- Bamurru Plains (L, D)
This morning your guide, Dean or Sab, meets you at your Darwin accommodation at 9am and we begin our journey toward UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.
Our first stop 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 water birds, as well as other animals. Little, Intermediate and Great egrets, Pied herons, Glossy ibis, Royal spoonbill, Little Black and Little Pied cormorants, Comb-crested jacanas, Australian darters and Jabiru storks are just some of the birds that can be seen feeding, fighting and breeding at Fogg Dam.
Next we travel on to the Adelaide River, where we have the opportunity to witness the fabulous jumping crocodiles and other wildlife. These saltwater crocodiles are a magnificent sight and surprisingly powerful as they can project their bodies almost totally out of the water – 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.
From here, a short detour off the highway is the beautiful Leaning Tree Lagoon. This picturesque billabong is often covered in water lilies, making it a popular quick stop for photographers.
We then head onto Bamurru Plains, an exclusive lodge and 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 accommodation is comfortable freestanding bungalows that are spacious and screened to let in the sounds of the floodplains. The camp also boasts a large dining area with commanding views across the vast wetlands, a 10-metre infinity pool and a library.
The focus of your stay at Bamurru is the environment around you and the wildlife and bird life for which it is home. Each individual safari bungalow is designed to blend with the surroundings and immerse guests in 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. The morning chorus of tens of thousands of Magpie geese, after which the camp is named, is an experience in itself.
The Mary River catchments are home to some 236 species of birds, many of which are found at Bamurru Plains. The significance of this particular property comes in the variety of habitat: Black soil floodplains, paper bark swamps, savannah woodland, river mangroves and coastal beaches support an extraordinary diversity of bird life.
We end the day with a dramatic sunset over the floodplains while enjoying a glass of wine.
- Bamurru (B, L,D )
A morning airboat adventure on the floodplains is an exhilarating and perfect start to the day, and the only way to truly experience the amazing environment around Bamurru Plains.
While at the camp we enjoy a variety of activities. 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 harbor an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna. This place is home to thousands of Magpie geese, Plumed whistling ducks, egrets, ibis and a host of other birds, not to mention wild buffalo and wallabies.
- Dinner at Cicada is a special experience
- Overnight Cicada Lodge
We depart Bamurru Plains after lunch. En route to Cicada Lodge in Katherine, we visit the beautiful Edith Falls, a series of cascading waterfalls and pools on the Edith River. The dramatic waterfalls range in height between 8.7–12 metres.
Next stop is Cicada Lodge, your private sanctuary from which to embrace the ancient landscapes and indigenous culture within the iconic Nitmiluk National Park.
Cicada Lodge is designed for the sophisticated traveller looking for an authentic Indigenous and natural Australian experience of a lifetime, in the heart of the Top End. The lodge is a sanctuary of elegant comfort in the Katherine Gorge, just 29 kilometres from the historic township of Katherine. Integral to the Cicada Lodge experience is the opportunity to explore the ancient landscapes of Nitmiluk National Park, home to Nitmiluk Gorge.
Nitmiluk Gorge is the centrepiece of Nitmiluk National Park, and comprises a system of 13 immense gorges carved over millennia by the Katherine River through the ancient stone of the region. More than a location of beautiful landscapes, the gorges hold great cultural value for the Jawoyn people. For these traditional owners, Nitmiluk refers to a cicada dreaming place – the place where the spirits of creation abide.
Cicada Lodge is core to the future of the Jawoyn people. Training programs and employment of the local people across all aspects of the operation are integral to that future. Eco-accredited Indigenous guides run the Gorge cruises and tours, providing commentary on the region and sharing their knowledge of the local flora and fauna as well as ancient stories of creation and Jawoyn life. They welcome visitors to embrace a journey of learning and discovery in this spiritual and spectacular part of the Northern Territory’s Top End.
- Overnight Cicada Lodge
Nitmiluk Scenic Helicopter Flights depart from the helipad located just 3 minutes’ drive from the visitor centre within Nitmiluk National Park. There are a variety of flights to choose from, and all offer magnificent views from the air, with photo or video opportunities of Nitmiluk Gorge, the Arnhem Land escarpment and wildlife.
Nitmiluk Scenic Helicopter Flights are also the only company permitted to land inside the national park and offer a unique selection of breathtaking landing sites that are only accessible by helicopter. A scenic flight will give you a great perspective of the Nitmiluk Gorge system with spectacular views from 4-seater helicopters, so everyone gets a window seat.
Our flight today is “The Jawoyn Rock Art Tour.” Turn back the clock as you depart the Nitmiluk helipad. Destination: 40,000 years ago. Fly deep into the heart of the Dreamtime to an amazing Jawoyn art site. Your guide will assist you in interpreting the artwork and the secrets of this ancient land. The Nitmiluk Gorge is made up of 13 separate gorges, a maze of waterways sculpted from the sandstone over countless millennia by the Katherine River. Enjoy a refreshing swim before flying back over the rugged stone country and all 13 gorges on your return to the modern world.
Tonight enjoy a very special dinner cruise. Sit back and relax as the tranquil surroundings transport you into a spiritual world of the Jawoyn culture and history. Discover the stories and ways of the Jawoyn people against the magnificent backdrop of Nitmiluk Gorge, changing colour with the setting sun. This tour includes a three-course candlelit dinner, featuring fresh, local Australian produce cooked on board, and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine.
- Return to Darwin mid afternoon
This morning we enjoy the area around Katherine before making our way back toward Darwin.
We stop at Pine Creek, which is an old gold mining town, where we enjoy a picnic lunch. Then on to the township of Adelaide River, which came to prominence following completion of the Overland Telegraph Line, followed by construction of a hotel, a police outpost and a railway station.
Adelaide River also boasts the pub that is home to Charlie the Water Buffalo, made famous by the movie Crocodile Dundee.
- You’re on your way!
- Adelaide River Cruise
- Yellow Water Cruise