Australia’s tropical outback – The Top End – is a wild land where Brolgas fly across the sunset, huge crocodiles laze on riverbanks and sandstone shimmers with the world’s oldest art.
Feel the timeless peace of a landscape full of animals and very few people, wake to the manic calls of flying-foxes and cockatoos, look out across a billabong filled with water-lilies, walk on rocks created 600 million years ago.
Wild Top End is a special journey created for curious adventurers who love wild places and wild creatures. Get to know Kakadu and Mary River National Parks including some of the lesser-known walks and rock art sites. Learn about Top End wildlife, and help protect them.
Day 1: introduction to the tropics and the Northern Territory.
As an introduction to your Wild Top End experience we’ll pick you up from your accommodation mid afternoon for a short drive along the Darwin foreshore to East Point looking over the entrance to Darwin’s Fannie Bay. Here we’ll take a short walk searching for local birds and animals before watching the sun set over the Timor Sea – during this time your guide will provide you with a trip briefing and answer any questions you may have about the upcoming adventure.
Day 2: Darwin to Kakadu/Jabiru.
After an early pick up from your Darwin accommodation we’ll head eastwards into the tropical outback. The road from Darwin to Jabiru is sealed for its entire length and makes for very easy traveling. On the way we’ll stop at a number of beautiful locations including famous Fogg Dam (part of the Adelaide River floodplain) where we’ll take our first walk into a monsoon forest and view some of fantastic birdlife of the Northern Territory. Then we’ll get on our way crossing a number of the huge rivers that drain the tropical wilderness including the mighty Mary River where we’ll stop for lunch and possibly see our first crocodile. We enter Kakadu National Park and stop at Mamukala wetland and take a walk to get our first taste of the wonders of Kakadu. We’ll end the day in the small town of Jabiru and move into our accommodation. (staying here 3 nights)
Day 3: Nourlangie Kakadu – Aboriginal Heritage.
The Nourlangie region will be our first access to the magnificent Arnhem Land escarpment. It also helps us to understand the enormous importance of Kakadu to the Aboriginal People. Ancient sandstone ranges rise directly out of the Kakadu floodplains in a landscape that epitomises the Dreamtime in Australia. We’ll visit a number of places in this region including Malanbanjbandjdju, Anbangbang Billabong and Nourlangie Rock Art site – this site contains some of the most powerful Aboriginal paintings in Australia including a depiction of the Lightning Man. All the names in Kakadu rise from Aboriginal languages. You will begin to feel the incredible power of this landscape. Towards the end of the day we’ll return to Jabiru
Day 4: Ubirr Kakadu – East Alligator. Sunset at Nawulandja.
Many who visit Ubirr come away as different people. It is possibly the most beautiful place in Kakadu with some of the most compelling wilderness landscapes on earth. It has a presence that takes humans back to their beginnings. Nearby the East Alligator River bounds the vast Aboriginal lands of Arnhem Land – to go any further requires special permission. But on the Kakadu side there is a wide variety of activities to choose from including gentle walks near the river, views of elaborate Aboriginal Rock Art sites or a climb to the top of Ubirr Rock with its stunning views across Kakadu. During the heat of the day we’ll return to have lunch at Jabiru followed by a rest then a refreshing swim in the pool before heading back out in the late afternoon to Nawulandja lookout to watch the sun set over the Kakadu escarpment.
Day 5: Jabiru to Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge – Mary River National Park.
Today we backtrack westward out of Kakadu to Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge deep inside Mary River National Park. Our route takes us firstly along the paved Kakadu Highway then onto the dirt roads heading north into Mary River National Park. On route we’ll stop at a number of special little places, visited by few, but very beautiful, including Brian Creek Monsoon Forest and Mistake Billabong (its beauty belies its name – it’s a very pretty place for a lunchtime picnic!). We’ll finish up at Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge, check in, cool off in the pool, then take a peaceful walk through Jimmy Creek rainforest right beside the Lodge. Here you’ll see the huge nesting mounds of Scrub Fowl – a bird the size of a chicken that builds nests up to 3 metres high! Overnight at Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge – breakfasts and lunches are included. Dinners at your own expense (there is a swimming pool at the lodge and a saloon bar)
Day 6: Mary River National Park – Crocodiles in the Wild.
The Mary River is famous for its abundant wildlife including some of the largest crocodiles in the world. These tough reptiles have outlived the dinosaurs. The Freshwater Crocodile is reclusive and will usually flee from humans. On the other hand the Estuarine (Saltwater) Crocodile can be an unpredictable and dangerous creature. Both are magnificent and regal animal and, if treated with respect, they can be seen at very close quarters. Today we can see crocodiles in their natural environment as we travel in a specially constructed boat to view them – and lots of other wildlife – on the Mary River. With luck you will see numerous large Saltwater Crocodiles and some smaller Freshwater Crocodiles. You’ll also see many species of birds including, with luck, the symbol of Kakadu: the Jabiru.
Day 7: Point Stuart to Darwin – fly out.
Today after breakfast and a relaxing morning walk we’ll depart to Darwin having lunch on en-route. You will be dropped at your accommodation in Darwin or we can arrange transfers to Darwin Airport if you are flying out today.
Minimum cost is for twin share in our recommended clean simple accommodation. Maximum cost is twin share in upgraded cabin accommodation. Single supplements extra.
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