This new tour is for people looking to experience the most famous parts of the Top End while travelling in a small, intimate group (maximum of 6 guests). Your expert Venture North tour guide/driver will show you all the popular (and lesser known) spots and give you the insiders guide to the history and culture of the region. You'll see plenty of wildlife and get to enjoy some glamping in Kakadu and a touch of luxury at Katherine Gorge.
Highlights include; hiking into waterfalls and swimming in picturesque water holes, exploring ancient rock art sites with an Indigenous guide, a scenic flight over Kakadu, wildlife cruises full of birdlife and crocodiles, glamping and luxury accommodation + much more!
You can read the full day-by-day itinerary below.
Depart your Darwin accommodation at 06.30am for the beginning of your 5-day Top End safari. This morning our destination is Arnhem Land.
Arnhem Land comprises of vast amounts of Aboriginal owned land (approximately 100,000 square km) where many local people still practice their traditional ways of life. Access is strictly regulated through a permit system.
After travelling east from Darwin along the Arnhem Highway we’ll enter Kakadu National Park. From here we go north to Cahill’s Crossing where the East Alligator River separates Kakadu from Arnhem Land. After crossing the river into Arnhem Land a 15 km scenic drive to Gunbalanya (also known as Oenpelli) Aboriginal community provides some of the best driving views in the Top End with floodplains covered in bird life and water lilies running up alongside the Arnhem Land escarpment.
Once reaching Gunbalanya our first stop is the Injalak Arts and Crafts Centre where you have the opportunity to meet and see traditional local artists in action. This art centre has a reputation for producing fine quality Aboriginal works with many displayed in galleries around Australia and overseas.
Next, we will be joined by a local Aboriginal guide for a hike around the Injalak Hill rock art sites. A moderate climb takes us up into one of the most spectacular Aboriginal rock art sites in Australia. It’s here where we spend several hours exploring the many rock shelters which are covered in Aboriginal x-ray art dating back over 20,000 years. Relax under the rock shelters as your Indigenous guide shares and interprets the stories of their ancestors and helps you to understand the meaning behind this ancient tradition.
Mid-afternoon we’ll travel back into Kakadu and explore this world heritage listed National Park for the next 2 days. Covering almost 20,000 square km of exceptional natural beauty and unique biodiversity, Kakadu is one of very few places World Heritage listed for both its cultural and its natural values. Kakadu is home to the Bininj and Mungguy Aboriginal people who have inhabited this area for thousands of years.
Our destination this afternoon is Ubirr Rock, one of Kakadu’s best-known rock-art sites and featured in the movie Crocodile Dundee. A walk to the top of Ubirr offers great views across the Nadab floodplain into Arnhem Land.
Continue south late-afternoon to our ‘glamping’ accommodation for the next 2 nights in Cooinda.
Overnight: Cooinda (glamping tent)
First up this morning we will join a 2hr sunrise cruise on the famous Yellow Water Billabong. On this picturesque waterway you will have the opportunity to view a large variety of birdlife as well as saltwater crocodiles in their natural environment. Learn more about the wildlife on the billabong from your knowledgeable guides who will make the cruise both fascinating and informative.
Continue north along the Kakadu Highway to the Bowali Visitor and Information Centre. Bowali provides visitors with a wealth of information and displays about the Park.
Next, we’ll travel to Jabiru Airstrip. One of the best ways to see Kakadu at this time of year is by light plane! Upon boarding your 1hr flight you will travel over many different and spectacular landscapes along the Arnhem Land escarpment and see various river systems, billabongs and two of Kakadu’s most famous waterfalls Jim Jim and Twin Falls.
After a picnic lunch we’ll then visit Nourlangie Rock, an area home to various Aboriginal rock art and occupation sites. Aboriginal people have inhabited this area for twenty thousand years, sheltering under Nourlangie Rock and utilising the natural resources around them. The results of this occupation can still clearly be seen and understood today with the various rock paintings of animals, people and spirits. Your guide will give detailed explanations of the stories behind the rock art and the surrounding area.
Then, for sunset we’ll travel to Nawurlandja Lookout. A short climb takes us up the sloping sandstone to provide views of the sun setting across Anbangbang Billabong, Nourlangie Rock and the Arnhem Land escarpment.
Overnight: Cooinda (glamping tent)
Today we’ll explore some of Kakadu’s waterfalls and swimming holes en route to Katherine Gorge.
Our first stop this morning will be at Moline Rockhole, a special permit area in which only a few select operators are permitted to access; guaranteeing minimal crowds. The small waterfall and waterhole below the falls is a great place to cool down and relax. Here your guide will give you a pair of snorkels so you can explore the underwater world, home to a variety of species such as fish and turtle.
After departing Moline we’ll travel into Gunlom Falls, another great swimming hole. A 15 minute climb to the rock pools above the falls takes us up to a naturally occurring ‘infinity pool’ with sweeping views across the bushland of Kakadu.
Mid-afternoon we’ll continue on to Katherine where we’ll take a dip at the Katherine Hot Springs.
Finally, today we’ll travel into the Nitmiluk National Park, home to Katherine Gorge and our luxury accommodation for the next 2 nights at Cicada Lodge.
Overnight: Cicada Lodge (lodge room)
Enjoy a relaxing start to the day at Cicada Lodge, then at 9am we will join a 2hr Gorge Cruise on the spectacular Katherine Gorge. 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 the Nitmiluk Gorge.
Next, we’ll travel into Katherine and visit Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts & Culture Centre where you can learn more about the art and culture of the region.
Then this afternoon we’ll explore more of Nitmiluk National Park, heading to Edith Falls. The sandstone and riverine communities of Edith Falls provide a habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna. Here we’ll embark on the 2.7km loop walk to the top of the falls which offers great swimming with spectacular views.
Arrive back at your luxury accommodation late-afternoon.
Overnight: Cicada Lodge (lodge room)
Today our final destination is Litchfield National Park, about 1.5hrs south of Katherine, en route to Darwin.
Litchfield comprises of a central sandstone plateau which supports rich woodland flora communities. Patches of monsoon rainforest thrive in the deep, narrow gorges and wildlife such as wallabies and birds flourish in the Park.
This morning we will enter Litchfield via Batchelor and firstly explore the Magnetic Termite Mounds. These gigantic termite mounds stand up to 2m tall, having been erected in a north-south orientation which acts as a built in temperature control. These ‘tombstone’ like structures make the area look eerily like a giant cemetery.
We’ll next visit two of Litchfield’s most famous waterholes, Buley Rockhole and Florence Falls. Here you will have the opportunity to swim and also snorkel in the crystal clear pool below Florence Falls and relax in the cascading pools at Buleys.
After a picnic lunch we will visit Tolmer Falls. The caves near Tolmer Falls are home to the rare Orange Horseshoe and Ghost Bats.
This afternoon we’ll make one last stop in Litchfield at Wangi Falls before departing for Darwin via the Finniss River dirt track.
Arrive into your Darwin accommodation at approximately 07.00pm.
This ends your Venture North journey.
*Single supplement is AUD$500.00
Price includes GST and is valid until 31 March 2021.
For more information or to book please contact Venture North at 08 89275500 or send us an enquiry here.