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Join this odyssey, visiting Litchfield and Kakadu National Park, with adventures in wild bush luxury at Bamurru Plains wilderness resort. Coming a long way to Darwin, you will bring the country to life on an Aboriginal-guided indigenous tour. This is your chance to take the roads less traveled from Darwin to the world-class national parks. Share unforgettable experiences with a tiny group of like-minded visitors - a taste of adventure in safety and comfort!
You will be staying at Bamurru Plains resort. A profusion of birds and wildlife are on the doorstep of a unique bush camp that exudes ‘Wild Bush Luxury’ and brings a touch of style to a remote and beautiful wilderness.
Northern Territory Indigenous Tours will pick you up for your Litchfield tour in a comfortable Land Cruiser 200 GXL from your Darwin city accommodation between 07:15 and 07:30 (a bit later for suburban and outlying accommodation and 09:00 am from Batchelor). They'll return you to Darwin about 17:30 (or Batchelor about 16:00).
Backroads from Darwin take you to the Finniss River and beyond, into Tess’s family’s country. You’ll stretch your legs at this shady riverside stop and discover the resources available from this river country. From time to time during the tropical summer, from about December to May, road authorities close the back road into Litchfield National Park due to flooding at this crossing. When this occurs, you will enter and leave Litchfield by the main road through the pretty town of Batchelor.
You’ll visit the iconic Wangi Falls, which plunge pool is a popular dry season swimming spot and a special place for indigenous women. Cool off with a swim or explore the nearby lush rainforest, home to a variety of birds and restless fruit bats. For the keen, there may be an opportunity for a more strenuous walk around and over the falls.
When water levels reach a pre-determined point during your tropical summer, from about December to May, park authorities close the Wangi Falls plunge pool to swimming due to strong currents and the potential for saltwater crocodiles to enter the plunge pool. Viewing the falls, however, and doing the walk around and over them are safe and especially spectacular at this time of year.
You’ll find seasonal bush foods and medicines used by local Aboriginal people for thousands of years. Your guides show how the string is handmade from local plants and describe the relationship of Litchfield’s landscape features to local indigenous culture.
You’ll see and learn about the many termites, primary herbivores of the Northern Territory, and the huge housing complexes they build. You will be amazed at how the indigenous people use these industrious creatures and their homes.
As exclusive visitors to beautiful Woolaning Spring, you’ll enjoy a freshly cooked lunch of wild-caught barramundi, crocodile, and kangaroo in nature’s rainforest dining room. You’ll take a therapeutic dip in the warm spring waters or explore the remains of Tess’s family’s sawmill camp.
Woolaning Spring is on Tess’s family’s private land. During your tropical summer, from about December to May, the track into Woolaning Spring is sometimes too boggy to use. When this occurs, you will enjoy your lunch at Wangi Falls.
The four-wheel drive-only Reynolds River track and two creek crossings lead you to the heritage-listed Blyth Homestead. Tess’s uncle Max and Aunty Esther grew up here in this tiny, rough-hewn homestead their family built about 1928. Get a taste of pioneer life in the days of working cattle, tin, and vegetables, carving out a living in this rugged environment.
During your tropical summer, from about December to May, park authorities close the Reynolds River track due to flooding. When this occurs, you will instead visit Tolmer Falls and experience the spectacular one kilometer's walk through Litchfield’s stone country. The stone country comes alive at this time of year with a profusion of life and a gushing of water into Tolmer’s deep chasms. You can swim without crowds or crocodiles in the crystal clear Tolmer Creek.
You’ll see stunning Florence Falls from the plateau-top lookout, a short walk from the car park. Keen swimmers can tackle the 135 stairs that lead down to the clear, refreshing waters of Florence’s stone-walled gorge and plunge pool. Easier walks allow swimming too, in the warmer waters above Florence Falls.
Your personal light plane will meet you at Batchelor Airfield for an exclusive flight across the wetlands and floodplains of the Adelaide and Mary Rivers to Bamurru Plains. For two nights and a day, you will partake in gourmet meals, go birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and exploring by airboat, join river cruise, and join a 4X4 safari, or simply relax in indulgent luxury.
