- Journey through the heart of Arnhem Land on an exclusive touring route and immerse yourself in the world’s oldest surviving culture
- Enjoy a 'Welcome to Country' performance in Nhulunbuy
- Visit award winning art centres and enjoy a bush Medicine demonstration
- Discover the vast and sacred Arafura Swamp by boat and 4WD
- View exquisite rock art at Mt Borradaile & visit the ancient 'catacombs'
- Enjoy authentic cultural activities with Indigenous guides
- Explore the rugged Cobourg Peninsula by open back 4WD safari
- Take a half-day Barramundi fishing adventure on the Liverpool River
- Visit the ruins of historic Victoria Settlement at Port Essington, circa 1838
- Explore the pristine waters of Cobourg Marine Park Sanctuary
- Spend 7 nights in our network of luxurious safari camps and wilderness lodges, including 3 nights at the iconic Seven Spirit Bay
OUTSTANDING VALUE INCLUSIONS
- Small Group Size – 22
- All meals, including all breakfasts, lunches and dinners while on tour
- 7 nights in our exclusive network of luxury wilderness lodges
- 2 nights at Davidson’s Arnhem Land Safaris, Mount Borradaile
- 3 nights of good quality hotel accommodation
- Travel aboard a 5-star 4WD Mercedes Benz Coach
- All attraction fees
- All permit fees to enter Aboriginal Land
- Escorted by experienced and professional Tour Driver/Guide
- Outback Spirit Explorer Pack featuring handy travel items
Itinerary & Accommodation Snapshot
Day 1 - Welcome to Arnhem Land - Walkabout Lodge
Upon your arrival in Nhulunbuy today you’ll be met by your professional Tour Director. This afternoon we’ll explore this frontier village, created in the 1960’s after the discovery of Bauxite on the Gove Peninsula. Visit the Roy (Malpi) Marika Lookout for incredible views towards the coast, Gayngaru Wetlands and Gove Harbour before settling in for a two-night stay at the Walkabout Lodge.
Day 2 - Exploring the Gove Peninsula - Walkabout Lodge
The Gove Peninsula has been home to Yolngu people for over 60,000 years and is one of the most culturally significant regions in Australia. You’ll get a true sense of this with a special ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony at Wirrwawuy Beach, where we’ll learn about Yolngu culture and kinship first hand. We then visit the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka art centre, which boasts many renowned Aboriginal artists whose work can be found in galleries all over the world. Yirrkala is also where the Aboriginal Land Rights movement started, when the ‘bark petition’ was sent to federal parliament in 1963.
From the art centre it’s a short stroll to Shady Beach for lunch and a special Bush Medicine and Women’s Healing demonstration. Experience traditional healing ways and hear stories of how Yolngu live and heal on their land.
This afternoon we visit Macassan Beach for an interpretive walk and learn about the fascinating trade relations between the Yolngu and Macassans, who negotiated the right to fish for native Trepang in Australian waters. This trade relationship dates back to the 1400’s and lasted until the beginning of last century. We return to Nhulunbuy and the Walkabout Lodge late this afternoon.
Day 3 - Journey to Murwangi - Murwangi Safari Camp
Today our journey into the heart of Arnhem Land begins. Departing Nhulunbuy we follow the Central Arnhem road south west to the Goyder River, the main tributary flowing into the massive Arafura Swamp. Enjoy a picnic lunch before taking a track to the north, which follows an escarpment before descending on to the Arafura floodplains. This area is known as ‘Murwangi’, and is the home of our exclusive safari camp where we’ll be staying for the next two nights. Check in to your deluxe safari suite before dinner in the lodge dining room.
Day 4 - Arafura Swamp and Murwangi Discovery Tour - Murwangi Safari Camp
The Arafura Swamp is one of the largest wooded swamps in Australia and covers approximately 1,300 square kilometres. This incredibly diverse wetland can support up to 300,000 water birds at any one time, including Magpie Geese, Egrets, Black-necked Stork and Brolgas. The swamp is of great cultural significance to Yolngu People & was also the location for the 2006 film ‘Ten Canoes’.
