Explore the coastal regions of the Cobourg Peninsula before travelling inland through Arnhem Land where we will be joined by an Aboriginal guide. Next we will explore Kakadu National Park before continuing south to visit the Kimberley region.
After arriving at Darwin Airport you will be transferred to your private charter flight to the Cobourg Peninsula in northern Arnhem Land. This scenic fight takes approximately one hour and provides great views of the Tiwi Islands and Cobourg Peninsula coastline.
Upon touching down at Cobourg you will be met by your Venture North guide and escorted to Venture North’s private camp.
Located in the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park Venture North’s Cobourg Coastal Camp is a unique safari-style camp. Nestled amongst dense bushland and overlooking the bay of Port Essington the camp has most of the home comforts while still allowing guests to feel close to nature.
After settling in to camp, put your feet up and enjoy drinks and nibbles served on the cliff top as you watch the sun set over the bay.
For dinner enjoy a gourmet bush meal before relaxing around the camp fire. Overnight: Venture North’s Cobourg Coastal Camp.
Awake to the sound of birds and enjoy a special ‘Cobourg-style’ cooked breakfast.
Today will be spent exploring the Northern Territory’s only Marine Park by boat. Cobourg is abundant in some amazing marine life including six species of marine turtle, dugongs, manta rays, dolphins, sharks, crocodiles, mud crabs and a myriad of fish species.
As we cruise the Marine Park we will stop and visit the Victoria Settlement ruins. Established prior to Darwin as a military outpost by the British, this site represents the third failed attempt at settlement in Northern Australia. After surviving for 11 years between 1838 and 1849 it was abandoned. Isolation and disease accounted for 60 deaths from a population high of 200. Stone ruins still stand on the shoreline of Port Essington and serve as a reminder of the hardships faced by the early colonists.
Depart the settlement and continue on the lookout for marine life before stopping to try your luck at fishing. The Cobourg Peninsula is renowned for excellent fishing; with more than 250 species of fish found in the Park dinner is never far away!
Arrive back at camp late afternoon and take in the region at your own pace. Whether you’re eager to get out and about and explore, or simply relax and read a book in a hammock, this afternoon is in your hands...
Tonight enjoy a fresh seafood dinner.Overnight: Venture North’s Cobourg Coastal Camp
This morning we will be joined by an Indigenous Park Ranger for a bush-tucker hunt in Ardwanyan Creek. This small creek has been an important hunting and gathering ground for the local Aboriginal people (Madjunbalmi) for thousands of years. The creek system and mangrove flats hold an abundance of salt water shellfish as well as crustaceans and stingrays.
Here you will have an opportunity to catch mud crabs using traditional Aboriginal methods. Learn how to hunt and gather these local delicacies before having a go yourself. Other prized species include mud mussels and longbums (shell fish).
After lunch we will explore the eastern side of the Park this time by 4WD. See the northern beaches, commonly used as turtle nesting areas and covered in a wide range of shells. Low tide provides opportunities to explore exposed coral reefs and rock pools which are home to a variety of marine life.
In the afternoon we will visit the Park’s Cultural and Information Centre which contains some fascinating displays about the rich history and culture of the region. Arrive back at camp for sunset.
Overnight: Venture North’s Cobourg Coastal Camp
This morning we depart Cobourg early. Sit back and enjoy the bush scenery of Arnhem Land as we make our way to Gunbalanya Community (also known as Oenpelli). The Gunbalanya area comprises of vast amounts of Aboriginal owned land where many local people still practice their traditional ceremonial ways.
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 even overseas. Artists produce paintings on both bark and paper in a style renowned to western Arnhem Land. Weavings of the highest quality are also produced along with didgeridoos and carvings.
Next, we will be joined by a local Aboriginal guide to be shown around the Injalak Hill rock art sites. A short hike 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 x-ray and dynamic art dating back over 20,000 years. Relax under the shelters as your guide shares and interprets the stories of their ancestors and helps you to understand the meaning behind their ancient tradition.
After lunch we will say goodbye to our hosts and continue on towards Yellow waters Billabong in Kakadu National Park. The 15 km scenic drive to the border of Kakadu 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.
This afternoon join a 2 hour Yellow Waters sunset Cruise. Yellow Waters is famous for its diversity of bird life as well as the ever-present salt-water crocodiles, not forgetting the spectacular sunsets.
After breakfast depart Mardugal Campsite and travel south along the Kakadu Highway to Maguk (Barramundi Gorge). En route visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Culture Centre, an interactive centre providing detailed information about Aboriginal Culture in Kakadu.
Upon arrival at Maguk a scenic 1km walk along the edge of Barramundi Creek takes us to the base of the falls. Here you have the opportunity to swim or snorkel in the large plunge pool below and discover the large array of aquatic life that is present.
