateway to the impressive Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land.
Where: Northern Territory
Excellent for: City stopover
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
Bamurru Plains is a luxury lodge on the edge of the Mary River floodplain, close to the coast and the western boundary of Kakadu National Park. This region of exceptional natural beauty and high biodiversity is one of only a few World Heritage Site listed for both its cultural and natural values.
Arnhemland Safari Lodge began in 1986, when the area’s traditional owners approached Max Davidson about setting up a venture at Mount Borradaile in the heart of Arnhem Land. It has since evolved to offer accommodation and facilities that complement the wilderness experience, plus a range of activities.
Nestling in 12 hectares of tropical gardens beside the Arafura Sea, Skycity is a bustling resort with excellent accommodation, a wide choice of dining options, conference and event facilities and a casino. As Darwin’s only five-star oceanfront resort, it also boasts a private white-sand beach.