Today enjoy a tranquil cruise on the main lagoon, followed by a 4WD adventure around the edge of the swamp. For both activities, we’ll be accompanied by Indigenous guides who’ll explain why this spectacular area is so significant to them.
Later this afternoon we return to camp, with a little free time before dinner.
Day 5 - Ramingining – Barramundi LodgeArnhem Land Barramundi Lodge
This morning we farewell Murwangi and visit the Bula’bula Art Centre in Ramingining. Chat to local artists as they paint right in front of you. (Artwork can be purchased if desired). After morning tea, we head further west towards Maningrida, crossing the Blyth and Cadell rivers before arriving at the Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge. Recognised as one of Australia’s premier fishing destinations, the lodge holds exclusive fishing licences for various waterways and coastal areas, including the Liverpool River. After a full redevelopment, the lodge now features 12 beautiful safari suites and a restaurant overlooking the Tomkinson River floodplains.
After lunch on the front deck, we’ll enjoy a familiarisation talk from the lodge’s marine manager. You’re then free to settle in to your safari suite, with the remainder of the afternoon yours to relax, catch up on some washing or simply soak up the stunning view of the floodplains. We spend the next two nights here to explore the local area.
Day 6 - Fishing Adventure & Cultural Tour Arnhem Land Barramundi Lodge
This morning we enjoy an exclusive fishing adventure on the Liverpool and Tomkinson Rivers, pristine waterways teeming with barramundi. Our expert fishing guides will take you to where the fish are biting aboard our sturdy Ocean Master vessels, the pinnacle for remote marine adventures featuring an onboard restroom and shade canopy. Today’s fishing adventure is also a wilderness tour, so even if fishing isn’t your thing you’ll still enjoy the amazing scenery and commentary. If you do land a ‘Barra’, be sure to take it back to the chef who’ll prepare your catch for dinner!
This afternoon we visit the Maningrida Arts and Cultural Centre, the Djomi Museum and Babbarra Women’s Centre for an immersion in culture. It’s places like these that really bring home the cultural and spiritual richness of the area. Later this afternoon we’ll return to the lodge. Enjoy a sunset drink on the deck before dinner, and tell everyone about the one that got away!
Day 7 - Maningrida to Mount BorradaileMount Borradaile
Departing Maningrida after breakfast, our travels take us through the stone country of west Arnhem Land. Cross the Liverpool and Goomadeer Rivers before arriving at the turnoff to Davidson’s Arnhem Land Safaris, Mount Borradaile. From here we travel along a 40km bush track into the safari lodge, arriving in time for lunch. We’ll then check in to our cabins, our home for the next two nights.
This afternoon the highly trained staff at Mount Borradaile will take you through 40,000 years of Aboriginal culture in a truly awe-inspiring landscape. The area contains some of the most stunning rock art galleries in the world, and in terms of artistic quality, quantity, colour and state of preservation it is virtually unrivalled. The walls of the many rock shelters are decorated with innumerable pictures documenting traditional Aboriginal life over many thousands of years. Subjects range from now extinct animals to twentieth century sailing ships and the iconic rainbow serpent. This afternoon we return to the lodge for dinner.
Day 8 - Exploring Mount BorradaileMount Borradaile
Today we jump into the open-back Toyota’s and continue exploring the wonderland that is Mount Borradaile. Visit the ancient ‘catacombs’, where the sandstone has been eroded by wind and water over 600 million years resulting in a massive cave system that is full of incredible Aboriginal Art. Learn about the variety of techniques used in rock paintings as the styles changed over thousands of years of occupation and storytelling. We’ll also view ancient occupation sites and a range of artefacts from when these areas were lived in.
After lunch, it’s time to explore the incredible wetlands of the Cooper Creek. Admire the prolific birdlife and massive crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks as you discover lagoons that seem more from a story book than from real life. As the sun seeks the horizon and sets over the floodplain, enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles before returning to the lodge for our final night with Davidson’s Arnhem Land Safaris.
