- Camping (L, D)
- Permanent bush camp
This morning your driver will collect you from your accommodation at 9am before we begin making our way towards World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park. Our first stop en route is Fogg Dam Reserve, Fogg Dam has year round water coverage which assures its position as an important feeding and roosting site for a wide variety of both water birds and other animals. Next we travel onto the Adelaide River where we have the opportunity to witness the fabulous jumping crocodiles and other wildlife. These Saltwater Crocodiles are a magnificent sight – the crocs are surprisingly powerful as they can project their bodies almost totally out of the water using their tail – you will gain a good understanding of why they have survived for more then two hundred million years! This serves as a great introduction to how wild the Top End still is today. A short detour off the highway is the beautiful Leaning Tree Lagoon; this Billabong is often covered in water lilies making it a popular quick stop for photographers. Lunch is at the Bark Hut Inn; this Aussie Roadhouse was built during the buffalo era and is a reminder of earlier, wilder times.
We will leave the main road to enter into Kakadu via the Old Darwin Road. Our last stop for today is at Cooinda – here we will experience one of Kakadu’s icons – a Yellow Water 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 we will witness at close hand the wealth of wildlife in this tranquil habitat and enjoy one of the Top Ends great sunsets.
- Camping (L, D)
- Permanent bush camp
Today we visit Aboriginal Lands (Arnhem Land) 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 15 km scenic drive to Gunbalanya Aboriginal community provides some of the best driving views in the Top End with floodplains, billabongs & the 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’s 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.
Gunbalanya is the Aboriginal name for the Oenpelli settlement (which was originally a mission). The area includes the flood plains of the East Alligator River that are covered by water from December to April and a rocky sandstone plateau rising up to 200 metres above the plains.
Visitors to Injalak will experience the breathtaking rock art galleries and the traditional culture of the Kunwinjku people. many of Injalaks 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 is the visitors first contact with rock art and is the most intense. It 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 between 100 and 8,000 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 Arnhemland escarpment while having lunch in the shade of one the many over hanging ledges.
When we farewell our Aboriginal guide back back at the Injalak Art & Craft Centre there is an opportunity to browse or purchase goods from this non-profit Aboriginal organisation.
Injalak Arts wholesales a range of affordable art in different mediums and styles reflective of the ingenuity of the Kunwinjku people. By supporting many artists utilizing different mediums in various dimensions, Injalak caters for both the affordable and fine art market. Artworks available include paintings on paper and bark, carvings, artefacts – clap sticks, didgeridoos, mimi poles and lorrkons, fibre works – baskets and grass pandanus floor mats and special edition prints.
Access to Arnhemland is by invitation by the local Aboriginal people, and the traditional owners may deny access at any time
- Return to Darwin. (B, L)
Today we shall head to the Southern end of Kakadu, here we find a pristine water fall, Maguk, (Barramundi Gorge). A one Kilometre walk through sub-monsoon rainforest leads to the base of a beautiful plunge pool.
Maguk is a scenic and tranquil place to enjoy a refreshing swim in the series of small waterholes. The water is crystal clear.