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Arnhem Land Tours into ​Mt Borradaile

Posted on 11 July, 2024 in Arnhem Land, Rock Art, Culture, Birdwatching, Wildlife, Photography


Mt Borradaile is a magical place. It's a registered Aboriginal sacred site in a remote 700 sq-km area of western Arnhem Land. Here, you'll see towering Arnhem Land escarpment and stone country containing some of the oldest and most spectacular rock art anywhere in the Northern Territory, as well as paperbark swamps and lily-fringed billabongs teaming with bird life, fish and saltwater crocodiles. 

Situated amongst tropical woodland is Mt Borradaile's very comfortable safari camp. Fan-cooled ensuite cabins built to embrace the Top End climate are dotted through the bush within a short walk of the main lodge. A central lodge overlooks the pool and encompasses a lounge, bar, library and large outdoor deck for your choice of outdoor or indoor dining. 


What tours are available at Mt Borradaile?

All tours and activities can be selected with your guide each day and are included in the cost of your accommodation. After settling in to your Mt Borradaile cabin staff will then discuss the many touring options for the coming days. Common activities include; rock-art tours (you could spend weeks here and not see them all!), wildlife cruises, barramundi fishing, bird watching and bush tucker/medicine plants walks.

Mt Borradaile rock and occupation sites

Although Mt Borradaile is a nature lovers paradise it's probably most well known for it's great abundance and quality of it's rock art and occupation sites. The amount of ancient rock art sites and 'galleries' spread throughout the region is staggering. As the area is so rich in wildlife and essentially food, it has been inhabited by Indigenous people for ten's of thousands of years. Hence the rock and occupation sites (places where Aboriginal people have lived, sheltered and generally occupied in years past). 

What does a typical day at Mt Borradaile look like?

After waking up to the sound of birds and having breakfast in the lodge it's time to head out and explore. This morning we'll travel in open air 4WD vehicles through the rainforest and floodplains before arriving at the sandstone escarpment to Mt Borradaile’s most well-known art site; the Rainbow Serpent. A spectacular six metre long rainbow serpent dominates an awe inspiring rock shelter. The Rainbow Serpent is one of the most powerful and dominant creation spirits of the ‘dreamtime’. Lie down and gaze at the shelters rooftop as your guide depicts and interprets the meaning behind the many layers of art.

Next, we're off to another site known as ‘Major Art’. Major Art is one of the largest recorded rock art galleries in the world, covered with layers of paintings dating back thousands of years. Illustrations depict not only ancient spiritual beings but a huge array of more recent art painted throughout the ‘contact period’. The contact period refers to periods when Aboriginal people had either a direct or indirect contact with non-Aboriginal people. As a result Macassan praus (boats), rifles used by buffalo hunters and many intricate hand stencils were recorded on the sandstone. 

This gallery is so extensive you could spend a whole day here and still not see every painting!

Further into the shelter are a series of catacombs and grottos forged by nature over millions of years. This site was once occupied by the local Aboriginal people who have lived in the area for millennia. Artefacts of stone tools and weapons are still scattered through the living areas as well as several burial sites, which may be viewed in accordance with the traditional owners.


In the afternoon you will have time to relax at the lodge before heading down to the Cooper Creek Billabong for a scenic sunset cruise and evening drinks. The billabong is home to both saltwater and fresh water crocodiles as well as a large array of waterbirds including the jabiru, brolga, magpie goose and the intriguing jacana or ‘Jesus bird’. Take in this majestic landscape as the sun sets over Mt Borradaile.

How to get to Mt Borradaile? 

Mt Borradaile is located in north-west Arnhem Land. Most people chose to fly in by charter aircraft as the dirt road in involves rivers crossings and is recommended for experienced four-wheel drivers. Here at Venture North we can include a visit to Mt Borradaile as apart of one of our private Arnhem Land tours - these are tailor-made to suit your interests.   


If you love experiencing nature and Indigenous culture then a visit to Mt Borradaile will never disappointing! Organise a private tour here today