Day 9 - Cobourg Peninsula – Seven Spirit BaySeven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge
Departing Mount Borradaile early, we head north and venture into Garig Gunak Barlu National Park on the Cobourg Peninsula. Travel up the eastern side of Port Essington to Black Point, where we’ll meet the marine crew from Seven Spirit Bay and board the lodge’s custom made adventure craft for the short transfer across Port Essington. Upon arriving at the lodge you’ll be allocated your room for the next three nights, a unique and luxurious ‘habitat’ overlooking Coral Bay. We meet again later this evening for dinner in the restaurant.
Day 10 - Port Essington & The Historic Victoria SettlementSeven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge
Today we enjoy a marine adventure down Port Essington aboard the lodge’s specially designed vessel ‘MV Arafura’. Designed by NAIAD in New Zealand and built in Australia, these amazing vessels are the ultimate marine sightseeing craft.
Departing Seven Spirit Bay, we retrace the course of the early mariner’s square riggers, passing landmarks like Gunners Quoin, Low Point, Turtle Rock, and Observation Cliff on our way to historic Victoria Settlement. Surveyed in 1838, Victoria Settlement was the third attempt by the British at a northern settlement after Fort Dundas on Melville Island, and Fort Wellington at Raffles Bay. Conceived to facilitate trade with Asia, the settlement consisted of 24 houses and a hospital. Disease was rampant and living conditions poor, leading to its abandonment in 1849.
Upon our arrival at Victoria Settlement we’ll take an informative and fascinating tour of the old buildings and ruins, learning about life in the early British occupation. There’s an optional extension to the walk which leads to lonely gravestones in the forest, almost forgotten by history.
After a picnic lunch on the beach we’ll get on the water again and enjoy a leisurely cruise back to Seven Spirit Bay. The waters of the Cobourg Marine Park are alive, so keep your eye out for dolphins, dugong, manta rays and crocodiles. We return to Seven Spirit Bay mid-afternoon, where the rest of the day can be spent at your leisure. Perhaps take a dip in the palm fringed swimming pool. Tonight, enjoy sunset drinks from the veranda before dinner in the restaurant.
Day 11 - Trepang Bay Marine & 4WD adventureSeven Spirit Bay Wilderness Lodge
The Cobourg Marine Park is teaming with barramundi, spanish mackerel, golden trevally and coral trout to name just a few. After breakfast, we board the lodge’s state-of-the-art fishing vessels for an exclusive half-day fishing adventure to Trepang Bay. Featuring an onboard restroom, shade canopy and comfortable seating, each boat takes only 6 people so everyone will have the chance to reel something in!
Seven Spirit Bay’s fishing guides are true professionals with intimate knowledge of the marine park. They’ll take you to the best fishing spots and share their knowledge of this stunning marine sanctuary en route to Trepang Bay. Once we enter the mouth of Trepang Creek, it’s time to land a Barramundi! Your guide will pick out the best spots to land this iconic Australian fish as we slowly meander up stream. The creek narrows and vegetation closes in as we approach our private landing. We then disembark and rendezvous with the lodge’s sous chef for a delicious BBQ bush lunch. If anyone’s caught a Barra, it won’t be long before it’s on our plates!
After lunch we enjoy a 4WD safari to appreciate the wonders of Garig Gunak Barlu National Park. First up is a visit to the stunning Nipa Palm gallery (Nypa Fruticans), one of only three locations in Australia where they can be found (the others are Melville Island and the Wenlock River in far north QLD). Next, we’ll explore the savannah lands of Vashon Head, spotting banteng and buffalo before a visit to Gunners Quoin. We return to the lodge late afternoon for our third and final evening at Seven Spirit Bay.
Day 12 - Our Last Big AdventureDoubletree by Hilton Hotel
This morning you have the option of taking another fishing adventure, or heading off on a 4WD safari to Rainbow Beach. After lunch we’ll depart for the airstrip and board our Cessna Grand Caravan for the 45-minute scenic flight across Van Diemen Gulf. Once in Darwin we’ll be transferred to the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, perfectly positioned along the Esplanade (harbour view rooms). Tonight, enjoy dinner at the award winning ‘Char’ restaurant, the perfect place to celebrate and look back upon your adventure through Arnhem Land.
Day 13 - Until next time
Enjoy a relaxing morning before your transfer to the airport, or to your accommodation if staying on in Darwin. Time to say goodbye, until we meet again for your next outback adventure.