Kakadu & Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

AT A GLANCE

Dates15 – 19 August 2022
1 – 5 September 2022

24 – 28 July 2023
21 – 25 August 2023
11 – 15 September 2023

(If the dates listed are not suitable, please contact our team travel@australiangeographic.com or call 1300 241 141 to enquire about alternative dates)
Activity levelModerate.
This tour demands a reasonable amount of agility as some of the walks are over slippery and uneven ground. We recommend a reasonable level of fitness and stable footing is required for this itinerary in order to make the most of your experience.
Duration5 days, 4 nights
PricesFrom $5,135 per person twin share
Single supplements available on request
Group sizeMinimum 4, maximum 6 guests
Featuring regionsKakadu National Park, Mary River, Yellow Waters, Arnhem Land

WHAT TO EXPECT

This epic, tailored adventure across World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land winds through stunning floodplains and escarpments in search of the formidable saltwater crocodile, many of the region’s 280 bird species, adorable marsupials and mammals, and incredible flora. See spectacular landscapes and experience the world’s oldest-living culture as we take you on a journey into the Northern Territory’s Top End. You’ll experience some of the most picturesque scenery in Australia as we travel through Kakadu and off the beaten track into Arnhem Land. Enjoy exclusive access to the Top End on this small group, safari-style 4WD tour, all while staying at Lord’s private tented camp. 

Trip Highlights

  • The richness and diversity of wildlife is extraordinary, with wallabies, wallaroos, quolls, dingoes, bats, goannas, frogs, pythons, waterbirds, cathedral termite mounds and the legendary saltwater crocodile (and this is just a small sample of the viewing opportunities to be found across the region’s diverse habitats).
  • Be captivated by the cultural offerings found at the rock art galleries at Injalak Hill and revel in the opportunity to learn about Australia’s fauna from the land’s traditional owners – an unforgettable experience.
  • The pristine beauty of Fogg Dam, the Mary River Airboat cruise, the iconic Yellow Water Cruise and the tranquillity of the natural plunge pool at Maguk are all highlights for nature enthusiasts.

ITINERARY

DAY 1: Darwin to Kakadu

This morning your guide will collect you from your accommodation in Darwin from 8.30am. We begin our journey south on the Stuart Highway before turning onto the Arnhem Highway, which leads west to World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Our first stop en route is Fogg Dam Reserve. The dam has year-round water coverage, which assures its position as an important feeding and roosting site for a wide variety of water birds and other animals. 

Next up it’s onto Mary River wetlands where we’ll enjoy a 45-minute airboat safari – a truly unique experience that travels through the seemingly endless floodplains of the Mary River wetlands system spotting crocodiles and countless birds. You’ll feel like you’re hovering above a blanket of lilies and reeds, adding to the natural beauty of your surroundings.

Afterwards, enter into Kakadu via the Old Darwin Road. Our last stop for today is at Cooinda. Here you’ll experience one of Kakadu’s icons – Yellow Water Billabong – on a sunset cruise. This 10sq.km pristine environment supports a truly wonderful variety of plants, birds, crocodiles and Top End wildlife. The wildlife on this pristine billabong is too numerous to mention, you may see saltwater crocodiles, a jacana bird walking on water, the magnificent sea eagle or any one of the many other 280 species that call this billabong home. Here you can witness at close quarters the wealth of wildlife in this tranquil habitat and enjoy a stunning Top End sunset.

Overnight: Lords Private Tented Camp, with external bathrooms (shared)

Lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 2: Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge)

This morning after an early breakfast, we make our way to Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge), described by some as the “jewel in the crown of Kakadu”. Permits are required and visitor numbers are strictly controlled. Jarrangbarnmi is in the south of the park, in 4WD country. Here you can enjoy a walk, scramble or climb into the seemingly endless series of gorges and be rewarded with an ever-changing landscape, crystalline waters and infinite views. There are waterfalls, plunge pools, white sandy beaches and a lot more. This is a truly breathtaking, isolated area that still exists in a pristine wilderness state. Koolpin Creek flows down several hundred feet through a series of cascades and pools known locally as the Giant’s Staircase. Here we will spend time appreciating the magic of this spectacular area.

Overnight: Lords Private Tented Camp, with external bathrooms (shared)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 3: Arnhem Land and Injalak Arts

Today we will visit Aboriginal Lands (Arnhem Land). Access to this area is restricted only to a select group of tour operators. Departing the Northern region of Kakadu National Park we ford Cahill’s Crossing on the East Alligator River and enter Arnhem Land. A 15km scenic drive to Gunbalanya Aboriginal community provides some of the best driving views in the Top End with floodplains, billabongs and Arnhem Land escarpment. Upon arrival at Gunbalanya you will visit the Injalak Arts and Craft Centre. Here you have the opportunity to meet and watch traditional local artists in action. Established in 1989, Injalak Arts is an Aboriginal organisation supporting the production of quality Aboriginal art.

