The Untamed Top End

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Best time to go: March to October

6 Nights | from £2,660pp

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Holiday type: Tailor-made

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  • Cruise the craggy canyons of Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park
  • Learn the secrets of Aboriginal Dreamtime tales and creation stories
  • Watch sea turtles nesting and browse lively markets around Darwin
  • Spot massive crocs and diverse birdlife in the wilderness of Bamurru Plains
  • Gaze down at dramatic gorges and wetlands on scenic private flights

Day 1 Darwin
The capital of the Northern Territory is an urban oasis sandwiched between Outback and ocean - it's closer to Bali than to Sydney. Though it's less than 150 years old, Darwin was battered first by Japanese WWII bombing, then Cyclone Tracy in 1974, which flattened the city. Yet today it couldn't be more alive: a cosmopolitan city whose population includes more than 50 nationalities, with the culture, food and nightlife to match. Take a stroll along the Esplanade and delve into the old oil storage tunnels that now display wartime photos of Darwin, then get a taste for the city's diverse culinary influences at Parap or Mindil Beach market, chock with fabulous food stalls.
Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Day 2 Darwin
Larrikia Aboriginal people fished and foraged in and around this spot for thousands of years -admire some of their heritage in the fine Aboriginal art of the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, where you'll also discover more about the city's turbulent history. Then go wild discovering the region's natural wonders: take a cruise out to Bare Sand Island where, at high tide on a full moon, you can watch flatback and olive ridley turtles nesting and explore with an expert guide.
Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront | Breakfast

Day 3 Darwin / Katherine
If there's one thing the Top End does best, it's gorges - in fact, the Northern Territory sometimes seems like one enormous, ornate rock garden. Head to Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park to cruise the spectacular canyon carved by the Katherine River, watching out for freshwater crocs (the smaller, less feisty species). Then retreat to stylish Cicada Lodge, a boutique eco-resort owned by the indigenous Jawoyn people whose ancestors have dwelt here for more than 40,000 years, to be serenaded by the sounds of the tropical night as you enjoy a candlelit dinner.
Cicada Lodge | Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 Katherine
Discover what Dreamtime really means with a visit to an atmospheric outdoor gallery: an ancient collection of rock art which your Jawoyn guide will interpret and recount some of the secrets of the traditional Aboriginal creation myths - stories of 'dreaming'. If that's not enough to set your imagination soaring, the flight back should do the trick - gaze down at the rugged 'stone country' and all 13 gorges of the Nitmiluk system. Sip a sundowner at dusk, then sample the extraordinary flavours of the Outback with native Australian ingredients such as 'bush bananas' (Marsdenia) and Yarr freshwater prawns.
Cicada Lodge | Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 Katherine / Bamurru
Check your camera memory card has plenty of space - you'll need it: from aerial views of magnificent Nitmiluk, Kakadu and Gregory National Parks on your private flight to Bamurru Plains to the ethereal beauty of this floodland landscape, this is a photographer's paradise. Just nine luxurious safari suites dot a remote wilderness of savannah fringing the floodplains, where the light itself seems almost liquid.
Bamurru Plains | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Bamurru Plains
Wake to a chorus of thousands of magpie geese, setting the tone for a day immersed in glorious nature. Even a loll in the infinity pool will have you absorbed in the birdlife; some 236 species of birds call this region home, and many frequent Bamurru Plains. You can enjoy a richer wildlife experience with a range of activities, too. Spot huge, prehistoric saltwater crocodiles on a cruise on the Sampan River or an exhilarating airboat trip across the wetlands;watch wallabies and buffalo on a guided drive or bushwalk;or simply visit the lodge's six-metre-high hide overlooking the Mary River floodplain to spot birds of prey, jabiru storks and the stately brolga crane.
Bamurru Plains | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Bamurru Plains / Darwin
Enjoy one final scenic flight back to Darwin Airport to connect with your onward flight.
Meals: Breakfast

At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 7 day suggested holiday will cost from £2,660 per person, based on two sharing excluding international flights.

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Our office in Melbourne is managed by a local team of experienced and passionate travel professionals with an intimate knowledge of Australia, enabling them to provide clients with great insight into this fascinating destination, and ensuring a seamless experience every step of the A&K journey. With their long standing personal connections and networks they're also there to help you uncover local secrets and experiences, and to open doors to people and places normally beyond the reach of the ordinary traveller.

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Meet the Orient & Indian Subcontinent Team

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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Smith, Lynne and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget.

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Useful info

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Best time to be there

All year round; many parts of the country are perfect, even in the middle of the year. The climate ranges from tropical (Darwin) to semi-desert (Alice Springs), humid temperate (Brisbane and Sydney), cool temperate (Melbourne and Hobart) and Mediterranean (Perth and Adelaide).

Fly to

Sydney/Melbourne/Perth/Darwin (British Airways/Qantas/Emirates/Etihad Airways)

flying time

17-21 hours 30 minutes, one refuelling stop

time difference

GMT +8 - +10 hours


Visa required for UK passport holders

Health Requirements

Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area

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