After a light plane flight to Jabiru, you'll meet your guide and traditional Aboriginal owner of northern Kakadu National Park to visit the world-renowned Ubirr rock art site. Its spectacular array of galleries showcases art from 20,000 years ago up to the 20th century. Take in elevated, expansive views of the Nadab floodplain.
Enjoy a gourmet picnic in the shade of large paperbarks and rainforest trees as the East Alligator River flows lazily by. Drop in a line and try for the Top End’s famous barramundi.
Join the fascinating Guluyambi cultural cruise along the East Alligator River with a local Aboriginal guide, who’ll point out a wide variety of wildlife and introduce you to the Aboriginal cultural context of the west Arnhemland area.
At the Bowali Visitor Centre, you will learn more about the vast lands of Kakadu and how they are jointly managed by traditional owners and the Australian government. Visit the Marrawuddi Gallery with its range of local artworks, books, and photographs of the region.
From Jabiru Airport (JAB), you’ll board a light plane for the return journey to Darwin.
You’ll have a chance to see the stunning Florence Falls from the plateau-top lookout, a short walk from the car park.
Around 70 kilometers south of Darwin, Litchfield National Park was declared in 1986 to conserve and manage the pristine Tabletop Range and its surrounding lowlands. The park is about 1,500 square kilometers and was named for Fred Litchfield, an early British explorer of the region.
Litchfield National Park is famous for its iconic waterfalls, such as Wangi, Florence, and Tolmer, its clear, natural croc-free swimming pools, and so much more. This place offers stunning, easily accessible stone country, sweeping views over extensive lowlands, and lovely drives and walks through a wide variety of habitat and vegetation types, along with pretty creek lines and over open plateau country. Litchfield National Park is an inspirational place to visit for lovers of nature.
The Tabletop Range is formed of ancient sandstone, which has been weathered and eroded for millennia to form deep gorges that protect the ancient rainforest, into which spring waters flow over myriad waterfalls. The diversity of habitats formed provide a wide range of flora and fauna. Some of them, such as the blue cycad and cycas calcicola, are endemic to the park and close surrounds.
Litchfield National Park lies between the Finniss and Daly Rivers, the traditional lands of, among others, Marrathiel, Marranunggu, Werat, Warray, and Koongurrukun peoples. The features of the Tabletop Range are intrinsically linked to the spiritual lives and beliefs of the peoples, who maintain the long and continuing culture. The area is particularly rich in resources useful to the people, allowing a relatively large population to lead rich and satisfying lives in the area.
Around 150 kilometers east of Darwin, Kakadu National Park was proclaimed in 1979. The park’s traditional owners and government officials jointly conserve and manage the park’s pristine Alligator Rivers wetlands, Arnhemland escarpment, and their surrounding lowland woodland habitats. At about 20,000 square kilometers, Kakadu is one of the largest national parks in the world. It was named for the Gagudgu language, once spoken in the north-east part of the park and recorded as Kakadu by Baldwin Spencer, an early anthropologist to visit the region. The park is inscribed on the list of the World’s Heritage for both its natural and cultural values.
The western edge of the Arnhemland plateau forms the eastern side of Kakadu National Park. This 300 meters high escarpment and its many outliers are formed of sandstone and quartzite laid down in a shallow sea some 1,800 million years ago. Erosion over millennia has carved out deep gorges and waterfalls, protecting ancient rainforest that includes an evolutionary ancestor of the eucalypts, allosyncarpia ternata. The escarpment is too rugged for road construction and is best accessed by walking.
The wetlands of Kakadu National Park are listed by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. The extensive freshwater wetlands formed about 6,000 years ago after the sea level rose some 140 meters following the end of the last ice age, creating extensive mangrove forests. The sea level then receded slightly to form vast areas of freshwater wetland and seasonal floodplain protected from the sea by low, naturally-formed levee banks. These wetlands support a vast array of native animals, notably crocodiles, barramundi, huge flocks of magpie geese, migratory birds, and endangered species.
There is evidence that Aboriginal people have lived in parts of Kakadu National Park for over 60,000 years and continue to maintain their ancient and diverse culture. Kakadu is rightly famous for its large number of rock art sites in shelters throughout the Arnhemland escarpment and plateau. Some of these sites are open for visitors to see. Kakadu remains first and foremost a home for its people.
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