Top End Luxury Safari Adventure – Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris Camp & Bamurru Plains, Northern Territory

AT A GLANCE

Dates8 – 12 October 2022
19 – 23 May 2023

More dates to come for 2023 – contact us to find out more

(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, uneven ground so 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 $7995 per person twin share
Single supplements on request
Group sizeMinimum 4, maximum 4 guests
Featuring regionsKakadu National Park, Mary River, Mt Borradaile, Arnhem Land

WHAT TO EXPECT

This exclusive Top End adventure across the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land winds across 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 an incredible journey into the Northern Territory’s Top End. Stay at two award-winning properties – Bamurru Plains, a safari lodge with exclusive access to 300km of floodplains and savannah woodland on the Mary River, on the edge of Kakadu National Park, and Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris at Mt Borradaile, a registered Aboriginal sacred site in an exclusively leased 700sq.km area nestled against the Arnhem Land escarpment. On this adventure you’ll experience some of the most picturesque scenery in Australia as we travel through Kakadu and off the beaten track into Arnhem Land and be encouraged to really experience the ‘country’ for a true, once in a lifetime Northern Territory experience.

Trip Highlights

  • Access the very special, protected and highly restricted region of Arnhem Land at Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris located at Mt Borradaile – a registered Aboriginal sacred site in an exclusively leased 700sq.km area nestled against the Arnhem Land escarpment.
  • Immerse yourself at Bamurru Plains – a safari lodge with exclusive access to 300km of floodplains and savannah woodland on the Mary River, on the edge of Kakadu National Park. Known as a birdwatchers paradise, with 236 recorded species including magpie geese, plumed whistling duck, egrets, ibis and brolgas, but also teeming with an amazing assortment of reptiles, marsupials and buffalo.
  • Experience the amazingly beautiful wilderness of Arnhem Land fringed by idyllic billabongs, flood plains, paperbark swamps and monsoonal rainforests and caves that have been occupied for over 50,000 years offering magnificent galleries of rock art as well as occupation and burial sites.
  • Enjoy the exhilaration of a morning airboat safari on the Mary River region – home to an extraordinary diversity of birdlife.
  • Cruise along the billabong to see the sun set over the floodplain and Mt Borradaile.
  • Discover galleries of Aboriginal rock art and learn about the variety of techniques used as styles changed over the thousands of years of occupation and storytelling.

ITINERARY

DAY 1: Darwin to Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris

This morning your guide will collect you early this morning from your accommodation in Darwin before we begin making our way south for a short time on the Stuart Highway until we turn onto the Arnhem Highway, which leads to World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. 

We venture towards Aboriginal Lands (Arnhem Land) where access to this area is restricted to a select group of tour operators. Departing the Northern region of Kakadu National Park we cross 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 firsthand how artworks are created. The area includes the floodplains of the East Alligator River that 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. The main gallery is an extensive shelter featuring layered paintings created over thousands of years.

The rock art on Injalak Hill reveals facets of Pre-Estuarine, Estuarine and Contact periods identifying them as up to 8000 years old. The view from the top of the hill is simply breathtaking, looking out across the floodplains and around the Arnhem Land escarpment while having lunch in the shade of one of the many overhanging ledges.

Injalak Arts wholesale a range of affordable art in different mediums and styles reflective of the ingenuity of the Kunwinjku people. Artworks available include paintings on paper and bark, carvings, artefacts – clap sticks, didgeridoos, mimi poles and lorrkons – and fibre works including baskets and grass pandanus floor mats and special edition prints.

After leaving Injalak Arts we head onto Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris. Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris is situated in the northwest corner of Arnhem Land and adjacent to Kakadu National Park and Coburg Peninsula. Here lies a vast subtropical savannah that has been described as a national treasure trove depicting ancient human occupation, and a pristine wilderness area hosting myriad ecosystems and wildlife inhabitants. Access to the safari lodge is by 4WD or air. The camp is fully licensed and has a wide selection of wines, spirits and beer. The facilities are situated in a natural bush setting, the centre of the infrastructure of the lodge is a new and tastefully furnished communal area encompassing a dining, lounge, bar, library, internet area and a large outdoor deck area for alfresco dining, all with a view of the sandstone-paved pool.

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

Overnight: Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris

Lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 2: Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris at Mount Borradaile

Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris at Mount Borradaile is a registered Aboriginal sacred site in a remote 700sq.km, exclusively leased area nestled against the Arnhem Land escarpment. This is a landscape of rugged ranges fringed by idyllic billabongs, floodplains, paperbark swamps and monsoonal rainforests. Valleys, overhangs and caves have been occupied for over 50,000 years and offer magnificent galleries of rock art as well as occupation and burial sites. While at Davidson’s we shall enjoy a range of activities and attractions, from fishing and Aboriginal art to a billabong cruise and the unique landscape.

Overnight: Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 3: Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris to Bamurru Plains

After enjoying this amazing area this morning we shall have lunch and then onto Bamurru Plains, which is an exclusive wildlife experience on the magnificent Mary River floodplains. Located on Swim Creek Station, this safari-style camp is surrounded by savannah woodland teeming with an amazing assortment of wildlife, reptiles and birds. The camp boasts comfortable, free-standing rooms that are spacious and expose guests to the sounds of the floodplains, a dining area with commanding views across the vast wetlands, a 10m wet-edge pool and a library. The focus of your stay at Bamurru is in the environment around you and the wildlife and birdlife for whom it is home. Each individual safari suite is designed to blend with the surrounding bush and as such exposes guests to the sights and sounds of the bush around you, whether it is the haunting call of a whistling kite, the raucous cacophony from the blue-winged kookaburras as dawn breaks or the sound of a full-grown buffalo splashing its way through the floodplains just a short distance from your bed.

We will experience a sunset over the floodplains while enjoying a glass of wine.

Overnight: Bamurru Plains

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 4: Bamurru Plains

While we are at the camp we’ll enjoy a variety of activities, from airboat rides to a 4WD safaris. The floodplains abound with waterfowl, wild buffalo and wallabies. The floodplains of the Mary River region form one of the most significant ecosystems in Australia. Dominated by the climatic extremes of the tropical monsoon, the wetlands and savannah woodlands that fringe the coastal regions between Darwin and Kakadu National Park harbour an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna. The key natural features of this area are some of the most important in the country, home to thousands of magpie geese, plumed whistling-duck, egrets, ibis and a host of other birds. We have the opportunity to explore one of the few remaining stations close to Kakadu National Park.

Overnight: Bamurru Plains

Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.

DAY 5: Return to Darwin

A morning trip out on the plains in an airboat is utterly exhilarating and the only way to truly experience this environment.

The morning chorus of tens of thousands of magpie geese, after whom the camp is named, is an experience in itself. The Mary River catchments are home to some 236 species of bird, many of which are found at Bamurru Plains. The significance of this particular property comes in the variety of habitat: black soil floodplains, paperbark swamps, savannah woodland, river mangroves and coastal beaches support an extraordinary diversity of birdlife.

Return to Darwin, arriving in the late afternoon.

Breakfast and lunch provided.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Luxury Toyota air-conditioned GXL for 5 days with experienced local guide
  • 2 nights accommodation at Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris
  • 2 nights accommodation at Bamurru Plains
  • Gunbalanya
  • Arnhem Land entry permits 
  • 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 & gratuities
  • Optional tours/services.

COVID-19

Until further notice: from 1 October 2021 we will require that all participants on our tours must be 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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