Centered at the crossroads of culture, cuisine, and crocodiles, Darwin has staked its claim on Australia’s tourist circuit in a big way. Located at the tip of the Northern Territory, along the Timor Sea in a region commonly referred to as the ‘Top End’, Darwin is Australia’s northernmost city and only tropical capital. Steeped in ancient Aboriginal culture, wartime history, untouched national parks, and once-in-a-lifetime tourist destinations, this major Australian metropolis belongs on everyone's bucket list.
Day 1:Darwin-Kakadu (L)
Cruise on the Adelaide River, home to over 1,600 crocodiles, on the Jumping Crocodile cruise. See these prehistoric creatures up-close as your local guide entices the crocodiles to leap out of the water. Then you’ll travel into Kakadu National Park. Covering more than 20,000 square kilometres, World Heritage listed Kakadu. The combination of mangrove fringed coastal areas, expansive flood plains, lowland hills, and open woodland and forest habitats, make Kakadu one of the most diverse landscapes you’ll ever experience. It’s home to a myriad of animals, hundreds of bird species and thousands of different insects and plants. Enjoy lunch in Kakadu National Park before a stop at the Marrawuddi Art Gallery. Continue to Ubirr, where you’ll climb up through the ancient Aboriginal rock art galleries, believed to be 20,000 years old, to the lookout for a spectacular view over the surrounding wetlands. There is the opportunity for an optional 30-minute scenic flight (own expense).
Day 2: Kakadu-Katherine (B/L) You’ll be mesmerized as you wander around the Nourlangie Rock art site. It has provided shelter to the indigenous people for many thousands of years, and while taking shelter, the rock evolved into a canvas that illustrates the traditional owner's very deep spiritual culture. With your Driver Guide, you’ll have the opportunity to see many different forms of Aboriginal rock art paintings. The Bininj people are the traditional custodians of Kakadu and now you’ll visit the Warradjan Cultural Centre where you will be introduced to their way of life. Later, join your local guide for a cruise on Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu’s most famous wetland. The picturesque yellow waters are home to thousands of saltwater crocodiles and up to 60 species of colourful birdlife. This afternoon we travel to Katherine, the third largest town in the Northern Territory, stopping at Leliyn (Edith Falls) along the way. The paperbark and pandanus fringed natural pool at the base of the falls is suitable for swimming throughout most of the year (conditions permitting)
Day 3: Katherine-Darwin (B)
Enjoy a morning cruise through Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. One of the most visited sites in Australia’s Top End, it is a stunning network of thirteen gorges carved from billion-year-old sandstone that are home to many rapids and falls, flowing from the Katherine River. The cruise will put you at the heart of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge among freshwater crocodiles, wonderful birdlife, and some of the most amazing scenery the Northern Territory has to offer. Afterwards look through the Nitmiluk Visitor Centre. The Display Centre and Heritage Museum features large scale models illustrating the flora, fauna and rock formations of the park. If you would like to purchase your own memory of Nitmiluk, the centre has a range of souvenirs and artefacts handmade by the Jawoyn people. Next stop Pine Creek an historic gold mining town, then a stop at the Adelaide River War Cemetery, the resting place for many of those killed in the World War II air raids on Darwin, before returning to Darwin.
Day 4: Darwin-Litchfield-Depart Darwin (B/L)
Litchfield National Park contains several types of typical Top End habitats including lush monsoon forests, termite mounds, unusual rock formations, waterfalls and cascades. The park encloses much of the spectacular Tabletop Range, which is a wide sandstone plateau mostly surrounded by cliffs.
During the green season four major waterfalls thunder from the cliffs to tropical rock pools many metres below. During the dry season, the waterfalls flow more gently, making the waterholes the perfect spot for a cool dip. The Park’s traditional owners are the Wagait Aboriginal people, many of whom live in the area.
We follow the Stuart Highway via the township of Batchelor to Litchfield National Park where we will visit the main falls. First stop is Florence Falls, where you have the opportunity for a scenic and interpretive bush and monsoon vine forest walk. There is also the chance for a swim by making your way down the stairs to the plunge pool below. Travel on to Tolmer Falls for a magnificent view of the water cascading down to the deep waterhole at the base of the falls. Finally we visit Wangi Falls, with its large clear pool, another relaxing spot for a swim. On the way back to Darwin we make a stop in at Howard Spring Nature Park, where you will have the chance to feed the Barramundi & Turtles. A great day for taking many fascinating photos, including the amazing stand of termite mounds. Lunch is included today.