Depart Maguk after lunch and continue south towards Koolpin Gorge (Jarrangbarnmi). After leaving the highway enjoy a scenic drive into Koolpin via the Jarrangbarnmi dirt track. This track takes you alongside the nearby escarpment, through several creek crossings before arriving at the camp ground next to Koolpin Creek. Here we will set up camp for two nights.
Relax around the camp fire as your guide prepares dinner. Sleep tonight beneath a blanket of stars.
Koolpin Gorge is a special permit area in which only a few selected operators are permitted to access. This guarantees minimal crowds and therefore limits impact on the fragile stone country environment which is home to several Aboriginal sacred sites.
Spend the entire day at your own pace exploring the pristine swimming holes and sandstone gorges which follow the Koolpin creek for several kilometers.
There are also opportunities for extended walks to rock art sites that are located on the plateau of the Arnhem Land escarpment.
This morning we will depart Koolpin and begin our journey towards the Kimberley region.
The drive takes us south to Katherine and then west along the Victoria River, before arriving at Keep River National Park.
Keep River National Park is roughly 450km to the west of Katherine and sits right on the Northern Territories border with Western Australia.
The Park is well known for its spectacular geology which hosts notable species of birds and marsupials within the sandstone environment.
Upon arrival at Keep River there will be time for hiking and bird watching before setting up camp.
Relax and enjoy a traditional camp fire dinner.
After breakfast we depart Keep River National Park and head to Lake Argyle where we will board a 2 hour scenic boat cruise. Lake Argyle is Australia’s largest freshwater lake, encompassing an area of up to 2000 square kilometres.
Home to an abundance of wildlife including 25,000 freshwater crocodiles, Lake
Argyle is also the energy source for the East Kimberley region as well as the world’s
largest diamond mine.
This informative cruise is a great introduction to the life and history of the Kimberley region.
As fresh fruit and produce are not permitted to be carried into Western Australia, we will make a short stopover in Kununurra to stock up on supplies before departing for El Questro Wilderness Park.
This afternoon we will arrive at El Questro Wilderness Park, our camp for the next two nights.
Formerly a working cattle station known as El Questro Station, this million acre land hold is pristine, rugged country which offers opportunities to swim, hike, fish, four wheel drive and more.
This evening enjoy sunset drinks overlooking the Pentecost River and Cockburn Ranges from the top of Branco’s Lookout.
Before breakfast travel to Zebedee Springs, small thermal pools (32 degrees all year round) situated in a pocket of lush and tropical Livistonia and Pandanus Palms.
As this is the coolest period of the day it makes it the perfect time for a morning bathe, all without the crowds! Return to camp for a cooked breakfast before exploring the many hiking option that are located throughout the wilderness park.
Late afternoon, join the Chamberlain Gorge Cruise along the Pentecost River system. Your local guide will provide commentary on the amazing geology of the area as well as point out the Aboriginal Art, flora and fauna.
Overnight: El Questro Wilderness Park (full bathroom facilities)
Today we leave El Questro after a morning swim and head south towards Purnululu National Park, home of the Bungle Bungles.
Purnululu’s landowners, the Kija tribe used to use the bungle bungle ranges throughout the wet season for it had an abundance of food and material resources. Only few Europeans knew of its existence until the late 1980’s. Today Purnululu NP is part of the World Heritage list and is globally recognized for its incredible landscapes.
To enter the park we turn off the Great Northern Hwy and make our way along a 50km 4wd track crossing several creeks and valleys which offer breathtaking views over the spinifex ranges. This afternoon we have time to explore the famous orange and black beehive domes before finding a secluded area to watch the sunset light up the bungle bungles.
After breakfast we set off on an hour hike to one of the parks most famous landmarks, Cathedral Gorge. The walk takes us along Piccaninny Creek and the beehive domes before arriving at a huge naturally formed amphitheatre (hence the name Cathedral Gorge). This unique rock formation has amazing acoustics carrying voices and sounds in a circular direction throughout the gorge. This makes an ideal spot for some morning tea and a relax in the shade.
In the afternoon we explore the Northern end of the park and escape the heat by entering Echidna Chasm. The beginning of the walk is along a palm filled gorge which becomes narrower and narrower as you make your way through.The second half of the track you will find yourself walking through towering red sandstone walls with a gap less than a few meters wide. For those keen for further adventure, you can scramble your way over rocks right to the end of the chasm.
After packing up camp we make our way back towards the Gibb River road and venture to the Northern side of El Questro.
Leaving the best to last, Emma Gorge is a spectacular gorge that can only be reached by an invigorating 1 hour walk along a shaded creek bed. Set at the base of a 70m high cliff, this unique gorge has a reel mystical feel about it, with both cool and warm springs that you can swim in.
After a freshly cooked lunch at the Emma Gorge restaurant we travel to Kununurra Airport where you will farewell your host/guide and board your connecting flight back to Darwin or Broome.