Today, Injalak artists produce authentic art inspired by ancient Dreamtime stories, images from the nearby rock art galleries and an unbroken link between the present generation of Kunwinjku people and their ancestors.  This offers an intimate setting to get to know the artist and see first-hand how artworks are created. Gunbalanya is the Aboriginal name for the Oenpelli settlement (which was originally a mission). The area includes the floodplains of the East Alligator River, which are covered by water from December to April, and a rocky sandstone plateau rising up to 200m above the plains. Visitors to Injalak will experience the breathtaking rock art galleries and the traditional culture of the Kunwinjku people. Many of the Injalak artists live and work in the community. While we are here a traditional Aboriginal guide will show you excellent examples of rock art on Injalak Hill (Long Tom Dreaming or Kurrkabal). This area is documented as having some of the best rock art examples in Western Arnhem Land (some say Australia). The main gallery – an extensive shelter featuring layered paintings created over thousands of years –is your first contact with the rock art here.

The rock art on Injalak Hill reveals facets of Pre-Estuarine, Estuarine and Contact periods identifying them as between 100 and 8000 years old. In 1912, the Aboriginal Protectorate, Baldwin Spencer, noted people heading up the hill every evening with smouldering fire sticks. This helps to explain why Injalak Hill boasts such extensive rock art galleries. The view from the top of the hill is simply breathtaking, looking out across the floodplains and around the Arnhem Land escarpment. Lunching in the shade of one of the many overhanging ledges is something you won’t quickly forget! When we farewell our Aboriginal guide back at the Injalak Art & Craft Centre there’s an opportunity to browse or purchase goods from this non-profit Aboriginal organisation.

Note: Access to Arnhem Land is by invitation by the local Aboriginal people, and the traditional owners may deny access at any time.

Overnight: Lords Private Tented Camp, with external bathrooms (shared)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 4: Jim Jim and Twin falls

Today we will visit two of Kakadu’s icons – Jim Jim and Twin falls. Both waterfalls are set in the magnificent Arnhem Land escarpment. This is a day of adventure for the more active traveller and access to these two magical areas is only available by 4WD. Jim Jim gorge is a 900m walk over rocks through the subtropical rainforest. As we go, take time to marvel at the inspiring 200m-high cliffs towering on both sides of the walk. At the base of the falls enjoy a cooling swim in the magnificent plunge pool. 

Afterwards, we travel a further 12km by 4WD to access Twin Falls. Here we’ll walk to the top of the falls and marvel at the changing Arnhem Land escarpment – the views are amazing, looking down Twin Fall Gorge and back up the river. Enjoy a dip and this incredible area while learning about why these places are so important to the Aboriginal people of Kakadu National Park.  

Overnight: Lords Private Tented Camp, with external bathrooms (shared)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 5: Maguk, Barramundi Creek and return to Darwin

One of Kakadu’s lesser-known attractions, Maguk is a pristine natural waterfall and plunge pool set at the base of steep gorge walls. Spot the spangled drongos and rainbow pitas in the rainforest, swim with the black bream in the pool and marvel at the majestic, endemic Anbinik trees along the rocky slopes. Access to Maguk is via a 14km 4WD track off the Kakadu Highway, followed by a 1km walk through monsoon forests, crossing Barramundi Creek. 

Return to Darwin arriving in the late afternoon.

Breakfast and lunch provided.

Why not stay longer in Darwin and have some time to explore, ask our friendly team for suggestions.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Luxury Toyota air-conditioned GXL for 5 days with experienced local guide
  • 4 nights accommodation at Lord’s Private Tented Camp (sheets, duvets, pillows, towels, soap provided), with shared external bathrooms
  • Airboat ride & Yellow Water Cruise
  • Arnhem Land entry permits 
  • Gunbalanya, Maguk, Koolpin Gorge, Jim Jim & Twin falls
  • All camping equipment and camping fees
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary.

COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Domestic or international airfares
  • Pre- or post-tour accommodation
  • Guide services other than specified
  • Meals/beverages other than specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Optional tours/services.

COVID-19

Until further notice: from 1 October 2021 we require that all participants on our tours are fully vaccinated with a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved vaccine against COVID-19, with the final dose administered no later than two weeks prior to departure. See terms and conditions for more details.

CONTACT US

Want to know more or register your interest ?

Send us an email to travel@australiangeographic.com or call 1300 241 141.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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